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Category: Application-based benchmarks

A note about Adobe PSE and HDXPRT 4

During recent Windows 11 HDXPRT 4 compatibility testing, we noticed that Adobe now requires a user ID to download the free Adobe Photoshop Elements 2020 trial. Previously, testers could download the trial without setting up an account. While setting up an Adobe account is free, this change might inconvenience some HDXPRT 4 testers. Unfortunately, we don’t currently know of a way around it. We apologize for the hassle!

Justin

Following up on XPRT compatibility with Windows 11

Last week, we discussed the upcoming Windows 11 GA launch on October 5, and our hope that the transition period from Windows 10 to Windows 11 will go smoothly for the three XPRTs that run on Windows 10, HDXPRT 4, TouchXPRT 2016, and AIXPRT. We’re happy to report that so far, we’ve been able to install HDXPRT 4 and TouchXPRT 2016 on the latest stable preview of Windows 11 without any problems. For TouchXPRT 2016, we successfully installed the benchmark using both available methods—directly from the Microsoft Store and through the manual sideload process—and ran it without issues.

We’re still testing Windows 11 compatibility with the AIXPRT OpenVINO, TensorFlow, and TensorRT test packages, and will share our findings here in the blog as soon as possible. Also, because Microsoft might still publish through the stable preview channel Windows 11 changes that interfere with the HDXPRT 4 or TouchXPRT 2016 installation or testing processes, we’ll continue to verify each benchmark’s Windows 11 compatibility up through and beyond launch day.

If you’re conducting your own HDXPRT 4, TouchXPRT 2016, or AIXPRT testing on the Windows 11 beta, you could encounter issues with newly published updates before we do due to the timing of our update cycles. You could also run into problems that are specific to your test gear. In either case, please don’t assume that we already know about the problem. Let us know!

Justin

Thinking ahead to the next HDXPRT

We’re currently formulating our 2021 development roadmap for the XPRTs. In addition to planning CloudXPRT and WebXPRT updates, we’re discussing the possibility of releasing HDXPRT 5 in 2021. It’s hard for me to believe, but it’s been about two and a half years since we started work on HDXPRT 4, and February 2021 will mark two years since the first HDXPRT 4 release. Windows PCs are more powerful than ever, so it’s a good time to talk about how we can enhance the benchmark’s ability to measure how well the latest systems handle real-world media technologies and applications.

When we plan a new version of an XPRT benchmark, one of our first steps is updating the benchmark’s workloads so that they will remain relevant in years to come. We almost always update application content, such as photos and videos, to contemporary file resolutions and sizes. For example, we added both higher-resolution photos and a 4K video conversion task in HDXPRT 4. Are there specific types of media files that you think would be especially relevant to high-performance media tasks over the next few years?

Next, we will assess the suitability of the real-world trial applications that the editing photos, editing music, and converting videos test scenarios use. Currently, these are Adobe Photoshop Elements, Audacity, CyberLink MediaEspresso, and HandBrake. Can you think of other applications that belong in a high-performance media processing benchmark?

In HDXPRT 4, we gave testers the option to target a system’s discrete graphics card during the video conversion workload. Has this proven useful in your testing? Do you have suggestions for new graphics-oriented workloads?

We’ll also strive to make the UI more intuitive, to simplify installation, and to reduce the size of the installation package. What elements of the current UI do you find especially useful or think we could improve? 

We welcome your answers to these questions and any additional suggestions or comments on HDXPRT 5. Send them our way!

Justin

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

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