Benchmark Results: Musemage
The amateur family photographer in us was most interested to see how Musemage testing would turn out. Inevitably, we find ourselves at the end of the weekend with dozens of images snapped at some family function or a beach trip or birthday party. While every shot is different, many need bounce flashes toned down, saturation improved, sizes scaled down for emailing, or any number of other alterations. Most often, we blow off this sort of editing because it’s simply too time-intensive. But Musemage offers the promise of reducing such jobs to mere seconds—if it works as promised.
First, we turned to the program’s integrated benchmarking module, a clever nod by the designers toward enthusiasts and reviewers like us. The benchmarking tool loads a sample image pre-stocked inside the application and cycles it through roughly 80 effects. The better the overall processing performance, the higher the score. We can see the huge performance gap between the Radeon HD 7970 card and APU. Clearly, the application does an admirable job of leveraging the GPU for scaling, and circumventing the bus-imposed bottlenecks mentioned by Adobe.
We discovered during testing that Musemage, like Photoshop CS6, does nearly all of its GPU-based acceleration via OpenGL. The only feature Musemage currently codes for OpenCL is HDR processing.
With current drivers, Intel’s HD Graphics 3000 is OpenGL 3.0-compatible (although still lacking OpenCL support), which is why our lowly Intel Core i5 notebook is able to beat every configuration here in software-based HDR processing, even AMD’s FX-8150.
Turn OpenCL back on, though, and results practically drop off the left edge of the chart. It’s a bit odd that our FX-based system with the Radeon HD 7970 card is slightly slowly than the A8 running the same card, but with such fast processing times, 60 milliseconds is probably within an acceptable variance range.
And last up, the test we really wanted to see. As expected, performance scales fairly well up the AMD stack, with the FX/Radeon HD 7970 combo taking about half the time to crunch our eight-image batch as the APU-based notebook did. We were a little surprised to see the Intel notebook slip into the middle of the results, even edging past the desktop A8 configuration leveraging its integrated graphics. This tells us that Musemage is likely coding its OpenGL support for the 3.1 or prior generation, rather than the current 4.x, in order to maximize compatibility with Intel’s large installation base. Note that Intel HD Graphics 4000 supports OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1. Still, when you want top OpenGL performance, it’s clear that discrete graphics is the way to fly.