1. A reference mark that something is measured against. The original benchmarks are places on the workbench used to measure common lengths of material, such as lumber.

2. In surveying, a "bench mark" (two words) is a post or other permanent mark established at a known elevation that is used as the basis for measuring the elevation of other topographical points.

In computer and Internet technology, the term may have any of these meanings:

1) A set of conditions against which a product or system is measured. PC magazine laboratories frequently test and compare several new computers or computer devices against the same set of application programs, user interactions, and contextual situations. The total context against which all products are measured and compared is referred to as the benchmark.

2) A program that is specially designed to provide measurements for a particular operating system or application.

3) A known product with which users are familiar or accustomed to that other newer products can be compared to.

4) A set of performance criteria which a product is expected to meet.
Laboratory benchmarks sometimes fail to reflect real-world product use. For this reason, Eric Raymond defines a benchmark as "an inaccurate measure of computer performance" and cites the "old hacker's saying" that "In the computer industry, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and benchmarks."

Still, benchmarks can be useful and some companies offer benchmark programs for downloading or a benchmark testing service on their own site.
by Athene Airheart March 19, 2004
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Tests that require fiercest analysis of a system.
That AMD Benchmarked faster than the Pentium 4.
by A student March 24, 2004
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1. A standard by which something can be measured or judged

2. Defines a computer system's performance through a rigourouly designed software suite specifically integrated to punish and stress hardware components for one or more of the following:

heat and power consumption
competition from competing products

See also: Wut 1337 h4x0r5 look at before getting a computer they want.
Hardware companies use such benchmarks to improve computer hardware before releasing them to the market.
by jetblaze1412 March 21, 2004
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statistics paid by the companies to make there product look better than the cheaper one often calculated by biased tests using pc and 3d mark.
The benchmarks for HL2 show that on this PC a radeon 9200 gets 300 fps while the gf fx 5950 ultra only gets 10. :(.

see fps
by alan March 28, 2004
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Measures of performance, taken from the engineering world, but often referring to computer technology.
Did you see the benchmarks on anandtech for the new AMD 64? It is teh win!
by Kurt N. March 25, 2004
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Numeric ratings of a computers performance that can, to some extent be tweaked to give the results you want. Often used in forums to 'prove' that someones chosen product is the best
l33t forum user: I added a 3000 megacycle wonderdongle to my picturemaker and my benchmark is now 2837.
another l33t forum user: wtf rotfl @ l33t forum user!11
by itsjazzy March 21, 2004
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