ABBYY FineReader 8
We used FineReader 8 to convert the PDF version of Leo Tolstoy's classic tome War and Peace into MS Word DOC format. When set to Background Recognition mode, the most current version of this program (8) supports using both processing units independently in a dual core CPU.
Windows Media Encoder
Using Windows Media Encoder 9, we converted a 426 MB AVI file into WMV format. The Windows Media Encoder is well-known to be optimized for use in dual core systems.
Autodesk 3D Studio Max
We used this application to open a 21 MB project file named "Stadium" at the same time that we took 6 images and rendered them into a short slide show at HDTV resolution. This application is also optimized for dual core processors.
Pinnacle Studio 10 Plus
Using the multi-core equipped Pinnacle Studio 10 Plus application, we scaled a video file from its native 352x288 MPEG-2 format into a 720x576 MPEG-2 version, while also applying various filters to the resulting output.
Our first multi-tasking scenario used a script to execute WinRAR and the Lame MP3 encoder in parallel. As the CPU was put to work converting a 108 MB WAV file into MP3 format using Lame, it also had to run WinRAR on a 181 MB folder containing 23 files to create an archive with maximum compression.
This scenario represents a more demanding reworking of the preceding scenario. Along with WinRAR and Lame, we added Ogg Vorbis and the Windows Media Encoder to the collection of applications running in parallel. Ogg Vorbis was set to work converting an audio file into its own OGG format, while Windows Media Encoder tackled converting a 108 MB AVI file into WMV format. Thus, the CPU had to handle four concurrent tasks in this test.
This scenario seeks to simulate a typical daily set of business computing activities on the desktop: while the user runs one application, a virus scan runs in the background. In our scenario we returned to FineReader 8 and used it to convert War and Peace from PDF into MS Word DOC format, at the same time that we scanned a large installation directory for viruses. Everybody's been here, and many coworkers in large companies have been known to make a habit of disappearing for a mid-day break while such a scan is running. Ever since the IT department set up its remote virus scans, user productivity has tanked while the scans were active.