Geekbench’s creator on model 6 and why benchmarks matter in the actual world

Primate Labs

We assessment quite a lot of {hardware} at Ars, and a part of that assessment course of entails working benchmark apps. The precise apps we use could change over time and based mostly on what we’re attempting to measure, however the goal is identical: to check the relative efficiency of two or extra issues and to make it possible for merchandise carry out as nicely in actual life as they do on paper.

One app that has been a constant a part of our take a look at suite for over a decade is Geekbench, a CPU and GPU compute benchmark that’s releasing its sixth main model immediately. Partly as a result of it is small, free, and straightforward to run; partly as a result of developer Primate Labs maintains a big searchable database spanning tens of millions of take a look at runs throughout tens of millions of gadgets; and partly as a result of it would run on absolutely anything underneath the solar, Geekbench has turn into one of many Web’s most-used (and most-argued-about) benchmarking instruments.

“I am actually glad that individuals appear to have latched onto it,” Primate Labs founder and Geekbench creator John Poole instructed Ars of Geekbench’s reputation. “I do know Gordon Ung at PCWorld principally calls Geekbench the official benchmark of Twitter arguments, which is the fallout from that.”

Cross-platform proper from the beginning

Geekbench’s cross-platform compatibility is a part of its enchantment, which has been baked into the benchmark since its earliest variations. It started on the top of the PowerPC Mac period when Apple’s {hardware} was unique and area of interest and apps that ran on Mac OS X had been comparatively uncommon.

“I simply converted to the Mac again in about 2002,” Poole instructed Ars. “So I used to be getting used to that ecosystem. After which the [Power Mac] G5 got here out and I believed, oh, this appears to be like actually cool. I went out, purchased one of many new G5s, and it felt slower than my earlier Mac. And I believed, nicely, that is actually unusual; what is going on on. … So, you realize, I grabbed what [benchmarks] I might obtain and ran them and bought actually confused, as a result of what the benchmarks had been saying wasn’t jiving with my expertise.

“So I really went and I reverse-engineered one of many well-liked benchmarks and located that the exams had been, for lack of a greater phrase, horrible,” stated Poole. “They weren’t actually testing something substantial, you realize, doing actually easy arithmetic operations on actually small quantities of information, probably not testing something. And so I believed, how onerous can or not it’s to put in writing a benchmark? Perhaps I ought to write my very own.”

The unique Geekbench (referred to as “Geekbench 2006” and apparently misplaced to time) supported Home windows and macOS at launch. Geekbench 2, launched in 2007, added Linux assist. An official iPhone model adopted in 2010, and an Android model got here out in 2012. Since Geekbench 3 was launched in mid-2013, a revamped model with new focus areas and reformulated exams has been launched roughly as soon as each three years or so.

And it isn’t simply mainstream, general-use {hardware} and software program that may run Geekbench. Geekbench might run on the PlayStation 3’s Cell processor (“[not] all that spectacular as a general-purpose CPU,” wrote Poole on the time). There was even, briefly, a model that ran natively on the short-lived BlackBerry 10. Right here at Ars we have run it on every thing from the oddball, all-open-source MNT Reform laptop computer, the primary wave of Android Put on smartwatches, and lots of of desktops, laptops, telephones, and tablets in addition to.

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