LAME MT & Kribibench
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-threaded modes. Processing times are recorded below, listed in seconds. Once again, shorter times equate to better performance.
Not only is our LAME MT test a measure of almost pure processor speed, it is not impacted significantly by L2 cache size or the presence of more than two cores. As such, the results for this particular test show the 3.0GHz E6850, dual-core processor-based system outperforming the Edge Z55's 2.66GHz Q9450 quad-core CPU. Even though quad-core processors have been around for a little while now, you'd be hard-pressed to find many mainstream applications that support multi-threading with more than two cores. As such, when it comes to pure encoding--such as with audio or video encoding--the results here are fairly indicative of the performance you can expect from other similar applications. Sometimes four cores are not necessarily better than two.
For this next batch of tests, we ran Kribibench v1.1, a 3D rendering benchmark produced by the folks at Adept Development. Kribibench is an SSE aware software renderer where a 3D model is rendered and animated by the host CPU and the average frame rate is reported. We usually use two of the included models with this benchmark: a "Sponge Explode" model consisting of over 19.2 million polygons and the test suite's "Ultra" model that is comprised of over 16 billion polygons. The "Sponge Explode" model can sometime produce anomalous results that defy explanation, and that is what we experienced with the Edge Z55. As such, we are only including the results for the "Ultra" model here.
Unlike the LAME MT test, our Kribibench test is influenced by more than two processor cores. Other than the dual-core E6850 brining up the rear, the rest of the scores of the quad-core systems fall into place based on raw processor speed, with the Edge Z55 and its 2.66GHz Q9450 sitting exactly in between the 3GHz QX9650 and the 2.5GHz Phenom X4 9850-based systems.