Calculor's Dungeon

Portable Pong (New!)

GMEX Copter

Snaked Game

GMEXCEL Main DzikoSoft Home Useful Links

Last updated: July 31, 2007.

Benchmarking Excel Gaming Rig

In my essay about the differences between Excel versions, I discussed a bit about the significant decrease in performance in Excel 2002 when it comes to animating shapes. Carlos Rondão pointed out to me, that this issue is more complex than that. The speed of shape animation is affected by many other factors. For example, animating a shape on an embedded image may significantly decrease the performance.

Carlos created an elegant tool that allows you to test the speed of your machine as an Excel Gaming Rig. His workbook utilizes different shapes, the small ones are similar to those used in his excellent game BubbleCell

Carlos Rondão's speed_anim

I tested it on my old desktop computer (Pentium 4 2.8 GHz, Gefore 4 MX GPU) with Excel 2000 installed, and got 950 fps. (frames per second) for Rotation, and only 210 fps. for Rotation with Background, Shape Animation also run at about 210 fps.

When I tried this tool on my new notebook (Core Duo T2400, Mobility Radeon X1600 GPU) with Excel 2003 I got 320 fps. for Rotation, 300 fps. for Rotation with Background, and 780 fps. for Shape Animation. It looks like much faster CPU / GPU speeds up shape animation, but there is also a strange bottleneck imposed by latter version of Excel for shape rotation.

Complex shape with 3D effect and gradient fill is animated very slowly in Excel version above 2000. I make a simple workbook with msoShapeSun animation: I got about 300 fps. (3D effect) and 670 fps. (plain shape) on old desktop with Excel 2000. More powerful machine (Core Duo notebook, X1600 GPU) with Excel 2003 only reached 16 and 48 fps. in those tests. Strange results indeed!

You can download both benchmarking tools below:

Bechmarks: Carlos Rondão's speed_anim am my starshape (54kb)

I will try to expand this section in future adding new benchmarks and reporting other peculiarities regarding the performance of Excel as a gaming platform.

Update: Dec 14, 2006.
Carlos sent me another interesting benchmarking tool - definitely the most bugged worksheets I've ever seen... Yes, you could literaly see several dozen bugs in it:

Carlos Rondão's Bugs

Download Carlos Rondão's "Bugs" benchmark (26kb)

On my Core Duo notebook I get around 35 fps. For animation with 50 bugs, this means 1,750 animate shape operations per second - quite an impressive capability of Excel application.

Update: Dec 18, 2006.
Chris Rowett’s RobotsXL game features benchmarking module that tests the speed of the game on your computer. Result of the test along with the configuration of your computer may be submitted to website. Test it and compare you system to other Excel Gaming Rigs.

Update: Jul 31, 2007.
I tested Excel benchmarks on trial version of Excel 2007 - I expected a dropdown of performance due to compatibility mode, but the results are more complex. On my Core Duo notebook Carlos’ speed_anim benchmark got 177 fps. for Rotation, 158 fps. for Rotation with Background, and 487 fps. for Shape Animation - around 40 per cent less than on Excel 2003. Bugs benchmark with 50 bugs reported only 12 fps. three times slower than Excel 2003.

However, my Starshape benchmark reached 22 fps. for 3D star and 273 fps. for plain star - much better than Excel 2003. It seems that general dropdown of performance is mediated by some optimization in areas when Excel 2003 performed very poorly.

read previous tipsback to topread next tips