The Business Winstone 2004 suite from ZD Labs is an update to the application-based PC benchmark line we've been using for years. It still makes use of real-world application tests like word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing and formatting, as well as file compression, anti-virus scanning and email. A multi-tasking component has also been added, and the base requirements have been upgraded quite significantly. As usual, this suite of programs is run from a batch script that attempts to accurately emulate a business system load, and then supplies us with a final performance rating.
Our Business Winstone 2004 testing still favors the Athlon 64 side, but since AMD has owned this benchmark since the early Athlon days, the Intel comparisons are the most pertinent. The Pentium 4 3.2E posts a good score, but surprisingly, finishes just a hair behind the Pentium 4 3.2 GHz Northwood. The Pentium 4 3.4 GHz EE model does show some improvement over its 3.2 GHz EE brethren, but again, even the highest end Pentium 4 can't match the AMD64 performance scores.
Content Creation Winstone 2004 is another new update to the Winstone line, and also updates the base requirements and applications. We're still looking at an application-based test suite, which includes hot programs like Photoshop, Macromedia Director, LightWave, Wavelab, and many others. This new version also includes Windows Media Encoder 9, which means the AMD and Intel processor features are fully recognized and supported. This is a very demanding system benchmark, and makes a great comparison tool for our high-end testing and when comparing component performance levels using the latest multimedia software.
The Content Creation Winstone performance scores are a bit more evenly weighted, but Intel still finds themselves behind the AMD eight-ball. The Pentium 4 3.2E Prescott draws even with its Northwood competition, while the Pentium 4 3.4 GHz EE shows some power and at least takes a run at the Athlon 64 3400+. Both of these Winstone scores stress the platform more than the processor, and it seems that AMD's integrated memory controller and high-end HyperTransport design has a real advantage on the business end of things.
TMPGEnc Plus is an extremely popular MPEG encoder, and a program that not only offers real-world MPEG performance results, but includes a host of specialized CPU support options. The program supports virtually all CPU multimedia features such as MMX/MMX-2, SSE/SSE2, 3DNow!, and even HyperThreading.
For the following test, we've taken a high-end, 3-minute AVI file, and then encoded it to MPEG-2 using TMPGEnc Plus 2.5. The results are expressed in the form of time elapsed (minutes: seconds) and unlike our other benchmarks, a smaller bar denotes less time taken, and therefore higher performance.
Intel has a noticeable advantage on the video encoding end of things, and both of the new Pentium 4 models take this to the next level. The Pentium 4-3.4 GHz EE drops the encoding time below that of the 3.2 GHz EE processor, while the Pentium 4 3.2E takes it to the competition and posts the fastest time. Multimedia performance looks to be one of the benefits of the Prescott core, as the relative encoding time is incredibly fast, and even surpasses that of the fastest Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. The presence of Hyper-Threading support in the TMPGEnc Plus program is also a contributing factor.