Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.46GHz 1066MHz FSB
Windows Media Encoder 9 and Lame MP3 Encoding Tests
We continued our testing with a video encoding benchmark using Windows Media Encoder 9. In this test, we took a 416MB Digital Video file and encoded to WMV9 format. Run times were recorded in Minutes:Seconds, with lower times again indicating better performance.
It seems that media encoding has always been Intel's strong suit, and this benchmark data point is no exception. WME9 is a heavily SSE optimized and multithreaded application, which does take advantage of the P4's Hyper-Threading features. As a result, we see the chips fall here with a solid advantage for Intel, where the P4 560 captures a 10 – 18% lead, depending on which Athlon we compare it to. However, once again we don't see any advantage for the 3.46GHz P4 EE versus its 800MHz FSB driven counterpart in this test. In terms of the overall performance scale here, relatively speaking within each processor architecture, clock speed is the single most limiting factor with Windows Media Encoder 9.
In our Lame MP3 tests we convert audio files to MP3 format, which is a very popular scenario that many end users work with on a regular basis, to provide portability and storage of their digital audio content. In this test, we chose a large 223MB WAV file (a never-ending Grateful Dead jam) and converted it to the MP3 format. Processing times are recorded below, and shorter times equate to better performance.
For MP3 audio encoding, memory bandwidth is probably the most critical aspect of overall system performance. Here the new 3.46GHz P4 Extreme Edition takes a first place tie with the Athlon 64 FX-55, and with its slightly higher clock speed, just edged out the standard 3.4GHz P4 EE. Although P4s are strong again in this test, capturing three of the top four slots performance-wise, a 1066MHz frontside bus with the 3.46GHz P4 EE doesn't provide any additional performance enhancement.