Single page Print

Accelerated applications — continued

WinZip 16.5
The latest version of WinZip features a parallel processing pipeline with OpenCL support. The pipeline allows multiple files to be opened, read, compressed, and encrypted simultaneously, all with hardware acceleration. Right now, though, WinZip's OpenCL capabilities seem to be off-limits to Intel processors—again, regardless of what ICD is installed. The OpenCL switch in the WinZip settings would only appear on our AMD systems.

We tested WinZip by compressing, then decompessing, a 1.17GB directory containing about 150 small text and image files, a couple dozen medium-sized PDF files, and 14 large Photoshop PSD files. We timed each operation with a stopwatch.

OpenCL acceleration doesn't do much for decompression, but it clearly pays off during file compression. Interestingly, Trinity sees greater overall benefits from hardware acceleration than Llano. The Intel CPUs are faster even without help from their IGPs, though.

CyberLink MediaEspresso
This user-friendly video transcoder supports AMD's VCE and Intel's QuickSync hardware transcoding blocks. Those are effectively black boxes without much programmability, so their output isn't necessarily comparable—and neither is their performance, strictly speaking. From a practical standpoint, though, it's helpful to see which solution will transcode videos the quickest. So that's what we're going to do.

For our test, we fed MediaEspresso a 1080p version of the Iron Man 2 trailer, and we asked it convert the clip to a format suitable for the iPhone 4. We tested with full hardware acceleration as well as in software mode. Where the setting was available, we selected encoding speed over quality. The A8-3500M was only run in software mode, since it lacks hardware H.264 encoding.

Both VCE and QuickSync appear to halve transcoding times... except the latter looks to be considerably faster. We didn't see much of a difference in output image quality between the two, but the output files had drastically different sizes. QuickSync spat out a 69MB video, while VCE got the trailer down to 38MB. (Our source file was 189MB.) Using QuickSync in high-quality mode extended the Core i7-3760QM's encoding time to about 10 seconds, but the resulting file was even larger—around 100MB. The output of the software encoder, for reference, weighed in at 171MB.