TMPGEnc Xpress 4 MPEG-2 Encoding Performance
Since the release of the Intel Yorkfield, we've totally revamped our media encoding tests, upgrading to TMPGEnc Xpress 4, and changing our default video files. TMPGEnc Xpress 4 not only provides real-world video encoding performance results, but also includes a host of specialized CPU support options. The program is full multi-threaded and supports virtually all CPU multimedia features such as MMX/MMX-2, SSE/SSE2/SSE3, 3D Now!/Enhanced 3D Now!, along with a Core 2 Duo/Extreme mode.
Due to the increasingly high performance of quad core processors, our reference video is now a higher-end, 8-minute AVI file. In our first test, this file is encoded at 720x480 MPEG-2 DVD quality video using TMPGEnc 4 and the encoding time is recorded. 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 better encoding performance.
Although MPEG2 DVD encoding does not put the most stress on the processors, it's still a very appropriate benchmark for a multimedia desktop. The Phenom X4 9950 BE is a very competitive processor in this particular test, and holds the fastest MPEG-2 encoding time, while the Phenom X4 9350e and its lower 2.0 GHz clock speed really suffer with the second-slowest time. Also, these time gaps may not seem like much, but remember we're only talking about an 8-minute file, and relative positioning is still the most important factor.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 DivX Encoding Performance
For the next test, we've taken the same video file, and encoded it to DivX (656x336) using TMPGEnc 4. This is about on par with the previous DVD authoring test, but uses a difference codec. The performance results are expressed in the form of time elapsed (minutes: seconds) and as with the MPEG-2 results, a smaller bar denotes less time taken, and therefore higher performance.
The DivX encoding results are very similar to the MPEG-2 chart, and again the Phenom X4 9950 BE hits the fastest encoding time. The Phenom X4 9350e fares better against the Intel competition, but its extra core is trumped by the higher clock of the Phenom X3 8750.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 Windows Media Video Encoding Performance
This time out, we're switching to Windows Media Video (WMV), and encoding the same video file as a 672x352 .wmv file. As with the previous tests, these are time-based and a smaller bar denotes higher performance.
The results in the Windows Media Video encoding test are not as good, and since this benchmark tends to reward both a higher clock speed and additional cores, the Phenom suffers. Due to its 2.6 GHz clock speed, the Phenom X4 9950 BE still posts a good encoding time, but the Phenom X4 9350e drops back into last place in the chart.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 High-Definition Video Encoding Performance
Our final media-encoding test ups the ante considerably, this time forcing the processors to handle a high-definition video job, taking the end resolution to 1440x1080, with a 25000 Kb/s CBR. This test forces many systems to their literal knees, and is certainly not for the faint of heart.
The high-def video benchmarking really separates the processor classes, and we clearly see the true benefits of a quad core architecture. Here, the 2.0 GHz Phenom X4 9350e posts a result equivalent to the 2.4 GHz Phenom X3 8750, while the Phenom X4 9950 BE finishes in second place, right behind the Core 2 Quad Q6700.