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Application Benchmarks: Audio Encoding

How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?

Audio encoding has traditionally been a segment of software that either doesn't really benefit from multiple cores or hasn't been optimized by developers for multiple cores that well. Here are our Lame and iTunes results:

Lame doesn't show much advantage when using multiple cores at all. There appears to be a very slight advantage to using even numbers of CPU cores, which is odd. However, the difference is so small it could simply be within the margin of error.

Moving on to iTunes, we see a definite but small speed increase once two cores are enabled, and then it plateaus there.

Neither Lame nor iTunes is well-optimized for multiple CPUs when encoding audio. Conversely, we know that video encoding is often highly optimized for multiple cores due to its inherently parallel nature, so we'll look at that next.

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