This week, we published the Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper. It describes the design and structure of WebXPRT 4, including detailed information about the benchmark’s harness, HTML5 and WebAssembly (WASM) capability checks, and changes we’ve made to the structure of the performance test workloads. We explain the benchmark’s scoring methodology, how to automate tests, and how to submit results for publication. The white paper also includes information about the third-party functions and libraries that WebXPRT 4 uses during the HTML5 and WASM capability checks and performance workloads.
The Exploring WebXPRT 4 white paper promotes
the high level of transparency and disclosure that is a core value of the
BenchmarkXPRT Development Community. We’ve always believed that transparency
builds trust, and trust is essential for a healthy benchmarking community.
That’s why we involve community members in the benchmark development process
and disclose how we build our benchmarks and how they work.
When we first released WebXPRT 2013, some users in mainland China reported slow download times when running the benchmark. In response, we set up a mirror host site in Singapore to facilitate WebXPRT testing in China and other East Asian countries. We continued this practice with subsequent WebXPRT versions, and currently offer Singapore-based instances of WebXPRT 4, WebXPRT 3, and WebXPRT 2015.
Until this past month,
we used an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2-Classic environment to host the
Singapore mirror site. Because Amazon retired the EC2-Classic environment, we
had to migrate each of the WebXPRT Singapore instances to a new AWS Virtual
Private Cloud (VPC) environment.
We do not expect the new environment to affect WebXPRT Singapore testing or results, and have not yet observed any significant differences in WebXPRT performance scores while testing on the new site. If you have a different experience when testing on the new site or encounter interruptions when trying to access the test, please let us know!
We’re excited to see that users have successfully completed over 1,000,000 WebXPRT runs! If you’ve run WebXPRT in any of the 924 cities and 81 countries from which we’ve received complete test data—including newcomers Bahrain, Bangladesh, Mauritius, The Philippines, and South Korea —we’re grateful for your help. We could not have reached this milestone without you!
As the chart below illustrates, WebXPRT use has grown steadily since the debut of WebXPRT 2013. On average, we now record more WebXPRT runs in one month than we recorded in the entirety of our first year. With over 104,000 runs so far in 2022, that growth is continuing.
For us, this moment represents more than a numerical milestone. Developing and maintaining a benchmark is never easy, and a cross-platform benchmark that will run on a wide variety of devices poses an additional set of challenges. For such a benchmark to succeed, developers need not only technical competency, but the trust and support of the benchmarking community. WebXPRT is now in its ninth year, and its consistent year-over-year growth tells us that the benchmark continues to hold value for manufacturers, OEM labs, the tech press, and end users like you. We see it as a sign of trust that folks repeatedly return to the benchmark for reliable performance metrics. We’re grateful for that trust, and for everyone that’s contributed to the WebXPRT development process throughout the years.
We’ll have more to share related to this exciting milestone in the weeks to come, so stay tuned to the blog. If you have any questions or comments about WebXPRT, we’d love to hear from you!
Back in March, we discussed
the WebXPRT 4 results submission process and reminded readers that everyone who
runs a WebXPRT 4
test is welcome to submit scores for us to consider for publication in the WebXPRT 4 results viewer.
Unlike sites that publish every result that users submit, we publish only
results that meet our evaluation criteria. Among other things, scores must be
consistent with general expectations and must include enough detailed system
information to help us assess whether individual scores represent valid test
runs. Today, we offer a couple of tips to increase the likelihood that we will
publish your WebXPRT 4 test results.
Tip 1: Specify your system’s processor
While testers usually include
detailed information for the device, model number, operating system, and
browser version fields, we receive many submissions with little to no information
about the test system’s processor.
In the picture below, you can see an example of the level of detail that we require to consider a submission. We need the full processor name, including the manufacturer and model number (e.g., Intel Core i9-9980HK, AMD Ryzen 3 1300X, or Apple M1 Max). Note that we do not require the processor speed reported by the system.
Tip 2: Include a valid email
It is also common for submissions
to not include a valid email address. While we understand the privacy concerns related
to submitting a personal or corporate email address, we need a valid address
that we can use as a point of contact to confirm test-related information when
necessary. We don’t use those addresses for any other purposes, such as selling
them, sharing them with any third parties, or adding them to a mailing list.
We hope this information explains why we might not have published your results. We look forward to receiving your future score submissions. If you have any questions about the submission process, please let us know!
WebXPRT 4 has been available to testers since
the end of December, and we’re excited to see that the benchmark is already
gaining significant traction in the tech press and testing communities. Several
tech publications have already published reviews that feature WebXPRT results,
and the number of WebXPRT 4 runs is growing by about fifty percent each month, more
than twice the rate of growth for WebXPRT 3 after launch.
As WebXPRT 4 use continues to grow,
and more tech publications and OEM labs add WebXPRT 4 to their benchmark
suites, we encourage you to keep an eye on the WebXPRT 4 results viewer.
The viewer currently has about 120 test results, and we’ll continue to populate
the viewer with the latest PT-curated WebXPRT 4
results each week.
You don’t have to be a tech
journalist to publish a WebXPRT 4 result, however. We publish any results—including
individual user submissions—that meet our evaluation criteria. To submit a result
for publication consideration, simply follow the straightforward submission instructions
after the test completes. Scores must be consistent with general expectations and
must include enough detailed system information that we can determine whether
the score makes sense. If you’ve tested with WebXPRT 4 on a new device, or any
device or device configuration that’s not already present in the results
viewer, we encourage you to send in the result. We want to hear from you!
From time to time, we like to run a series of in-house WebXPRT comparison tests to see if recent updates have changed the performance rankings of popular web browsers. We published our most recent comparison last October, when we used WebXPRT 3 to compare Windows 10 and Windows 11 browser performance on the same system. Now that WebXPRT 4 is live, it’s time to update our comparison series with the newest member of the XPRT family.
For this round of tests, we used a Dell
XPS 13 7930, which features an Intel Core i3-10110U processor and 4 GB of RAM, running
Windows 11 Home updated to version 21H2 (22000.593). 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 4 three times each across five browsers: Brave, Google
Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera. The posted score for each
browser is the median of the three test runs.
In our previous round of tests with WebXPRT 3, Google Chrome narrowly beat out Firefox in Windows 10 and Windows 11 testing, but the scores among three of the Chromium-based browsers (Chrome, Edge, and Opera) were close enough that most users performing common daily tasks would be unlikely to notice a difference. Brave performance lagged by about 7 percent, a difference that may be noticeable to most users. This time, when testing updated versions of the browsers with WebXPRT 4 on Windows 11, the rankings changed. Edge was the clear winner, with a 2.2 percent performance advantage over Chrome. Firefox came in last, about 3 percent slower than Opera, which was in the middle of the pack. Performance from Brave improved to the point that it was no longer lagging the other Chromium-based browsers.
Do these results mean that Microsoft
Edge will always provide you with a speedier web experience? 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 in
part on 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
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 11 and Chrome on Chrome OS. All these
variables are important to keep in mind when considering how WebXPRT 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!