Dual-core processor, speed of scanning and OCR, fast OmniPage 15, slow FineReader 8



Recently I replaced my single-core processor, AMD Athlon 64 3200+ with
a dual core processor, AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+, to expedite my work.
This is a short report of how dual-core processor affects the speeds of
scanning and OCR.


I tested OCR speed with both OmniPage 15 Professional and FineReader 8
Professional. I created a Workflow (OP15) and an Automated Task (FR8)
consisting of loading 30 files of color images (7" x 10", 24bit,
600dpi, Bitmap), OCR them, and saving to a single PDF file. The
settings are defaults (especially, Optimize for OCR process for:
Accuracy in OP15 and Recognition mode: Through in FR8), except for PDF
setting: PDF format is Image over Text in both cases, PDF 1.4
compatible, Do not use MRC in OP15, and PDF Quality: High, Format:
Automatic in FR8. I run the Workflow or the Automated Task and measured
the time to finish it. I also run three instances of the same Workflow
or Automated Task simultaneously and measured the time to finish all
the three. The system configurations are the following:

The dual-core CPU system
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (2.0GHz), ABIT AN8 Ultra (nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
chipset), Corsair Value Select PC3200 512MB x 2, Seagate 7200.7 80GB
SATA (system drive), Seagate 7200.8 300GB SATA (data drive), Windows
2000 Professional SP4

The single-core CPU system
AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (2.0GHz), ABIT AN8 Ultra (nVIDIA nForce4 Ultra
chipset), Corsair Value Select PC 3200 512MB x 2, Seagate 7200.7 80GB
SATA (system drive), Seagate 7200.8 300GB SATA (data drive), Windows
2000 Professional SP4

The second single-core CPU system
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.0GHZ), ABIT AT7-MAX2 (VIA KT400 chipset),
Samsung PC2700 512MB, Hitachi 7K80 80GB SATA (data drive), Seagate
7200.8 250GB SATA (data drive), Windows 2000 Professional SP4

I also overclocked CPU to 2.4GHz (Athlon 64 X2 3800+)/2.63GHz (Athlon
64 3200+)/2.16GHz(Athlon XP 2400+) and did the same tests. In this test
Intel Pentium processors were neglected simply because I don't have
them. But I can safely neglect them because the performance of Pentium
D class processors (dual-core) is far behind Athlon 64 X2.

The following is the results. The first value is the time for 1
instance and the second value is the time for 3 instances

OmniPage 15

Athlon 64 X2 [email protected]: 2m 45s; 6m 43s
Athlon 64 X2 [email protected]: 3m 16s; 8m 08s
Athlon 64 [email protected]: 3m 33s; 10m 24s
Athlon 64 [email protected]: 4m 41s; 14m 06s
Athlon XP [email protected]: 6m 54s; 22m 33s

FineReader 8

Athlon 64 X2 [email protected]: 8m 20s; 16m 16s
Athlon 64 X2 [email protected]: 9m 46s; 18m 14s
Athlon 64 [email protected]: 8m 15s; 24m 41s
Athlon 64 [email protected]: 10m 50s; 32m 31s
Athlon XP [email protected]: 15m 59s; 52m 03s

OmniPage 15 is optimized for dual-core professor very effectively: it
runs 1.4 to 1.7 times faster with dual-core than single-core CPU. The
results for FineReader 8 are mixing. When one instance is running,
there is virtually no speed gain with dual-core CPU over single-core
CPU. The same result is also reported at the Xbit Lab site (for
FineReader 7):


However when 3 instances are running, it is 1.5 to 1.8 times faster
with dual-core CPU than single-core CPU. Another interesting finding is
that FineReader 8 is considerably slower than OmniPage 15. Roughly FR8
is 3 times slower than OP15 all over the tests. Assuming the accuracy
of OCR is on par, OmniPage 15 seems to be a much better choice than
FineReader 8, at least as far as speed is concerned.


Unfortunately scan speed does not change dramatically if dual-core
processor is used. The time of scanning a letter-size document with
color mode at 600dpi with CanoScan 4200F is

Athlon 64 X2 [email protected]: 29sec
Athlon 64 [email protected]: 31sec

I also tested scan speed when a heavy task (e.g. OCR) is running
background. With a single-core CPU, the scanner completely stutters if
a heavy task is running simultaneously. The situation does not change
at all with dual-core CPU: scanner completely stutters. However there
is a way out. If I assign one of the two cores to the heavy background
task (change affinity in Task Manager), then scanner runs smoothly as
if there is no other task. But it is a little bit pain to change
affinity each time I use a scanner and another CPU-intensive program
simultaneously. An intelligent, automated method of changing affinity
would be desirable.

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