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Category: HDXPRT

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

The ongoing evolution of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community

This November will mark the tenth anniversary of the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community, which we originally called the HDXPRT Development Community. Since the early days of HDXPRT, our community has grown to include about 275 members from over 85 companies and organizations, and we’ve added seven benchmarks to the XPRT family. We initially mailed HDXPRT DVDs to testers interested in a new way to evaluate PC performance, and now thousands of users around the world download our benchmarks and rely on them to help measure the performance of everything from tablets to laptops to high-end datacenter hardware.

As the XPRTs continue to grow and evolve, we’ve worked to make sure that the resources that we offer—and the ways we offer them—continue to meet the needs of XPRT testers and community members. As we expand in the AI and datacenter spaces with AIXPRT and CloudXPRT, our user group is becoming larger and more diverse than ever. We have already made some changes to better serve this expanding group, and will be making additional changes over the months ahead.

The first set of changes relate to our community membership model. Originally, membership in the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community required a $20 fee and provided access to preview versions of new benchmarks, the ability to submit ideas for future benchmarks, and regular updates through our monthly newsletter and community announcements. To remove the financial obstacle to joining, we introduced a fee waiver process a few years ago.

Also, we know that some OEM employees and members of the tech press are interested in the XPRTs, but are unable to join the community for one reason or another. With these people in mind, we recently experimented with making the CloudXPRT Preview publicly available. Releasing preview builds to all who are interested makes it more likely that users will incorporate the XPRTs into their test suites, and we have decided to adopt this practice for other benchmarks going forward.

In the coming months, we’ll be updating parts of our website to increase access to XPRT content. For example, certain content such as source code for most of the XPRTs is currently available only to members. We plan to remove the login requirement for access to this material.

Please keep in mind that membership in the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community continues to offer exclusive opportunities. Members can join groups such as the CloudXPRT Results Review Group and offer direct input into the design of future benchmarks. Members also receive our monthly newsletters.

If you have any questions about the XPRTs or community membership, please feel free to ask!

Justin

Adapting to a changing tech landscape

The BenchmarkXPRT Development Community started almost 10 years ago with the development of the High Definition Experience & Performance Ratings Test, also known as HDXPRT. Back then, we distributed the benchmark to interested parties by mailing out physical DVDs. We’ve come a long way since then, as testers now freely and easily access six XPRT benchmarks from our site and major app stores.

Developers, hardware manufacturers, and tech journalists—the core group of XPRT testers—work within a constantly changing tech landscape. Because of our commitment to providing those testers with what they need, the XPRTs grew as we developed additional benchmarks to expand the reach of our tools from PCs to servers and all types of notebooks, Chromebooks, and mobile devices.

As today’s tech landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, our desire to play an active role in emerging markets continues to drive us to expand our testing capabilities into areas like machine learning (AIXPRT) and cloud-first applications (CloudXPRT). While these new technologies carry the potential to increase efficiency, improve quality, and boost the bottom line for companies around the world, it’s often difficult to decide where and how to invest in new hardware or services. The ever-present need for relevant and reliable data is the reason many organizations use the XPRTs to help make confident choices about their company’s future tech.

We just released a new video that helps to explain what the XPRTs provide and how they can play an important role in a company’s tech purchasing decisions. We hope you’ll check it out!

We’re excited about the continued growth of the XPRTs, and we’re eager to meet the challenges of adapting to the changing tech landscape. If you have any questions about the XPRTs or suggestions for future benchmarks, please let us know!

Justin

The CrXPRT 2 Community Preview is almost here!

We appreciate everyone’s patience and feedback during the CrXPRT 2 development process. We’re excited to say that we’re now wrapping up some final details and expect to release the Community Preview (CP) within the next week.

Here is a summary of the key differences between CrXPRT 2015 and CrXPRT 2:

  • As we mentioned a few weeks ago, CrXPRT 2 has a completely new UI in line with the functional and aesthetic themes we used for the latest versions of WebXPRT, MobileXPRT, and HDXPRT, with a focus on intuitive navigation.
  • The CrXPRT 2 performance test includes six of the seven workloads in CrXPRT 2015. Newer versions of Chrome can’t run the Photo Collage workload without a workaround, so we removed it from CrXPRT 2.
  • We updated the images in the Photo Effects and Face Detection workloads to reflect more contemporary file resolutions and sizes.
  • The CrXPRT 2 battery life test requires a full rundown, so you’ll need charge your device to 100 percent before you can start the test, and the length of battery life tests will vary according to the battery life of the systems under test.
  • We no longer require testers to enter luminance and audio measurements in order to run a battery life test.
  • We added a second video playback segment to each battery life iteration.


We allow testers to publish CP test scores, but CrXPRT 2 overall performance test scores and battery life measurements are not comparable to CrXPRT 2015 scores.

Only BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members will be able to download the CrXPRT 2 CP. Because the Chrome team stopped providing search and browse functions for hosted and packaged Chrome apps in the Chrome Web Store, members will need a direct link to access the app. Once the app is available, we’ll post that link, along with the CrXPRT 2 CP user manual, on the CrXPRT tab in the XPRT Members’ Area (login required). We’ll also send a message to the community and post a notice here in the blog.

If you have any questions about CrXPRT 2 or joining the community, please let us know!

Justin

HDXPRT 4: Troubleshooting an issue with the Convert Videos workload

Yesterday, we received a report that an HDXPRT 4 tester encountered an error message during the Convert Videos workload. During the workload, HDXPRT uses HandBrake 1.2.2 and CyberLink MediaEspresso 7.5 to convert multiple videos to formats optimized for mobile phones.

The error message reports that the video files did not load correctly:

We apologize for the inconvenience that this causes for HDXPRT testers. We’re troubleshooting to determine the cause of the issue and will let the community know as soon as we identify a reliable solution. If you have any insight into this issue, or have encountered any other error messages during HDXPRT testing, please feel free to contact us!

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

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