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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.24.08]
Manufactured by: AMD, Intel


The Real World Rules!

While it's great to use software like PCMark and SYSMark to get an idea of how a PC performs in various scenarios (and they are getting even better, benchmarking within real-world applications), nothing beats doing the tests yourself to see exactly where each CPU model excels and falls behind in performance.

The one thing our readers are most interested in, after gaming, is probably video and audio transcoding. After all, who wants to keep music on annoying discs? The same can often be said for video, as today's huge hard drives allow us to store a lot of movies.

Audio Encoding

For our audio encoding tests, we use the latest version of dBpoweramp Music Converter (at this time, R13). This program has the slickest interface I've seen for an audio converter, as it integrates into the Windows Explorer shell (right click > convert to). It also supports a plethora of codecs, although we're only going to look at the three main ones - MP3, Apple Lossless, and WMA.

Both MP3 and WMA were run in Constant Bit Rate, converting an entire CD to 128 kbps. WMA was also run in Lossless mode, along with Apple Lossless. The CD is stored as an uncompressed WAV file.

After the overclocking is all said and done, the Celeron is able to perform admirably well, beating the X2 at every codec. It is odd to see the overclocked X2 taking so long with Apple Lossless, but all tests were repeated and confirmed.

Video Encoding

As usual, we are converting a portion of Groundhog Day DVD to MPEG-4 Part 2 using VirtualDub. The codecs we're using are DivX, which is multithreaded and getting better with every version, and the still single-threaded XviD, which "the scene" still prefers to use for some reason.

I am going to look into something a little more up to date for our next review, using HDTV source material and a more modern MPEG-4 AVC codec. Since DivX and XviD are so widely used, I'll probably keep this as an SD video transcoding scenario. If someone knows of a good HD encoding method that is easy to run and keeps track of encoding time, please let me know.

As we've been seeing in most of our tests, the Celeron is able to brute-force past its cache deficiency with such a high clock speed (and in many cases, fast RAM running at 1:1 400+ MHz).

Next Page: (3D Rendering; Math; Power Consumption)