Video Encoding Performance

A traditional weak spot of the current Intel mobile processor offerings has been in the media encoding area when compared to AMD. Considering the main optimizations for the Core Duo centered on media encoding performance, we were very interested in seeing how this platform compared to current AMD lineups. We are utilizing an updated video encoding test suite for this article that includes AnyDVD, Nero Recode 2, Videora, Windows Media Encoder 9, and DivX 6.2.1. One video application missing is QuickTime PRO 7; we utilized it extensively on both test platforms but we ran into issues transcoding our sample video files during the overclocking testing. This is an issue we are currently addressing and hopefully we will be able to post results shortly.

Our first test is quite easy - we take our original The Sum of All Fears DVD and use AnyDVD Ripper to copy the full DVD to the hard drive without compression, thus providing an almost exact duplicate of the DVD. We then fired up Nero Recode 2, selected our Sum of All Fears copy on the hard drive, and performed a shrink operation to allow the entire movie along with extras to fit on a single 4.5GB DVD disc. We left all options on their defaults except we checked off the advanced analysis option. The scores reported include the full encoding process and are represented in minutes, with lower numbers indicating better performance.

Media Encoding Performance


The results are very interesting as we did not expect the Intel system to perform this well. We were so surprised that we ran the test several times and verified our settings before accepting the test results. We guess the last few years of NetBurst results have tainted our cognitive abilities.

Our next test has us extracting Chapter 9 of our movie which will be used extensively in the rest of our benchmarks. After extraction we utilize AutoGK version 2.27 and DivX 6.2.1 to convert our .VOB file into a more accessible .AVI file. We utilize our standard settings and then let this program combination do its magic. We are reporting the numbers in two charts with frames per second and the time in minutes/seconds to complete the conversion.

Media Encoding Performance - 'Sum of All Fears' Ch. 9


Media Encoding Performance - 'Sum of All Fears' Ch. 9


Unlike our Nero Recode 2 test results, this exercise has both systems performing equally. It either means this software is not optimized for a particular platform or the process is equally demanding on both systems.

Next on the list is the Windows Media Encoder 9 test that will convert our newly created .AVI file into a plasma screen pleasing WMV-HD format. We ensured our quality settings were set to High Definition. The values reported are in minutes/seconds for the conversion time, with lower numbers being better.

Media Encoding Performance


Once again, the Core Duo and the Opteron are close in the benchmark scores with the Intel platform performing up to 6% better in this benchmark. While both platforms are extremely competitive in this benchmark, the AOpen board clearly has the advantage in our scores.

Our final video tests utilize the Videora Converter products to perform a conversion of our Sum of All Fears Chapter 9 .VOB into the proper video format that our Xbox360, iPod, and Sony Playstation Portable can understand. We utilized the default settings for each program and have reported the results in minutes/seconds with the lower numbers being better. The final results show the transcoding process times for converting our standard 327MB file into a 43.2MB file for iPod, 111MB file for Xbox 360, and a 66MB file for PSP.

Media Encoding Performance


Media Encoding Performance


Media Encoding Performance


In these particular benchmarks both platforms are basically even with a minimal advantage going to the Intel platform in the more demanding Xbox 360 conversion. These results continue the pattern of the Intel Core Duo platform not being at a distinct disadvantage when compared to the current AMD offerings and actually having an advantage in most instances. Intel users can begin to rejoice now - just no dancing in the streets until the next product release please.

Synthetic Performance Audio Encoding Performance
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  • Per Hansson - Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - link

    Hi Gary, just wanted to drop in and give you a kudos on this very nice review!

    It also makes me smile to finally see Intel catching up with AMD, this can only be good news for the customer...

    And a small heads up, there are a few Intel Core Duo Engineering sample CPU's on sale at eBay, "hint hint engineering sample=multipler unlocked"

    And also a big thanks for finally posting those capacitor shots and mentioning them, keep up the good work!

    Also I think Aopen deserves recognition for designing a mainboard with so high-quality components, Rubycon=Way to go!!!
    Reply
  • goinginstyle - Friday, May 19, 2006 - link


    quote:

    Hi Gary, just wanted to drop in and give you a kudos on this very nice review!


    Agreed....

    Reply
  • vailr - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    Updated driver:
    (from: http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intechip.htm)">http://www.station-drivers.com/page/intechip.htm)
    Intel Chipset software Installation Utility
    Version 7.3.1.1013 - Windows 2000/XP 32/64bits/2003Server Multi Langues & officiel
    ftp://aiedownload.intel.com/df-support/10392/eng/i...">ftp://aiedownload.intel.com/df-support/10392/eng/i...

    Version 8.0.0.1005 Alpha
    Windows 2000/XP 32/64bits/2003Server Multi Langues & non officiel
    http://www.station-drivers.com/telechargement/inte...">http://www.station-drivers.com/telechargement/inte... Alpha.exe
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    Thank you for posting these links. :) We have a policy of utilizing the latest driver sets on a supplier's website at the time our testing starts, in this case the Intel general download page is still posting the 7.2.2.1006 driver set. However, I am using the 7.3.1 driver set on our retail board sample tonight. ;-) Reply
  • irev210 - Sunday, May 07, 2006 - link

    Hello Gary,

    Sorta funny how that other fellow has absolutely no idea what he is talking about.

    I just wanted to touch upon something that I didnt see get much attention.


    You should have mentioned in your article about how efficient the core architecture is, and how well it scales with increased frequency. The chip turns into a total monster once you get past 3ghz, and continues to perform better and better as you increase the speed. The fastest I could get on air was around 3.1ghz. I wouldnt be afraid to crank the volts to the 1.5 max on the aopen board... with a different cooler, you should hit some nice speeds. Try swapping out for a zalman 9500, or a big typhoon.

    The shortfalls, are as you mentioned the southbridge lacking raid, and the poor bios options. Vcore should let us up to 1.65-1.7, while Vdimm should let us do atleast 2.3.

    While this may not satisfy the most serious enthusiast, this board does fill a nice niche. The price is pretty high, but core duo CPU's can be had on the cheap, which makes up for it. For someone that is worried about their electric bill, and wants performance and performance per watt, this is a great alternative.

    For others who must have the fastest. This just makes them drool. This is the low end of the core architecture. Merom and Conroe to follow... we shall be stunned.

    Consdering Meroms being tested now at 3.0Ghz are faster than 3.2Ghz Yonah's... AND YOU WILL SEE Conroe EE at 3.33 w/ a 1333fsb doing 4ghz w/ 1500mhz FSB :)


    For those that dont get it yet... AMD will need a AM2 processor running at about oh 4.8Ghz to beat a 4Ghz clocked conroe :)

    Good things to come. I take no sides, im just excited about new stuff :)






    Reply
  • Marlowe - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    How come a ~1 % cpu usage translates into a massiv 20 fps drop in BF2? Looks like EA have a deal with Creative :(

    A lot of world records have been beaten with this mobo already over here at XS :)
    coolaler even got SLI enabled on it ;) also running a merom in it ;)

    Your 266 FSB is very good and about normal for aircooling. Give it some cold and it will go further ;)
    Reply
  • Frumious1 - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    [font color="#000000] (Damn white text. Nice comment engine AnandTech.... Need a new programmer?)

    Because RightMark is a theoretical test and not actually a real game or audio application. Also, look at the 3D/EAX scores - it's more than 1% CPU usage, but still less than 20% or whatever.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, May 04, 2006 - link

    quote:

    How come a ~1 % cpu usage translates into a massiv 20 fps drop in BF2? Looks like EA have a deal with Creative :(


    It has to do with the Realtek driver load and Creatives to some extent being split between the cores during the RightMark testing. I noted in the text that although the cpu utilization is extremely low in our Rightmark results due to the load balancing that the actual game results (percentage differences) were basically the same as our single core scores. The drop in BF2 is due to the audio algorithms being generated by the CPU rather in hardware as on the X-FI card. Our audio settings in BF2 are set to hardware, medium quality, EAX enabled, the high quality setting extracts another 6FPS but we generally have not noticed an increase in audio quality. This is one penalty you pay for on-board audio in a CPU limited game although Serious Sam II is the one exception for either solution.

    We are hoping to receive a T2700 chip from Intel shortly and will "chill" it to see what results come from it. :) Yes, we had SLI working on the board also, but that is a topic that will be buried with Jimmy Hoffa at this time. ;-)
    Reply
  • NT78stonewobble - Friday, May 05, 2006 - link

    Intriguing last 2 sentences.

    The comments section has some really good info alot of the time :).

    And kudos for bringing into the review something about the penalty for using onboard audio versus dedicated hardware.

    You're not by any chance planning on writing something about audio quality some-time? Not that im an audiophile or the like, just curious.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, May 05, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You're not by any chance planning on writing something about audio quality some-time? Not that im an audiophile or the like, just curious.


    We will expand our audio section in the next update to our motherboard review section. We are looking at several variations of the review process as we enter a very busy time of the year with AM2, Conroe, and others all launching over the next 90 days. :)
    Reply

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