w8io

The W8IO Antenna Site - NEC Benchmarks

(20 June 2017)

4NEC2 Software Benchmarks

There are many times when you have a large modeling problem or you have many smaller problems and you need the fastest system possible to solve the problem quickly. The NEC calculation speed is normally based on several factors including: type of CPU, clock speed, number of cores, cache memory, RAM, NEC software compiler, software author, etc.  The data in this page will help you choose which hardware and software system to use to obtain the best productivity.  For this comparison, I will use Windows operating system and Windows compatible hardware along with NEC executables that run inside of 4NEC2 v. 5.8.16, a popular GUI for NEC.

The multiprocessor version of NEC2 which was compiled by Athan Papadimitriou is no longer available from Athan. There are several people who have the original executeables in a zip file.  You can download this ZIP file from their web site. I can also provide these in a password-protected 7-Zip file if your anti-virus does not allow download of exe files in a normal zip file.

The first NEC Benchmark problem is a 52 element UHF LPDA with 2 parasitic directors in front.  This consists of 1353 segments, 51 transmission lines, no loads and 1 excitation point. The model name is LogYag220-520-15dbi.nec.

Simulation Parameters NEC Engine Operating System CPU Calculation Time
5 MHz steps, 200-520 MHz (65 steps)
2 degree resolution, azimuthn plot
NEC2/MP v. 1.50
by Athan Papadimitriou
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
53 seconds
sameNEC2/MP v. 1.50
by Athan Papadimitriou
Windows 10 Pro - 64 bitIntel dual Xeon E5-2643 @3.4 GHz
(6 cores, hyperthread OFF) 128 GB RAM
57 seconds
sameNEC42W64CL
(NEC 4.2)
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
66 seconds
same NEC2/MP v. 1.50
by Athan Papadimitriou
Windows 10 Home - 64 bit Intel Core i3-2120 @3.3 GHz
(2 cores, 4 threads) 6 GB RAM
72.7 seconds
sameNEC42W64CL
(NEC 4.2  64 bit)
Windows 10 Pro - 64 bitIntel dual Xeon E5-2643 @3.4 GHz
(6 cores, hyperthread OFF) 128 GB RAM
78 seconds
same
NEC2 with LAPACK (64 bit)
9-16-2013 by Jim Lanier
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
78 seconds
sameNEC42W32CL
(NEC 4.2  32 bit)
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
88 seconds
sameNEC2/MP v. 1.50Windows 10 in VirtualBox 5.0.202.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac) - 4 cores95 seconds
sameNEC2/MP v. 1.50Windows 10 in VirtualBox 5.0.202.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac) - 2 cores116 seconds
sameNEC 4.2 compiled using
gfortran v. 6.2.0
 -O3 running on macOS Sierra2.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac)182 seconds
sameNEC 4.2 under CocoaNECiMac2.9 GHz Core i5, 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3228 seconds
same
NEC2DXS from 4NEC2
v 2.7 30-Jan-08 by Arie Voors
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
261 seconds
sameNEC2DXS from 4NEC2
v 2.7 30-Jan-08 by Arie Voors
Windows 10 Home - 64 bitIntel Core i7-2600K @3.4GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 8 GB RAM
301 seconds
same
NEC2DXS from 4NEC2
Windows 10 in VirtualBox 5.0.20
2.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac)
373 seconds
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The second NEC Benchmark problem is a whip antenna mounted on an 8 foot diameter grid ground plane.  This consists of 4392 segments, 0 transmission lines, 2 loads and 1 excitation point. The model name is whip_antenna_8ft_groundplane.nec.

Simulation Parameters NEC Engine Operating System CPU Calculation Time
1 MHz steps, 400-412 MHz (13 steps)
2 degree resolution, elevation plot
NEC2/MP v. 1.50
by Athan Papadimitriou
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
109.8 seconds
sameNEC2/MP v. 1.50Windows 10 in VirtualBox 5.0.202.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac) - 4 cores160 seconds
same NEC2/MP v. 1.50
Windows 10 Home - 64 bit Intel Core i3-2120 @3.3 GHz
(2 cores, 4 threads) 6 GB RAM
176 seconds
sameNEC42W64CL
(NEC 4.2  64 bit)
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
205 seconds
same
NEC2 with LAPACK (64 bit)
9-16-2013 by Jim Lanier
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
236 seconds
sameNEC42W64CL
(NEC 4.2  64 bit)
Windows 10 Pro - 64 bitIntel dual Xeon E5-2643 @3.4 GHz
(6 cores, hyperthread OFF) 128 GB RAM
244 seconds
sameNEC42W32CL
(NEC 4.2  32 bit)
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
251 seconds
sameNEC 4.2 compiled using
gfortran v. 6.2.0
 -O3 running on macOS Sierra2.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac)813 seconds
sameNEC 4.2 under CocoaNECiMac2.9 GHz Core i5, 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3825 seconds
same
NEC2DXS from 4NEC2
v 2.7 30-Jan-08 by Arie Voors
Windows 7 Professional SP1
64 bit
Intel Core i7-4771 @3.5 GHz
(4 cores, 8 threads) 16 GB RAM
1201 seconds
(20 minutes)
same
NEC2DXS from 4NEC2 Windows 10 in VirtualBox 5.0.20 2.9 GHz Core i5 (iMac) 1607 seconds
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If you would like to submit a benchmark on your system, please download the 2 NEC files, run them and record the total calculation times at the bottom of the main window in 4NEC2. Send your information to my email address below. If you have a benchmark file that you would like to share, please send that too.

So, based on this information, what would be the ideal software and hardware to use for NEC? I would highly recommend NEC2/MP as the NEC engine and 4NEC2 as the GUI. Both are free and work together very well.  If you need to simulate HF Yagi antennas or other antennas with tapered elements/wires, you must use NEC4 (version 4.1 or 4.2) and the NEC42W64CL software works very well. For hardware, I would recommend an Intel Core i7 with as many cores/threads as possible and the highest clock rate - such as the Core i7-6950X at 3.0 GHz.  This has 10 cores and 20 threads! And the CPU alone costs $1450. For a more economical sytem, use the Core i7-6800K at 3.4 GHz or Core i7-7700K at 4.2 GHz. These CPU's are in the $320-370 range and systems can be found in the $800-$1000 range.

To run each file in 4NEC2, open the NEC file, select Calculate> NEC Output Data> Use Original File> Generate.

7-Zip file

Comments are welcome!

contact Roger: email to 

rgcox2 (at) gmail.com

Roger Cox - Spring Lake, MI