Intel's Nocona Xeon / Supermicro SuperServer 7044A-82R
Posted on: 08/21/2004 05:00 AM

As we start to shift our thoughts to media encoding performance, I decided to dig out LAME and do some high-quality MP3 encoding. To stress the systems as much as possible, I dug out a large test file, a .wav weighing in at ~150MB.

While the 3.6GHz Nocona wins this benchmark, it certainly doesn't win by much. I would have thought the added clockspeed and increase in FSB would have added up to a larger disparity in performance with its slower, older brother. Unfortunately, that isn't the case. Of course, this isn't really an indictment of Nocona because all current processors encode MP3s at a decent rate of speed and to whip through an entire audio cd isn't going to take up hours of your time.

For a quick test of video encoding performance, I turned to a tool Cory introduced me too recently, Auto Gordian Knot (AutoGK). It's a front-end for a variety of free video encoding tools that lets even the biggest noobie like myself produce quality encodes without anything more than a few mouse clicks.

It takes a DVD rip directory as input, and can give you a nicely encoded avi out the other end. AutoGK is capable of encoding to either DivX or Xvid video formats, and either AC3 or mp3 audio. For this test I picked the formats that I'm most comfortable with - Xvid video and CBR mp3. Our test video was an episode of the excellent anime series Noir. I set AutoGK to produce a 175 mb file with 128 kbps CBR mp3 audio.

Most of you probably predicted these results the moment you looked at the PCMark benchmarks earlier. The increase in FSB on the Nocona really has a huge impact in overall video encoding performance. Here, the difference in total time is in the neighborhood of 8 minutes, which is pretty significant given the size of the file we were encoding. Imagine an encode that takes weeks to complete and you can imagine the amount of time (and possibly money) the faster processor could save you.

Now we'll take a moment to discuss my experiences with the latest Beta of Windows XP64.




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