Nehalem's Media Encoding Performance

We had time to run two of our media encoding tests: the DivX 6.8 and x264 workloads.

DivX 6.8 with Xmpeg

Our DivX test is the same one we've run in our regular CPU reviews, we're simply encoding a 1080p MPEG-2 file in DivX. We are using an unconstrained profile, encoding preset of 5 and enhanced multithreading is enabled.

The DivX test is an important one as it doesn't scale well at all beyond four threads, any performance advantage Nehalem has here is entirely due to microarchitectural improvements and not influenced by its ability to work on twice as many threads at once.

DivX 6.8 w/ Xmpeg 5.0.3

Clock for clock, Nehalem is nearly 28% faster than Penryn in our DivX test. Even better is when you put this performance in perspective: at 2.66GHz Nehalem is faster than the fastest Penryn available today the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 running at 3.2GHz. At 3.2GHz, Nehalem will be fast. The improvements in performance here are entirely due to the faster L2 cache and micro-architectural gains; being able to have more micro-ops in flight and improved unaligned cache accesses give us a significant improvement in video encoding performance.

The last time we saw these sorts of performance gains was when Conroe first launched.

x264 Encoding with AutoMKV

Using AutoMKV we compress the same source file we used in our WME test down to 100MB, but with the x264 codec. We used the 2_Pass_Insane_Quality profile:

x264 w/ AutoMKV 

Encoding performance here went through the roof with Nehalem: a clock for clock boost of 44%. Once more, Nehalem at today's artificially limited, modest clock speed is already faster than any Penryn out today. What Intel did to AMD in 2006, it is doing to itself in 2008. Amazing.

A Quick Path to Memory Faster Unaligned Cache Accesses & 3D Rendering Performance
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  • SiliconDoc - Monday, July 28, 2008 - link

    Crysis- etc. :

    Pete, you can be very happy knowing it will do folding like mad, and you can fantasize that you've cured cancer while you spend your money for some tax subsidized already to the hilt University program, because you're such a good and loving person.
    ( I know YOU didn't mean anything like that - see sarcasm! )
    In the mean time, the OLD HT single core chips will do just fine cranking most games, and dual core or core2duo or 2180 or some other then $40 chip will be a few percentage pts. shy.
    My gawd, they've got our number.
    I bet they "unlock it !!!!! " OMG ! for like 2 grand if you're cooooool you can get one!
  • Crank the Planet - Thursday, June 5, 2008 - link

    I know it may be exciting but the article sounds fan-boyish. For most of the marks it shows what intel is claiming 20-30% boost. He gets one mark to go 50% and now it's 20-50% boost?? He compares in another mark AMD 21 and nehalem 14 and says it's almost 50% faster!!! and then compares penryn 18 and nehalem 14 and says it's 28%. I think the AMD mark was more like 35%.

    As I've said before everybody knows AMD was going to hurt themselves in the short run by buying ATI. If they didn't buy ATI I think things would be very different. Now that the last year of payments is being made for buying ATI AMD will be able to get back into the game.

    Intel has only now integrated the memory controller. Everybody knew as soon as they did they would see a nice bump. They haven't had any significant innovations in a long time. AMD is in the same position they were before K8. Just give them some time to finish absorbing ATI, then watch out- fusion is just around the corner :)
  • hs635 - Tuesday, June 17, 2008 - link

    Fuck off retard
  • masouth - Friday, June 6, 2008 - link

    What kind of idiot fan-boy drivel is this?

    "He gets one mark to go 50% and now it's 20-50% boost??"

    Ummm, yes?

    1, 2, 3, 4, 8

    What is the range of those numbers? 1-8, right?

    Does the majority of them being being in the 1-5 range somehow negate the fact that the actual range is 1-8?

  • michael2k - Thursday, June 5, 2008 - link

    You're the one that sounds like a fanboy.

    What makes you think Intel's CPU-GPU integration won't be as fabulous as their IMC or quad-core components? Intel doesn't need "significant innovations" (nor does AMD), they just need higher performance, lower power, and lower cost, which is exactly what they have.

    Innovations only exist to serve those aspects.
  • Justin Case - Sunday, June 8, 2008 - link


    AMD64 (the instruction set) isn't about "more performance". Virtualization isn't about "more performance". Hardware no-execute flags aren't about "more performance". SATA's hot-plug ability isn't about "more performance".

    Your statement shows the kind of lack of vision that brought us the Pentium 4.

    I for one am far more excited about technology that allows me to do something new or different than "technology" that simply lets me do the same stuff faster. 99% of CPU cycles in the planet go unused anyway.

  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 5, 2008 - link

    Given the overall tone of your reply, the criticism of the article as "fan-boyish" is, really, the pot calling the kettle black.
  • Visual - Thursday, June 5, 2008 - link

    so you agree as well? yeah, me too.
    they are both black. they are both fanboys :)
  • zsdersw - Thursday, June 5, 2008 - link

    I've said nothing about agreeing with anything. What I have said, though, is that a fanboy calling someone else a fanboy is perhaps not indicative of any objective truth.
  • Jynx980 - Saturday, June 7, 2008 - link

    It will be a great day when I can read any CPU discussion without the word fanboy in it.

    The close up of the chip has waaaaaay to much thermal compound on it.

    Is it just me or is the first pic of the Intel roadmap rather... phallic?

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