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An updated HDXPRT 4 build is on the way

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!

Justin

HDXPRT 4 is here!

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.

After trying out HDXPRT 4, please submit your scores here and send any comments to BenchmarkXPRTsupport@principledtechnologies.com. To see test results from a variety of systems, go to HDXPRT.com and click View Results, where you’ll find scores from a variety of devices. We look forward to seeing your results!

Out with the old, and in with the new

What we now know as the BenchmarkXPRT Development Community started many years ago as the HDXPRT Development Community forum. At the time, the community was much smaller, and HDXPRT was our only benchmark. When a member wanted to run the benchmark, they submitted a request, and then received an installation DVD in the mail.

With hundreds of members, more than a half dozen active benchmarks, and the online availability of all our tools, the current community is a much different organization. Instead of the original forum, most of our interaction with members takes place through the blog, the monthly newsletter, direct email, and our social media accounts. Because of the way the community has changed, and because the original forum is no longer very active, we believe that the time and resources that we devote to maintaining the forum could be better spent on building and maintaining other community assets. To that end, we’ve decided to end support for the original BenchmarkXPRT forum.

As always, community members’ voices are an important consideration in what we do. If you have any questions or concerns about the decision to close down the original forum, please let us know as soon as possible.

On another note, we want to thank the community members who’ve participated in the HDXPRT 4 Community Preview. Testing has gone well, and we’re planning to release HDXPRT 4 to the public towards the end of next week!

Justin

New XPRTs for the new year

Happy 2019! January is already a busy time for the XPRTs, so we want to share a quick preview of what community members can expect in the coming months.

The MobileXPRT 3 community preview (CP) is still open, but draws to a close on January 18th. If you are not familiar with the updates and changes we implemented in the newest version of MobileXPRT, you can read more in the blog. Members can access this APK on the MobileXPRT tab in the Members’ Area. We also posted an installation guide that provides both a general overview of the app and detailed instructions for each step. The entire process takes about five minutes on most devices. If you haven’t already, give it a try!

We also recently published the first AIXPRT Request for Comments (RFC) preview build, an early version of one of the tools we’re developing to evaluate machine learning performance. You can find more details in Bill’s most recent blog post and on AIXPRT.com. Only BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members have access to our RFCs and the opportunity to provide feedback. However, because we’re seeking broad input from experts in this field, we’ll gladly make anyone interested in participating a member. To gain access to the AIXPRT repository, please send us a request.

Work on the HDXPRT 4 CP candidate build continues, and we hope to publish the preview for community members this month. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to get this right. We think it will be worth the wait.

On a general note, I’ll be travelling to CES 2019 in Las Vegas next week. CES is a great opportunity for us to survey emerging tech and industry trends, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts from the show. If you’ll be there and would like to discuss any aspect of the XPRTs in person, let me know.

Justin

HDXPRT 4: Getting it right

For BenchmarkXPRT Development Community members anticipating the HDXPRT 4 Community Preview (CP), we want to thank you for your patience and explain where we are in the release process.

This past month has brought a flurry of activity in the Windows 10 development world. We’ve been testing HDXPRT 4 extensively on each of the new prerelease builds available through the Windows Insider Program. While testing on a recent Windows 10 Redstone 5 preview build, we began to see inconsistent HDXPRT 4 workload scores on some systems. The difference between those workload scores and scores on the same systems with previous Windows 10 builds was significant enough for us to decide that the best course of action is to hold off on the CP until we understand the issue. We don’t want to release a CP only to run into serious problems with an imminent Windows release. We want to take the time to figure out what’s going on and get it right.

We hope to resolve these issues and publish the HDXPRT 4 CP as soon as possible. Thanks again for your patience. We’ll update the community soon with more information on the anticipated release schedule.

Justin

HDXPRT 4: A little lighter and a lot faster

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.

Justin

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