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Category: HDXPRT

Progress updates: HDXPRT 4 and AIXPRT

Over the next few weeks, we’re expecting to publish both an updated HDXPRT 4 build and the AIXPRT public release (GA). Timelines may change as a result of development or testing issues, but we want to provide a brief update on where both projects stand.

HDXPRT 4

As we discussed last week, Adobe removed Photoshop Elements 2018, the application that HDXPRT 4 uses for the Edit Photos scenario, from their public download page. This means that new HDXPRT 4 testers are currently unable to successfully complete the benchmark installation process.

To fix the problem, we adapted HDXPRT 4’s Edit Photos scripts to use PSE 2020, and we hope to begin testing by the end of this week. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we put a solution in place, and we’ll publish the new build as soon as possible.

AIXPRT

We’re now in the third week of the AIXPRT Community Preview 3 (CP3) period, and we’re working on finalizing the AIXPRT GA installation packages for release. Because several of AIXPRT’s component toolkits release updates on a regular basis, it’s likely that we’ll need to update AIXPRT’s installation packages more frequently than we have with previous XPRT benchmarks. At the moment, we’re working to integrate and test recent updates to OpenVINO and TensorRT before GA.

As usual, we’ll keep you informed here in the blog. If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT or AIXPRT, please let us know. We do value your feedback.

Justin

A necessary update for HDXPRT 4

If you tried to install HDXPRT 4 over the past few days, you likely noticed that Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018, the version the Edit Photos scenario uses, is no longer available on the Adobe Photoshop Elements download page. In the past, Adobe has provided access to multiple older versions of their software for some time after a new release, but they appear to be moving away from that practice. We have not yet found an alternative way for users to download PSE 2018 on a trial basis. Unfortunately, this means testers will be temporarily unable to successfully complete the HDXPRT 4 installation process.

We’re adapting the scripts in the HDXPRT 4 Edit Photos scenario to use PSE 2020. As soon as we finish, we’ll start testing, with a focus on determining whether the change significantly affects the individual workload or overall scores.

We apologize for the inconvenience that this issue causes for HDXPRT testers. We’ll continue to update the community here in the blog about our progress with the new build. If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

Justin

An updated HDXPRT 4 v1.1 installer package

Today, we published an updated HDXPRT 4 v1.1 installer package that addresses an issue brought to light by HDXPRT testers and our own follow-up testing. We’ve also encountered an issue caused by anti-virus program interference during the HDXPRT installation process, so we’re providing steps for a workaround below. Neither the updated build nor the workaround steps affect the comparability of previous HDXPRT 4 test scores.

The first issue involves the hdxprt4.exe setup file. You may recall that the main updates in HDXPRT 4 v1.1 were the inclusion of the latest version of HandBrake and the ability for testers to choose whether to target a system’s discrete graphics card during the Convert Videos workload. Prior to today’s update, the HDXPRT 4 v1.1 installation package mistakenly included an old hdxprt4.exe setup file, which likely caused problems for testers attempting to target discrete graphics. We apologize for this oversight. The installer package we published today includes the correct hdxprt4.exe setup file.

The second issue is that during the installation process, Windows Security and other anti-virus programs may quarantine some of the AutoIt executables that HDXPRT 4 uses to install real-world applications, and the incomplete installation process will cause the test to fail. The files do not contain viruses, but the anti-virus programs may assume that the user has not granted HDXPRT permission to install the ancillary files. One of the executables currently triggering this behavior is the MediaEspresso ME75_2x4K_transcode.exe file. To check whether your test system is quarantining this file, navigate to the C:\Program Files (x86)\HDXPRT4\HDXPRT4_Workloads\HDXPRT4_Tests folder. Once the installation process is complete, the folder should contain 32 files, including ME75_2x4K_transcode.exe. If you see all 32 files, you’re ready to test. (Note: Once you run the test, HDXPRT 4 will add HDXPRTRunLog.txt to the folder, so you might see 33 files.)

If you see only 31 files, ME75_2x4K_transcode.exe is likely missing. To restore it, use the following steps:

1. Open the Windows Security app.
2. Select Virus & threat protection.
3. Under Current threats, select Protection history.
4. Check to see if Windows Security removed any threats around the time you installed HDXPRT 4.
5. If so, click the drop-down menu on the right side, where Windows Security lists the severity of the threat, and look for a false positive that reports the ME75_2x4K_transcode.exe file as Trojan:Win32/Wacatac.B!ml.
6. Click the Actions drop-down menu, and select Restore.
7. Navigate to the C:\Program Files (x86)\HDXPRT4\HDXPRT4_Workloads\HDXPRT4_Tests folder, and check to see where the ME75_2x4K_transcode.exe file is present.

Windows Security and other anti-virus programs may quarantine other HDXPRT installation files in the future. If your first HDXPRT 4 run fails to complete successfully, we suggest checking the anti-virus quarantine for HDXPRT-related files.

We also updated the HDXPRT 4 User Manual to include the steps above. If you have any questions about any of these topics, please feel free to contact us.

Justin

A new HDXPRT 4 build is available!

A few weeks ago, we announced that a new HDXPRT 4 build, v1.1, was on the way. This past Monday, we published the build on HDXPRT.com.

The new build includes an updated version of HandBrake, the commercial application that HDXPRT uses for certain video conversion tasks. HandBrake 1.2.2 supports hardware acceleration with AMD Video Coding Engine (VCE), Intel Quick Sync, and the NVIDIA video encoder (NVENC). By default, HDXPRT4 v1.1 uses the encoder available through a system’s integrated graphics, but testers can target discrete graphics by changing a configuration file flag before running the benchmark. HDXPRT will then use the encoder provided by the discrete graphics hardware. This configuration setting takes effect only when more than one of the supported encoders (VCE, QSV, or NVENC) is present on the system.

As we mentioned before, in all other respects, the benchmark has not changed. That means that, apart from a scenario where a tester changes the targeted graphics hardware, scores from previous HDXPRT 4 builds will be comparable to those from the new build.

The updated HDXPRT 4 User Manual contains additional information and instructions for changing the configuration file flag. Please contact us if you have any questions about the new build. Happy testing!

Justin

An updated HDXPRT 4 build is on the way

HandBrake recently released a new version, v1.2.2, of their video conversion software. Among other improvements, the new version includes support for certain AMD (VCE) and NVIDIA (NVENC) hardware-accelerated video encoders. Because we include HandBrake as one of the commercial applications in the HDXPRT installer package, and because we want to keep HDXPRT 4 up-to-date for testers, we’ve put together a new HDXPRT 4 build: v1.1.  It includes HandBrake 1.2.2’s new capabilities, and we’re currently testing it in the lab.

With the new build, testers will be able to choose whether HDXPRT’s HandBrake tasks target a system’s integrated or discrete graphics cards by changing a flag called “UseIntegrated” in the config file. In HDXPRT 4 v1.1, the flag is set to “true” by default, directing HandBrake to use the codec provided by the system’s integrated graphics hardware. On the other hand, if a system has both integrated and discrete graphics available, and a user sets the flag to “false,” HandBrake will use the codec provided by the discrete graphics.

This update allows users to compare the video conversion performance of different video codecs on the same system. In all other respects, the benchmark has not changed. So apart from a scenario where a tester changes the targeted graphics hardware, scores from previous HDXPRT 4 builds will be comparable to those from the new build.

We’ll let the community know as soon as the new build is available, and we’ll update the HDXPRT 4 User Manual to reflect the changes.

If you have any questions about the upcoming HDXPRT 4 build, please let us know!

Justin

TouchXPRT: a great tool for evaluating Windows performance

From time to time, we remember that some XPRT users have experience with only one or two of the benchmark tools in our portfolio. They might have bookmarked a link to WebXPRT they found in a tech review or copied the HDXPRT installer package from a flash drive in their lab, but are unaware of other members of the XPRT family that could be useful to them. To spread the word on the range of capabilities the XPRTs offer, we occasionally highlight one of the XPRT tools in the blog . Last week, we discussed CrXPRT, a benchmark for evaluating the performance and battery life of Chrome OS devices. Today, we focus on TouchXPRT, our app for evaluating the performance of Windows 10 devices.

While our first benchmark, HDXPRT, is a great tool for assessing how well Windows machines handle media creation tasks using real commercial applications, it’s simply too large to run on most Windows tablets, 2-in-1s, and laptops with limited memory. To test those devices, we developed the latest version of TouchXPRT as a Universal Windows Platform app. As a Windows app, installing TouchXPRT is easy and quick (about 15 minutes). It runs five tests that simulate common photo, video, and music editing tasks; measures how quickly the device completes each of those tasks; and provides an overall score. It takes about 15 minutes to run on most devices. Labs can also automate testing using the command line or a script.

Want to run TouchXPRT?

Download TouchXPRT from the Microsoft Store or from TouchXPRT.com. The TouchXPRT 2016 release notes provide step-by-step instructions. To compare device scores, go to the TouchXPRT 2016 results page, where you’ll find scores from many Windows 10 devices.

Want to dig into the details?

Check out the Exploring TouchXPRT 2016 white paper. In it, we discuss the TouchXPRT development process, its component tests and workloads, and how it calculates individual workload and overall scores. We also provide instructions for automated testing.

BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members also have access to the TouchXPRT source code, so consider joining the community today. There’s no obligation and membership is free for members of any company or organization with an interest in benchmarks.

If you’ve been looking for a Windows performance evaluation tool that’s easy to use and has the flexibility of a UWP app, give TouchXPRT a try and let us know what you think!

Justin

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