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
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!
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:
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!
HandBrake recently released a new version, v1.2.2, of their video conversion software. Among other improvements, the new version includes support for certain AMD (VCE) and NVIDIA (NVENC) hardware-accelerated video encoders. Because we include HandBrake as one of the commercial applications in the HDXPRT installer package, and because we want to keep HDXPRT 4 up-to-date for testers, we’ve put together a new HDXPRT 4 build: v1.1. It includes HandBrake 1.2.2’s new capabilities, and we’re currently testing it in the lab.
With the new build, testers will be able to choose whether HDXPRT’s HandBrake tasks target a system’s integrated or discrete graphics cards by changing a flag called “UseIntegrated” in the config file. In HDXPRT 4 v1.1, the flag is set to “true” by default, directing HandBrake to use the codec provided by the system’s integrated graphics hardware. On the other hand, if a system has both integrated and discrete graphics available, and a user sets the flag to “false,” HandBrake will use the codec provided by the discrete graphics.
This update allows users to compare the video conversion performance of different video codecs on the same system. In all other respects, the benchmark has not changed. So apart from a scenario where a tester changes the targeted graphics hardware, scores from previous HDXPRT 4 builds will be comparable to those from the new build.
We’ll let the community know as soon as the new build is available, and we’ll update the HDXPRT 4 User Manual to reflect the changes.
If you have any questions about the upcoming HDXPRT 4 build, please let us know!
We’re excited to announce that HDXPRT 4 is now available to the public! Just like previous versions of HDXPRT, HDXPRT 4 uses trial versions of commercial applications to complete real-world media tasks. The HDXPRT 4 installation package includes installers for some of those programs, such as Audacity and HandBrake. For other programs, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements and CyberLink Media Espresso, users will need to download the necessary installers prior to testing by using the links and instructions in the HDXPRT 4 User Manual.
In addition to the editing photos, editing music, and converting videos workloads from prior versions of the benchmark, HDXPRT 4 includes two new Photoshop Elements scenarios. The first utilizes an AI tool that corrects closed eyes in photos, and the second creates a single panoramic photo from seven separate photos.
HDXPRT 4 is compatible with systems running Windows 10, and is available for download at HDXPRT.com. The installation package is about 4.8 GB, so the download may take several minutes. The setup process takes about 30 minutes on most computers, and a standard test run takes approximately an hour.
This week, we’re sharing a little more about the upcoming HDXPRT 4 Community Preview. Just like previous versions of HDXPRT, HDXPRT 4 will use trial versions of commercial applications to complete workload tasks. We will include installers for some of those programs, such as Audacity and HandBrake, in the HDXPRT installation package. For other programs, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2018 and CyberLink Media Espresso 7.5, users will need to download the necessary installers prior to testing using links and instructions that we will provide. The HDXPRT 4 installation package is just over 4.7 GB, slightly smaller than previous versions.
I can also report that the new version requires fewer pre-test configuration steps and a full test run takes much less time than before. Some systems that took over an hour to complete an HDXPRT 2014 run are completing HDXPRT 4 runs in about 25 minutes.
We’ll continue to provide more information as we get closer to releasing the community preview. If you’re interested in testing with HDXPRT 4 before the general release but have not yet joined the community, we invite you to join now. If you have any questions or comments about HDXPRT or the community, please contact us.