Jun 12, 2013

How useful is the Windows Experience Index as a benchmark tool?

I know Microsoft says that the Windows Experience Index is not a benchmark, but it sure does quack and waddle. Assuming that it is a benchmark tool (quack, quack), how useful is it. I’m planning on trying a few things out, and if I can use the built in tool for an accurate assessment of how much difference each change makes, that would be great.

Here's a background article on Windows Experience Index.

What is the Windows Experience Index?

"The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer's hardware and software configuration and expresses this measurement as a number called a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score, especially when performing more advanced and resource-intensive tasks.

Each hardware component receives an individual subscore. Your computer's base score is determined by the lowest subscore. For example, if the lowest subscore of an individual hardware component is 2.6, then the base score is 2.6. The base score is not an average of the combined subscores. However, the subscores can give you a view of how the components that are most important to you will perform, and can help you decide which components to upgrade."

The thing that makes the WEI numbers a little difficult to use for benchmarking is that the score numbers aren’t easy to translate into plain meaning. For example, the the gaming graphics score relies on Direct3D rendering and measures blending and shading, thereby automatically penalizing your score if your graphics card doesn’t support Pixel Shader 3.0 specifications. Even so, it is an objective measurement, and you should be able to see a numerical improvement for those things you, uh, improve. Just be aware that Microsoft sometimes has very specific ideas of what makes for a good score in each category. I think the most useful part of WEI is the ability to identify the area where your system is weakest (the lowest score) so you can focus your efforts where upgrades will have the greatest benefit. 

Answer this