Real-world testing allows us to see how well a product will perform when used in the same manner as it would be in your house or office. It is an important side to performance testing as it can uncover hidden glitches in the way a product performs.
For real-world testing we use some common applications and functions. We test with LightWave 3D for rendering performance, AutoGK for transcoding from DVD to AVI and two games for gaming testing.
Rendering of 3D Animation is a system intensive endeavor. You need good CPU, memory and HDD speed to get good rendering times. For our testing we use LightWave 3D. This software from Newtek is an industry standard and has several pre-loaded scenes for us to use.
As we mentioned above, we have changed how we do things with LightWave. I used to be a huge fan of the Classic Camera and its multi-pass rendering. However, after a discussion with a few animators and Newtek I was informed that Classic Cameras are not that great in terms of threading efficiency.
This has prompted TweakTown to move to Newtek's newer perspective camera mode. This can get up to 100% CPU usage and also uses both ray tracing and a newer AA mode that is much more efficient. To give you an idea, we have included times for the old 7-pass PLD rendering using classic cameras and the newer perspective cameras both rendering a 4k (4096 x 3072) frame. The difference, as you can see, is impressive.
AutoGK stands for Auto Gordian Knot; it is a suite of transcoding tools that are compiled into an easy to install and use utility. It allows you to transcode non-protected DVDs and other media to Xvid or Divx format. For our testing purposes we use a non-DRM restricted movie that is roughly 2 hours in length. This is transcoded to a single Xvid AVI at 100% quality.
This is another time when I can honestly say Wow! - The transcoding times here are simply astonishing and actually come close to some of the times I have seen for GPU based transcoding.