The long-running dispute between chip-maker AMD and non-profit benchmarking consortium BAPCo (Business Applications Performance Corporation) has come to a head with AMD leaving the organization.
The focus of AMD's ire is SYSmark 2012 (SM2012) - the latest in a line of benchmarking suites designed to provide an indication of the performance of a PC system. AMD has long thought SM provides results that don't represent the tasks required of a modern PC.
"In the past year or so AMD, with openness and transparency, has tried to explain why we believe this benchmark is misleading with respect to today's commonplace applications - about a year ago I published a blog designed to explore this." Dessau went on to say that BAPCo threatened to expel AMD in response to that blog.
That threat has yet to be carried out, but AMD isn't going to wait for it to happen. "Technology is evolving at an incredible pace, and customers need clear and reliable measurements to understand the expected performance and value of their systems," said Dessau in a press release. "AMD does not believe SM2012 achieves this objective. Hence AMD cannot endorse or support SM2012 or remain part of the BAPCo consortium."
Dessau ascribes a number of higher motives to AMD's decision to leave BAPCo, such as the pursuit of openness and fairness, but the long and short of it seems to be that AMD thinks there is insufficient weighting given to the GPU in SM2012.
"SM2012 focuses only on the serial processing performance of the CPU, and virtually ignores the parallel processing performance of the GPU," blogged Dessau. "In particular, SM2012 scores do not take into account GPU-accelerated applications that are widely used in today's business environments."
AMD's whole strategy since it bought ATI has been to focus on the use of the GPU to compute, not just graphically intensive tasks, but other more general ones. Modern CPUs now come with the GPU integrated - including those from Intel - so if parallel processing is ignored, that would seem to omit a big part of the computing picture. HEXUS doesn't currently use SYSmark in its bench-testing.
BAPCo wasted little time in issuing a press release to offer its side of the story, which fails to list NVIDIA among its members. "AMD voted in support of over 80 percent of the SYSmark 2012 development milestones, and were supported by BAPCo in 100 percent of the SYSmark 2012 proposals they put forward to the consortium," it said.
"BAPCo also notes for the record that, contrary to the false assertion by AMD, BAPCo never threatened AMD with expulsion from the consortium, despite previous violations of its obligations to BAPCo under the consortium member agreement.
"BAPCo is disappointed that a former member of the consortium has chosen once more to violate the confidentiality agreement they signed, in an attempt to dissuade customers from using SYSmark to assess the performance of their systems. BAPCo believes the performance measured in each of the six scenarios in SYSmark 2012, which is based on the research of its membership, fairly reflects the performance that users will see when fully utilizing the included applications."
SYSmark 2012 is priced from $750.