You don't have to cheat to produce amazing benchmark results. Back in the 80s we were benchmarking a couple of systems for our university using FOPR12 from the Whetstone suite. One of them was slower than the other until it was allowed the highest level of optimisation, when it was (if I remember correctly) about twice as fast. The manufacturer was very helpful and gave me the assembly listings of the compiler output at the relevant levels of optimisation, from which it emerged that there was a subroutine whose execution formed a significant part of the computation required, but changed only variables local to itself; the compiler spotted this and simply optimised its execution out of existence. It was a tribute to the compiler, but rather unhelpful for comparison purposes.