Q9400S & Q8200S: Intel’s 65W Quad-Cores

by Rob Williams on February 9, 2009 in Processors

The benefits of a low-TDP processor are obvious, but a usual downside is also obvious: low clock speeds. Intel’s changing that thinking with their Core 2 Quad “S” series, which includes the Q9550S, Q9400S and also the Q8200S. Compared to their non-“S” variants, they draw less power and run cooler, all while retaining the performance they’ve become known for.

Multi-Media: ProShow Gold, Sandra Multi-Media

While TMPGEnc XPress’ purpose is to convert video formats, ProShow from Photodex helps turn your collection of photos into a fantastic looking slide show. I can’t call myself a slide show buff, but this tool is unquestionably definitive. It offers many editing abilities and the ability to export in a variety of formats, including a standard video file, DVD video and even HD video.

Like TMPGEnc and many other video encoders, ProShow can take full advantage of a multi-core processor. It doesn’t support SSE4 however, but hopefully will in the future as it would improve encoding times considerably. Still, when a slide show application handles a multi-core processor effectively, it has to make you wonder why there is such a delay in seeing a wider-range of such applications on the marketplace.

Our Q9400’s and Q8200 might be the lowest on Intel’s Quad-Core totem pole, but even the Q8200 vastly improves the performance over the Dual-Cores throughout both tests here. It would be great to see more performance scaling like this throughout most of our multi-threaded applications, but sadly that’s not the case. Photodex really helped pave the way with ProShow, as it’s had great multi-threaded performance for quite a while, while larger companies are struggling to put our four cores to great use.

Sandra 2009 Multi-Media

To help show a more “raw” version of the kind of potential Nehalem offers, we ran the Multi-Media test built into Sandra. This test here stresses the CPU’s ability to handle multi-media instructions and data, using both MMX and SSE2/3/4 as the instruction sets of choice. The results are divided by integer, floating point and double precision, three specific numbering formats used commonly in multi-media work.

Although it’s difficult to gauge real worth with this benchmark, we can easily see just how much more capable our Quad-Cores are over Dual-Cores, if an application is able to properly take full advantage of them.