Performance during Audio and Video Encoding
The popular Lame mp3 codec didn’t support multi-threading until recently. However, the new 3.97 alpha 2 version of this software knows to work with multiple threads. So, Pentium 4 processors are now encoding audio faster than Athlon 64, and Athlon 64 X2 4800+ manages to outpace its single-core counterparts but fails to beat Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition.
Although Mainconcept codec can use two computational cores at a time, Athlon 64 X2 doesn’t work very much faster than its single-core fellows. In fact, it owes this advantage not that much to the dual-core architecture, but to the SSE3 instructions support and enhanced memory controller. So, single-core Pentium 4 processor turns out faster in Mainconcept than Athlon 64 X2 4800+.
During MPEG-4 encoding in the popular DiVX codec, we see a totally different picture. The second core of Athlon 64 X2 CPU makes it much faster, so that the new AMD CPU outperforms even the top Pentium 4 solution.
XviD codec also supports multi-threading, although the second core doesn’t ensure the performance growth as significant as in the previous case when we considered the DiVX codec.
No doubt that Windows Media Encoder is the best optimized codec for the multi-core processor designs. For example, Athlon 64 X2 4800+ encodes data 1.7 times faster than the single-core Athlon 64 4000+ working at the same clock rate. Therefore, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about any competition between dual- and single-core processors in WME.
Just like digital content creation applications, most codecs have already been optimized for Hyper-Threading. As a result, dual-core processors, which can handle two computational threads at a time, also perform the encoding faster. In other words, dual-core processors are a good choice for audio and video content encoding tasks.