In our custom LAME MT MP3 encoding test, we convert a large WAV file to the MP3 format, which is a popular scenario that many end users work with on a day-to-day basis to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. LAME is an open-source mid to high bit-rate and VBR (variable bit rate) MP3 audio encoder that is used widely around the world in a multitude of third party applications.
In this test, we created our own 223MB WAV file (a hallucinogenically-induced Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format using the multi-thread capable LAME MT application in single and multi-thread modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. In this test, shorter times equate to better performance.
Our LAME MT results break front the distribution order we've seen in the previous tests. For the first (and only) time, the dual-core E8400 actually posted the best result in a multi-threaded test. However, this is because LAME MT only supports a maximum of two cores, which essentially downgrades all of the quad-core chips in our test to dual-cores. It seems that when all of the chips are limited two just two cores, the E8400's high clock frequency gives it the edge.
Despite the handicap, the Q9550S still manages to perform very well, coming in second overall and beating out the Core i7 920, although only in the multi-threaded test. The Q8200S didn't fare nearly as well. Its relatively low clock frequency really hurt it in this test, although it still managed to edge out the higher clocked Phenom II X4 940, which didn't seem to enjoy this test in the least.