Benchmark Results: Media And Transcoding Apps
Because Apple’s popular iTunes application isn’t threaded, two extra cores do nothing for Core i7-980X here. For the most part, clock rate is going to be the principal determinant of performance—highlighted by the fact that our Core i5-750 gets Turbo Boosted ahead of the more expensive Core i7-920, which doesn’t have as aggressive of a Turbo implementation. The Core i7-980X is still fast, but not at all worth its price premium in titles that can’t take advantage of its six cores.
In contrast to iTunes, MainConcept most definitely is able to put Gulftown’s six cores to use. Even at the same clock rate, Core i7-980X sees as much gain from two additional cores as the 3.33 GHz i7-975 gets over the 2.66 GHz i7-920. In turn, the i7-920, running at 2.66 GHz, demonstrates a similar boost over the 2.66 GHz i5-750, which lacks Hyper-Threading. Now that’s what I call ideal scaling.
The Phenom II X4 965 bests Intel’s slightly more expensive Core i5-750, but it’s certainly a close match-up. The Core i7s simply outclass AMD’s best effort here.
As with MainConcept, the freely-available HandBrake heavily favors multi-core architectures. The Core i7-980X is a great way to go if you’re crunching on a lot of video work. In fact, it’s the best way to outperform Intel’s previous flagship. And given the same price point, you might as well be comparing performance to the Core i7-920 when judging value—the decision to buy an i7-980X over the i7-975 is really a no-brainer in cases like these.
We again see the Phenom II X4 and Core i5-750 neck-in-neck, which is good news for AMD, given a slightly lower price point and slightly better transcode times.
Our DivX encode sees Intel’s Core i7-980X again rising to the top, besting the company’s previous flagship by more than 30 seconds. However, the Xvid workload was never able to finish correctly on the Gulftown setup, hanging up just before the test was supposed to come to a close. According to Intel, this is due to a bug in the Xvid codec related to the way it detects cores. Remember back to the issues AMD experienced when it launched Phenom II X3? This is a remnant of that, and should be patched quickly. None of the other titles in our test suite experienced problems due to a non-power-of-two thread count.
We wouldn’t have expected much out of the i7-980X anyway, since this metric is clearly limited by clock frequency (indicated by the Phenom II’s first-place finish, followed by the 3.33 GHz Core i7-975).