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Our new benchmark suite includes more threaded software than before. However, we still use a number of single-threaded apps that remain popular on the desktop. Adobe Acrobat, on the previous page, was one. iTunes and LAME are two others.
Both audio transcoders consequently favor the most efficient architecture running the fastest (in this case, Ivy Bridge). Sandy Bridge does really well too, besting AMD's flagship FX-8350 running in excess of 4 GHz. Ouch.
HandBrake and TotalCodeStudio conversely utilize all available processing resources. And yet, the quad-core $2,000 machine still manages to outpace the eight-core $1,000 PC. You could either credit Intel's combination of an efficient architecture and Hyper-Threading technology, or fault AMD's modular architecture that leans heavily on resource sharing between the four on-die dual-core modules.
Either way, the $500 machine’s Sandy Bridge-based Pentium, which doesn't benefit from a technology like Hyper-Threading or higher clocks, gets stomped.