I spent a couple of weeks trying to come up with a portable benchmark test that I felt would better test all of the resources of a system, not just its ability to calculate fractal noise (although there is certainly some fractal noise involved in my project as well).
Here is my strategy for creating the benchmark:
The first comp generates a sequence of colorful fractal noise frames and renders them to your hard drive as a Photoshop sequence.
The second comp imports this sequence many times and uses it as a
continuously-sampled source for a more complex render.
The idea of this two-tiered approach is that it seriously tests disc access in addition to raw processing power. The results can be surprising depending on the machine.
The first comp mostly focuses on raw processing power as it generates a fractal sequence along with a heavily feathered mask, with Colorama, Extract, Wave Warp, Channel Blur, Curves, and Extract all in the mix. The second comp imports the fractal noise movie, and adds several layers and many effects to generate a fun, complex 3D scene.
The project file should launch with the render queue open--if you just follow the directions in the render queue you should generate a cool movie.
Also, you can choose to open the comps and watch them as they render if you wish, but please report whether you did so or not--having the comp window open affects the final render time.
You can download the benchmark projects here, one for AE 6 and one for AE 5.5:
TotalBenchmark_AE6.aep - zip - sit
(works in AE7)
TotalBenchmark_AE55.aep - zip
Both require the Pro Bundle. Sorry about that. In my experience so far, AE6 should render much faster than 5.5 because of improvements to the caching.
The project will require about 120 megs of disc space to run the test, and generate lots of files, so I'd recommend that you drop it in an easily-manageable folder before you start, and pay attention to your output, so you don't end up with a zillion Photoshop sequence files scattered on your desktop or wherever.
Have fun, and let us know your results!
Total Training Inc