by Rob Williams on August 17, 2007 in Processors
One of the most popular CPUs on the market right now is the Q6600, thanks to the fact that it offers four cores at 2.4GHz. But what about the Xeon’s? Their prices are also more affordable now, with their X3210 2.13GHz retailing for $260. Read on as we pit this Quad-Core against the rest of our fleet.
When people think about faster processors, not many will think about the benefits of photo editing. But it’s true, multi-tasking in general is far more efficient on a multi-core processor, and so when running numerous photo-related applications at the same time, thing should prove quicker.
In an age when DSLR cameras are becoming more and more affordable, lots of people are now dealing with RAW file formats. Adobe Lightroom is a fantastic application for altering your RAW photos, which is why we chose it to benchmark with. The actual test consists of taking 100 RAW (Nikon .NEF) 10 Megapixel photos, and exporting them to JPG format, while at the same time, resizing all of them to 1000×667 resolution.
For some reason, version 1.1 of Lightroom -hurts- performance with conversions like this, although exhibiting absolutely zero quality differences. I’ve e-mailed Adobe regarding the issue multiple times, without a response. So if such tasks are something you plan on performing often, it might be wise to stick to 1.0.
Even though multi-core processors are not necessarily new, it’s tricky finding a photo application that handles them properly. Lightroom was one, Photoshop is another. However, writing scripts for Photoshop is ridiculous. Instead, we are testing the single core benefit of ImageMagick, a popular image command line image editing application for Linux, Windows and Mac OS. It’s mostly used on servers, but serves the purpose here as well.
The benchmark consists of taking the 100 outputted JPGs from our last test and watermarking them. Then, it creates 500×335 thumbnails for each of those.
This test would be far more impressive if more than one core would be used, but this can accurately show you how performance for single-threaded applications could be increased simply because of the better frequency.