Iyonix processor benchmarkedBy Chris Williams. Published: 3rd Mar 2003, 02:11:09 | Permalink | Printable
Side by side StrongARM RiscPC and VirtualAcorn'ed PC. Now to find an OmegaThe Castle Iyonix has been out for what, 4 months now? It's arguably the biggest hardware advancement for RISC OS since the Acorn StrongARM launch, harnessing the Intel XScale processor and nVidia GeForce2. It's had hype, it's had controversy but it's not been properly benchmarked by us. Yet.
Tony Howat dropped us an email to this evening to let us know that he's ported a 32 bit compatible version of Byte magazine's famous nbench benchmarking software, which is engineered to "expose the capabilities of a system's CPU, FPU, and memory system" according to Byte. It essentially runs a number of real world algorithms to determine the raw processing power of a computer. Tests on actual real applications can be found here, courtesy of Steffen Huber.
And oh look, Tony's been so kind as to test drive his port out on a range of RISC OS systems from a 242.8MHz StrongARM RiscPC to a 600MHz XScale Iyonix. And a 1.1GHz AMD powered PC too but try not to get distracted too much by that. Of course, we just can't wait to get this sucka running on an Omega, believe me when I say we can hardly contain ourselves. We also double checked the Iyonix results, running the benchmark software through drobe reader John Bell's Iyonix (cheers mate). Citing from Tony's website, in answer to your question "so how much faster is an Iyonix?", our survey said:
|Test||242.8MHz StrongARM RiscPC||Athlon 1800XP emulating ARM3 A5000||600MHz Intel XScale 80321 Iyonix||JMB's Iyonix||1.1GHz AMD Duron DDR based PC|
So what does the above mean? Well, the indexes refer to how much faster the machine is compared to the "base machine", which is a Pentium 90 system with 16MB of RAM and a 256KB cache. So an index of 2.0 means the system is twice as fast as this base specification. We see that, in terms of integer processing power, the StrongARM system is just a touch over twice as fast as this base line system whereas the Iyonix is five times faster. All the RISC OS machines score very badly in the floating point (FP) department as they lack hardware to do the FP for them and it all has to be done in software. This was discussed recently on drobe.co.uk, in David McEwen's article about Quake on the Iyonix. Ultimately, we see the Iyonix scores aproximately 2.5 times faster than the StrongARM RiscPC.
We'd be idiotic to say these benchmarks were all you need to compare the Iyonix with other systems; all these tests are performed in memory and rely on the processor being able to number crunch lots - something obviously demanded of a spreadsheet, mathematical or vector/3D graphics software for example. What they don't test is hard disc interface and other hardware speeds, all of which are essential for a desktop machine.
We're not going to draw a conclusion even if we ought to because it's obvious what we would say anyway, (of course the Iyonix is faster than a RiscPC, duh). The facts are here, you can run it for yourself. One thing to note is that the benchmark software highlights the fatal lack of FP hardware in RISC OS machines.
Also, we thought we'd just sneak in a mention of the Iyonix's appearance at the European HobbyTronic show, lurking in amongst the RiscPCs and C64s.
Tony's nBench software and results
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