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SPEC CPU Benchmarks: Past, Present and Future

Larry Gray
Cupertino, Calif.

Published April, 1996; see disclaimer.

In August of 1995, SPEC announced the availability of the new CPU-intensive benchmark suites, SPEC CINT95 and CFP95. Collectively known as "SPEC CPU95", these two new suites are the third in a succession of benchmarks that have become the de facto industry standard for measuring compute-intensive application performance for virtually all UNIX-based computer systems.

The SPEC CPU92 suites are near the end of their useful life and are now declared obsolete.

The next newsletter, the June edition, will be the last SPEC Newsletter to carry results for the venerable, but now out-dated, SPEC CPU92 suites. In this and the June issue, any SPEC CPU92 results published will be clearly marked "OBSOLETE". The metrics SPECint92 and SPECfp92 have seen their useful life of 3 years in this incredibly fast moving industry. As expected, today's microprocessor speed and compiler capabilities have made the execution times of the '92 benchmarks too short to be meaningful.

SPEC member companies have been incredibly enthusiastic in providing SPEC CPU95 results, providing users with a broad base of comparative information. Clearly, SPEC encourages everyone to use the new SPEC CPU95 benchmarks.

Visit SPEC's World Wide Web site (address below), where you will find over 300 SPEC CPU95 results, with new results added as often as every two weeks.

We expect technology trends to continue at or above current rates, and therefore, planning and definition of a new suite of CPU benchmarks is already underway.

SPEC is actively seeking candidate application codes for what we are calling the SPEC CPU98 suites. If you have source codes to contribute, please contact SPEC by phone at 703-331-0180, e-mail at, or leave your name, phone number and candidate description in the comment form on SPEC's World Wide Web site at the URL

Please let us know what you think about SPEC, its benchmarks, and what SPEC might do to better serve the industry.

To direct your comments to Mr. Gray, his e-mail address is

Larry Gray manages a benchmark evaluation project within Hewlett-Packard's Computer Systems Organization in Cupertino, Calif. Larry serves on the SPEC board and is Chair of SPECÕs Planning Committee.

Copyright (c) 1996 Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation