UL Procyon — Professional Benchmark Suite

PC Benchmarking Procyon®: Interview With an Expert

Annika Laaksonen is the product manager for Procyon® benchmarking suite from UL Solutions and is focused on bringing these benchmarks to the enterprise market. We sat down with Annika to discuss the importance of PC benchmarking, its challenges and trends, and the UL Solutions benchmarking service, Procyon.

Q1: What exactly is benchmarking? How is it applied to workplace personal computers?

AL: Benchmarking tests how well a product performs a specific function and how that performance compares across similar products. Computer benchmarks provide a quantitative differentiator for PC performance testing. A benchmarking program runs a series of well-defined tests to measure PC performance. It scores a PC system’s performance of common tasks: the higher the score, the better the performance. Comparing benchmark scores is easier than comparing complex technical specifications, allowing for informed, rapid decisions to deliver PC performance, cut hardware costs and save testing time. Benchmarks may be manually installed to test computers. Or, for a workplace with many computers to test and monitor across multiple locations, our cloud-based benchmark automation software Testdriver® Cloud Edition enables remote testing and monitoring of systems in multiple locations.

Q2: Why is PC benchmarking important in today’s business environment — particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?

AL: More people are working remotely, making it difficult for IT professionals to identify problems. With the help of our benchmarks and Testdriver Cloud, enterprise IT professionals can easily compare computer behavior to the expected baseline and identify and react to problems.

Q3: How does PC benchmarking serve IT teams who must remotely assess many PCs simultaneously in various locations such as in people’s homes?

AL: Using our Testdriver Cloud Edition to run benchmarks allows IT professionals to test an unlimited number of endpoints simultaneously to gain data-driven performance insight into the equipment they manage. They can schedule benchmark runs remotely and automatically by frequency and time zone, group endpoints by region and division for testing and results analysis and monitor benchmarking results and changes over time in trendlines by system.

Q4: How can PC benchmarking help a business improve? Can it increase systems visibility and IT efficiency?

AL: Benchmarks support every stage in the life cycle of PC assets, easing PC management for IT teams. They simplify PC performance comparison and cost justification in planning and procurement. Testing and comparing the performance of new PCs against user-defined baselines help in validation and standardization. It helps efficiently automate remote performance testing to provide reliable insights and reporting to support operations and management. And it facilitates optimization or replacement by supporting informed PC lifecycle decisions based on benchmark results.

Q5: What IT tasks can be eased through PC benchmarking?

AL: Standardizing performance testing and reporting can help IT teams simplify such tasks and processes as:

  • PC purchasing decisions based on performance
  • Validating new hardware and Windows configurations to determine system stability
  • Quantifying the performance impact of OS image changes and application updates
  • Identifying poorly performing systems
  • Testing and measuring real-world performance of PCs against baselines.

Q6: Can you explain how the Procyon suite structure and its benchmarks can support productivity and help optimize workflows?

AL: The Procyon suite offers industry-standard benchmarks for professional users. Each Procyon benchmark delivers a familiar, consistent experience by sharing a common design and feature set. Flexible licensing means you can pick and choose the individual benchmarks that best meet your needs. The Procyon suite currently includes Office Productivity Benchmark, Photo Editing Benchmark, Video Editing Benchmark, AI Inference Benchmark and Battery Life Benchmark. We have recently launched our first benchmarks for Apple Mac computers, allowing us to compare multiplatform scores.

The benchmarks use such application bundles as Microsoft Office and Adobe to simulate real-world scenarios and tasks to produce meaningful benchmarking scores of PC performance. One of our most recent launches, the Battery Life Benchmark, assesses the daily usage of Microsoft applications by constructing a typical working day and employing a calibration tool. For example, one factor in the benchmark’s scoring is screen brightness. The graph below illustrates how screen brightness can affect the battery benchmark score.

Bar chart comparing the Procyon battery life brightness

Such data can help employees optimize their workflows and productivity, whether they are in the office or working remotely. An additional tool, Testdriver Cloud Edition, simplifies endpoint performance benchmarking. Its cloud-based automation software means you can remotely test and monitor systems in multiple locations. Testdriver also can improve IT efficiency in the workplace by testing an unlimited number of devices simultaneously.

Q7: Is Procyon specifically tailored for IT and related professionals? What industries or sectors could benefit from UL Solutions PC benchmarking services?

AL: Procyon is a benchmark suite specifically for professional users in industry, enterprise, government, retail and technology reviewers. That said, Procyon can benefit virtually any business that relies on multiple PCs for productivity.

Q8: How does Procyon benefit professional users?

AL: For industry, the Procyon benchmark suite offers a range of accurate, relevant and impartial benchmarks for hardware manufacturers and their suppliers. Each Procyon benchmark is designed for a specific use case and uses real applications where possible.

For enterprises, Procyon can help IT professionals make more informed decisions when purchasing and managing PCs and mobile devices. Each Procyon benchmark is designed for a specific case type and uses real applications where possible.

Our retail solutions help your customers confidently choose the best PCs and mobile devices for their needs. Procyon benchmarking data and insights complement your own sales material to improve online and in-store sales performance. UL Solutions also supports qualifying public-sector organizations with complimentary benchmark licenses and advice for IT procurement processes.

In the public sector, Procyon benchmarks are ideal for organizations seeking a vendor-neutral solution for IT procurement. Our benchmarks are also used by hundreds of publications to test and review the latest PC hardware and mobile devices. We support our partners in the press with testing advice, technical support and complimentary Procyon benchmark licenses.

Q9: What are the most important traits of Procyon benchmarking?

AL: Accuracy: consistently producing true and precise results; relevance: measuring the most important performance elements; and neutrality: freedom from any product or vendor bias.

Q10: What are Procyon’s cost-saving factors? Can it help maximize budgets?

AL: Seeing PC performance expressed as a comparable benchmark score for cost justification will reduce the chances of overspending for over-specified systems. With centrally managed remote testing and monitoring, you can standardize hardware performance benchmarking in your organization. You can easily generate reports for performance data visualization and also minimize device costs and improve customer satisfaction by avoiding over- or under-provisioning.

Q11: So, Procyon can save money. Can it save time as well? How?

AL: Automated benchmark testing with the help of Testdriver Cloud Edition can save hours of repetitive manual work. For large PC environments, an automation solution supports testing hundreds of PCs over your network or from the cloud. While the tests are running, you can focus on other tasks to make the best use of your time.

For example, manually testing new computer systems and corporate OS images is time-consuming and susceptible to error. And since the move to an OS-as-a-service model, enterprise IT teams have been under increased pressure to efficiently manage the image creation and deployment process. IT managers often deal with major feature updates every six months — with a steady stream of security patches and quality updates in between. Every update can disrupt employee productivity.

Managing OS deployment requires significant time and effort. What was once an occasional one-off project is now a continuous cycle of creating, testing and deploying. Running Windows 10 or 11 in an enterprise environment means adopting new processes to accommodate continuous delivery. IT teams must be flexible and vigilant, finding efficiencies in existing processes while developing new best practices. Shorter update cycles also leave less time for testing, which is a risk for every enterprise.

Q12: Is the Procyon suite going to expand? If so, what new services or benchmarking tests are in the offing?

AL: We are regularly developing new tests for the Procyon suite. The Procyon Office Battery Benchmark was new in 2023, and we also expanded the Procyon suite beyond PCs to include Mac OS.

Q13: Thanks for your time today, Annika, and good luck for the rest of the year. Is there anything more you’d like to add about Procyon and its benchmarking services?

AL: IT professionals around the world choose Procyon benchmarks to measure, understand and manage computer hardware performance. The trusted and widely used performance tests help IT professionals make better and more informed decisions.

If you would like to learn more about the full suite of UL Solutions PC performance testing services, contact us or visit UL Procyon.