We are preparing to release Phoronix Test Suite 1.6 "Tydal" later this month, which is our largest and most significant update to date. Phoronix Test Suite 1.6 has quite a few changes internally as well as a number of new features and added tests. While there are over 200 changes making up this release codenamed Tydal, in this article we are sharing some of the most significant work in this forthcoming release.
In Phoronix Test Suite 1.6 are several new tests. A Prey test profile has been added for the retail Linux client of this video game developed by Human Head Studios and ported to Linux by Ryan Gordon. More information on the Prey Linux client can be read about from the Phoronix search page. A smokin-guns test profile has been added for the Smokin' Guns game that was recently released for free and uses the Quake 3 engine. This western-style first person shooter makes this game rather unique. As another test of the Linux graphics subsystem, there is now a profile for JXRenderMark, which is a new benchmark for Linux that thoroughly tests the X Render extension of the GPU drivers.
For those interested in the Phoronix Test Suite for measuring compilation performance, the latest build test is build-mysql, which measures how long it takes to build MySQL 5.1. Introduced in Phoronix Test Suite 1.6 is also a test profile for GraphicsMagick (profile named graphics-magick). GraphicsMagick was forked from ImageMagick and due to its recent adoption of the OpenMP (Open Multi Processing) library, it's being used as a terrific multi-CPU benchmark of imaging tasks.
Phoronix Test Suite 1.6 adds in several new commands for end-users. Among the new options are build-suite, result-file-to-suite, analyze-all-runs, default-run, default-benchmark, and result-file-to-pdf. The build-suite option guides the user through the process of building their own test suite. This is done via CLI menus to pick the different suites and tests to include. The result-file-to-suite option converts the test(s) within a saved results file into a standalone suite. For those interested in looking at the statistical significance of test results where there are multiple runs, the analyze-all-runs option has been added and will generate a modified candlestick graph showing the distribution of all trial runs from each test, in order to show any deviation in the results.
The default-run and default-benchmark options are a sane medium between running a test once and specifying all parameters and then running batch-run or batch-benchmark where each combination of test parameters is run. The default options are specified within the test profile. The benefits of this work will become more noticeable in future releases.
The other key option added in Tydal is the result-file-to-pdf option. When specifying the name of a saved results file, the Phoronix Test Suite will read that results file and in turn generate an Adobe PDF file showing all test details and all of the result graphs. Having a PDF of the results file makes it very easy to distribute test results via email and other forms where uploading the results to Phoronix Global may not be appropriate.
A much sought after feature with the Phoronix Test Suite has been the ability to specify multiple tests/suites at one time. With the Tydal release, this is now possible. For example, the user can run phoronix-test-suite benchmark smokin-guns doom3 audio-encoding, to run the Smokin Gun's and Doom 3 tests followed by the audio encoding test suite. Not only can you specify multiple tests and/or suites, but also you can even specify multiple Phoronix Global IDs, saved result files, or any combination of them.