News post by IBM Microelectronics:
Four companies announce new, simplified method for consumers to measure microprocessor performance in PCs
February 5, 1996
Advanced Micro Devices, Cyrix, IBM and SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics today announced a new method for consumers to make PC buying decisions. This method indicates how fast a computer actually performs common tasks, regardless of the microprocessor's clock speed, or megahertz (MHz). The four companies call the measurement a P-rating, or performance rating, and are offering it as an alternative way to describe processor performance, instead of the megahertz clock speed measurement now used. The companies say that if consumers buy computers based solely on processor clock speed, they are not necessarily getting an accurate picture of how well the systems will perform real computer tasks.
Using an automobile as an example, a driver will frequently look at a car's speedometer to see how fast the car is traveling. The dial on the dashboard that attracts less attention is labeled "RPM," or revolutions per minute, to indicate how fast the automobile's engine is operating. According to the P-rating developers, "MHz" resembles the RPM measurement, while computer users, like car drivers, are more interested in how fast their software applications are actually running. The P-rating indicates this performance level.
The P-rating measurement is based on the industry-standard Ziff-Davis Winstone 96 benchmark test, which is a group of 13 common applications that PC users frequently use, such as Microsoft Word and Excel. This test is run on a standardized computer configuration, so that all the results can be compared "apples-to-apples."
AMD, Cyrix, IBM and SGS-THOMSON sell x86 processors that compete with Intel's processors. The new P-rating evaluation system indicates how such processors perform when compared with Intel Pentium processors. For example, under the P-rating system announced today, a processor that delivers performance comparable to a 150 MHz Pentium processor is described as having a P150 rating, regardless of its own internal clock speed.
"I expect the new P-rating to achieve broad industry acceptance because it is the first comprehensive and credible method for comparing competing processors based on the relative performance they bring PC users under real-world conditions," said Michael Slater, president of MicroDesign Resources of Sebastopol, Calif., and publisher of Microprocessor Report. "The P-rating standardizes test system configurations based on commercially available components, and it uses Winstone 96, the most widely recognized and used benchmarking test."
- All brand or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.