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Benchmark Results: Media Encoding

Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review
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We’ve already looked at two applications that were written to take advantage of Intel’s Quick Sync pipeline prior to the Sandy Bridge launch. Let's see those results one more time, as a reminder of what's possible when the processing load shifts from general-purpose hardware to specialized fixed-function logic:

Of course, there are more programs still lacking the requisite hooks—these have to employ general-purpose execution resources to get their workloads finished. As such, they reflect the performance of the CPU cores.

An upgrade to our iTunes benchmark makes us current yet again, but it’s really of little consequence since Apple still runs everything on a single thread. He who sits down to this table with the most aggressive turbo implementation wins.

Intel’s Core i3-2100 and Core i5-655K swap places compared to the Lame and WinZip charts on the previous page. Otherwise, they’re identical. Without more in the way of developer attention, that’s the way every single-threaded title is going to end.

Fortunately, not every application is as poorly optimized as iTunes. MainConcept uses as many processor threads as it can get its hands on. Moreover Sonic Solutions recently launched version 1.1 of its CUDA SDK, facilitating transcoding from MPEG-2, VC-1, or H.264 to H.264 in hardware. Hopefully, the company will update the software to exploit Quick Sync as well.

Intel’s Core i7-2600K is the lone processor to complete our test in under a minute. From there, the Lynnfield-based Core i7-875K takes second, followed by AMD’s Phenom II X6 1100T. Intel’s Core i5-2500K is just one second behind, tying the pricier Core i7-950, which operates on eight threads concurrently, but runs at a slower clock rate.

HandBrake also makes good use of parallelism, handing the Core i7-2600K a massive win. The Phenom II X6 1100T shows well, outmoding the Core i7-875K by one second for second place. From there, things look very similar to the MainConcept benchmark, with the Core i5-2500K, Core i7-950, and Core i5-2400 landing close together.

AMD’s quad-core Phenom II X4 970 trails further back, besting the aged Core 2 Quad. Naturally, the two dual-core models bring up the rear in any benchmark that emphasizes threading.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , January 3, 2011 3:41 AM
    juncturei think the author's saying he's sexually active


    Just this.
  • 10 Hide
    juncture , January 3, 2011 3:35 AM
    "an unlocked Sandy Bridge chip for $11 extra is actually pretty damn sexy."

    i think the author's saying he's a sexually active cyberphile
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    JE_D , January 3, 2011 3:15 AM
    BENCHIES! Thanks Tomshardware!
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , January 3, 2011 3:21 AM
    Editor, page 10 has mistakes. Its LGA1155, not LGA1555.
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , January 3, 2011 3:25 AM
    MoneyFace pEditor, page 10 has mistakes. Its LGA1155, not LGA1555.


    Fixed, thanks Money!
  • 10 Hide
    juncture , January 3, 2011 3:35 AM
    "an unlocked Sandy Bridge chip for $11 extra is actually pretty damn sexy."

    i think the author's saying he's a sexually active cyberphile
  • 11 Hide
    cangelini , January 3, 2011 3:41 AM
    juncturei think the author's saying he's sexually active


    Just this.
  • 7 Hide
    fakie , January 3, 2011 3:49 AM
    Contest is limited to residents of the USA (excluding Rhode Island) 18 years of age and older.

    Everytime there's a new contest, I see this line. =(
  • 5 Hide
    englandr753 , January 3, 2011 3:51 AM
    Great article guys. Glad to see you got your hands on those beauties. I look forward to you doing the same type of review with bulldozer. =D
  • 5 Hide
    joytech22 , January 3, 2011 3:52 AM
    Wow Intel owns when it came to converting video, beating out much faster dedicated solutions, which was strange but still awesome.

    I don't know how AMD's going to fare but i hope their new architecture will at least compete with these CPU's, because for a few years now AMD has been at least a generation worth of speed behind Intel.

    Also Intel's IGP's are finally gaining some ground in the games department.
  • 6 Hide
    cangelini , January 3, 2011 3:58 AM
    fakieContest is limited to residents of the USA (excluding Rhode Island) 18 years of age and older.Everytime there's a new contest, I see this line. =(


    I really wish this weren't the case fakie--and I'm very sorry it is. We're unfortunately subject to the will of the finance folks and the government, who make it hard to give things away without significant tax ramifications. I know that's of little consolation, but that's the reason :( 

    Best,
    Chris
  • 1 Hide
    LuckyDucky7 , January 3, 2011 4:07 AM
    "It’s the value-oriented buyers with processor budgets between $100 and $150 (where AMD offers some of its best deals) who get screwed."

    I believe that says it all. Sorry, Intel, your new architecture may be excellent, but unless the i3-2100 series outperforms anything AMD can offer at the same price range WHILE OVERCLOCKED, you will see none of my desktop dollars.

    That is all.
  • 6 Hide
    DjEaZy , January 3, 2011 4:13 AM
    ... will wait til 'buldozer'... and two things may happen... the buldozer at the price point will kick ass... or the sandy bridge parts will get cheaper...
  • 3 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , January 3, 2011 4:30 AM
    There is some pretty cool stuff going on here. I like the way the article points out the good and the bad. As for me I really am mystified at Intel's decision to only put the higher end graphics in the k-models as most likely anyone buying them will be going for the P67 platform that doesn't even use the integrated graphics. It would have been soooo much better for the HTPC crowd if there were some lower end chips with the better integrated graphics. I guess somehow this is money motivated???

    As for overclocking, well it seems a bit odd in the way it is being implemented. But for $216, I can't complain too much about a quad-core with a base clock of 3.3 GHz. Some enthusiasts won't like the limited overclocking features, but others will welcome the simplified approach.

    I will be building my brother a new gaming computer for graduation this summer and now I have another viable option to look at. I had planned on going with a P55 + i5 760, but now I will need to consider the P67 + i5 2500K.

    Waiting on bulldozer...
  • 7 Hide
    jyar727 , January 3, 2011 4:36 AM
    I mean this looks like a thorough test but its really not. I wanted to see an I7 1:1 clock performance comparisons. Mainly, 3.4GHz I7-950 vs 3.4GHz I7-2600K. Obviously 3.4 GHz new tech would usually beat a 3.0 current tech in benches. UGH. lame lame lame. Really want to see this comparison instead.
  • 7 Hide
    silversurfernhs , January 3, 2011 4:39 AM
    Shouldn't the title be second gen Core i series... because Core 2s were second gen Cores, weren't they?
  • 8 Hide
    Tamz_msc , January 3, 2011 4:57 AM
    Where is the 980x in these benchmarks?
    Other than that its a great article, and I'm drooling over QuickSync!
  • 0 Hide
    Maziar , January 3, 2011 5:30 AM
    Thanks for the review Chris :) 
    QuickSync definitely looks interesting.
  • 1 Hide
    Ramar , January 3, 2011 5:34 AM
    I just bought an i5-760 system on 12/30 from newegg, I guess I wasn't paying attention to when Sandy Bridge would actually be released. It's not here yet, so I could just send the mobo and cpu back when they get here, but I don't see enough justification as a gamer to move to the 2500k. Based on the number of 1.35V 4.7ghz for the 2600k, I would assume that on stock voltage it doesn't get much higher in frequency than my 760 will, and I don't like raising stock voltage.

    This is all very nice, but I'll keep my bclk control for now and maybe move up when I get out of college in seven months and the tech is set in stone and dropping in price a little.

    Not a bad chip, and I'm excited to see where they go with it. =]
  • -1 Hide
    Hellbound , January 3, 2011 5:45 AM
    Is sandy bridge the replacement to the x58 chipset? I thought I read somewhere they were planning on x68 sometime in 2011.
  • 1 Hide
    djdarko321 , January 3, 2011 6:00 AM
    Remember though as this is the lower end Sandy Bridge platform NOT THE MAIN LGA2011 socket. As Intel decided to release for the mainstream first before the enthusiasts this go around.
  • -2 Hide
    Tamz_msc , January 3, 2011 6:08 AM
    Just looked at the AnandTech review and here is their opinion -

    Quote:
    In all but the heaviest threaded applications, Sandy Bridge is the fastest chip on the block—and you get the performance at a fairly reasonable price. The Core i7-2600K is tempting at $317 but the Core i5-2500K is absolutely a steal at $216. You're getting nearly $999 worth of performance at roughly a quarter of the cost.


    These things are as fast as the i7 980X and in some cases they're even faster!
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