Intel Core i5-2520M and The Asus K53E Notebook

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HD Media Playback and Encoding

On the video decode side of the equation, we selected an HD movie trailer clip to look at from resource utilization standpoint.  With a powerful chip like the Core i5-2520M, we didn't expect HD video playback to be an issue but regardless, we looked at CPU utilization playing back this1080p H.264 QuickTime clip.  We fired up the I am Legend trailer .mov file with Windows Media Player, while taking note of thread activity in Windows Task Manager Performance Monitor.

1080p H.264 QuickTime Movie Trailer - I Am Legend - 13% CPU utilization and no sweat

Here only two threads are currently being exercised and total CPU utilization is 13% or so.  You could do some serious heavy lifting with a movie clip playing in the background on this machine.

HD Video Encoding Performance
Testing With and Without Intel Quick Sync

The x264 HD benchmark measures how fast a system can encode a short, DVD quality MPEG-2 video clip into a high-quality H.264 HD video clip. This test does NOT make use of Intel's Quick Sync video transcoding engine and is more of an indication of raw CPU throughput for transcoding in software.

The numbers here scaled just about where we expected but the interesting datapoints are the variance between the previous generation Core i5 processor and the new Core i5-2520M in the Asus K53E notebook we tested. Intel's new Sandy Bridge architecture is showing a 19 - 25% performance edge in this test.

Cyberlink's Media Show Espresso is a video conversion tool that imports various video media files types and converts them to other standard video formats for publication, distribution and streaming.  In this test, we take a 224MB high definition 720p AVCHD video clip and convert it to a 720p H.264-encoded video .mov file.  Times are measured in minutes:seconds with lower times representing faster throughput in the video conversion process.

The top three gold bars in this graph are scores taken in Cyberlink Media Show Espresso with Sandy Bridge mobile crunching the file with its Quick Sync hardware engines enabled and also disabled in one instance.  Intel's Quick Sync video transcode engine boast huge performance advantages in this application under our test conditions.  The Quick Sync-enabled test runs were performed in just a few seconds, versus over a minute required for the Core i7-2820QM to process the file without Quick Sync.  What's more impressive however, is how much faster Sandy Bridge was versus the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280M graphics chip along with Intel's previous generation Core i7-920XM.  Even NVIDIA's CUDA video processing engines can't keep up with Quick Sync.

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