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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  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    On the Business winstone 2004...
    "The Pentium 4 550 and Athlon 64 3800+ tie in the middle, while the 3400+ offers statistically similar performance."

    No they didnt.
  • microAmp - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Very nice article, loved the L2 cache and memory comparisons at the end.
  • thermalpaste - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Way back in 2000, I felt that Intel was doing something stupid by introducing the Willamette.
    The thunderbird was faster than the p-III coppermine at the same clock speeds, but considering that the p-III just had 2 parallel FPUs compared to the 3 on the athlon. An additional FPU would have helped of course. though the P-III core was not able to sustain higher clock speeds , intel could have redesigned a marginally deeper pipeline on the same core rather than designing the pentium-4 with a mammoth 20 stage pipeline.
    Now the prescotts come with a 30-odd stage pipeline, but the integer unit runs at twice the speed which doesn't make the 7th generation of processors from intel very 'scalable'. Besides the processor heats upto 70 odd degrees with consummate ease (Im staying in India where the avg. room temperature is something like 29 degrees Celsius) and is not overclocker friendly.
    I am waiting for the newer chips from Intel, based on the Pentium-M a.k.a the P6 architecture.
    AMD is way ahead of Intel as of now.
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Athlon 64 4000+ - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 128-bit
    Athlon 64 3800+ - 2.4GHz - 512KB - 128-bit
    Athlon 64 3400+ - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 64-bit
    Athlon 64 3400+ - 2.4GHz - 512KB - 64-bit
    Athlon 64 FX-53 - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 128-bit

    these numbers look off.

    Your saying there are two s754 3400+, and one has more cache?
  • eva2000 - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    why leave out the 3700+ s754 1MB from suhc a nice comparison :)
  • miketheidiot - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    excellent article. I agree with #2 that I would have liked to see an overclocking comparison, or at least a quick demonstation of the 4000 and fx-55. Still a great article though.
  • GhandiInstinct - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    We can always marvel at them but the prices, realistcaly speaking is a waste of our time. I'm as interested in the FX-55 as much as the IBM super-computer blue.
  • Zac42 - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I especially liked the comparrison of the equally priced value procs at the end of the article. Nice way to sum up the graphs. Good overall comparison, as you guys have just about any possible app one could use on a PC. Now we just need an OC comparrison, and we will be set!
  • DrMrLordX - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Nice article so far, still reading it, but I would like to know where the 925XE chipset-based P4 board was in this review? Are those available to you guys yet? Just wondering.

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