BASIC Benchmarks

Found this Wikipedia article about BASIC benchmarks and it had some run times for some old computers I used before. E.g. benchmark 7 took 21.1s on a BBC Micro which was particularly fast. A C64 took 47.5s

How long does a current computer take for this kind of work?

I got no BASIC, but JavaScript is kind’a similar: it’s often the first language to learn programming. So let’s see how long that takes (after translating the BASIC program into JavaScript):

function doNothing() {

function bench7() {
    let k = 0;
    let m = [];
    do {
        let a = k / 2 * 3 + 4 - 5;
        for (let l = 0; l < 5; ++l) {
            m[l] = a;
    } while (k < 1000);

function manyBench(n) {
    for (let i=0; i<n; ++i) {


Running this took not that long:

❯ time node benchmark7.js
node benchmark7.js  2.82s user 0.02s system 99% cpu 2.845 total

That’s for 500,000 times though, so each benchmark run takes about 0.056ms on my low-end PC (Ryzen 5 Pro 3400GE). That’s over 3.7M times faster.

And before anyone mentions it: yes, any modern compiler will optimize the whole benchmark away since no useful output or calculation is done. I am not sure how much Node.js (resp. the V8 engine) will remove. Making the code less do-nothing-like and taking the number of loops from the command line did not increase the run time significantly beside what I would have expected from the additional code, so I concluded that the code is executed as-is and parts have not been optimized away.


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