Articles: CPU
 

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Data Compression and Media Encoding

The processors of the Athlon 64 family are much faster than all the Pentium 4s in the test of data compression with the popular WinRAR 3.3 utility. You may have noticed the things that matter in this test: a large L2 cache and an efficient memory subsystem with low latencies. At the same time, the faster memory controller of the Socket 939 processors doesn’t save them from defeat they take from their older mates with a larger L2 cache. According to this benchmark, the Athlon 64 3400+ outperforms the Athlon 64 3500+ and also the Athlon 3800+, which works at a higher clock rate. Thus, the use of a dual-channel memory subsystem in the new CPUs from AMD doesn’t make up for the reduced L2 cache in data compression tasks.

The size of the cache and the speed of the memory subsystem have a small impact on the speed of encoding MP3 files. The clock rate and the efficient micro-architecture are important here. That’s why the Athlon 64 3500+ and the Athlon 64 3400+ as well as the Athlon 64 3800+ and the Athlon 64 FX-53 match each other in this test. Note also that the top-end Athlon 64 CPUs lose in this test to the Pentium 4 processors on the 0.13-micron Northwood core.

The Pentium 4 is traditionally good at encoding video into the MPEG-2 format. The Athlon 64s, even with their new 128-bit memory controller, cannot catch Intel’s CPUs. By the way, the memory subsystem speed and the amount of the L2 cache is of little effect in Mainconcept MPEG Encoder. That is, the two pairs – Athlon 64 3500+ with Athlon 64 3400, and Athlon 64 3800+ with Athlon 64 FX-53 – go neck and neck in this test.

We used Xmpeg for encoding video into the MPEG-4 format. The performance of the Athlon 64 processors complies with their ratings, while the eldest, the Athlon 64 3800+, is even faster than the fastest Pentium 4 CPUs from Intel.

The NetBurst architecture and the Pentium 4 processor win the test of encoding video in Windows Media Encoder. The Athlon 64s lack frequency to compete here. The new dual-channel memory controller in the Athlon 64 3500+ and in the Athlon 64 3800+ has increased their performance in comparison to older Athlon 64s, but this is not enough for an efficient work in Windows Media Encoder.

Overall, it is impossible to name a processor architecture, most suitable for data encoding. Depending on the tools and formats you use, the results may vary in favor of the Athlon 64 or the Pentium 4. Anyway, I should note that the Pentium 4 is often faster at encoding streaming multimedia data than the Athlon 64.

 
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