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SiSoftware Sandra 2011 Released:
Media Transcode, Blu-Ray and further GP(GPU) support

NB: This version has been replaced by Sandra 2012. RSS

London, UK, November 4th 2010 - We are pleased to announce the launch of SiSoftware Sandra 2011, the latest version of our award-winning utility, which includes remote analysis, benchmarking and diagnostic features for PCs, servers, mobile devices and networks.

At SiSoftware we strive to ensure that we give our users the best software experience. We observe the industry, try to predict where trends are going, but more than that: we also come up with new ideas on how to measure performance. SiSoftware works with all major hardware vendors to ensure we can accurately measure, report and present performance in the most accurate and informative way.

A year ago, SiSoftware released Sandra 2010 with full support for Windows 7; in the 18 months since the launch of Windows 7, more than ever before we have seen the line blur between PC and entertainment hubs. Two months ago we released a Blu-Ray benchmark, now we have added a brand-new Media Transcoding benchmark using the new Media Foundation of Windows 7. We have also added yet another benchmark (GP Cryptography) which allows direct comparison of CPU performance (using crypto instruction sets) and GPGPU/GPCPU/GPAPU performance.

Here is the full change-log of Sandra 2011:

New Benchmark: Media Transcode
Measures the transcoding bandwidth converting media from one format to another

Why? Most devices cannot play video recorded by a camcorder. Such media would most likely require to be edited first and then to be transcoded (possibly transparently) when copied to a device for playback. With current high-definition media such an operation can be a lenghthy process, thus any performance improvements will save a lot of time.

Using the new Media Foundation in Windows 7, we measure WMV (e.g. Movie Maker) > MP4/H264 and MP4/H264 (e.g. phone video) > MP4/H264 using common media profiles (HD TV 720p, SD TV 480p, tablet, phone, etc.).

The benchmark can compare the performance of hardware accelerated media transcoders (including GPGPUs and CPU graphics, e.g. Sandy Bridge) with traditional multi-threaded software (CPU) transcoders.

New Benchmark: GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Cryptography
Measures the encryption, decryption and hashing bandwidth of GPGPU/GPCPU/GPAPU

Why? While modern CPUs include special instruction sets (Intel AES, VIA PadLock) to accelerate cryptographic operations, are they a match for modern GPGPU/GPAPU(s)? The benchmark uses the same workload as the (CPU) Cryptography benchmark allowing direct comparison of modern CPUs and GPGPU/GPAPU(s) of the most common algorithms in use today (AES256, AES128, SHA256, SHA1).

OpenCL 1.x, DirectX 11 Compute Shader and CUDA3 4.x are supported. Multiple devices are supported in parallel in OpenCL, thus APUs can be fully tested. The benchmark allocates workload based on the respective processing power of (GP)GPU/CPU/APU(s).

OpenCL "Fission" (not to be confused with "Fusion") is supported when using CPU in parallel with GPUs (e.g. an APU) which allows better resource utilisation and thus better performance.

New Benchmark: Blu-ray
Measures the performance of Blu-ray optical drives

Why? While Blu-ray won the high-definition war some time ago, it has finally become affordable for computer users as a replacement for DVD. We have thus added a brand new Blu-ray Test Disk to measure the performance of the latest drives on the market, adding to the existing DVD and CD Test Disks which are still required to measure DVD and CD disk performance.

AVX (256-bit) instruction set support for new CPUs
Processor Multi-Media, Processor Cryptography, Memory Bandwidth, Cache and Memory Benchmarks

Using 256-bit register width (instead of 128-bit of SSE/2/3/4) yields further performance gains through greater parallelism in most algorithms. Combined with the increase in processor cores and threads we have CPUs rivaling (low-end) GPGPUs in performance.

Ranker Engine: improved

Why? The SiSoftware Official Live Ranker 2011 now provides the reference results by aggregating submitted results from users - which are downloaded by Sandra automatically. We had over 200,000 submissions for just one benchmark in 2010 which allowed the generation of tens of thousands of new results. The Ranker can also be searched for specific results.

By creating an account, the Ranker synchronises all your results in "the Cloud" and updates all other Sandra installations automatically.

Price Engine: invaluable

Why? The Price engine enhances the user's experience by providing product pictures and additional specifications - as well as the the latest price. It enables the calculation of important metrics like Performance vs. Price and Capacity vs. Price (for storage media) which are extremely useful when making comparisons. All this is done automatically rather than manually searching for pricing in stores.

Key features

  • 3 native architectures support (x86, x64, ARM).
  • 5 native virtualisation technologies support (Virtual PC 7, Virtual Server 2005, Hyper-V Server2, VMware Server2, VMware WorkStation/Player)
  • 5 native GPGPU platforms support (OpenCL, DirectX Compute Shader/DirectCompute, CUDA, STREAM1).
  • 4 native Graphics platforms support (DirectX 11, DirectX 10.x, DirectX 9, OpenGL 2.0+).
  • Huge official hardware support through technology partners (Intel, AMD/ATI, SiS, VIA).
  • 9 language versions (English, German, French, Italian, Spanish3, Russian, Chinese (Traditional3, Simplified), Japanese) in a single installer.
  • Enhanced Sandra Lite version (free for personal/educational use)

Relevant Articles

For more details, please see the following articles:

Notes:

1 Deprecated, will be removed in the next release.

2 Enterprise versions only.

3 Not available at publication, will be released later.


Purchasing

For more details, and to purchase the commercial versions, please click here.

Updating or Upgrading

To update your existing commercial version, please contact your distributor (sales support).

Downloading

For more details, and to download the Lite version, please click here.

Reviewers and Editors

For your free review copies, please contact us.


About SiSoftware

SiSoftware, founded in 1995, is one of the leading providers of computer analysis, diagnostic and benchmarking software. The flagship product, known as "SANDRA", was launched in 1997 and has become one of the most widely used products in its field. Nearly 700 worldwide IT publications, magazines and review sites use SANDRA to analyse the performance of today's computers. Over 9,000 on-line reviews of computer hardware that use SANDRA are catalogued on our website alone.

Since launch, SiSoftware has always been at the forefront of the technology arena, being among the first providers of benchmarks that show the power of emerging new technologies such as multi-core, GPGPU, OpenCL, DirectCompute, x64, ARM, MIPS, NUMA, SMT (Hyper-Threading), SMP (multi-threading), AVX3, AVX2, AVX, FMA4, FMA, NEON, SSE4.2, SSE4.1, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE, Java and .NET.

SiSoftware is located in London, UK. For more information, please visit http://www.sisoftware.net, http://www.sisoftware.eu, http://www.sisoftware.info or http://www.sisoftware.co.uk 

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