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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.21.04]
Manufactured by: Intel


Content Encoding Performance

Probably one of the more important performance figures we'll give you in this review are the real-world content encoding numbers. Audio and video compression is hot among almost everyone who is into high end PC's, and having the latest CPU can really make a difference in the length of time it takes to create videos and music files.

First up is MP3 encoding; we used the LAME codec, set to "insane" quality. We encoded a 459MB WAV file, and timed it with dBPowerAMP's encoding utility.

Here you can see the advantage of a shorter pipeline, as the Northwood is still significantly faster than the Prescott here. The A64 3400+ is at about the level of a 3.2 GHz Prescott here, and slightly faster than a 3.0 GHz Northwood.

For video encoding, we used the latest beta version of the XviD codec, along with DVD2AVI, encoding a 25 minute caption of "Rashomon" in 700 KBPS single pass. Final encoding time is given in seconds:

This time the Prescott pulls ahead of the Northwood, by about 90 seconds (about 9% of the total encoding time). The A64 3400+ doesn't do so well here, pairing up with the Prescott 3.0 Ghz, and the Northwood 3.2 GHz.

System Performance Preview

PCMark04 is used to determine an estimated system performance overview. While it doesn't use actual programs like SYSmark and ZDBench, it uses *parts* of those programs to determine performance. We'll look at true application performance later on in the review.

Performance of the following applications are considered:

File compression
File decompression
File encryption
File decryption
Virus scanning
Grammar check
Audio conversion
Image processing
Web page rendering
WMV video compression
DivX video compression
Physics calculation and 3D

And again, the Prescott is pulling ahead of the Northwood, thanks in part to the increased clock speed. I don't even want to look at those Athlon64 numbers...

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