The first test uses the multithreaded version of the LAME mp3 encoder to convert 11 CD quality tracks into mp3s. Each track is done one after the other. We then run the DBPowerAmp benchmark.
DBPowerAmp is an audio ripping program that has the power to rip multiple tracks at once, making it a great multi-tasking benchmark. You can even download a self contained benchmark that supports up to eight simultaneous tracks.
Now here's a tricky result. While there's no difference between Vista and 7 in either test, the difference between those two and XP is significant, yet contradictory. We really have no clear rational for this as, if anything, we'd expect the more multi-thread optimised Windows 7 to take most advantage of DBPowerAmp.
We use the multi-threaded version of the file compression tool WinRAR to compress a 280MB video file then a folder containing 382 images totalling 611MB.
In this file compression test we see a similar, but even more exagerated, version of the audio compression test results. Again, Vista and 7 are much of a muchness but XP plays both the villain and the hero in the piece.