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Application Benchmarks: Media Encoding

System Builder Marathon: $1,250 Mid-Range PC

Let's first see how these systems compare when we concentrate on audio encoding benchmarks. iTunes will lead the way--a test we already know is optimized to take advantage of two cores, tops.

Hmmm. The core i7 doesn't look as great right off the bat, does it? It's slightly losing to the E8500 in stock and overclocked form. We do have to remember that the E8500 has a 500 MHz clock speed advantage at stock speed and almost the same clock speed advantage when overclocked, so the i7 is doing very well per clock cycle compared to the Core 2 Duo--especially considering that this test is only optimized for two cores. Let's see if LAME audio encoding shows us something different:

Nope, nothing different here. LAME demonstrates the same neck-to-neck performance. Once again, this app does not look like it's optimized for quad-cores. Let's see if video encoding applications are coded with four cores in mind with the TMPGEnc benchmark:

Aha! The Core i7 struts its stuff with about twice the performance when encoding DivX. Clearly the DivX codec is quad-core optimized. Xvid looks like it isn't, but it still seems to slightly favor the i7 architecture giving it a slight advantage.

With these new expectations, let's see if the Mainconcept video encoder will show us big gains:

Mainconcept shows us a colossal 150% speed advantage when using the Core i7 920. This is very impressive indeed, especially if you use Mainconcept to encode your video. Once again, this benchmark is clearly optimized for quad cores and clearly likes the new i7 regardless of the E8500's clock-speed advantage.

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