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Category: HDXPRT release cycle

Updates on HDXPRT 4 and MobileXPRT 3

There’s a lot going on with the XPRTs, so we want to offer a quick update.

On the HDXPRT 4 front, we’re currently testing community preview candidate builds across a variety of laptops and desktops. Testing is going well, but as is often the case prior to a release, we’re still tweaking the code as necessary when we run into bugs. We’re excited about HDXPRT 4 and look forward to the community seeing how much faster and easier to use it is than previous versions. You can read more about what’s to come in HDXPRT 4 here.

On the MobileXPRT 3 front, proof-of-concept testing for the new and updated workloads went well, and we’re now working to implement the new UI. Below, you can see a mockup of the new MobileXPRT 3 start screen for phones. The aesthetic is completely different than MobileXPRT 2015, and is in line with the clean, bright look we used for WebXPRT 3 and HDXPRT 4. We’ve made it easy to select and deselect individual workloads by tapping the workload name (deselected workloads are grayed out), and we’ve consolidated common menu items into an Android-style taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Please note that this is an early view and some aspects of the screen will change. For instance, we’re certain that the final receipt-scanning workload won’t be called “Optical character recognition.”

We’ll share more information about HDXPRT 4 and MobileXPRT 3 in the coming weeks. If you have any questions about HDXPRT or MobileXPRT, or would like to share your ideas, please get in touch!

Justin

MobileXPRT-3-main-phone

HDXPRT 4: A little lighter and a lot faster

This week, we’re sharing a little more about the upcoming HDXPRT 4 Community Preview. Just like previous versions of HDXPRT, HDXPRT 4 will use trial versions of commercial applications to complete workload tasks. We will include installers for some of those programs, such as Audacity and HandBrake, in the HDXPRT installation package. For other programs, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 and CyberLink Media Espresso 7.5, users will need to download the necessary installers prior to testing using  links and instructions that we will provide. The HDXPRT 4 installation package is just over 4.7 GB, slightly smaller than previous versions.

I can also report that the new version requires fewer pre-test configuration steps and a full test run takes much less time than before. Some systems that took over an hour to complete an HDXPRT 2014 run are completing HDXPRT 4 runs in about 25 minutes.

We’ll continue to provide more information as we get closer to releasing the community preview. If you’re interested in testing with HDXPRT 4 before the general release but have not yet joined the community, we invite you to join now. If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT or the community, please contact us.

Justin

Sneak a peek at HDXPRT 4

A few months ago, we shared some details  about HDXPRT 4 development progress. Now that we’re closer to releasing a community preview build, we wanted to offer a sneak peek at the new benchmark. We may still tweak a few things during pre-release testing, but we’re close to the final look.

Below, you can see the benchmark’s new start page. After installation and completing a few brief pre-test configuration steps, running HDXPRT 4 is as easy as entering a test name and clicking the start button.

HDXPRT 4 start page

During the test, you’ll see HDXPRT’s real-world trial applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and CyberLink Media Espresso open and close during each iteration, though you won’t see workload graphics within the HDXPRT UI harness. When the test finishes, the results screen pops up. As you can see below, the results screen displays the overall and individual workload category scores in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner. Below the workload scores, a button provides access to additional test and system information.

HDXPRT 4 results page

We’re not yet ready to share a date for the community preview, but we’ll provide more information in the coming weeks. As always, XPRT community previews are only available to BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members. If you’re interested in testing the HDXPRT 4 Community Preview, we invite you to join the community now. If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT or the community, please contact us.

Justin

An update on HDXPRT development

It’s been a while since we updated the community on HDXPRT development, and we’ve made a lot of progress since then. Here’s a quick summary of where we are and what to expect in the coming months.

The benchmark’s official name will be HDXPRT 4, and we’re sticking with the basic plan we outlined in the blog, which includes updating the benchmark’s real-world trial applications and workload content and improving the UI.

We’ve updated Adobe Photoshop Elements, Audacity, CyberLink Media Espresso, and HandBrake to more contemporary versions, but decided the benchmark will no longer use Apple iTunes. We sometimes encountered problems with iTunes during testing, and because we can complete the audio-related workloads using Audacity, we decided that it was OK to remove iTunes from the test. Please contact us if you have any concerns about this decision.

In addition to the editing photos, editing music, and converting videos workloads from prior versions of the benchmark, HDXPRT 4 includes two new Photoshop Elements scenarios. The first utilizes an AI tool that corrects closed eyes in photos and the second creates a single panoramic photo from seven separate photos. For the photo and video workloads, we produced new high-res photo content and 4K GoPro video footage respectively.

For the UI, our goal is to implement a clean and functional design and align it more closely with the themes, colors, and font styles we’ll be implementing in the XPRTs moving forward. The WebXPRT 3 UI will give you a feel for the direction the HDXPRT UI is headed.

Some of these details may change as we test preliminary builds, but we wanted to give you a better sense of where HDXPRT is headed. We’re not ready to share a date for the community preview, but will provide more details as the day approaches.

If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT, please let us know. It’s not too late to for us to consider your input for HDXPRT 4.

Justin

WebXPRT 3, Mobile World Congress, and the next HDXPRT

We’re excited about everything that’s in store for the XPRTs, and we want to update community members on what to expect in the next few months.

The next major development is likely to be the WebXPRT 3 general release. We’re currently refining the UI and conducting extensive testing with the community preview build. We’re not ready to announce a firm release date, but hope to do so over the next few weeks. Please try the community preview and give us your feedback, if you haven’t already.

During the last week of February, Mark will be at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Each year, MWC offers a great opportunity to examine the new trends and technologies that will shape mobile technology in the years to come. We look forward to sharing Mark’s thoughts on this year’s hot topics. Will you be attending MWC this year? If so, let us know!

In addition, we’re hoping to have a community preview of the next HDXPRT ready in the spring. As we mentioned a few months ago, we’re updating the workloads, applications, and UI. For the converting photos scenario, we’re considering incorporating new Adobe Photoshop tools such as the “Open Closed Eyes” feature and an automatic fix for pictures that are out of focus due to handheld camera shake. For the converting videos scenario, we’re including 4K GoPro footage that represents the quality of video captured by today’s “prosumer” demographic.

What features would you like to see in the next HDXPRT? Let us know!

Justin

What’s next for HDXPRT?

A few months ago, we discussed some initial ideas for the next version of HDXPRT, including updating the benchmark’s workloads and real-world trial applications and improving the look and feel of the UI. This week, we’d like to share more about the status of the HDXPRT development process.

We’re planning to keep HDXPRT’s three test categories: editing photos, editing music, and converting videos. We’re also planning to use the latest trial versions of the same five applications included in HDXPRT 2014: Adobe Photoshop Elements, Apple iTunes, Audacity, CyberLink MediaEspresso, and HandBrake. The new versions of each of these programs include features and capabilities that may enhance the HDXPRT workloads. For example, Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 includes interesting new AI tools such as “Open Closed Eyes,” which purports to fix photos ruined by subjects who blinked at the wrong time. We’re evaluating whether any of the new technologies on offer will be a good fit for HDXPRT.

We’re also evaluating how the new Windows 10 SDK and Fall Creators Update will affect HDXPRT. It’s too early to discuss potential changes in any detail, but we know we’ll need to adapt to new development tools, and it’s possible that the Fluent Design System will affect the HDXPRT UI beyond the improvements we already had in mind.

As HDXPRT development progresses, we’ll continue to keep the community up to date. If you have suggestions or insights into the new Fall Creators Update or any of HDXPRT’s real-world applications, we’d love to hear from you! If you’re just reading out about HDXPRT for the first time, you can find out more about the purpose, structure, and capabilities of the test here.

Justin

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