At a Glance
- Quick and slick-looking; Accurate; Free
- Large size; Limited export features; Relatively narrow scope
Benchmark your system beyond frames per second with this free utility.
There are good reasons why hardware geeks have a love-hate
relationship with benchmarks. Benchmarks are the givers of
pleasure and pain. Their verdict determines whether your beloved
rig is a Godzilla or a Grandpa. As personal computers have become
boutique items, the bragging rights inherent in owning the fastest
system have become coveted ground. Once the province of the
pocket-protected few, benchmarking software has flourished and
become mainstream in the current hardware-rich market. Not all
benchmarks are created equal, however. One case in point is the
which despite its gaming utility and visual splendor isn’t a
particularly good gauge of general application or OS performance.
There are also some surprising gaps when it comes to system
measurement; for example, how does your PC stack up against a Mac?
Maxon’s Cinebench answers these questions and more.
Cinebench tests CPU and OpenGL performance using the popular
Cinema 4D rendering package (used in movies such as Ironman 2,
District 9, and 2012) as the basis for a series of real-world
tests, including a scene render and car chase. Results are easy to
understand, contextually ranked against similar systems according
to criteria you select. Since the engine behind Cinebench is
derived from a commercial product aimed at the film production and
content creation market, it is capable of scaling far beyond many
conventional desktop and gaming benchmarks, which tend to plateau
and lump high-end systems together. Not sure if you can notice the
difference between a Core i7 vs. an i5? Watch Cinebench perform a
scene render test on each and you’ll see where your money
went. Since Cinebench runs on both PC and Mac systems, it’s
also one of the few ways to perform cross-platform comparisons in a
Maxon even provides Cinebench with a modicum of style. The user
interface is appealing, the rendered test scene attractive and the
OpenGL car chase slickly pulled off. Glitzy gaming-oriented
benchmarks don’t have much to worry about, but in the less
flashy waters where Cinebench swims, visual flourishes like these
make it a movie star. It’s also pretty swift to produce
results, although the single core render test is by nature slower
on older systems.
Cinebench isn’t without foibles. There’s no easy way
to run continuous tests via the GUI, and data export seems to be
accomplished largely via #2 pencil or screenshot. Also, tests such
as hard disk throughput are beyond its scope. Still, this is quite
an impressive, polished packaged for free. Hats off to Maxon on
this one; Cinebench is a winner.