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. 

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Dual Core Processor Review - Processors 56

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.  At default settings, both the X2 4400+ and the 3700+ are about 14 seconds faster than the Intel 840 XE but still 20+ seconds slower than the FX-55 single core processor.

AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Dual Core Processor Review - Processors 57

That all changes though when the multitasking begins.  Here we can see that the time to complete the MP3 encoding on the 3700+ went UP 185 seconds or 108%.  The dual core 4400+ processor running at the same frequency saw its encoding time increase by 70 seconds or 41%, a big benefit over the single core processor.  The FX-55 processor’s encoding time went up 89% and allowed the 4400+ to run past it in our scenario by 17%.  That means the 4400+ running at 400 MHz slower clock was able to out perform the FX-55 by 17%; very nice.

The Intel 840 XE processor still keeps its performance crown in this test though, coming in more than 20 seconds faster than the X2 4400+ processor.  It has the benefit of being able to run four concurrent threads and thus performance is a bit better in these tasks.  

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