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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [11.01.06]
Manufactured by: Intel



With the release of version 2.60, WinRAR has fully supported multithreading. It will use as many thrads as are available, so running quad cores will definitely benefit something that we all probably do every single day - compressing and decompressing archives.

WinRAR comes with a built-in benchmark that shows data transfer performance across the entire program, both compression and decompression. It compresses using the "Best" algorithm, with all additional filters disabled.

Here is how the task manager looks when the WinRAR benchmark is being run; you can see that almost all 4 cores are being used:

This time the extra cores show a noticable increase in performance.

When dual-core processors were first introduced, you had to look at several areas of performance and decide from there whether the extra core would be beneficial to you. Back then, there simply were not many multithreaded applications to make use of it.

Since then, more and more multithreaded programs have been introduced, and the old ones that we've been using all along have added SMP support. Everything from video encoding to archive compression will receive a remarkable increase in performance when using a quad core system.

And what about the cases where single-threaded computing is being done? For instance, we currently see no benefit from dual or quad core when encoding music with dbPowerAmp.

To answer that, you have to ask yourself; do you only ever do one thing at a time? When you encode a CD, do you sit there for 2 minutes, watching the progress bar move by? This actually might sound like a familiar scenario, as many people are still stuck with single core processors. But it doesn't have to be.

What if you could encode your entire music library while you log into WoW to check for the latest deals at the auction house? With dual core, even this was a bit tricky. But with quad core, it is totally doable.

The basic answer is this: If you perform an intensive, specialized task like video encoding, you would benefit from Quad Core. If you want to do more than a few of these tasks at once, you would benefit from Quad Core. If you want to run several [email protected] instances, yet have full resources to run other tasks without ANYTHING slowing down, you would benefit from Quad Core.

See what I'm getting at here? The future is multithreading. Intel knows it. AMD knows it. Microsoft and Sony know it. We saw big gains in performance across the board, and in the few cases where we didn't, we can still consider the intangible benefits of having more than a couple cores.

And in January, there will be some more affordable versions of this processor. You might want to ask Santa for a gift certificate this Christmas!

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