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Benchmark puts pressure on 32-, 64bit processors

Posted: 02 Mar 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CoreMark-Pro  processor performance  32bit processor  64bit processor  Android-based systems 

As an expansion of the original CoreMark, a single processor performance test released in 2009, the Embedded Microprocessor Benchmark Consortium (EEMBC) introduced the CoreMark-Pro, a suite of benchmarks targeting 32- and 64bit processors.

CoreMark-Pro provides a much richer set of metrics for high-end chips. It also has an extension of the group's AndEBench, a suite of tests for Android-based systems. Aside from these features, EEMBC, with its 47 chip and system designers, is also working on systems benchmarks for the Internet of Things and networking infrastructure.

CoreMark-Pro consists of five integer and four floating-point tests. The integer workloads include JPEG compression, Zip compression, an XML parser, the SHA-256 security algorithm and a more memory-intensive version of the original CoreMark. The floating-point workloads include a fast-Fourier transform, a linear algebra routine derived from Linpack, an enhanced version of the Livermore Loops benchmark and a neural-net algorithm to evaluate patterns.

Users can run the tests individually or combine them all into a single CoreMark-Pro figure. The summary score is based on math available with the benchmarking software that takes a geometric mean of the different tests and applies normalising factors.

"This benchmark is guaranteed to highlight the strengths—and weaknesses—of any processor," said Rajiv Adhikary, a senior software engineer at Analog Devices who chaired the CoreMark-Pro working group.

The CoreMark software performs self-verification of tests and a process to help users submit scores to the EEMBC Web site. A database of published results of CoreMark-Pro and AndEBench-Pro results is already available online. The Web site lets users sort and compare results across a wide variety of factors and products.

EEMBC members including Cavium, Freescale, Imagination Technologies, Intel, Qualcomm, Renesas and Synopsys participated in the two-year project. The software is available for free, but companies who want to publish results based on the tests need to be EEMBC members or pay $2,500.

New tests coming for IoT and SDN silicon

Among CoreMark-Pro results currently posted, "clearly Nvidia is at the top by a fairly significant margin," with its Tegra K1 in the Google Nexus 9 and Xiaomi handsets, said Markus Levy, president of EEMBC. Samsung's latest Exynos and current versions of Qualcomm's Snapdragon came in second and third, respectively.


EEMBC provided a sample of CoreMark-Pro results to date from various vendors.

Levy was quick to note many factors influence the tests, such as high memory bandwidth on the Nvidia chip. The same chip can also get different scores when running on different systems with different memory configurations and options.

CoreMark-Pro "probably won't have as much use as the original CoreMark, which was simple to download, build and run on anything," said Levy. The complexity of the Pro suite, which can take up to 3MB of memory, means "probably only qualified engineers will use it" on higher-end processors..."some MCUs can't even run it," he said.

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