For MPEG-2 playback tests, we ran The Matrix DVD, a personal favourite of mine on each system with hardware acceleration enabled to check for smoothness of playback as well as CPU usage during the test. The result was with 30 minutes of playback and the CPU utilization is the average.
During MPEG-2 playback both systems stayed at the same CPU usage level. After the official results were in, we did a bit more testing with the AMD system and ran a few other applications in the background at the same time, such as Email, Firefox and MSN. The AMD CPU managed to keep its usage down below 10% during all of this; quite possibly due to the four cores sharing the load, where Intel only has two on its Core 2 Duo.
Playback for MPEG-4 was again done with the Matrix, only encoded down to an MPEG-4 DivX 6.8 codec. 30 minutes was the time run. Smoothness of playback, audio sync and CPU usage are the keys here once again.
MPEG-4 playback was a little higher than MPEG-2 playback, but it didn't affect our system too much. We were still able to multi-task without slowing down the video or the system when loading Email and the like.
HD 720p Playback
This is the big one for the platforms. We downloaded a random 720p video to test out using Media Player 11. Again, quality of video playback, audio sync and CPU usage are the big things to focus on here.
This is another test where AMD managed to beat out the Intel CPU. Thanks to all four cores working together, the CPU usage was lower on the AMD setup. This also could be thanks to dual channel memory when loading up so much data.