Multitasking: Gaming while transcoding video
A number of readers over the years have suggested that some sort of real-time multitasking test would be a nice benchmark for multi-core CPUs. That goal has proven to be rather elusive, but we think our latency-oriented game testing methods may allow us to pull it off. What we did is play some Skyrim, with a 60-second tour around Whiterun, using the same settings as our earlier gaming test. In the background, we had Windows Live Movie Maker transcoding a video from MPEG2 to H.264. Here's a look at the quality of our Skyrim experience while encoding.
Well, good news and bad news here, I suppose. On the positive front, the FX-8350 outperforms any prior AMD CPU in this test scenario and delivers a fairly smooth Skyrim experience while encoding video in the background. On the downside, the FX-8350's eight cores do not deliver a superior multitasking experience compared to the quad-core competition from Intel. Even the two-generations-old Core i5-760 is faster.
Civ V will run this benchmark in two ways, either while using the graphics card to draw everything on the screen, just as it would during a game, or entirely in software, without bothering with rendering, as a pure CPU performance test.
Either way you cut it, the FX-8350 remains true to what we've seen in our other gaming tests: it's pretty fast in absolute terms, easily improves on the performance of prior AMD chips, and still has a long way to go to catch Sandy Bridge, let alone Ivy.