Audio/Video Encoding

MusicMatch Jukebox 7.10

An audio encoding favorite of Intel's from past Pentium 4 launches, MusicMatch Jukebox shows the Pentium 4 3.4EE taking a small 3.5% lead over the FX-55. Despite Intel's first place victory here, AMD takes the next four spots. Once again we see that there's no performance difference between the 3800+ and the 4000+, but looking at the lack of performance improvement from the 3400+ to 3800+ jump we see why: MP3 encoding is quite CPU bound, larger caches and more memory bandwidth don't matter much, it's all about clock speed here. Thus it's not too surprising to see the Athlon XP 3200+ outperform the Athlon 64 3200+ thanks to a shorter pipeline and higher clock speed. AMD's on-die memory controller does little for it here, neither does Intel's Prescott core though.

MusicMatch Jukebox 7.10

DiVX 5.2.1 with AutoGK

Armed with the latest version of DiVX (5.2.1) and the AutoGK front end for Gordian Knot, we took all of the processors to task at encoding a chapter out of Pirates of the Caribbean. We set AutoGK to give us 75% quality of the original DVD rip and did not encode audio.

Despite AMD becoming more competitive in DiVX encoding performance, Intel once again pulls head, with the Pentium 4 560 pulling away as the fastest DiVX encoder out of the bunch. Even the more reasonably priced Pentium 4 550 is able to outperfom the Athlon 64 FX-55, and it's not until we drop down to the 3GHz mark that AMD is able to win any ground.

Heavy optimizations for NetBurst give Intel the DiVX encoding performance crown.

DiVX 5.2.1 Encoding Performance

XViD with AutoGK

Another very popular codec is the XViD codec, and thus we measured encoding performance using it instead of DiVX for this next test. The rest of the variables remained the same as the DiVX test.

Using XViD the performance situation is flipped on us, this time instead of Intel being on top we're left with the Athlon 64 FX-55 - although it's worth mentioning that the Pentium 4 560 is close behind. To no surprise there's a noticeable increase in performance from the single channel 3400+ to the dual channel Socket-939 3800+ of 7% to be exact. Once again we see no performance boost for the additional cache of the Athlon 64 4000+.

XViD 5 Encoding Performance

Windows Media Encoder 9

To finish up our look at Video Encoding performance we've got two tests both involving Windows Media Encoder 9. The first test is WorldBench 5's WMV9 encoding test.

Here we see that the Athlon 64 FX-55 and Pentium 4 3.4EE are basically tied for the first place position, followed by the Pentium 4 560 and all of the 2.4GHz Athlon 64s. Here the Athlon 64 3400+ appears to do about as well as the Pentium 4 550, which is either saying a lot for the Pentium 4 550 or very little for the 3400+.

Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0

But once we crank up the requirements a bit and start doing some HD quality encoding under WMV9 the situation changes dramatically.
Here the Pentium 4 560 takes the lead, followed by the Pentium 4 3.4EE and then the FX-55. The performance difference between the Pentium 4 560 and the FX-55 is just under 9%, enough to give Intel the clear win here. Only the Pentium 4 530 is really able to be challenged by the AMD chips.

Windows Media Video 9 HD Encoding Performance

Closing up our video encoding tests, while AMD does win some, with appropriate optimizations in place Intel seems to be the right candidate here.

Video Creation/Photo Editing Performance Gaming Performance
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  • HardwareD00d - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Fantastic article, obviously very well thought out.

    I would have liked to see a comparison between the 4000+ and the "real" FX-53 to really back up your rebadging theory (yeah I know speed+cache+memory width are equal between the two, but just to make sure AMD isn't pulling some magic out of there butt somewhere else).
  • Marsumane - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Yes, thanks for the XP comparison. I find it interesting how its not performing as well as it used to in games. (doom 3, farcry, cs:s)

    Also, your ut2k4 benches seem off. How is doom 3 pulling 50% more frames at the same res? Maybe your ut is at 16x12? I pull similar frames on ut w/ my 9800p oced.
  • ksherman - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I like the ending... It sounds mysterious!
  • alexruiz - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I will suggest again to include some Ulead Video Studio 8.0 benchmarks for video encoding. Ulead is by far the fastest consumer grade video editor / renderer, it is the most complete and one of the most popular. In fact, it is almost 50% faster than Pinnacle 9, and almost 100% faster than videowave.

    Roxio has really been working with Intel as all previous version of video wave ran better on AMD hardware. As reference, results video wave 6 or 7 would be interesting. Newer doesn't always mean better, as you can see from Adobe Premiere. Version 7.0 is quite slower than 6.5 doing the exact same thing in the same platform.

    For DivX encoding, a run with virtualdub/virtualdubmod or DVD2AVI would be nice, as they are very fast and extensively used.

    Just some comments

  • Araemo - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Thank you thank you thank you for including an Athlon XP.

    This allows me to better judge where my current Barton 2.4 Ghz sits. ;P So I know when an upgrade to the next cheap overclocker will give a good enough performance boost to be worth the money.
  • stephenbrooks - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Here's an idea to play with: how about some 2D scatter plots of Performance/£ and Performance/Watt? Obviously not on everything - that would clutter it - but perhaps on one or two key things it'd be nice to see.
  • Zar0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    EDIT #22 There is no 3400+ for SK 939 only 3500+
  • Zar0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Nice article BUT:
    You should make C&C power consumption and temperature
    Also some OC tests.

    The Battle for Value is not correct:
    1º WHAT about price of DDR1 VS DDR2?!
    2º MB for INTEL are more expensive, ~40€ is a great difference in a MB price.
    3º 0.09 AMD are just introduced so they are going to come down, not much but they are.

    In order to be fair you should compare with AMD 3400+
    AMD as a clear winner here.
  • mczak - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    power consumption at idle - is this with or without cool 'n' quiet (I suspect without)?
  • Uff - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I have to agree with #18 - it's not worth paying more than twice the price of a 3400+ just to get 3800+ on 939 platform.

    Many say 'OH! But s939 is more upgradable!', but if you think about it, by the time you upgrade next there are very likely going to be new motherboards available aswell and you end up upgrading that anyway. Not to mention motherboards cost virtually nothing compared to cpus.

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