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Phoronix Test Suite

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Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 Branch

Phoronix

Published on 29 June 2008 06:01 PM EDT
Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix
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Phoronix Test Suite 1.2 won't be released for at least another month and a half, but a few days ago in the git repository a "trondheim-12" branch was created. For now the Phoronix Test Suite 1.0 code-base is the master branch and trondheim-12 is the location for the new development work until the 1.2 release nears.

The trondheim-12 branch already contains a great deal of new work and features. One of the biggest changes so far to the code-base is the introduction of a modular/plug-in architecture for the Phoronix Test Suite. This allows new features and other abilities to be added to the Phoronix Test Suite while not inflating the size of pts-core and will allow for third-party developers to share new creations in an easy-to-use manner. At this time there is no documentation surrounding this modular addition, but that's on my list of things to do. There's quite a few features already related to this new code.

With this newfound support, sensor monitoring has been moved out of pts-core and into its own module (conveniently named system_monitor). This reduces the size of pts-core and also eliminates the need to load the sensor monitoring code if it's not being used. In addition, as the modular architecture offers multi-threading functionality, sensors can now be polled every 15 seconds while tests are running. In Phoronix Test Suite 1.0.x, the entire process is single-threaded and thereby preventing the sensors from being polled while tests are running. Therefore, the sensor monitoring is also more accurate with Phoronix Test Suite 1.2. While this support is now found in a module, sensor monitoring options can continue to be used through the MONITOR environmental variable. Lastly, the system_monitor module contains support for a new sensor or two (GPU and CPU usage monitoring) and other improvements not found in 1.0.x.

The second in-house module created is called graphics_override. This module allows the user to force their graphics driver to use a custom anti-aliasing (AA) and/or anisotropic filtering (AF) level. Once the testing is completed, any previous AA/AF level that was overrode will be restored. At this time this module only supports the binary ATI and NVIDIA drivers. Below is the example syntax for auto-loading the graphics_override module and setting the AA level to 8x and AF to 16x while running the universe-x suite.

FORCE_AA=8 FORCE_AF=16 phoronix-test-suite benchmark universe-x

With this module support, two new options have been added to the Phoronix Test Suite: list-modules and module-info. Both options are self explanatory.

Another addition to the trondheim-12 branch is a caching engine built inside tandem_XmlReader. This feature will lead to improved XML parsing performance for the Phoronix Test Suite.

An upcoming feature that soon will greet many new users is a graphics interface for the Phoronix Test Suite. Thanks to the work of Vadim Peretokin, a Glade/GTK interface can be found in trondheim-12, but it's not yet formally hooked into the Phoronix Test Suite. This support should arrive in the near future.

Some of the other changes in the trondheim-12 branch include anti-aliasing support for PTS Result Viewer graphs, improved line graphing, improved results merging, cleaned up text, Extensions support in saved results file, and more.

Feel free to checkout the PTS trondheim-12 branch and share your thoughts. If you're interested in getting involved with the Phoronix Test Suite, let us know! You can drop by the forums, #phoronix at FreeNode IRC, or by joining the mailing list.

Links:
PTS Web Viewer
Git Repository

With quite a bit of time until Phoronix Test Suite 1.2.0 will be released, this is just the tip of the iceberg for new features. Until that release, we're still focusing upon Phoronix Test Suite 1.0.x and providing new releases with bug fixes and new test profiles/suites.

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