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Benchmark Results: A/V Encoding

AMD Athlon II X2 / Phenom II X2 And Low-Power CPU Bonanza

As we go through the benchmarks, you’ll see a marked difference between the processors with 2, 3, and 4 cores. Most often, the result is going to depend on how the app has been coded. Here in MainConcept, it’s pretty clear that the more processing cores you throw at the app, the better. The fastest contender is Intel’s Core 2 Quad Q8400 and the slowest is Intel’s Pentium E6300. All four of AMD’s latest CPUs fall in between.

We know that even the latest 64-bit build of iTunes is only dual-threaded, so the principal influencers of performance will be clock speed and cache. Indeed, Intel’s Core micro-architecture gives it the largest advantage here, followed by the 3.1 GHz clock rate of the Phenom II X2. iTunes isn’t as large a fan of the Athlon II’s larger L2/no L3 design though, and the budget chip places behind both of the 2.5 GHz low-power Phenoms. Naturally, those two chips perform identically.

We have two tests in play here: DivX, which fully utilizes all of our processing cores, and Xvid, which seems to only really use two. It’s hardly a surprise, then, that the quad-cores walk away with victories in DivX, followed by the triple-core X3, and then the dual-core solutions.

Xvid is quite a bit closer. Intel’s Core 2 micro-architecture affords the Q8400 a narrow victory, followed closely by the 3.1 GHz Phenom II X2. Again, AMD’s new Athlon II X2 doesn’t put forth a particularly compelling showing—our hope for this one are in its gaming potential.

We’ve already established that this is a one-core horse race, so the Pentium E6300’s victory isn’t as surprising as it’d seem, nor is the Q8400’s second-place finish. Once you shift to the AMD lineup, clock speed is king with the exception of the Athlon II X2.

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