Perhaps the next most obvious task for a powerful CPU in a desktop PC is video encoding. Whether it's for editing your family videos or re-encoding your favourite videos to an iPod-friendly format, video encoding is becoming more and more common and of course it's still a very CPU intensive task too.
We've used two scenarios for testing video encoding performance. The first is our age old test of re-encoding a portion of DVD quality MPEG-2 video into the open source Xvid format. This test is a bit long in the tooth as the version of Xvid we use is quite old so not multithreaded (not to mention the fact that the source footage isn't even HD) but in being so it gives us a very reliable indication of single-core performance.
The next scenario takes a section of 1080p footage, again in MPEG-2 format, and re-encodes it into the h.264 format. This is a much more up to date test as the source material is full HD and the h.264 codec is about the most advanced video format currently available. We also use the open source converter, AutoMKV, for this task, which fully supports multi-threading.
VirtualDud - MPEG-2 DVD to Xvid
Although there's still a clear deficit to make up and AMD's clock for clock performance still has some way to go, the Phenom II 940 takes a significant step forward from where it was.
AutoMKV - MPEG-2 1080p to h.264
Things are less encouraging in this multi-threaded test where not only does the new Phenom pale in comparison to Intel's chips but also doesn't seem to make as much of a gain over the older Phenom.