Multitasking: Scenario 1

Scenario 1

I consider this to be the heavy multitasking scenario that uses nearly all of the applications listed above in some fashion.  I had Norton AV doing a virus scan on the hard drives, Trillian open and running in the background, Firefox open with three tabs on Flash-heavy sites, iTunes playing a playlist of MP3s, Acrobat open to a large, complicated PDF file with lots of layers, Excel open with a 3 MB data sheet and then timed Razor Lame encoding a dozen WAV files into MP3 format at 320 kbps.  Here is a complete step by step of my application start up process:

  1. Open Trillian
  2. Open Excel Sheet
  3. Open PDF file to page 15 (complicated data)
  4. Open Firefox, with three tabs, each of heavy Flash content (stored locally)
  5. Open iTunes and play 12 song playlist
  6. Start NAV virus scan on HDDs
  7. Open Razor Lame and add files to be encoded
  8. Encode MP3s and time

The window order, from bottom most viewable to top most was: Acrobat -> iTunes -> Norton AV -> Razor Lame.  Keeping Acrobat at least partly visible forced the system to continue processing the data in the file. 

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 Processor Review - Processors 66

Our first benchmark was run to get our base scores (i.e. single processor) so we can compare the multitasking scores to them.  In this test, no other background applications are running and nothing else is open except the MP3 encoding application.  You can see that when nothing else is running, the FX-55 is beating the XE 840 by 36 seconds, or about 24%.

Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 Processor Review - Processors 67

With our scenario 1 in full force, the results are quite different, much to our surprise.  Here the Intel XE 840 was able to complete the encoding 64 seconds faster than the FX system could, a difference of 30%.  What is even more interesting is the changes from each platform.  The times on the AMD platfrom went from 148 seconds all the way up to 280 seconds, a change of over two full minutes and 89% slower.  The Intel platform went from 184 seconds to 216 seconds, a change of only 34 seconds, or a 17% slow down. 

This first test makes a very interesting point that multitasking users should note — the more you multitask, the more sense a dual core processor is going to make for you.

Let’s take a look at some more multitasking performance results.

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