Media Encoding and Gaming Benchmarks

Media Encoding

One area where Intel processors have enjoyed an advantage over Athlon 64 is Media Encoding.  Many have expected that Media Encoding with 64-bit extensions would erase that advantage.  We ran the latest XMPEG 5.0.3 with the latest DIVX codec 5.1.1 to compare encoding performance in a common 2-pass setup.  

Media Encoding - XMPEG 5.0 with DIVX 5.1. 1



(Windows XP SP1)


(XP64 Preview Edition)

% Change

32 to 64-bit

XMpeg 5.03/Divx 5.1.1


58.7 fps

67.8 fps


Keep in mind that the software we used is not really written for 64-bit operation.  Even so, we found 64-bit encoding to be 15.5% faster than 32-bit.  With 64-bit versions of the encoding software we would expect even higher performance.  Keep in mind that this is a preview version of XP64, hampered by very early drivers, running an encoder optimized for 32-bit.  It certainly appears that Media Encoding under Windows XP64 will be a totally different animal. 


The Athlon 64 quickly distinguished itself as the Gaming CPU with its outstanding performance in almost every 32-bit game.  With that kind of 32-bit advantage, we fully expected 64-bit gaming to fly.

Game Performance - Athlon 64 FX51



(Windows XP SP1)

Frames Per Second


(XP64 Preview)

Frames Per Second

% Change

32 to 64-bit

Halo DX9.0b





Splinter Cell










Quake 3




-51.2 %

Unreal Tournament 2003 - 1024x768





Unreal Tournament 2003 - 1024x768





GunMetal 2 - Bench 2

DX9 1024x768




GunMetal 2 - Bench 1

DX9 1024x768




Comanche 4

1024x668 4AA




Gaming is the one area in the preview that is a disappointment.  As you can see, the standard benchmark games under XP64 Preview were 4% to 51% slower than 32-bit, with the average speed about 20% slower.  It is far too early to reach any conclusions in this area, but there is a lot of driver optimization to be done to make up this kind of delta.  With the CPU and memory providing faster 64-bit performance, we have to believe the drivers play a big part in this disappointing gaming performance.

Epic was demonstrating UT 2004 64-bit at the release of the Athlon 64 last September, and by all reports the performance was amazing.  Perhaps we will only see the promised advantage of 64-bit in games written or compiled for XP64.  As we have already said, it is too early to draw conclusions;  We are only asking questions.  nVidia, ATI, Microsoft, and chipset manufacturers really need to improve drivers to the point where 64-bit is at least on par with 32-bit when running 32-bit games.  AMD has argued all along the advantages of backwards compatibility with 32-bit games.  This will still be a 32-bit world for a while and competitive gaming performance running 32-bit games is extremely important.  We fully expect gaming to improve as we move toward the release of XP64.  ATI has no published drivers for 64-bit, and nVidia's release drivers now are nearly 3 months old.  As we have seen over and over in the past, drivers are what make the difference in games.  With the release of XP64 Preview we should now see ATI and nVidia making giant strides in 64-bit graphics drivers.

Aquamark 3 would not run under XP64 preview, but the rest of our gaming benchmarks would run.  X2 has always had problems with image tearing on nVidia cards and the image tearing is even worse in XP64, but the benchmark does complete and provide believable results.

Content Creation and General Usage

To our complete surprise the Winstone 2004 benchmarks would not install under Windows XP 64-bit.  Until these benchmarks are updated we cannot run comparisons with XP64.

System and Memory Benchmarks Final Words


View All Comments

  • gmenfan - Sunday, May 16, 2004 - link

    I would like to see performance benchmarks with Windows XP 64-bit on a socket 754 platform. I am curious to see if the dual memory controller makes a difference in a 64-bit environment. Reply
  • DallasTexas - Friday, February 13, 2004 - link

    I sure see lots of apologies here for the initial crappy gaming performance shown. But anyway, I'd like to add to the chorus anywahy "yippeee, 64 bits is here ". Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, February 12, 2004 - link

    What really makes me laugh at this whole situation is the fact that people have been saying Windows XP-64 was ready to be released months ago and that MS was just delaying it so Intel could create their own 64-bit chip. Where are all those stupid comments now, people? As I said on numerous occasions, gettings drivers and the critical OS paths ported from x86 assembly to AMD64 assembly is a difficult task at best. However, it's a task that must be done for the OS to reach its potential.

    WOW-64 would most likely not account for the 20% performance decrease in games that are witnessed here. It is a type of emulation (actually, just an extra layer that system calls have to go through), so it would definitely be slower than running the same application without that layer. However, if the 64-bit drivers and everything else are tuned properly, the extra work done in WOW could be negated by the potential performance boost that 64-bit drivers and such would experience.

    I would be curious to know what version of Nvidia's drivers were being used in testing. They said they used a version number that was "close" to the XP-64 driver version on the XP system, but that doesn't tell us a whole lot. If the 64-bit Nvidia driver is three months old or more, it might be back in the 45.23 driver era, which might explain the performance difference better.

    Still, the thing that is illustrated best by this article is that XP-64 is *not* ready for prime time right now. Fool around with it if you want to, but until all of the drivers are fully ported to AMD64, you're better off running XP or a 64-bit version of Linux. Even once all the drivers are available, I wouldn't be surprised to see companies like ATI and Nvidia releasing new versions that contain better 64-bit optimizations for the next year or two at least.
  • DallasTexas - Wednesday, February 11, 2004 - link

    "...Performance of current 32-bit games under SP64, however, was below expectations..."

    BELOW EXPECTATIONS ? WOW, the understatement of the year and it's only february.
  • CrossfireAction - Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - link

    20% Performance loss in games shood realy be a driver problem as you can check out here:

    These guys testet the new Beta XP 64 with an ATI Radeon 9700 non Pro with Microsoft 64 bit drivers based on OEM Catalyst 3.6 from August 2003
    As you can see the gameing performance is increasing about 4,8% to 8% !!!
  • ZapZilla - Tuesday, February 10, 2004 - link

    Even if the gaming performance of 32bit games stays poor, 1 year from now, when faster CPUs/GPUs are out and the 64 bit OS is mature, it won't matter, because:

    1) new games will be 64 bit or DX9++ and require new hardware anyway to get best performance or

    2) 32 bit games (then called 32 bit legacy games) will benefit from faster CPUs/GPUs and get higher FPS to make up for it.

    How many FPS does Quake n get on a modern system these days compared to when the game was released?

    So why all the fuss? Its all good.
  • sipc660 - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    some say its emulated others say its not
    some say its emulated others say its not

    i agree with no.33
    just shut up everyone and wait till the guys from anandtech bring us the revised performance with some decent drivers and real 64-bit benchmarks

    hail anandtech

    go amd
  • FalcomPSX - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    I plan on doing some benchmarks using sandra soon, using the 32-bit sandra and 64-bit as this should show a good raw increase in performance, albeit an early example. But this is the best way to guage performance based on what we have now. 32-32, 64-32 and 64-64. Once this is done, we will have a early estimate in the gain 64-bit provides and the hit( eumlating 32 bit in the 64bit os provides. Reply
  • Phiro - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    This article was _not_ a waste of time and I applaude Anandtech for spending the hours neccessary to put it together for us.

    The lack of intelligence and sheer stupidity (and trolling) in the comments for this article on the otherhand is overwhelming.

    Comments like "this just makes Prescott look better and better", "This is an AMD only version of Windoze what will Intel do haw haw haw", "a 15% increase in number crunching but a big hit on game playing - I don't think consumers will swallow that" and the hair splitting going on between the definition of "subsystem" and the definition of "emulation" make me want to put a gun in my mouth and just pull the trigger.

    Holy gosh people, please give me intelligent comments to read while I eat my lunch, the drivel coming out of most of you is enough to spontaneously create another CRAMITPAL.
  • araczynski - Monday, February 9, 2004 - link

    this is akin to putting in a new engine into a car and taking it out on the track before you put on its tires. the results are obvious and the whole excercise is a waste of time. you might as well start benchmarks on prescott's successor and discuss the results with a straight face. Reply