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Contribute to WebXPRT’s AI capabilities with your NPU-equipped gear

A few weeks ago, we announced that we’re developing a new auxiliary WebXPRT 4 workload focused on local, browser-based AI technology. This is an exciting project for us, and as we work to determine the best approach from the perspective of frameworks, APIs, inference models, and test scenarios, we’re also thinking ahead to the testing process. To best understand how the new workload will impact system performance, we’re going to need to test it on hardware equipped with the latest generation of neural processing units (NPUs).

NPUs are not new, but the technology is advancing rapidly, and a growing number of PC and laptop manufacturers are releasing NPU-equipped systems. Several vendors have announced plans to release systems equipped with all-new NPUs in the latter half of this year. As is often the case with bleeding-edge technology, however, official release dates do not always coincide with widespread availability.

We want to evaluate new AI-focused WebXPRT workloads on the widest possible range of new systems, but getting a wide selection of gear equipped with the latest NPUs may take quite a while through normal channels. For that reason, we’ve decided to ask our readers for help to expedite the process.

If you’re an OEM or vendor representative with access to the latest generation of NPU-equipped gear and want to contribute to WebXPRT’s evolution, consider sending us any PCs, white boxes, laptops, 2-in-1s, or tablets (on loan) that would be suitable for NPU-focused testing. We have decades of experience serving as trusted testers of confidential and pre-release gear, so we’re well-acquainted with concerns about confidentiality that may come into play, and we won’t publish any information about the systems or related test results without your permission.

We will, though, be happy to share with you our test results on your systems, and we’d love to hear any guidance or other feedback from you on this new workload.

We’re open to any suitable gear, but we’re especially interested in AMD Ryzen AI, Apple M4, Intel Lunar Lake and Arrow Lake, and Qualcomm Snapdragon X Elite systems.

If you’re interested in sending us gear for WebXPRT development testing, please contact us. We’ll work out all the necessary details. Thanks in advance for your help!

Justin

Updating our WebXPRT 4 browser performance comparisons with new gear

Once or twice per year, we refresh an ongoing series of WebXPRT comparison tests to see if recent updates have reordered the performance rankings of popular web browsers. We published our most recent comparison in January, when we used WebXPRT 4 to compare the performance of five browsers on the same system.

This time, we’re publishing an updated set of comparison scores sooner than we normally would because we chose to move our testing to a newer reference laptop. The previous system—a Dell XPS 13 7930 with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM—is now several years old. We wanted to transition to a system that is more in line with current mid-range laptops. By choosing to test on a capable mid-tier laptop, our comparison scores are more likely to fall within the range of scores we would see from an typical user today.

Our new reference system is a Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen 3 with an Intel Core i7-1270P processor and 16 GB of RAM. It’s running Windows 11 Home, updated to version 23H2 (22631.3527). Before testing, we installed all current Windows updates and tested on a clean system image. After the update process was complete, we turned off updates to prevent any further updates from interfering with test runs. We ran WebXPRT 4 three times each on five browsers: Brave, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. In Figure 1 below, each browser’s score is the median of the three test runs.

In our last round of tests—on the Dell XPS 13—the four Chromium-based browsers (Brave, Chrome, Edge, and Opera) produced close scores, with Edge taking a small lead among the four. Each of the Chromium browsers significantly outperformed Firefox, with the slowest of the Chromium browsers (Brave) outperforming Firefox by 13.5 percent.

In this round of tests—on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s—the scores were very tight, with a difference of only 4 percent between the last-place browser (Brave) and the winner (Chrome). Interestingly, Firefox no longer trailed the four Chromium browsers—it was squarely in the middle of the pack.

Figure 1: The median scores from running WebXPRT 4 three times with each browser on the Lenovo ThinkPad T14s.

Unlike previous rounds that showed a higher degree of performance differentiation between the browsers, scores from this round of tests are close enough that most users wouldn’t notice a difference. Even if the difference between the highest and lowest scores was substantial, the quality of your browsing experience will often depend on factors such as the types of things you do on the web (e.g., gaming, media consumption, or multi-tab browsing), the impact of extensions on performance, and how frequently the browsers issue updates and integrate new technologies, among other things. It’s important to keep such variables in mind when thinking about how browser performance comparison results may translate to your everyday web experience.

Have you tried using WebXPRT 4 to test the speed of different browsers on the same system? If so, we’d love for you to tell us about it! Also, please tell us what other WebXPRT data you’d like to see!

Justin

Want to see your WebXPRT 4 results on WebXPRT.com? Here’s how to submit them for review

In a recent post, we discussed some key features that the WebXPRT 4 results viewer tool has to offer. In today’s post, we’ll cover the straightforward process of submitting your WebXPRT 4 test results for possible publication in the viewer.

Unlike sites that publish all submissions, we publish only results that meet our evaluation criteria. Those results can come from OEM labs, third-party labs, reliable tech media sources, or independent user submissions. What’s important to us is that the scores must be consistent with general expectations, and for sources outside of our labs and data centers, they must include enough detailed system information that we can determine whether the score makes sense. That being said, if your scores are a little bit different from what you see in our database, please don’t hesitate to send them to us for consideration. It costs you nothing.

The actual result submission process is quick and easy. At the end of the WebXPRT test run, click the Submit your results button below the overall score, complete the short submission form, and click Submit again. Please be as specific as possible when filling in the system information fields. Detailed device information helps us assess whether individual scores represent valid test runs.

Figure 1 below shows how the form would look if I submitted a score at the end of a recent WebXPRT 4 run on one of the test systems here in our lab.

Figure 1: A screenshot of the WebXPRT 4 end-of-test results submission screen.

After you submit your score, we’ll contact you to confirm how we should display the source of the result in our database. You can choose one of the following:

  • Your first and last name
  • “Independent tester” (for users who wish to remain anonymous)
  • Your company’s name, if you have permission to submit the result in their name. If you want to use a company name, please provide a valid company email address that corresponds with the company name.

As always, we will not publish any additional information about you or your company without your permission.

We look forward to seeing your scores! If you have questions about WebXPRT 4 testing or results submission, please let us know!

Justin

Up next for WebXPRT 4: A new AI-focused workload!

We’re always thinking about ways to improve WebXPRT. In the past, we’ve discussed the potential benefits of auxiliary workloads and the role that such workloads might play in future WebXPRT updates and versions. Today, we’re very excited to announce that we’ve decided to move forward with the development of a new WebXPRT 4 workload focused on browser-side AI technology!

WebXPRT 4 already includes timed AI tasks in two of its workloads: the Organize Album using AI workload and the Encrypt Notes and OCR Scan workload. These two workloads reflect the types of light browser-side inference tasks that have been available for a while now, but most heavy-duty inference on the web has historically happened in on-prem servers or in the cloud. Now, localized AI technology is growing by leaps and bounds, and the integration of new AI capabilities with browser-based tasks is on the threshold of advancing rapidly.

Because of this growth, we believe now is the time to start work on giving WebXPRT 4 the ability to evaluate new browser-based AI capabilities—capabilities that are likely to become a part of everyday life in the next few years. We haven’t yet decided on a test scenario or software stack for the new workload, but we’ll be working to refine our plan in the coming months. There seems to be some initial promise in emerging frameworks such as ONNX Runtime Web, which allows users to run and deploy web-based machine learning models by using JavaScript APIs and libraries. In addition, new Web APIs like WebGPU (currently supported in Edge, Chrome, and tech preview in Safari) and WebNN (in development) may soon help facilitate new browser-side AI workloads.

We know that many longtime WebXPRT 4 users will have questions about how this new workload may affect their tests. We want to assure you that the workload will be an optional bonus workload and will not run by default during normal WebXPRT 4 tests. As you consider possibilities for the new workload, here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • The workload will be optional for users to run.
  • It will not affect the main WebXPRT 4 subtest or overall scores in any way.
  • It will run separately from the main test and will produce its own score(s).
  • Current and future WebXPRT 4 results will still be comparable to one another, so users who’ve already built a database of WebXPRT 4 scores will not have to retest their devices.
  • Because many of the available frameworks don’t currently run on all browsers, the workload may not run on every platform.

As we research available technologies and explore our options, we would love to hear from you. If you have ideas for an AI workload scenario that you think would be useful or thoughts on how we should implement it, please let us know! We’re excited about adding new technologies and new value to WebXPRT 4, and we look forward to sharing more information here in the blog as we make progress.

Justin

The WebXPRT 4 results viewer: A powerful tool for browsing hundreds of test results

In our recent blog post about the XPRT results database, we promised to discuss the WebXPRT 4 results viewer in more detail. We developed the results viewer to serve as a feature-rich interactive tool that visitors to WebXPRT.com can use to browse the test results that we’ve published on our site, dig into the details of each result, and compare scores from multiple devices. The viewer currently has almost 700 test results, and we add new PT-curated entries each week.

Figure 1 shows the tool’s default display. Each vertical bar in the graph represents the overall score of a single test result, with bars arranged left-to-right, from lowest to highest. To view a single result in detail, hover over a bar to highlight it, and a small popup window will display the basic details of the result. You can then click to select the highlighted bar. The bar will turn dark blue, and the dark blue banner at the bottom of the viewer will display additional details about that result.

Figure 1: The WebXPRT 4 results viewer tool’s default display

In the example in Figure 1, the banner shows the overall score (237), the score’s percentile rank (66th) among the scores in the current display, the name of the test device, and basic hardware configuration information. If the source of the result is PT, you can click the Run info button in the bottom right-hand corner of the display to see the run’s individual workload scores. If the source is an external publisher, users can click the Source link to navigate to the original site.

The viewer includes a drop-down menu that lets users quickly filter results by major device type categories, plus a tab with additional filtering options, such as browser type, processor vendor, and result source. Figure 2 shows the viewer after I used the device type drop-down filter to select only laptops.

Figure 2: Screenshot from the WebXPRT 4 results viewer showing results filtered by the device type drop-down menu.

Figure 3 shows the viewer as I use the filter tab to explore additional filter options, such as processor vendor.

Figure 3: Screenshot from the WebXPRT 4 results viewer showing the filter options available with the filter tab.

The viewer will also let you pin multiple specific runs, which is helpful for making side-by-side comparisons. Figure 4 shows the viewer after I pinned four runs and viewed them on the Pinned runs screen.

Figure 4: Screenshot from the WebXPRT 4 results viewer showing four pinned runs on the Pinned runs screen.

Figure 5 shows the viewer after I clicked the Compare runs button. The overall and individual workload scores of the pinned runs appear in a table.

Figure 5: Screenshot from the WebXPRT 4 results viewer showing four pinned runs on the Compare runs screen.

We hope that you’ll enjoy using the results viewer to browse our WebXPRT 4 results database and that it will become one of your go-to resources for device comparison data.  

Are there additional features you’d like to see in the viewer, or other ways we can improve it? Please let us know, and send us your latest test results!

Justin

Want to know how your device performs? Explore the XPRT results database

If you only recently started using the XPRT benchmarks, you may not know about one of the free resources we offer—the XPRT results database. Our results database currently holds more than 3,650 test results from over 150 sources, including global tech press outlets, OEM labs, and independent testers. It serves as a treasure trove of current and historical performance data across all the XPRT benchmarks and hundreds of devices. You can use these results and the results of the same XPRTs on your device to get a sense of how well your device performs.

We update the results database several times a week, adding selected results from our own internal lab testing, reliable media sources, and end-of-test user submissions. (After you run one of the XPRTs, you can choose to submit the results, but don’t worry—this is opt-in. Your results do not automatically appear in the database.) Before adding a result, we also look at any available system information and evaluate whether the score makes sense and is consistent with general expectations.

There are three primary ways that you can explore the XPRT results database.

The first is by visiting the main BenchmarkXPRT results browser, which displays results entries for all of the XPRT benchmarks in chronological order (see the screenshot below). You can filter the results by selecting a benchmark from the drop-down menu. You can also type values, such as a vendor name (e.g., Dell) or the name of a tech publication (e.g., PCWorld) into the free-form filter field. For results we’ve produced in our lab, clicking “PT” in the Source column takes you to a page with additional configuration information for the test system. For sources outside our lab, clicking the source name takes you to the original article or review that contains the result.

The second way to access our published results is by visiting the results page for an individual XPRT benchmark. Start by going to the page of the benchmark that interests you (e.g., CrXPRT.com) , and looking for the blue View Results button. Clicking the button takes you to a page that displays results for only that benchmark. You can use the free-form filter on the page to filter those results, and you can use the Benchmarks drop-down menu to jump to the other individual XPRT results pages.

The third way to view our results database is with the WebXPRT 4 results viewer. The viewer provides an information-packed, interactive tool with which you can explore data from the curated set of WebXPRT 4 results we’ve published on our site. We’ll discuss the features of the WebXPRT 4 results viewer in more detail in a future post.

You can use any of these approaches to compare the results of an XPRT on your device with our many published results. We hope you’ll take some time to explore the information in our results database and that it proves to be helpful to you. If you have ideas for new features or suggestions for improvement, we’d love to hear from you!

Justin

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