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  1. disk-image/

title: SPEC 2006 tags: - x86 - fullsystem layout: default permalink: resources/spec-2006 shortdoc: > Resources to build a disk image with the SPEC 2006 workloads. license: Proprietary SPEC License

This document aims to provide instructions to create a gem5-compatible disk image containing the SPEC 2006 benchmark suite. It also demonstrates how to simulate the SPEC CPU2006 benchmarks using an example configuration script.

Building the Disk Image

Creating a disk-image for SPEC 2006 requires the benchmark suite ISO file. More info about SPEC 2006 can be found

In this tutorial, we assume that the file CPU2006v1.0.1.iso contains the SPEC benchmark suite, and we provide the scripts that are made specifically for SPEC 2006 version 1.0.1. Throughout the this document, the root folder is src/spec-2006/. All commands should be run from this root folder.

The layout of the folder after the scripts are run is as follows,

  |___ gem5/                                   # gem5 folder
  |___ disk-image/
  |      |___                         # the script downloading packer binary and building the disk image
  |      |___ shared/
  |      |___ spec-2006/
  |             |___ spec-2006-image/
  |             |      |___ spec-2006          # the disk image will be generated here
  |             |___ spec-2006.json            # the Packer script
  |             |___ CPU2006v1.0.1.iso         # SPEC 2006 ISO (add here)
  |___ vmlinux-4.19.83                         # download link below

First, to build m5 (required for interactions between gem5 and the guest):

git clone
cd gem5
cd util/m5
scons build/x86/out/m5

We use Packer, an open-source automated disk image creation tool, to build the disk image. In the root folder,

cd disk-image
./          # the script downloading packer binary and building the disk image

Simulating SPEC CPU2006 using an example script

An example script with a pre-configured system is available in the following directory within the gem5 repository:


The example script specifies a system with the following parameters:

  • A SimpleSwitchableProcessor (KVM for startup and TIMING for ROI execution). There are 2 CPU cores, each clocked at 3 GHz.
  • 2 Level MESI_Two_Level cache with 32 kB L1I and L1D size, and, 256 kB L2 size. The L1 cache(s) has associativity of 8, and, the L2 cache has associativity 16. There are 2 L2 cache banks.
  • The system has 3 GB SingleChannelDDR4_2400 memory.
  • The script uses x86-linux-kernel-4.19.83 and the disk image created from following the instructions in this
  • The user inputs the path to the built disk image, along with the root partition.
  • The script then uses CustomResource class to use the spec-2006 disk-image.

The example script must be run with the X86_MESI_Two_Level binary. To build:

git clone
cd gem5
scons build/X86/gem5.opt -j<proc>

Once compiled, you may use the example configuration file to run the SPEC CPU2006 benchmark programs using the following command:

# In the gem5 directory
build/X86/gem5.opt \
configs/example/gem5_library/ \
--image <path_to_built_spec-2006_disk_image> \
--partition <root_partition_to_mount> \
--benchmark <benchmark_program> \
--size <workload_size>

Description of the four arguments, provided in the above command are:

  • --image refers to the full path of the the SPEC CPU2006 disk-image, built using the instructions specified above.
  • --partition refers to the root partition of the disk-image to mount. If the disk has no partitions, then pass --partition "". Otherwise, pass an integer specifying the partition number. Set --partition 1 if the above instructions to build the disk-image are followed.
  • --benchmark, which refers to one of 26 benchmark programs, provided in the SPEC CPU2006 Benchmark Suite. For more information on the workloads can be found at The list of benchmark programs include:
    • 401.bzip2
    • 403.gcc
    • 410.bwaves
    • 416.gamess
    • 429.mcf
    • 433.milc
    • 434.zeusmp
    • 435.gromacs
    • 436.cactusADM
    • 437.leslie3d
    • 444.namd
    • 445.gobmk
    • 453.povray
    • 454.calculix
    • 456.hmmer
    • 458.sjeng
    • 459.GemsFDTD
    • 462.libquantum
    • 464.h264ref
    • 465.tonto
    • 470.lbm
    • 471.omnetpp
    • 473.astar
    • 481.wrf
    • 482.sphinx3
    • 998.specrand
    • 999.specrand
  • --size, which refers to the workload size to simulate. Valid choices for --size are test, train and ref.

The output directory, where the simulation statistics will be redirected to, will have a new folder named speclogs_<Day><Month><Date><Hour><Minute><Second>. The time is of execution is appended to avoid conflicts while coping the files. The output files, generated on the disk-image in the folder speclogs will be copied to this aforementioned directory.

Working Status

Status of these benchmarks runs with respect to gem5-20, linux kernel version 4.19.83 and gcc version 7.5.0 can be found here.