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The first tests we ran were the video and audio encoding benchmarks. Let's start with the iTunes benchmark, which measures how long it takes the iTunes program to convert a half-gigabyte wave file to AAC:
A little over two minutes for an almost full CD-sized file. Next, we tried the Lame benchmark version of the same task...
...the benchmark refused to complete, stopping itself - but not locking up - after 30 seconds of encoding. At first we thought we'd finally encountered a repeatable result of the Phenom's TLB erratum patch being disabled, but when we enabled the patch we got the same result. This prompted us to question the system's stability, so we ran some long stress tests and found that the PC was rock solid. It is important to note that this was the only benchmark that offered us any problems whatsoever. With no evidence of system instability and no other explanation presenting itself, it is difficult to diagnose the issue.
Under the gun and without the time for in depth testing of this lone problem, we had to move on to video encoding using TMPGEnc:
TMPG shows us that the DivX encoder is faster than the Xvid encoder, but without results from another machine we can't really draw any other conclusions yet. On to the DVD transcoding benchmark using CloneDVD 2.
The system transcoded the Terminator 2 DVD in just over 10 minutes, which seems like a pretty good result without comparative data.
With the media encoding benchmarks complete, let's move on to image rendering.