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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [01.05.04]
Manufactured by: AMD


Content Encoding

We'll start off with what has to be one of the more important features of a CPU - its ability to encode (compress) video and audio media. This is becoming more and more mainstream as people are moving their music and collections to their hard drives, and creating video content with camcorders, etc.

First off, we'll test MP3 encoding. To really stress the CPU's out, we are using a huge 459MB WAV file (the entire Daft Punk Live '97 CD, which is one 60 minute track). We used LAME MP3 encoder with the "insane" quality preset.

Remember when looking at this chart, that lower is better. And as you can see, the 3.2 GHz Pentium 4 performs a lot better here, even though it is '0.2 GHz slower' (in a way.. you know..)

We tested video encoding using the two most popular codecs available - DivX 5.1.1 and XviD 1.0 Beta 3. To encode, we used a 25 minute chapter from the movie "Rashomon" and the popular encoding program DVD2AVI. Audio was skipped.

The P4 was able to complete the encoding almost 90 seconds ahead of the 3400+. This might seem like a lot, but have a look at how it did with DivX:

In DivX, the P4 3.2 GHz utterly destroyed the 3400+, finishing almost 4 minutes ahead. This is just a 24 minute clip - had this been a full 2 hour movie, the difference would have been staggering. However, I am guessing that the DVD2AVI program may have some P4 acceleration codes, or maybe is not detecting the Athlon64 properly. I did repeat each test twice to double check, and everything was within margins.

Judging by encoding performance, it looks like the Athlon64 has quite a bit of catching up to do to keep up with the P4, crappy DivX5 performance not withstanding.

However content encoding isn't the entire picture - there's gaming too! Let's see if the A64 fares better in that regard...

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