Added to the already considerable listing of pseudo-scientific
methods of benchmarking computer speed comes the Harris Benchmark, which has the not-inconsiderable advantage of requiring no special software to execute other than a stock installation of Windows
. (And it even works on 3.1, NT and CE!)
To perform, all you need is a stopwatch and your computer.
Step One: Make sure no other programs are running, then go under Start > Accessories > Games and launch the Solitaire program (sol.exe).
Step Two: Begin playing. You may use Draw One and Vegas Scoring if you want but the most professional journalists use Draw Three and Standard Scoring.
Step Three: Play until you win. (If you’re using Draw One, this may take quite some time.)
Step Four: Right before you actually win the game, just before you double-click the last King to go on the Ace stacks, start the stopwatch.
Step Five: Stop the stopwatch once all 52 cards have sprung off the Ace piles in the astounding end-game graphic display.
Step Six: Divide the number of seconds it took the display to complete by 52 to obtain the standard metric of the Harris Benchmark, seconds-per-card. Although it takes a semi-random amount of time for each card to complete its animation, relative to each other, these differences should be evened out enough from the random factor repeated 52 times to give a consistent figure. For most modern systems not running Pentium 4s, this will be a very small decimal.