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Category: Windows 8.1

TouchXPRT 2014 arrives Friday!

Friday is the big day for TouchXPRT 2014. It will be available for download at TouchXPRT.com and through the Windows App Store no later than 5:00 PM EDT on Friday May 16.

As we mentioned last week, in addition to the new look and more-demanding component tests, TouchXPRT has a number of new features. One feature we are especially excited about is that users will be able to automate their TouchXPRT tests, something they could not do in TouchXPRT 2013.

You can run TouchXPRT 2014 from a command prompt or using scripting mechanisms such as batch files or PowerShell. The scripting interface allows you to set several parameters, including:

  • Start running the test automatically on launch. You can choose to run all of the scenarios to generate an overall score, or run any single scenario for a component test score.
  • Change the number of iterations the test should run.
  • Change the delay before the test starts running after launch.
  • Change the output filename.

You can read the automation details and find specific commands in the Exploring TouchXPRT 2014 white paper.

Also, we’re in the last steps of preparing the HDXPRT 2014 Community Preview. It’s coming in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for more information.

Eric

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TouchXPRT 2014 is almost here

We’re excited to say that TouchXPRT 2014 will launch within the next few days. TouchXPRT 2014 includes a completely new UI, updated component tests, improved disclosure information, improved automation, and the ability to submit results directly from the app.

TouchXPRT 2014 also addresses the number-one request we got about TouchXPRT 2013—to make it more obvious how to run all the tests. In TouchXPRT 2013, users had to choose the Run All button from the hidden Charms menu to run all of the tests and produce an overall score. In TouchXPRT 2014, the Start Test button on the benchmark’s main page makes it obvious how to run all five tests at once.

After the launch, TouchXPRT will be available for download at TouchXPRT.com and through the Windows App Store.

TouchXPRT 2013 will continue to be available for a while, as we understand that labs may have tests in progress. Likewise, the TouchXPRT 2013 results database will continue to be available, but separate from the TouchXPRT 2014 results. You should never compare results for the two versions of TouchXPRT.

For a more in-depth discussion of the new benchmark, please read the Exploring TouchXPRT 2014 white paper.

We’ve been busy with the BatteryXPRT and TouchXPRT launches, but more is on the way. HDXPRT 2014 is next in line!

Eric

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It’s almost here

Sometime next week, we plan to release a sneak preview of TouchXPRT 2014, the TouchXPRT 2014 Community Preview 1 (CP1).

CP1, as its name makes clear, is not the final TouchXPRT 2014 release. There is still a lot of work to do on the user interface and the new results viewer.  However, it includes a number of improvements over the current TouchXPRT, making it an even more useful tool for measuring Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 device performance. It is also a great way for everyone in the community to see the current state of our thinking and to provide us with feedback. You can run this version of the tool and see what you think!

As we have done with previous community previews, we’re also taking two more steps:

  • We’re not putting any publication restrictions on this preview release. Test at will, and publish your findings.
  • We’re releasing the source code to all community members. If you’re curious about not just what we’re doing but how we’re doing it, you can find out.

We believe these steps make the tool easier to evaluate and more useful to all of us.

Releasing a preview version is a lot of work, because we have to do much of the work of a software release and on less-than-final code, but we believe the value to our community justifies the effort.

Next week, when we release CP1, I’ll go over more details, the known limitations, and how you can get us your feedback—feedback we very much want.

Between now and then, we’ll be readying CP1 for your use.

Eric

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The Microsoft Surface 2

As soon as the Microsoft Surface 2 became available, we got one and have been putting it through its paces. Of course, we ran WebXPRT and TouchXPRT. The results are on the TouchXPRT and WebXPRT sites, but I’ll repeat them here along with the results for its predecessor, the Microsoft Surface RT.

TouchXPRT WebXPRT
Surface RT

98

167

Surface 2

284

324

TouchXPRT shows the Surface 2 to be almost three times faster than the Microsoft Surface RT, while WebXPRT shows it to be almost twice as fast.

Why the difference? The most obvious explanation is that WebXPRT depends on the browser and its implementations of JavaScript and HTML5. TouchXPRT relies less on additional software and seems to take better advantage of the underlying hardware.

While we have yet to test the Intel Core i5-based Microsoft Surface Pro 2 ourselves, others have been doing so. Interestingly, Anandtech’s review of the Surface Pro 2 included WebXPRT results from both Chrome and IE. The Chrome result was over 30 percent higher than the IE result: 1,260 vs. 960. Unfortunately, Google has not made Chrome available for the ARM-based Surface 2, so we were not able to make that comparison.

As always, please let us know any results you get on any new hardware so we can get as many results as possible in our result databases. There are lots of new products coming out in the next few weeks and we’d love your help in getting results for as many of them as possible. Thanks!

Eric

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Designated Drivers

As we mentioned in last week’s blog On to the next thing, we have seen some problems running HDXPRT 2012 on the Windows 8.1 preview, build 9460. To date, the failures we’ve seen have been in Media Espresso’s Power Director on systems using third and fourth generation Intel Core processors.

We are happy to say that HDXPRT 2012 runs fine on the preview of Windows 8.1 when using the Windows 8.1 Preview Beta Graphics Driver. We are continuing to test, but things are looking good. You can get the graphic driver at communities.intel.com/docs/DOC-21232. We tested with version 15.33.10.3214, which is the latest version available as I am writing this.

If you see problems when running HDXPRT 2012, please let us know.

As I said last week, we are pushing forward on the development of HDXPRT 2013. We are looking forward to releasing a preview to the community in the next few weeks.

Eric

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On to the next thing

Last week, we released MobileXPRT 2013 to the public and published it as a free app on Google Play. On Monday, we will release the source code to the community. It hasn’t been long since we released the source code for MobileXPRT CP 1.1, but it’s an important part of the community model that the source for the current version is available to the community.

While we were putting the finishing touches on MobileXPRT, we’ve been hard at work on HDXPRT 2013. The feedback on HDXPRT made it clear that the benchmark should be smaller, faster, and easier to install. We have been working to keep all the value of the benchmark, and update the workloads to reflect current usage, even as we slim it down.

Speaking of HDXPRT, as we mentioned in The show is in previews, HDXPRT 2012 has issues running on Windows 8.1. However, we have had some success getting HDXPRT to run on Windows 8.1 by using beta drivers from Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA. We are still investigating this, and hope to have a general workaround for this soon.

There’s lots more stuff in the pipeline. Exciting times ahead!

Eric

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