AES-NI Performance Analyzed; Limited To 32nm Core i5 CPUs

Benchmark Results: Bitlocker, Everest, And WinZip 14

We used Windows 7 Ultimate’s AES-based BitLocker drive encryption feature. To avoid any storage bottlenecks, we decided to create a 330MB RAM drive, which would show the effective performance difference of the Core i5-661 with AES acceleration versus the non-accelerated Core i7-870. In fact, the difference is close to 50 percent. While encryption took seven seconds on the powerful, quad-core Core i7, the Core i5-661 dual-core completed the same task in only four seconds.

The AES encryption test by Everest Ultimate Edition reveals fantastic performance gains, although we’d still call this a synthetic measure, unlikely to be duplicated in the real-world.

Despite its support for AES, WinZip 14 was faster on the quad-core due to its higher horsepower. However, the AES-accelerated dual-core still did well and only lost because of the maximum compression setting we chose (after all, we try to maximize compression when sending files around our production environment, so this made the most sense). For a more detailed before/after performance comparison in WinZip 14, check out this page in our Clarkdale launch coverage.

We repeated the test with WinZip using only AES encryption and this time without compression. Voilá! The AES-accelerated dual-core easily beat the quad-core.