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Category: WebXPRT 3

An early preview of the new WebXPRT 4 results viewer!

Last week, we shared some new details about the changes we’re likely to make in WebXPRT 4, and a rough target date for publishing a preview build. This week, we’re excited to share an early preview of the new results viewer tool that we plan to release in conjunction with WebXPRT 4. We hope the tool will help testers and analysts access the wealth of WebXPRT test results in our database in an efficient, productive, and enjoyable way. We’re still ironing out many of the details, so some aspects of what we’re showing today might change, but we’d like to give you an idea of what to expect.

The screenshot below shows the tool’s default display. In this example, the viewer displays over 650 sample results—from a wide range of device types—that we’re currently using as placeholder data. The viewer will include several sorting and filtering options, such as device type, hardware specs such as browser type and processor vendor, the source of the result, etc.

Each vertical bar in the graph represents the overall score of single test result, and the graph presents the scores in order from lowest to highest. To view an individual result in detail, the user simply hovers over and selects the bar representing the result. The bar turns dark blue, and the dark blue banner at the bottom of the viewer displays details about that result.

In the example above, the banner shows the overall score (250) and the score’s percentile rank (85th) among the scores in the current display. In the final version of the viewer, the banner will also display the device name of the test system, along with basic hardware disclosure information. Selecting the Run details button will let users see more about the run’s individual workload scores.

We’re still working on a way for users to pin or save specific runs. This would let users easily find the results that interest them, or possibly select multiple runs for a side-by-side comparison.

We’re excited about this new tool, and we look forward to sharing more details here in the blog as we get closer to taking it live. If you have any questions or comments about the results viewer, please feel free to contact us!

Justin

Using WebXPRT 3 to compare the performance of popular browsers (Round 3)

In November, we published our WebXPRT 3 browser performance comparison, so we decided it was time to see if the performance rankings of popular browsers have changed in the last nine months.

For this round of tests, we used the same laptop as last time: a Dell XPS 13 7930 with an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM running Windows 10 Home, updated to version 1909 (18363.1556). We installed all current Windows updates and tested on a clean system image. After the update process completed, we turned off updates to prevent them from interfering with test runs. We ran WebXPRT 3 three times each on five browsers: Brave, Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. For each browser, the score we post below is the median of the three test runs.

In our last round of tests, the four Chromium-based browsers (Brave, Chrome, Edge, and Opera) produced very close scores, though we saw about a four percent lower score from Brave. In this round of testing, performance improved for all four of the Chromium-based browsers. Chrome, Edge, and Opera still produced very close scores, but Brave’s performance still lagged, this time by about seven percent.

Firefox separated itself from the pack with a much higher score and has been the clear winner in all three rounds of testing. During our second round of testing in November, every browser except for Chrome saw slightly slower performance than the first round. In these latest tests, all the Chromium-based browsers produced significantly higher scores than the second round. When discussing browser performance, it’s important to remember that there are many possible reasons for these performance changes—including changes in browser overhead or changes in Windows—and most users may not notice the changes during everyday tasks.

Do these results mean that Mozilla Firefox will always provide you with a speedier web experience? As we noted in previous comparisons, a device with a higher WebXPRT score will probably feel faster during daily use than one with a lower score. For comparisons on the same system, however, the answer depends on several factors, such as the types of things you do on the web, how the extensions you’ve installed affect performance, how frequently the browsers issue updates and incorporate new web technologies, and how accurately each browser’s default installation settings reflect how you would set up that browser for your daily workflow.

In addition, browser speed can increase or decrease significantly after an update, only to swing back in the other direction shortly thereafter. OS-specific optimizations can also affect performance, such as with Edge on Windows 10 or Chrome on Chrome OS. All these variables are important to keep in mind when considering how browser performance comparison results translate to your everyday experience. Do you have insights you’d like to share from using WebXPRT to compare browser performance? Let us know!

Justin

Improving WebXPRT-related tools and resources

As we move forward with the WebXPRT 4 development process, we’re also working on ways to enhance the value of WebXPRT beyond simply updating the benchmark. Our primary goal is to expand and improve the WebXPRT-related tools and resources we offer at WebXPRT.com, starting with a new results viewer.

Currently, users can view WebXPRT results on our site two primary ways, each of which has advantages and limitations.

The first way is the WebXPRT results viewer, which includes hundreds of PT-curated performance scores from a wide range of trusted sources and devices. Users can sort entries by device type, device name, device model, overall score, date of publication, and source. The viewer also includes a free-form filter for quick, targeted searches. While the results viewer contains a wealth of information, it does not give users a way to use graphs or charts for viewing and comparing multiple results at once. Another limitation of the current results viewer is that it offers no easy way for users to access the additional data about the test device and the subtest scores that we have for many entries.

The second way to view WebXPRT results on our site is the WebXPRT Processor Comparison Chart. The chart uses horizontal bar graphs to compare test scores from the hundreds of published results in our database, grouped by processor type. Users can click the average score for a processor to view all the WebXPRT results we currently have for that processor. The visual aspect of the chart and its automated “group by processor type” feature are very useful, but it lacks the sorting and filtering capabilities of the viewer, and navigating to the details of individual tests takes multiple clicks.

In the coming months, we’ll be working to combine the best features of the results viewer and the comparison chart into a single powerful WebXPRT results database tool. We’ll also be investigating ways to add new visual aids, navigation controls, and data-handling capabilities to that tool. We want to provide a tool that helps testers and analysts access the wealth of WebXPRT test information in our database in an efficient, productive, and enjoyable way. If you have ideas or comments about what you’d like to see in a new WebXPRT results viewing tool, please let us know!

Justin

Round 2 of the WebXPRT 4 survey is now open

In May, we surveyed longtime WebXPRT users regarding the types of changes they would like to see in a WebXPRT 4. We sent the survey to journalists at several tech press outlets, and invited our blog readers to participate as well. We received some very helpful feedback. As we explore new possibilities for WebXPRT 4, we’ve decided to open an updated version of the survey. We’ve adjusted the questions a bit based on previous feedback and added some new ones, so we invite you to respond even if you participated in the original survey.

To do so, please send your answers to the following questions to benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com before July 31.

  • Do you think WebXPRT 3’s selection of workload scenarios is representative of modern web tasks?
  • How do you think WebXPRT compares to other common browser-based benchmarks, such as JetStream, Speedometer, and Octane?
  • Would you like to see a workload based on WebAssembly (WASM) in WebXPRT 4? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to see a workload based on Single Page Application (SPA) technology in WebXPRT 4? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to see a workload based on Motion UI in WebXPRT 4? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to see us include any other web technologies in additional workloads?
  • Are you happy with the WebXPRT 3 user interface? If not, what UI changes would you like to see?
  • Have you ever experienced significant connection issues when testing with WebXPRT?
  • Given its array of workloads, do you think the WebXPRT runtime is reasonable? Would you mind if the average runtime increased slightly?
  • Would you like to see us change any other aspects of WebXPRT 3?


If you would like to share your thoughts on any topics that the questions above do not cover, please include those in your response. We look forward to hearing from you!

Justin

How to submit WebXPRT results for publication

It’s been a while since we last discussed the process for submitting WebXPRT results to be considered for publication in the WebXPRT results browser and the WebXPRT Processor Comparison Chart, so we thought we’d offer a refresher.

Unlike sites that publish all results they receive, we hand-select results from internal lab testing, user submissions, and reliable tech media sources. In each case, we evaluate whether the score is consistent with general expectations. For sources outside of our lab, that evaluation includes confirming that there is enough detailed system information to help us determine whether the score makes sense. We do this for every score on the WebXPRT results page and the general XPRT results page. All WebXPRT results we publish automatically appear in the processor comparison chart as well.

Submitting your score 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. The screenshot below shows how the form would look if I submitted a score at the end of a WebXPRT 3 run on my personal system.

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

  • Your first and last name
  • “Independent tester” (for those who wish to remain anonymous)
  • Your company’s name, provided that you have permission to submit the result in their name. To use a company name, we ask that you provide a valid company email address.


We will not publish any additional information about you or your company without your permission.

We look forward to seeing your score submissions, and if you have suggestions for the processor chart or any other aspect of the XPRTs, let us know!

Justin

Feedback from the WebXPRT 4 tech press survey

In early May, we sent a survey to members of the tech press who regularly use WebXPRT in articles and reviews. We asked for their thoughts on several aspects of WebXPRT, as well as what they’d like to see in the upcoming fourth version of the benchmark. We also published the survey questions here in the blog, and invited experienced WebXPRT testers to send their feedback as well. We received some good responses to the survey, and for the benefit of our readers, we’ve summarized some of the key comments and suggestions below.

  • One respondent stated that WebXPRT is demanding enough to test performance, but if we want to simulate modern web usage, we should find the most up-to-date studies on common browser tasks and web technologies. This suggestion lines up with our intention to study the feasibility of adding a WebAssembly workload
  • One respondent liked that fact that unlike many other browser benchmarks, WebXPRT tests more than just JavaScript calculation speed.
  • One respondent suggested that we include a link to a WebXPRT white paper within the UI, or at least a guide describing what happens during each workload.
  • One respondent stated that they would like for WebXPRT to automatically produce a good result file on the local test system.
  • One respondent said that WebXPRT has a relatively long runtime for a browser benchmark, and they would prefer that the runtime not increase in WebXPRT 4.
  • We had no direct calls for a battery life test, because many testers already have scripts and/or methodologies in place for battery testing, but one tester suggested adding the ability to loop the test so users can measure performance over varying lengths of time.
  • There were no requests to bring back any aspects of WebXPRT 2015 that we removed in WebXPRT 3.
  • There were no reports of significant connection issues when testing with WebXPRT.

We greatly appreciate the members of the tech press that responded to the survey. We’re still in the planning stages of WebXPRT 4, so there’s still time for anyone to send comments or ideas to benchmarkxprtsupport@principledtechnologies.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Justin

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