Encoding Performance

These new dual core CPUs are supposed to usher in a new era of media rich application usage models. They are supposed to enable us to do things that we were never able to do before.  Let's find out if that's true or not...

First, we start off with iTunes to test MP3 encoding performance.  We took a 12MB .wav file of our own creation and encoded it to a 192kbps MP3 file, measuring how long it took to encode the file. 

MP3 Encoding Performance

Once again, we see that the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 is able to offer equal performance to the 3.73EE at 29 seconds.  What's truly interesting is that the Pentium D running at 3.2GHz actually offers better performance than the Extreme Edition. We can only assume that 4 threads in iTunes begins to reduce performance, with 2 concurrent threads being the optimal point. 

But once again, the performance gains aren't impressive.  So far, dual core isn't looking too good.

DivX Encoding Performance

Our DivX tests from previous CPU reviews have shown a pretty sizeable improvement due to Hyper Threading, so we expected a similarly impressive gain due to dual core:

DivX 5.2.1 Encoding Performance

...and we were not disappointed.  The Pentium Extreme Edition 840 offered more than a 20% increase in performance in our DivX encoding task when compared to the 3.73GHz single core P4 Extreme Edition. 

We also see another example of four threads offering no performance improvement over being able to execute two concurrently, as the Pentium D running at 3.2GHz offers equal performance to the 840. 

XviD Encoding Performance

XviD Encoding Performance

The XviD tests show no real improvement due to dual core, but also don't seem to show much of an improvement due to Hyper Threading either.  This just goes to show you that not all encoding tasks will show tremendous benefits. 

Windows Media Video 9 Encoding Performance

Once again, we see extremely strong performance from the new dual core chips, offering around a 30% performance improvement at 85% of the clock speed of the current king of the hill. 

Windows Media Video 9 HD Encoding Performance

So, overall encoding performance is pretty strong on the dual core chips from Intel.  Let's have a look at one more multi-threaded application before we get to the more interesting tests.

Multimedia Content Creation Performance 3D Rendering Performance
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  • Da DvD - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Many of you are making a huge mistake. You are proposing insane multitasking tests to 'bring these processors to their knees'. This is wrong! Since when do we adjust the review to the product?
    This is similar to only running benchmarks whose working sets fit completely into the 2mb cache of a new cpu. In other words, when you review a product like this, do NOT suddenly change all your variables, keep them as you always had them. Later on, you can adjust variables (tests), and draw your conclusions accordingly.

    Also, I hope people understand that when Anand would have run these test on a dual Xeon 3.2 system, the results would have been virtually the same. You ALREADY KNOW dual cpu systems can be twice as fast as single cpu systems in certain tests, and show no improvement at all in others.

    I really appreciate the article in general, but it would have been SO much better when the PICTURE would have been complete. For this, a dual Opteron system and a dual Xeon system should have been included, AND the tests should have a reflected typical user workloads. If for some reason all cpu's would have been dualcore already, -I- still wouldn't be importing PST files while running my games. Again, when reviewing something, it's wrong to adapt the workload to the product. This is why some people now question your integrety, Anand, because quickly reading through the article DOES give the impression Dual-Core is THE thing, while there's so much it is not!

    And yes, i do realize you don't have dual Opteron/Xeon rigs at hand, but still, you choose to present this incomplete picture. It was a choice, but not necessarily the correct one ;-)

    Regards,

    DvD
    Reply
  • Zebo - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Anand for game marks I like to see a dvdshrink deep analysis/encode, with grabit downloading 8 threads with plenty more cued, some seti at home, then run farcry and report FPS.:D

    That will bring these single procesors to thier knees obviously but I want to see if DC is really worth it since that's the type of choices I'm forced to choose between.
    Reply
  • tjahns - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    As I am not a regular reader nor familiar with the benchmarks used in this article, I am rather disappointed that the scales on the graphs in this article do not indicate what is being measured nor whether "higher is better" or "lower is better". Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    What would be better in games (I think), especially in first person shooter games, would be to compare the lowest frames per second, and not the highest or the averaged frame rate. And I think this would represent an tremendous advantage for multiprocessors/multicore Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    "Nice article, as always. I wonder how memory bandwidth increases/decreases will effect the performance of the already bandwidth hungry intel processors."
    The Intel processors are no longer bandwidth hungry, as the move to the 1066FSB showed. However, throw a second processor into the mix, and things might change
    Reply
  • Calin - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    The Register has a small review on it, and compare it against a dual Xeon rig
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/04/05/review_int...
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Great article - loved the multitasking benchmarks.

    Here's what I have running all the time:

    WinAmp 5
    Outlook 2003
    Firefox 1.02
    ICQQ2003Pro
    Norton A/V2005
    drivers for audio & video :)

    How is my performance affected by multiple Word, Excel, Pshop CS windows? Can I game with them open or do I still need to shut everything down like on my current system? Could I encode a DVD and play a game? Play a DVD off one drive and encode off another?

    As mentioned some of what I want to know is can I do things that currently require me to really run two boxes? I recently moved Azareus (torrent client) and all of my DVD encoding & burning to a second rig.
    Reply
  • Macro2 - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    No games tested at all? Since when does this happen? Intel doesn't want dual core to look bad so Anandtech doesn't bench ANY games at all.

    Come on guys, judging by the article below on the Inquirer I'm not the only one who is suspicious.

    http://theinquirer.net/?article=22332

    Same ole' same ole'
    Reply
  • snorre - Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - link

    Why did you exclude dual CPU (Opteron/Xeon) systems from your comparisons?

    I recommend that you guys at Anandtech read this:
    http://theinquirer.net/?article=22332

    Well said! ;-)
    Reply
  • Bathrone - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    What about the new extreme edition and I think WinXP only supports a maximum of two cpus? Im not keen to goto 2003 Server. What are Microsoft going to do - patch XP to support 4 cpus? Reply

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