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Category: HDXPRT Webinar

Make sure your voice is heard

One thing about the community model we use for developing HDXPRT is that is depends on the community. Your input is essential to making the benchmark the best it can be. As the community grows, we’re learning more about your priorities.

During the development of HDXPRT 2012, we made the decision to remove the playback tests from the benchmark. While the design document called for the playback test to include 4K H.264, Windows Media Player does not play that format by default. Because less demanding codecs were not differentiating systems, and because the stars used to report the results confused some people, it seemed like a reasonable decision. Bill announced the decision in a blog post, More HDXPRT 2012 changes.

Fast forward to September 18, when Bill hosted the HDXPRT 2012 Webinar. During the Q&A session, a new member of the community said that the playback tests from HDXPRT 2011 were what got him interested in the benchmark. For now, he has to use HDXPRT 2011 for those tests, although, as per Bill’s original blog post, we may release a more demanding playback test as a standalone inspection test later this year.

The suggestion period for HDXPRT 2013 started on October 1. Now is the time to let us know what tests are the most useful to you. If there are tests you’d like us to add, tests you’d like us to change, applications you’d like us to consider, we need to know that too. You can post your suggestions to the forum in the HDXPRT 2013 Suggestions section or mail them to hdxprtsupport@hdxprt.com.

In November, we’ll develop an RFC for HDXPRT 2013 and send it to the community for review.

While the suggestions we receive early have the best chance of being implemented, comments we receive after the formal suggestion period still get our attention. We’re always listening. Contact us anytime and make sure that HDXPRT 2013 includes the things that are important to you.

Eric

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Working towards Windows 8

This past Wednesday, Bill hosted a Webinar to discuss HDXPRT 2012. He covered a lot of material. We’ll make a recording of it available on the site fairly soon.

During the Webinar, Bill mentioned that we’re working on a patch to let HDXPRT run on Windows 8. We have begun testing this patch. However, given the high level of interest in the community about testing HDXPRT on Windows 8, we are going to offer the patch on Friday to any community members that want to try it on an “as is” basis.

Using the patch is straightforward. Having installed HDXPRT on a Windows 8 system, you copy a few files to the HDXPRT\Bin folder, run a DOS script, and reboot. At that point, HDXPRT should run on the Windows 8 system. We will include detailed instructions with the download.

The patch should have no impact on the scores. This means you can compare results from Windows 8 systems with the results you already have from Windows 7 systems.

We hope that you will try HDXPRT on Windows 8 and let us know what you see. We’ll use your feedback as we finalize the update of HDXPRT 2012 that will fully support Windows 8.

When the update is available, we’ll post to the community forum, tweet, and put a notice on the Web page.

In other news, there’s a post on the forum that gives instructions for getting more detailed timing information from HDXPRT. Community members can read that post here: How to get more detailed timing information from HDXPRT 2012

Finally, the comment period for HDXPRT 2013 starts October 1. Be thinking about what you’d like to see in HDXPRT 2013!

Eric

Update: The prerelease Patch for Windows 8 is now available. You can download it here.

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TouchXPRT update

We have been spending a lot of our energy (and blog space) on HDXPRT 2012 over the last few weeks. We have not, however, forgotten about TouchXPRT.

As we discussed in the past, TouchXPRT will be a new benchmark designed for touch-based devices like tablets and touch-capable Ultrabooks. It will incorporate apps and scenarios tailored to touch-based environments and devices. The initial version will run on the Windows 8 environment formerly known as Metro.

Our current plan is to release an informal design overview later this month. We then hope to have a preview version of TouchXPRT available to community members in October. Depending upon feedback, we will work on improvements and fixes through January with a release in February. We will have more details in the forums and in blog entries over the next few weeks.

As always, we need feedback and input from the community. If you are not currently a member, now is the time to join so you can participate in specifying and developing TouchXPRT. We are excited about both the benchmark and this emerging product space. We hope you are, too!

I do have one thing to mention about HDXPRT 2012. Please remember that we are going to do a Webinar next week (Tuesday, 9/18 at 2:00pm ET). We plan to discuss HDXPRT 2012 and have plenty of time for questions from attendees. We’d love for you to join, learn more about the benchmark, and give us your thoughts and feedback. We will send out more details to community members in an email later this week.

Bill

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Real performance for real people

As you know by now, HDXPRT 2012 uses real commercial applications and realistic workloads to evaluate PC performance. We believe this approach, where we used the same software you do, and used it to do the same types of work you do, was the best way to relate a PC’s performance to the experience you’ll have.

The point of all this has been to help you answer some of the questions you’d confront when buying a PC. How much of a performance boost does adding memory really give you? Is the faster RAM worth it? How much faster is a new Intel Core i7 processor than a second-generation processor?

This Friday, we’re publishing the HDXPRT 2012 v 1.0 Scaling White Paper, which looks at exactly these issues. To prepare the paper, we took a single system and ran dozens of tests, changing one variable at a time. This let us isolate the effect each component had on performance. We show the effect of changing the following:
• The processor: We compared half a dozen second- and third-generation Intel Core i3, i5, and i7processors.
• The amount of memory: We compared the effect of having 2, 4, 8, and 16 GB of RAM.
• Memory speed and banking: We compared 1,333MHz and 1,600MHz DDR3 RAM. We also looked at the effect of using a single DIMM vs. using two smaller DIMMs for the same total memory amount.
• Drive type: We compared traditional hard disk drives and solid state drives.

Not all workloads reacted the same, so our paper presents the effect of each change on the component scores as well as on the Create HD score. This is the type of information everyone buying a PC needs.

We’re going to have a Webinar at 2 pm ET on Tuesday September 18. We’ll talk about HDXPRT 2012 and take your questions. Details to come.

In addition, we have a new video introducing HDXPRT to system vendors and testers. I hope you enjoy it.

Eric

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Discussing the future

As I mentioned a couple weeks back, we’ve begun the HDXPRT 2012 development cycle by asking for suggestions. Before we get much further in the process, we’d like an opportunity to talk with you more directly. The best way to do that is via a webinar.

I’ll be hosting an HDXPRT webinar this coming Friday, October 14 at 2:00pm EST. I’m hoping you’ll be able to join us. I’ll go over the progress we’ve made this year in the HDXPRT Development Community, talk about the HDXPRT 2011 source code we recently released to members, and discuss the roadmap for the development cycle of HDXPRT 2012 that is just starting.

We really want your feedback on the current benchmark and your input on future directions. I encourage you to attend the webinar and let us know your ideas and suggestions. I expect the webinar will last about 45 minutes, depending upon the questions people have. We will be sending out email invitations to members shortly. If you have not joined the community, please do so now (at http://www.hdxprt.com/forum/register.php) and we will get you an invitation as well.

We know you may be unable to make the scheduled time, so we’ll post the webinar when it is over, as we have done in the past (http://hdxprt.com/webinar).

We value your input and participation in the HDXPRT benchmark process and look forward to your joining us later this week for the webinar. “See” you there!

Bill

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Sneak peak at the HDXPRT 2011 results white paper

After spending weeks testing different configurations with HDXPRT 2011, we are putting the final touches on a white paper detailing the results. I thought I’d give you a sneak peak at some of the things the tests revealed about the characteristics of HDXPRT 2011.

As I explained last week, trying to understand the characteristics of a benchmark requires careful testing while changing one component at a time. To do that, we ran the tests on a single system using an Intel DH67BL motherboard. We changed processors (both type and speed), the amount of RAM, the type of storage (hard disk and SSD), and the graphics subsystem, as well as a few other variables.

Here are a few of the things we found:

  • Processor speed – On an Intel Core i3, increasing the processor speed (GHz) 6.5% resulted in a 4.4% increase in the HDXPRT overall score. On an Intel Core i5, increasing the processor speed (GHz) 17.9% resulted in an 8.1% increase in the HDXPRT overall score. Generally, that means that increased processor speed is important, but the performance scales somewhat less than the raw gigahertz.
  • Memory – Increasing from 2 GB to 4 GB increased the overall score 10.7% on an Intel Core i5 and 15.8% on an Intel Core i7. However, increasing from 4 GB to 8 GB increased the score less than 2% on both processors. These results map pretty well with my personal experience: going to 4 GB is important for media-rich applications, but going to 8 GB is less so.
  • Disk drive – Switching from a hard disk to an SSD increased the overall score about 1%. While I would certainly prefer an SSD to a hard disk, this shows that, for HDXPRT 2011, disk performance has only a small influence on the results.

Many more details will be in the white paper we will publish in the next few days. Please be on the lookout for it and let us know what you think of the results and what they say about the characteristics of HDXPRT 2011.

We plan to conduct a Webinar in the near future to discuss the HDXPRT 2011 results white paper and to answer general questions. I hope to see you there!

Bill

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