Intel Finally Catching Up to Cell Processor

May 27, 2009Written by Draisey


In a series of tests run by Fixstars, a [shal]PS3[/shal] and a PC running off of the new Intel Core i7 965 Extreme Edition were given an identical task in order to see which one would perform said task faster. Video encoding is a safe test since it’s not only very CPU intensive, it’s also a consistent measurement tool for CPU power.

Fixstars’ [shal]Linux[/shal]-based test involved encoding video footage into MPEG-4-AVC format (H.265). According to the team, the average CPU can only render out 5 frames of H.265 footage per second; I can actually attest to this. Not bad, but a 2 hour movie would take 10 hours to encode.

The [shal]Intel[/shal] Core i7 chip, which retails for merely $999, was able to encode H.265 footage at 18 frames per second. It’s more than a 3x increase, but it wasn’t the one that came out on top. The [shal]Cell[/shal] Broadband Engine, which powers PS3 and blade servers from [shal]IBM[/shal], was able to do the same task at 29 frames per second, a 50% advantage over the Intel chip.

It’s good to see that after three years, Intel is finally catching up to IBM, Sony, and Toshiba’s ‘little’ chip. Too bad you could buy two PS3s (and a PSP) for the price of Intel’s new CPU.