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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  • mlittl3 - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #90,

    Please, oh, please read Anand's blog from now on. He did just as you are suggesting a couple of days ago before the article was posted/written. He asked the readership for multitasking scenarios and he but those in the article.

    Read his blogs. They are awesome.

    Keep up the good work, Anand and Anandtech staff, and even though you don't have to give into the naysayers about lack of gaming benchmarks, thanks for being understanding and giving the readers what they want.

    That is the sign of true journalistic integrity. :)
    Reply
  • suryad - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    As always great work Anand, and for all the users griping about the multitasking testing setup, well maybe Anand would be open to a set of multitasking suggestions his readers most regularly do. Maybe we can all offer suggestions and they will be tested for the second look probably sometime in the future on dual cores and hopefully AMD will have their bad boys out off the cage by then.

    Also benches on Linux would be great...64 bit and 32 bit.

    Surya
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    kjohnson

    I'll let my actions speak for themselves, I've got gaming in Part II and surprisingly enough, it's no different than what I said in Part I - gaming performance of the dual core Pentium D is identical to a single core Pentium 4 of the same clock speed.

    The multitasking tests in Part I were largely determined by responses to a "how do you multitask" question I posted in my blog on Friday. Out of the 65 responses, hardly any mentioned gaming as a multitasking scenario, so given my limited time with the system I decided to focus on what the readers asked for. That's also why I split the article into multiple parts, I knew that more performance testing would be desired but a desire for information would also be there on day one.

    Insinuating that Intel somehow strong armed me into excluding certain benchmarks is just ignorant of how things work, at least at AnandTech. It's a great way to get attention but it's way off base. Intel told me when the system was shipping and when the NDA lifted, no more, no less. I spent all weekend putting together benchmarks that I thought the readership would like to see, not simply re-run benchmarks that we already had results of.

    I've been doing this for 8 years, and the one thing I've always known is that it doesn't matter who is first to publish an article, but it is the article that does the best job and is the most thorough that matters. Trading integrity for exclusivity never makes sense, thinking it does requires a very short term memory and no sense of how things pan out in the long run. Being that in 3 weeks AnandTech will celebrate its 8th year anniversary, I don't think you can argue that type of thinking is characteristic of myself or anyone at this site.

    But I'm not here to try and correct anyone's misconceptions of myself or this site, I'm here to deliver what the readers want and what will help you all make the best, most accurate purchasing decisions. In doing so I've taken every last comment to heart, as I always do, and I'm doing my best to incorporate your requests into Part II...just as I did in Part I.

    As I mentioned in my blog, I'm an open book with nothing to hide, if there are questions of integrity or ethics fire away and I'll be more than happy to answer them.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Amagus - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    Wow that Inquirer article basically insinuates that Anand (it's obvious who he's referring to) was bought out because part I of a preview (!!) didn't contain any gaming benchmarks. I wouldn't stand for that. Reply
  • blwest - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    Nice article, as always. I wonder how memory bandwidth increases/decreases will effect the performance of the already bandwidth hungry intel processors. Reply
  • michael2k - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #83, #85

    Gaming wasn't addressed because gaming, by itself, won't see huge improvements with dual core*

    If you run IRC, AIM, FireFox, and BitTorrent while you game, then yes, you will see a performance increase, but not over a single core CPU running only the game by itself. A fast single core CPU will be much, much, better for a game. Or if you run WoW and EQ on two monitors, you will see a benefit.

    *Drastic rewrites of OpenGL and DirectX will see benefits with dual core. For example, if front and back buffers were handled by different CPUs, or if you can split the screen into to sections and have one half processed by one CPU and the other half by another. Another performance technique might be to let one CPU deal with vertex culling, occlusion, and decomposition, while the other CPU deals with shadow calculations, or something suitably complex. But that requires the game to be written for dual core, and won't appear on games already on the market.
    Reply
  • kjohnson - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    Here's why this article does not mention any gaming benchmarks:http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=22332. Reply
  • bdchambers79 - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    I just thought I'd say, I often run the Persistance of Vision Raytracer (www.povray.org) in the background on my computer for several hours (or days... hehe) at a time. While it's running, I am able to do little more than edit text. However, I also like to code and play games.

    So, what I would like to see would be POV-Ray running in the background, with MS Dev Studio or GCC running multiple times in the foreground; or, POV-Ray in the background with a game (NOT necessarily Doom3, guys, though it would be a good benchmark) in the foreground (perhaps in a window, so you can see POV's results). Or, for those truly masochistic souls, POV, DevStudio and Doom3 all running at the same time (though that's less likely to occur in RL) :)
    Reply
  • BLHealthy4life - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    I didn't read every single post here, but i do hope that it's ben mentioned that there were wasn't one single game run on this system. Surely this will be done in part two??

    Reply
  • fitten - Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - link

    #80, that kind of change won't happen withough redigning the memory interface (of either) which would mean that current motherboards wouldn't be able to use the parts (which at least AMD is claiming will be possible). Reply

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