In the week that OpenBenchmarking.org has been around, if your mission was to use it for hardware shopping to find a particular hardware component that offers you the best price-per-performance -- or that is simply compatible with a given operating system or driver -- you have had to use the search function and have some idea what you're looking for. Or you could have looked at the different category pages to see the most popular components in a given category and the featured tests. However, as of a few minutes ago, the OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Indexes are now available.
Simply put, the OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Indexes will list very concisely the hardware products in a given category (currently that includes CPUs, graphics processors, motherboards, and disks) that have been benchmarked and are then categorized as being low, medium, or high-end.
These hardware lists are also showing only the hardware that has been tested multiple times by multiple users, so it also indicates some level of compatibility with the given OS/driver. When looking at a piece of hardware from the list, you can then click on the item to initiate a search to procure more information, its test results, facilitate comparisons, etc. Within the OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Indexes are also the average price (if the price is available, the shopping product API and international pricing support is still being matured).
For graphics processors, the performance is also sub-classified by driver. As most enthusiasts know for graphics cards under Linux, while an open-source X/Mesa/Gallium3D driver may free your system of binary blobs, in many instances even a several hundred dollar graphics card on open-source drivers can end up performing like a sub-$100 graphics card with the proprietary AMD or NVIDIA drivers.
Right now each of these lists aren't too large, since OpenBenchmarking.org has been around for just one week and for the aforementioned reasons of only hardware that has been tested and validated multiple times is being displayed. There are also various safeguards in place to deter "gaming" of the system, especially when it comes to performance ranking.
The OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification Index landing page is openbenchmarking.org/index. From there are the current lists for processors, graphics processors, motherboards, and disks.
The performance indexes are still in its infancy so we are especially looking forward to feedback for what else you would like to see. Sub-sorting, sub-searching for a particular driver/OS/file-system/compiler, and a very detailed performance-sorted list are on my near-term agenda. More detailed and expanded pricing data is also hopefully only a few days (or even hours) away.
A special OpenBenchmarking.org Performance Classification (OPC) test suite is also forthcoming. Likewise, more features along these lines will continue to be introduced as the data set grows.
Update: Here's another related feature for this afternoon.
This is a post from the OpenBenchmarking.org Blog by Michael Larabel. The Performance Classification Index was posted in Announcements on Saturday, 05 March 2011.