Benchmark Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Now in version 10, we’d expect iTunes to take better advantage of threaded processors, but it still doesn’t. The three 4 GHz chips turn in nearly identical scores, and the 2.4 GHz stock Xeon shows what a 1.6 GHz deficit does in a single-threaded piece of software.
Now this is more like it. Understandably, the quad-core 2.4 GHz Xeon gets smoked in this freely-available well-threaded transcoding app. But when it’s overclocked to 4 GHz, it’s able to edge out Intel’s Core i7-930.
As a point of comparison, the six-core Core i7-970 is 25% faster than the i7-930, but you have to pay an additional 300% for that extra performance. Unless you’re transcoding professionally and simply cannot get enough compute muscle, it’d be hard to justify such a steep premium.
DivX capitalizes on available core count, and easily shows how much faster the overclocked Xeon E5620 is versus the same CPU in stock form. A higher memory frequency and more L3 cache help nudge that overclocked Xeon in front of Intel’s Core i7-930 running at 4 GHz, but the six-core Core i7-970 takes first place (at a significant cost).
Xvid isn’t as nice to the Gulftown-based chip, crashing before the job can finish. This is an issue we’ve seen before, and it looks like it still hasn’t been fixed. Instead, the overclocked Xeon takes first-place here.
A 50%-higher core count and an extra 4 MB of L3 cache buys 34% additional performance when you compare the Core i7-970 to the i7-930. That’s not perfect scaling, but it’s reasonable. The overclocked Xeon E5620 is 2% quicker than the i7-930 baseline at 4 GHz.
Clearly, threading rules this test—the question is: are you ready to pay hundreds of dollars more for the speed boost?