For HDXPRT 2011, we did quite a bit of testing to characterize the benchmark. Those results appeared in an initial white paper and a follow up one. In the first, we ran tests on different processors, various amounts of RAM, internal vs. external graphics, hard disk vs. SSD, and the effects of Intel Turbo Boost Technology. In the follow up white paper, we looked in more depth at the effect of graphics cards with different processors.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we are starting to put together a testbed to help us characterize HDXPRT 2012. What is in that testbed will define what characteristics of the upcoming benchmark we measure. We would like to get your help defining that testbed.
Our current thinking is to do a similar set of tests this year with updated hardware. However, plenty of additional things would be interesting to look at. First, I would like to increase the range of processors we test, including AMD processors. I would also like to do some testing varying different processor characteristics such as threads, cores, and frequency. It might also be good to look at the effect of new technologies like hybrid drives (which combine a small SSD with a hard disk to try and have the best of both).
We face two challenges in doing these characterization tests. One is to try and change one only variable at a time. That is very difficult in some cases, such as comparing Intel and AMD processors—you can’t just swap them in the same motherboard. Fortunately, it is usually possible to find very similar motherboards and keep other components (like disks, graphics, and RAM) constant. The other challenge is getting all of the necessary hardware in house.
So, we have two requests for you. First, let us know what you would like to see us test. Second, help us by supplying some of that equipment. If you supply the equipment we will do our best to include results from it in the characterization study and in the new HDXPRT 2012 results database. As always, thanks for your help!