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Part 2: How Many CPU Cores Do You Need?

Test System And Benchmarks

Here is our test system:

System Hardware
Processor #1AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition 3.2 GHz, FSB-200, 2000 MHz HT link, 6 MB Cache.
Processor #2AMD Phenom II X2 550 Black Edition o/c to 3.2 GHz, FSB-200, 2000 MHz HT link, 6 MB Cache.
PlatformAsus M4A78T-E rev. 1.xx790GX chipset, SB750 southbridge, BIOS rev. 1001
RAMG.Skill F3-10666CL7-2GBPK (2 x 2 GB)DDR3-1333 @ DDR3-1338 CAS 9-9-9-24-33-1T
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 640 GB 7,200 RPM, 32 MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s
NetworkingOnboard Gigabit Ethernet
Graphics CardsGigabyte GV-N250ZL-1GI 1 GB DDR3 PCIe
Power SupplyUltra HE1000X, ATX 2.2, 1000W
Software and Drivers
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit 6.0.6001, SP1
DirectX VersionDirectX 10
Graphics DriverForceware 186.18
Benchmarks and Settings
3D Games
CrysisQuality settings set to lowest, Object Detail to High, Physics to Very High, version 1.2.1, 1024x768, Benchmark tool, 3-run average
Left 4 DeadQuality settings set to lowest, 1024x768, version 1.0.1.1, timed demo.
World in ConflictQuality settings set to lowest, 1024x768, Patch 1.009, Built-in benchmark.
Audio Encoding
iTunesVersion: 8.1.0.52, Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98 (64-bit), Audio CD ""Terminator II" SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s
Video Encoding
TMPEG 4.6Version: 4.6.3.268, Import File: "Terminator II" SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-Threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.1Display encoding status=off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
Applications
Autodesk 3D Studio Max 2009 (64-bit)Version: 2009, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Antivirus 8Version: 8.0.134, Virus base : 270.4.5/1533, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.80Version 3.80, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
WinZip 12Version 12, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark