The benchmarks we've run so far have made use of the CPU cores only. The ones on this page and the next tap into the SoC's integrated graphics processor for general-purpose computing tasks.
LuxMark OpenCL rendering
LuxMark uses OpenCL to render a 3D scene using an OpenCL-accelerated ray tracing algorithm. Since OpenCL code is by nature parallelized and relies on a real-time compiler, it should adapt well to new instructions. For instance, Intel and AMD offer integrated client drivers for OpenCL on x86 processors, and they both claim to support AVX.
We'll start with CPU-only results. These results come from the AMD APP driver for OpenCL, since it tends to perform well on both Intel and AMD CPUs.
For some reason, the A4 falls behind the E-350 in when we run LuxMark on the IGP only. Kabini has much faster integrated graphics on paper, so we may be looking at a driver optimization issue or some other software hiccup.
Pair the CPU and IGP together, and the A4-5000 trounces the Core i3. AMD's decision to dedicate plenty of die area to graphics doesn't just bode well for games; it pays dividends in compute tasks like this one, as well.
The Atom is absent from these results, because even with the APP runtime installed, it wouldn't run LuxMark properly. The application started, but it complained of a lack of OpenCL-capable devices and wasn't able to proceed with rendering.
This photo editing application features OpenCL acceleration. It also includes a built-in benchmark, which applies a set of filters to a photo and spits out a score at the end. That's what we used.
Musemage's OpenCL acceleration is kind to the A4-5000. The AMD chip races ahead of even the Core i5 from our premium ultrabook.
For the last couple of versions, WinZip has featured a parallel processing pipeline with OpenCL support. The pipeline allows multiple files to be opened, read, compressed, and encrypted simultaneously, all with hardware acceleration.
We tested WinZip by compressing 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 tested first with OpenCL disabled in the options, and then with OpenCL enabled, to get a sense of the performance benefits GPU acceleration would yield. Each operation was timed with a stopwatch.
Without OpenCL, the A4-5000 compresses our test archive substantially slower than the Core i3 does. Once we enable OpenCL, the tables are turned—but only because IGP acceleration actually slows down the Core i3. For a fair contest, we should compare the A4's accelerated compression time (89 seconds) to the Core i3's regular time (77 seconds). The A4 still ends up at a disadvantage, but the gap between the two chips shrinks from 25% to about 13%.
By the way, you'll notice that the Atom is included in both sets of results. That's because WinZip doesn't hide the OpenCL setting on our Atom-powered tablet. However, it doesn't look like the setting actually changes anything. Compression times are the same regardless of whether the checkbox is ticked or not.
There are now public builds of HandBrake available with an OpenCL-accelerated version of the x264 encoder—and an option to enable or disable OpenCL when encoding.
We tested by encoding a 1080p version of the Looper trailer into 720p format. We used the encoding options outlined in the screenshot below, with the constant frame rate setting enabled.
Here, too, we tested both with and without OpenCL enabled. The OpenCL setting wasn't exposed on the Intel systems, however, so we presented the results in the same graph.
The gain from OpenCL acceleration on both the A4-5000 and the E-350 is extremely minor. At least, it seems that way until we look at total encoding times for our test video, which was 3649 frames in length.
OpenCL cuts encoding times by five seconds on the A4 and 24 seconds on the E-350. Which is, you know, better than nothing. It's still not enough to give the AMD chips an edge over the competition from Intel, however.