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Category: Windows 10

HDXPRT 4 v1.2 and the HDXPRT 4 source code package are available

This week, we have good news for HDXPRT 4 testers. A few weeks ago, we discussed the fact that Adobe removed the trial version of Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE) 2018 from the PSE download page. HDXPRT 4 used PSE 2018 for the Edit Photos scenario, so this change meant that new HDXPRT testers would not be able to successfully install and run the benchmark.

Fortunately, we were able to adapt the Edit Photos scripts to use the new trial version of PSE 2020, and have incorporated those changes in an updated HDXPRT 4 build (v1.2). It’s available for download on HDXPRT.com, along with an updated user manual. Apart from slightly different instructions for installing the trial version of PSE 2020, all aspects of the installation and test process remain the same. We tested the new build and found that individual workload and overall scores did not vary significantly, so scores from the new build will be comparable to existing HDXPRT 4 scores.

We also posted the HDXPRT 4 source code and build instructions on the HDXPRT tab in the Members’ Area (login required). If you’d like to review XPRT source code, but haven’t yet joined the community, we encourage you to join! Registration is quick and easy, and if you work for a company or organization with an interest in benchmarking, you can join for free. Simply fill out the form with your company e-mail address and select the option to be considered for a free membership. We’ll contact you to verify the address and then activate your membership.

We apologize to HDXPRT testers for the inconvenience over the last several weeks, and we thank you for your patience while we worked on a solution. If you have any questions about HDXPRT or the community, please feel free to ask!

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

Planning for the next TouchXPRT

We’re in the very early planning stages for the next version of TouchXPRT, and we’d love to hear any suggestions you may have. What do you like or dislike about TouchXPRT? What features do you hope to see in a new version?

For those who are unfamiliar with TouchXPRT, it’s a benchmark for evaluating the performance of Windows 10 devices. TouchXPRT 2016, the most recent version, runs tests based on five everyday scenarios (Beautify Photos, Blend Photos, Convert Videos for Sharing, Create Music Podcast, and Create Slideshow from Photos) and produces results for each of the five scenarios plus an overall score. The benchmark is available two ways: as a Universal Windows App in the Microsoft Store and as a sideload installer package on TouchXPRT.com.

When we begin work on a new version of any benchmark, one of the first steps we take is to assess its workloads to determine whether they will provide value during the years ahead. This step involves evaluating whether to update test content such as photos and videos to more contemporary file resolutions and sizes, and can also involve removing workloads or adding completely new ones. Should we keep the TouchXPRT workloads listed above or investigate other use cases? Should we research potential AI-related workloads? What do you think?

As we did with MobileXPRT 3 and HDXPRT 4 earlier this year, we’re also planning to update the TouchXPRT UI to improve the look of the benchmark and make it easier to use. We’re just at the beginning of this process, so any feedback you send has a chance to really shape the future of the benchmark.

On a related note, TouchXPRT 2016 testers who use the installer package available on TouchXPRT.com may have noticed that the package has a new file name (TX2016.6.52.0_8.19.19.zip). Microsoft requires developers to assign a security certificate to all sideload apps, and the new TouchXPRT file contains a refreshed certificate. We did not change the benchmark in any other way, so scores from this package are comparable to previous TouchXPRT 2016 scores.

Justin

Understanding AIXPRT results

Last week, we discussed the changes we made to the AIXPRT Community Preview 2 (CP2) download page as part of our ongoing effort to make AIXPRT easier to use. This week, we want to discuss the basics of understanding AIXPRT results by talking about the numbers that really matter and how to access and read the actual results files.

To understand AIXPRT results at a high level, it’s important to revisit the core purpose of the benchmark. AIXPRT’s bundled toolkits measure inference latency (the speed of image processing) and throughput (the number of images processed in a given time period) for image recognition (ResNet-50) and object detection (SSD-MobileNet v1) tasks. Testers have the option of adjusting variables such as batch size (the number of input samples to process simultaneously) to try and achieve higher levels of throughput, but higher throughput can come at the expense of increased latency per task. In real-time or near real-time use cases such as performing image recognition on individual photos being captured by a camera, lower latency is important because it improves the user experience. In other cases, such as performing image recognition on a large library of photos, achieving higher throughput might be preferable; designating larger batch sizes or running concurrent instances might allow the overall workload to complete more quickly.

The dynamics of these performance tradeoffs ensure that there is no single good score for all machine learning scenarios. Some testers might prefer lower latency, while others would sacrifice latency to achieve the higher level of throughput that their use case demands.

Testers can find latency and throughput numbers for each completed run in a JSON results file in the AIXPRT/Results folder. The test also generates CSV results files that are in the same folder. The raw results files report values for each AI task configuration (e.g., ResNet-50, Batch1, on CPU). Parsing and consolidating the raw data can take some time, so we’re developing a results file parsing tool to make the job much easier.

The results parsing tool is currently available in the AIXPRT CP2 OpenVINO – Windows package, and we hope to make it available for more packages soon. Using the tool is as simple as running a single command, and detailed instructions for how to do so are in the AIXPRT OpenVINO on Windows user guide. The tool produces a summary (example below) that makes it easier to quickly identify relevant comparison points such as maximum throughput and minimum latency.

AIXPRT results summary

In addition to the summary, the tool displays the throughput and latency results for each AI task configuration tested by the benchmark. AIXPRT runs each AI task multiple times and reports the average inference throughput and corresponding latency percentiles.

AIXPRT results details

We hope that this information helps to make it easier to understand AIXPRT results. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us.

Justin

Navigating the AIXPRT Community Preview download page just got easier

AIXPRT Community Preview 2 (CP2) has been generating quite a bit of interest among the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community and members of the tech press. We’re excited that the tool has piqued curiosity and that folks are recognizing its value for technical analysis. When talking with folks about test setup and configuration, we keep hearing the same questions:

  • How do I find the exact toolkit or package that I need?
  • How do I find the instructions for a specific toolkit?
  • What test configuration variables are most important for producing consistent, relevant results?
  • How do I know which values to choose when configuring options such as iterations, concurrent instances, and batch size?


In the coming weeks, we’ll be working to provide detailed answers to questions about test configuration. In response to the confusion about finding specific packages and instructions, we’ve redesigned the CP2 download page to make it easier for you to find what you need. Below, we show a snapshot from the new CP2 download table. Instead of having to download the entire CP2 package that includes the OpenVINO, TensorFlow, and TensorRT in TensorFlow test packages, you can now download one package at a time. In the Documentation column, we’ve posted package-specific instructions, so you won’t have to wade through the entire installation guide to find the instructions you need.

AIXPRT Community Preview download table

We hope these changes make it easier for people to experiment with AIXPRT. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have.

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

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