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Category: HDXPRT 2012

Back in September

Back in September, we made a prerelease version of a patch to let HDXPRT run on Windows 8. (See Working towards Windows 8.) We’ve been testing the final version of the patch and hope to release it in the next few days.

We wanted to give you a heads up that there are a few differences between the versions of Windows that may affect your HDXPRT testing. For example, we have found that some that older systems that meet the minimum specs for HDXPRT 2012 and Windows 8 may not have Windows 8 drivers available. The lack of these drivers can cause the benchmark to fail.

Also, while it was possible for a lab like ours to test without activation of Windows 7 during the 30-day grace period, activation is different under Windows 8. To reliably run HDXPRT on Windows 8, activation is required.

We are updating the HDXPRT documentation based on our testing.  Generally, though, testing on Windows 8 is very similar to testing on Windows 7.

We are releasing the patch on Friday, November 9 . Please try it out and let us know what you think!

Eric

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Looking for a winner

This week, PT published its first two public reports using HDXPRT 2012: Performance comparison: Dell Latitude E5430 vs. HP ProBook 4440s and Performance comparison: Dell Latitude E5430 vs. Lenovo ThinkPad L430. You should check them out.

Of course, you can find the HDXPRT results from these reports in the HDXPRT 2012 results database along with results from the characterization study we did last month. The results database is a repository of HDXPRT results you can use to compare system performance. The database includes full disclosure information and lets you sort by a number of criteria, including any HDXPRT score, the processor, amount of RAM, graphic card, and so on.

Looking at the results in the database got me wondering who has the mightiest machine out there. The current winner is a custom-built system with an Intel Core i7 3770 and 8 GB of RAM. It has an HDXPRT 2012 Create HD score of 248.

Records are meant to be broken, and I know someone out there can grind that score to dust.  So, we’re going to have a contest. The first person to submit a set of HDXPRT results with a score above 248 will win at least bragging rights and maybe a prize if we can find something suitable around our offices.

You’ll find instructions for submitting results at Submit your HDXPRT 2012 results.

I can’t wait to see your results!

Eric

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Make sure your voice is heard

One thing about the community model we use for developing HDXPRT is that is depends on the community. Your input is essential to making the benchmark the best it can be. As the community grows, we’re learning more about your priorities.

During the development of HDXPRT 2012, we made the decision to remove the playback tests from the benchmark. While the design document called for the playback test to include 4K H.264, Windows Media Player does not play that format by default. Because less demanding codecs were not differentiating systems, and because the stars used to report the results confused some people, it seemed like a reasonable decision. Bill announced the decision in a blog post, More HDXPRT 2012 changes.

Fast forward to September 18, when Bill hosted the HDXPRT 2012 Webinar. During the Q&A session, a new member of the community said that the playback tests from HDXPRT 2011 were what got him interested in the benchmark. For now, he has to use HDXPRT 2011 for those tests, although, as per Bill’s original blog post, we may release a more demanding playback test as a standalone inspection test later this year.

The suggestion period for HDXPRT 2013 started on October 1. Now is the time to let us know what tests are the most useful to you. If there are tests you’d like us to add, tests you’d like us to change, applications you’d like us to consider, we need to know that too. You can post your suggestions to the forum in the HDXPRT 2013 Suggestions section or mail them to hdxprtsupport@hdxprt.com.

In November, we’ll develop an RFC for HDXPRT 2013 and send it to the community for review.

While the suggestions we receive early have the best chance of being implemented, comments we receive after the formal suggestion period still get our attention. We’re always listening. Contact us anytime and make sure that HDXPRT 2013 includes the things that are important to you.

Eric

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What you’re going to need

We’re planning to release the source code for HDXPRT 2012 soon after we release the update for Windows 8, probably in mid-November. The source code will be freely available to the members of the community. In preparation for that, here’s some information about what you’ll need to build the benchmark.

As we’ve discussed before, HDXPRT is a complicated entity, with a test harness, multiple workloads, and an installer. Consequently, you’ll need several tools to edit and build
HDXPRT 2012:

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
Microsoft SDK, (version 6.0.6000.0)
Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0 SDK x64
AutoIT v3
InstallShield 2012 Standalone version. Note: The InstallShield Professional Version is required to edit the install script.
Visual Build Pro 7 Note: It is possible to edit and build HDXPRT without Visual Build Pro. However, Visual Build Pro enables an automated build process.

If you install these products per their instructions, your system will be ready to build HDXPRT 2012 when the source code becomes available.

Remember, the HDXPRT 2013 suggestion period starts Monday. We’ll open a section of the forum for suggestions then. However, if you want to get an early start, feel free to go ahead and send suggestions to hdxprtsupport@hdxprt.com.

Eric

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Working towards Windows 8

This past Wednesday, Bill hosted a Webinar to discuss HDXPRT 2012. He covered a lot of material. We’ll make a recording of it available on the site fairly soon.

During the Webinar, Bill mentioned that we’re working on a patch to let HDXPRT run on Windows 8. We have begun testing this patch. However, given the high level of interest in the community about testing HDXPRT on Windows 8, we are going to offer the patch on Friday to any community members that want to try it on an “as is” basis.

Using the patch is straightforward. Having installed HDXPRT on a Windows 8 system, you copy a few files to the HDXPRT\Bin folder, run a DOS script, and reboot. At that point, HDXPRT should run on the Windows 8 system. We will include detailed instructions with the download.

The patch should have no impact on the scores. This means you can compare results from Windows 8 systems with the results you already have from Windows 7 systems.

We hope that you will try HDXPRT on Windows 8 and let us know what you see. We’ll use your feedback as we finalize the update of HDXPRT 2012 that will fully support Windows 8.

When the update is available, we’ll post to the community forum, tweet, and put a notice on the Web page.

In other news, there’s a post on the forum that gives instructions for getting more detailed timing information from HDXPRT. Community members can read that post here: How to get more detailed timing information from HDXPRT 2012

Finally, the comment period for HDXPRT 2013 starts October 1. Be thinking about what you’d like to see in HDXPRT 2013!

Eric

Update: The prerelease Patch for Windows 8 is now available. You can download it here.

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Growing the community

Growing the community

It’s probably stating the obvious to say that what makes the XPRT Development Community work is the people. The more people there are in the community, the better the resulting benchmarks will be. Naturally, that means we want more people in the community.

Part of PT’s role in building the community is to get more people involved. Over the last couple of years, that has meant doing a number of different things—from conducting Webinars (we’ll have the next one in September) to meeting at trade shows (we expect to be at CES again next year) to contacting individuals in person and via email to using social media like Twitter (follow us at @HDXPRT) and Facebook (like HDXPRT Development Community). As I mentioned last week, we are now working on some videos to help get out the message. Basically, we’ve been telling everyone we can about the benchmarks and the community that creates them.

One thing we haven’t done, however, is to actively enlist the community itself in building the community. Here are some ways you can help. Please like, follow, or whatever us on the different social media platforms. Invite others to join the community. Probably most importantly, use the benchmarks and publish the results. Now that HDXPRT 2012 is out, we want to see its results popping up in as many places as possible.

You can also help by telling us your ideas for how to grow the community. What else do you think we should be doing?

Bill

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