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Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation

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SPECapcSM Project Group Overview

SPEC/GWPG's Application Performance Characterization Group (SPECapc) was formed in 1997. The group addresses graphics and workstation performance evaluation based on actual software applications. SPECapc was an off-shoot of its sister organization, SPECgpc. SPECapc became part of SPEC (Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation) to take advantage of the systems and procedures the group had in place to standardize the benchmarking process -- from review processes and reporting formats to standardized workloads and measurement criteria. This decision saved administrative time and resources and allowed the group to focus on developing and maintaining benchmarks.

The non-profit SPECapc project provides clear methods for evaluating and comparing the performance of computers across vendor platforms and configurations. SPECapc's benchmarks are application-based, representative of end user needs, and represent total system performance -- graphics, I/O and CPU. The members of SPECapc feel that end users will benefit from a broad-ranging set of standardized benchmarks that characterize the performance of computer systems running graphics and workstation applications.

SPECapc has defined the following goals in support of its benchmarking efforts:

  • Develop a broad range of free, standardized performance evaluation tools that are unambiguous, vendor-neutral measures for product evaluation and comparison.
  • Provide mechanisms that enable vendors, customers and others to perform their own performance measurement and evaluations.
  • Provide formal and timely software releases to the public based on current graphics and workstation applications.
  • Contribute to the coherence of the field of graphics and workstation performance evaluation so that vendors will be better able to present well-defined measures, and customers will be better able to compare and evaluate vendors' products and environments.

SPECapc's Methodology

SPECapc evaluates consumer need, market data, member company knowledge and ISV input to determine relative market segments and important applications in those segments.

Like the applications they represent, SPECapc benchmarks are targeted at a specific level of hardware, such as PCs or high-end workstations. Because of this, SPECapc benchmarks are not required to run on all platforms.

SPECapc group members sponsor applications and work with end-users, user groups, publications and ISVs to select and refine workloads, which consist of data sets and benchmark script files. Workloads are determined by end-users and ISVs, not SPECapc group members. These workloads will evolve over time in conjunction with end-users' needs and the increasing functionality of PCs and workstations.

Structure and Membership

The SPECapc project group is a non-profit group whose general costs are paid via membership fees or dues. Any company, individual, institution or other group can become a sustaining member at any point in the development phase by remitting these dues. The project group maintains an appeals process through which any interested or affected party may register and have heard a complaint concerning group action or inaction. The principles of due process and antitrust compliance are adhered to by the project group at all times.

Find out more about the benefits of SPECapc membership, how you can take advantage of the project group's review and publication process, or how to help develop a SPECapc benchmark. For specific queries, e-mail SPECapc.