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Decisions, decisions

Back in April, we shared some of our initial ideas for a new version of WebXPRT, and work on the new benchmark is underway. Any time we begin the process of updating one of the XPRT benchmarks, one of the first decisions we face is how to improve workload content so it better reflects the types of technology average consumers use every day. Since benchmarks typically have a life cycle of two to four years, we want the benchmark to be relevant for at least the next couple of years.

For example, WebXPRT contains two photo-related workloads, Photo Effects and Organize Album. Photo Effects applies a series of effects to a set of photos, and Organize Album uses facial recognition technology to analyze a set of photos. In both cases, we want to use photos that represent the most relevant combination of image size, resolution, and data footprint possible. Ideally, the resulting image sizes and resolutions should differentiate processing speed on the latest systems, but not at the expense of being able to run reasonably on most current devices. We also have to confirm that the photos aren’t so large as to impact page load times unnecessarily.

The way this strategy works in practice is that we spend time researching hardware and operating system market share. Given that phones are the cameras that most people use, we look at them to help define photo characteristics. In 2017, the most widespread mobile OS is Android, and while reports vary depending on the metric used, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Galaxy S7 are at or near the top of global mobile market share. For our purposes, the data tells us that choosing photo sizes and resolutions that mirror those of the Galaxy line is a good start, and a good chunk of Android users are either already using S7-generation technology, or will be shifting to new phones with that technology in the coming year. So, for the next version of WebXPRT, we’ll likely use photos that represent the real-life environment of an S7 user.

I hope that provides a brief glimpse into the strategies we use to evaluate workload content in the XPRT benchmarks. Of course, since the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community is an open development community, we’d love to hear your comments or suggestions!

Justin

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