PTS4-Suldal Milestone 1 Packs Exciting Features

Written by Michael Larabel in Phoronix on 12 April 2012 at 09:47 AM EDT. 4 Comments
The first development release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.0-Suldal is now available. There's some exciting features met in this first milestone that will please those using this open-source automated testing infrastructure if you're using it for benchmarking or if you're just a reader of our many published benchmark results.

There's still many more features left to be implemented prior to the official release of Phoronix Test Suite 4.0 this summer, but in the month since the Phoronix Test Suite 3.8 release there's already enough incorporated changes to issue the milestone one release. While this is a development release in the road to the major 4.0 version, it remains quite stable like other milestone releases and the latest Git version of the Phoronix Test Suite continues to be used for all testing.

Among the noteworthy work in "Suldal" Milestone 1:

- The phoronix-test-suite detailed-system-info command now exposes some of the more verbose system details that's being analyzed by the Phoronix Test Suite beyond the key hardware/software information shown by phoronix-test-suite system-info.

- The CPU scaling governor is being tracked between test runs when looking for underlying system changes between test runs in a result file.

- The 2D acceleration architecture for most Linux graphics drivers is being tracked upon executing a graphics test when looking for underlying system changes between test runs in a result file.

- The number of Compute/CUDA cores on graphics cards is being determined and tracked when any OpenCL/GPGPU tests are executed. This is then reported to the system's information table.

- There's early work on a new graphical user-interface to the Phoronix Test Suite, but it's not yet ready for end-users.

- There's a new run queue sorting algorithm that's enabled by default (configurable in ~/.phoronix-test-suite/user-config.xml with the AutoSortRunQueue tag) for determining the order to execute tests.

- The pts_Graph library's SVG DOM IR has been re-worked to bypass some SVG alignment issues within the Opera web-browser (Opera isn't properly implementing dominant-baseline within SVG text) and other older web-browsers that aren't in compliant with the SVG specification.

- The Phoronix Test Suite and themes are being unified in 4.0-Suldal.

- Various Phodevi enhancements such as support for reporting multiple mmcblk disk devices, LXDE desktop version detection and Openbox desktop version detection.

- Initial work is under-way on the Phodevi VFS (Virtual File-System). In Phoronix Test Suite 4.0 Milestone 1 this won't provide any noticeable benefits to end-users, but some other features built atop the Phodevi VFS are forthcoming.

- When the NVIDIA binary graphics driver is loaded, sync-to-vblank is being verified to ensure it's forced off (upstream NVIDIA plans to enable SyncToVBlank by default in a future driver release).

- The system_monitor PTS module now recognizes the PERFORMANCE_PER_WATT environment variable for automatically producing additional graphs for each test profile being executed that will automatically indicate that result's performance-per-Watt when the system's power consumption can be monitored.

The official change-log for Phoronix Test Suite 4.0 Milestone 1 is embedded at the end of this post.

While not limited to Suldal users, but any Phoronix Test Suite 3.x user can also benefit thanks to the architecture, there's also several new test profiles in recent days:

- Several OpenCL benchmarks have been updated (i.e. JuliaGPU, SmallPT GPU, MandelbulbGPU, and MandelGPU). These test profile updates ensure the tests install seamlessly when built against the latest CUDA library. Additionally, these OpenCL tests have been modified so they are more strenuous to better gauge the latest GPGPU performance -- i.e. for the NVIDIA GeForce 600 Kepler and AMD Radeon HD 7000 Southern Islands series -- so they continue to be relevant.

- OpenArena has been updated against its new upstream release. The new OpenArena release now has its own upstream "benchmark demo", supports GLSL shaders for its ioquake3 engine implementation, cascaded bloom, and various other visual enhancements. As shown in this result file, the new OpenArena (v0.8.8) is much more demanding than the previous release (v0.8.5) on the graphics driver and hardware.

- An initial APITrace test profile has been committed. This can be used for creating OpenGL tests for games/engines/workloads that don't have any integrated benchmarking capabilities. APITrace allows for all OpenGL calls to be logged and then played back, in order to stress graphics drivers. This test profile will attempt to push the pre-recorded OpenGL calls through the graphics driver as quick as possible. This test profile currently has a reference implementation for the Sauerbraten/Cube2-based Red Eclipse game. The APITrace test profile can be extended to also carry out image quality comparisons in a nice manner.

- As noted earlier this week, there's two new OpenGL gaming test profiles: Reaction and ETXReaL.

- In working with the super-computing group out of M.I.T. an FFTE test profile has been added. More MPI-based cluster-oriented tests will be introduced in the coming months.

- Interbench was recently added as a test to measure the kernel's interactivity.

While there's a lot to enjoy about the latest Phoronix Test Suite 4.0-Suldal Milestone 1 and advancements, there's much more work right out on the horizon. Some extremely interesting features are still being developed for the 4.0 release along with some major advancements to to further bolster the Phoronix Test Suite as the best automated, open-source, multi-platform testing/benchmarking platform. Feature requests and other feedback is also always welcome.

Phoronix Test Suite 4.0 Milestone 1 can be downloaded at Commercial support for the Phoronix Test Suite remains available by contacting PTS Commercial. For any independent users or organizations wishing to learn more about the Phoronix Test Suite and, from the 17th through 19th of April I will be in the Boston/Cambridge (Massachusetts) area and Seattle/Bellevue (Washington) the following week. Next month there is also the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Oakland California from 6 May to 12 May. From 13 May to 4 June I'm also available for meeting with any European/German users and at the LinuxTag event in Berlin at the end of May.

Phoronix Test Suite 4.0 Milestone 1
12 April 2012

- pts-core: Add AutoSortRunQueue option that by default automatically sorts the test execution queue to run similar tests together
- pts-core: Expose more verbose information within detailed-system-info command
- pts-core: Remove recover-run command since with new PTS4 changes the finish-run command will provide the same functionality
- pts-core: Track the CPU scaling governor configuration between test runs
- pts-core: Report 2D acceleration information to system table report on graphics test runs
- pts-core: Support for showing test notes on multi-way comparisons
- pts-core: Fix compatibility with the new pts_Graph renderer back-end for result-file-to-pdf option
- pts-core: Add p7zip as a possible external dependency
- pts-core: When running OpenCL tests, report the number of available compute cores
- pts_Graph: Begin work on PHP 5.4 "webui" option (currently far from incomplete/experimental)
- pts_Graph: Tweak spacing on pts_Table
- pts_Graph: Re-factor most text vertical offsets to not use dominant-baseline since Opera still doesn't support this SVG attribute properly
- pts_Graph: Begin unifying the Phoronix Test Suite and theme
- pts_Graph: Fix for emitted GD poly-lines being always black
- pts_Graph: Begin work on block diagram graph (currently incomplete/experimental)
- phodevi: Remove support for the deprecated HAL Linux fall-backs
- phodevi: LLVM compiler reporting build configuration enhancements
- phodevi: Support for reporting multiple mmcblk* disk devices
- phodevi: Report /sys/hypervisor/type as a system layer
- phodevi: Fix LXDE version detection
- phodevi: Support for reporting the Openbox version
- phodevi: Read Nouveau clock current frequencies rather than maximum frequencies (performance_level)
- phodevi: Initial implementation of the Phodevi VFS (Virtual File-System; Still A Work In Progress)
- graphics_event_checker: Override NVIDIA SyncToVBlank so it's always disabled
- system_monitor: Allow performance per Watt to be automatically calculated if PERFORMANCE_PER_WATT is set
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Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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