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The XPRTs in 2019: Looking back on an exciting and productive year

2019 is winding down, and we want to take this opportunity to review another exciting and productive year for the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. Readers of our newsletter are familiar with the stats and updates we post in each month’s mailing, but we know that not all our blog readers receive the newsletter, so we’ve compiled the highlights below.

Trade shows
Earlier this year, Justin attended CES in Las Vegas and Mark travelled to MWC Barcelona. These shows help us keep up with the latest industry trends and gather insights that help to lay the groundwork for XPRT development in the years ahead.

Benchmarks
In the past year, we released MobileXPRT 3, HDXPRT 4, and AIXPRT, our new AI benchmark tool that helps you evaluate a system’s machine learning inference performance. There’s much more to come in 2020 with AIXPRT and several other projects, so expect more news about benchmark development early in the year.

Web mentions
In 2019 so far, journalists, advertisers, and analysts have referenced the XPRTs over 5,000 times, including mentions in more than 190 articles and 1,350 device reviews. This represents a more than 50% increase over 2018.

Downloads and confirmed runs
To date, we’ve had more than 24,800 benchmark downloads and 153,000 confirmed runs in 2019, increases of more than 8% and 10%, respectively, over 2018. Within the last month, our most popular benchmark, WebXPRT, passed the 500,000-run milestone! WebXPRT continues to be an industry-standard performance benchmark upon which OEM labs, vendors, and leading tech press outlets rely.

XPRT Tech Spotlight
We put 47 new devices in the XPRT Tech Spotlight throughout the year and published updated back-to-school, Black Friday, and holiday showcases to help buyers compare devices.

Media and interactive tools
We published a new XPRTs around the world infographic and an interactive AIXPRT installation package selector tool. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the tool. We encourage you to give it a try if you’re curious about AIXPRT but aren’t sure how to get started.

We’re thankful for everyone who used the XPRTs, joined the community, and sent questions and suggestions throughout 2019. This will be our last blog post for 2019, but there’s much more to come in 2020, including some exciting new developments. Stay tuned in early January for updates!

Justin

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

Check out the new XPRTs around the world infographic!

If you’ve followed the XPRT blog for a while, you know that we occasionally update the community on some of the reach metrics we track by publishing a new version of the “XPRTs around the world” infographic. The metrics we track include completed test runs, benchmark downloads, and mentions of the XPRTs in advertisements, articles, and tech reviews. Gathering this information gives us insight into how many people are using the XPRT tools, and updating the infographic helps readers and community members see the impact the XPRTs are having around the world.

This week, we published a new infographic, which include the following highlights:

  • The XPRTs have been mentioned more than 13,900 times on over 4,000 unique sites.
  • Those mentions include more than 10,300 articles and reviews.
  • Those mentions originated in over 629 cities located in 67 countries on six continents. New cities of note include Bangalore, India; Donetsk, Ukraine; Lima, Peru; and Santiago, Chile.
  • The BenchmarkXPRT Development Community now includes 230 members from 76 companies and organizations around the world.


In addition to the growth in web mentions and community members, the XPRTs have now delivered more than 520,000 real-world results! We’re grateful for everyone who’s helped us get this far. Your participation is vital to our achieving our goal: to provide benchmark tools that are reliable, relevant, and easy to use.

Justin

Transparent goals

Recently, Forbes published an article discussing a new report on phone battery life from Which?, a UK consumer advocacy group. In the report, Which? states that they tested the talk time battery life of 50 phones from five brands. During the tests, phones from three of the brands lasted longer than the manufacturers’ claims, while phones from another brand underperformed by about five percent. The fifth brand’s published battery life numbers were 18 to 51 percent higher than Which? recorded in their tests.

Folks can read the article for more details about the tests and the brands. While the report raises some interesting questions, and the article provides readers with brief test methodology descriptions from Which? and one manufacturer, we don’t know enough about the tests to say which set of claims is correct. Any number of variables related to test workloads or device configuration settings could significantly affect the results. Both parties may be using sound benchmarking principles in good faith, but their test methodologies may not be comparable. As it is, we simply don’t have enough information to evaluate the study.

Whether the issue is battery life or any other important device spec, information conflicts, such as the one that the Forbes article highlights, can leave consumers scratching their heads, trying to decide which sources are worth listening to. At the XPRTs, we believe that the best remedy for this type of problem is to provide complete transparency into our testing methodologies and development process. That’s why our lab techs verify all the hardware specs for each XPRT Weekly Tech Spotlight entry. It’s why we publish white papers explaining the structure of our benchmarks in detail, as well as how the XPRTs calculate performance results. It’s also why we employ an open development community model and make each XPRT’s source code available to community members. When we’re open about how we do things, it encourages the kind of honest dialogue between vendors, journalists, consumers, and community members that serves everyone’s best interests.

If you love tech and share that same commitment to transparency, we’d love for you to join our community, where you can access XPRT source code and previews of upcoming benchmarks. Membership is free for anyone with a verifiable corporate affiliation. If you have any questions about membership or the registration process, please feel free to ask.

Justin

CrXPRT is more valuable than ever

Digital Trends recently published an article discussing various rumors about the future of the Google Pixelbook line. Pixelbooks were some of the first Chromebooks with high-end hardware specs, and they were priced accordingly. Whether or not the rumors discussed in the article turn out to be true, the author points out that the Pixelbook prompted several other vendors, such as HP and Lenovo, to take a chance on high-end Chromebooks. It seems like high-end Chromebooks are here to stay, but given the unique constraints of the Chrome OS environment, buyers are often unsure if it’s worth it to shell out the extra money for a premium model.

We developed CrXPRT to help buyers answer these questions. CrXPRT is a benchmark tool that measures the battery life of your Chromebook as well as how fast it handles everyday tasks like playing video games, watching movies, editing pictures, and doing homework. The performance test gives you individual workload scores and an overall score based on the speed of the device. The battery life test produces an estimated battery life time, a separate performance score, and a frames-per-second (FPS) rate for a built-in HTML5 gaming component.

You don’t have to be a tech journalist or even a techie to use CrXPRT. To learn more, check out the links below.

Testing the performance or battery life of your Chromebook

Simply download CrXPRT from the Chrome Web Store. Installation is quick and easy, and the CrXPRT 2015 user manual provides step-by-step instructions. A typical performance test takes about 15 minutes, and a battery life test will take 3.5 hours once the system is charged and configured for testing. If you’d like to see how your score compares to other Chromebooks, visit the CrXPRT results page.

Want to know more?

Read the Exploring CrXPRT 2015 white paper, where we discuss the concepts behind CrXPRT, its development process, and the app’s structure. We also describe the component tests and explain the statistical processes used to calculate expected battery life.

BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members also have access to the CrXPRT source code, so if you’re interested, join today! There’s no obligation and membership is free for members of any company or organization with an interest in benchmarks.

Give CrXPRT a try and let us know what you think!

Justin

Answering questions about the AIXPRT Community Preview

Over the last two weeks, we’ve received a few questions about the AIXPRT Community Preview. Specifically, community members have asked about the project’s focus, possible future steps, and the results table. We decided to answer each of these here in the blog, since others are likely to have the same questions. We encourage folks to submit any new questions they may have.

PT previously stated that AIXPRT would be focused on edge devices. The current published results are from desktops and laptops. Is the focus of AIXPRT changing?

In the past, we did say that the focus of AIXPRT would be edge inference devices. After much feedback, we’ve come to understand that focus is probably too restrictive. PCs and laptops are using inference machine learning, and a decent amount of inference is taking place on servers in the cloud until phones are capable enough to handle the workloads. We now see all of these devices as potential targets for AIXPRT.

How did you choose the current results in your database?

We ran the AIXPRT CP on some of the systems we used during development and testing. We will continue to publish additional results as we test available systems in our lab. We’d love to get results from the community that cover a wider base of devices.

Will you be publishing results from servers?

We welcome server results submissions from the community, and will review them for publication on our site.

Will AIXPRT ever be available for Windows systems?

This is a possibility we’re actively exploring, and we hope to be able to share more about it soon.

What’s the best way to navigate the results table?

AIXPRT can run three toolkits, utilize two networks, and target CPU or GPU hardware. Together, these configuration options produce a lot of data points. To make it easier to handle all these variables, we’re working to improve the navigation, sorting, and filtering capabilities of the results table. In the meantime, a few tips:

  • There are two tabs at the top of the table, one for the ResNet-50 network and one for the SSD-MobileNet network. You can click the tabs to move between results for these networks.
  • Clicking any of the column headers will sort the data in that column A-Z (with the first click) or Z-A (with a second click).
  • To see if an individual test targeted a system’s CPU or GPU, read the description in the Summary column, e.g. Intel Core i7-7600U GPU / OpenVINO.
  • Clicking the entry in the Source column will take you to a more detailed page listing additional test configuration and system hardware information.

 

We’ll continue to share more information about AIXPRT in the coming weeks. Do you have additional questions or comments about AIXPRT? Let us know.

Justin

Check out the other XPRTs: