Benchmarking the eMBee ONE

A project log for eMBee ONE Pocket Computer

A 1980s style 8-bit computer running BASIC. Includes OLED screen and a QWERTY keyboard. Oh, and the whole thing fits in an Altoids tin.

I'm interested to see how the eMBee ONE compares performance-wise with the classic 8-bit computers from the 80s. I did a quick bit of Googling to find out the best way to benchmark old 8-bit computers, and found two interesting methods:

The 'N-queen' chess problem - website

10  CLEAR
20  R=8: X=0: S=0
30  DIM A(R)
40  IF X=R THEN GOTO 180
50  X=X+1
60  A(X)=R
70  S=S+1
80  Y=X
90  Y=Y-1
100  IF Y=0 THEN GOTO 40
110  T=A(X)-A(Y)
120  IF T=0 THEN GOTO 140
130  IF X-Y<>ABS(T) THEN GOTO 90
140  A(X)=A(X)-1
150  IF A(X)<>0 THEN GOTO 70
160  X=X-1
170  IF X<>0 THEN GOTO 140
180  PRINT S

This doesn't seem to use up too much memory as it was originally used to compare programmable calculators. Even my old CASIO FX-730P (an inspiration for this project) is listed with a completion time of 7 mins 0 secs. However it uses the 'ABS' command which isn't supported in ArduinoBASIC. So first things first, I had to implement ABS in eMBee BASIC. This is my first attempt at adding to the list of commands.

Once that was done, I just typed in the code above, and typed RUN with a stopwatch ready. Would it beat 7 minutes for the FX-730P calculator?

Er....yes. Result: 7 seconds! To be fair, the processor runs at 16MHz though, and this is a very efficient BASIC interpreter. But I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self that I've built a pocket computer that's 60 times faster than his!

Prime Sieve benchmark - website

10 W=500: DIM F(W): P=1: A=3
20 F(P)=A: P=P+1: IF P>W THEN STOP
30 A=A+2: X=1
40 S=A/F(X):IF S=INT(S) THEN GOTO 30
50 X=X+1:IF X<P AND F(X)*F(X)<=A THEN GOTO 40
60 GOTO 20

Simpler code that in theory would run on ArduinoBASIC, but results in a '10-Out of memory' error due to trying to create an array of 500 numbers in the first line! Time to beat here would have been 6 mins 28 seconds for the ZX Spectrum.

Discussions

Matthew Begg wrote 02/09/2021 at 14:05 point

Since this post, I've had to remove the 'ABS' command as it broke other commands! So you currently can't run the N-queens code on the eMBee ONE. Maybe that will change in the future.

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