So... Interesting experiment by chance I thought I would share my experience.
I'm currently on route to sunny FL for some needed vacation time. We are driving down from MA with my parents so we can bring the dog with us. Wife and I are flying home but my parents are staying a little longer and taking dogs back when they drive home.
Last minute my wife asks me to load some videos on our mobile devices for the trip. Not sure why I didn't think of this since I usually do it. Long story short we are leaving in a few hours and she wants the entire season 26 Survivor since we have them all recorded but not watched. Also a few Disney movies since we are going to Disney World. Now my parents ask if I'd load their 64GB itouch too with media. Great
I have like two hours to handbrake all these video files.
The lowest resolution I keep is 720p and most movies are 1080p. I'm thinking this is going to take a while. So I reboot my desktop (i7) with and overclock 4.5ghz and load up handbrake. I queue up the first 8 episodes into handbrake and let her rip. Then I remote into the HTPC (i5 3570k) and put that up on my second monitor- queue up the next 5 episodes and let her fly. Then I remote into my media server and load up the last two episodes.
If your keeping track that's 8 episodes for the i7, 5 for the i5, and 2 for the Server.
Who finished first ?
The desktop smoked the others. It raped the files one after another easily finishing first. I have triple monitors so its cool to see an i7 versus an i5 versus and i3 in a real world test side by side. The desktop was cruising along at 800 frames per second.. Lol. The i5 was admirable at about half that. The server 3.0ghz dual core was about 200 frames a second.
It took 2 minutes about per episode on desktop. About 6 minutes on HTPC. And about 14 minutes for the server.
I then loaded about 15 various movies with the same basic results.
In a few hours I converted about 15 movies and 15 episodes of TV to 480p. (480x276) I uses 4 machines to get it done in time. Loaded them into iTunes and the phones/itouch.
The experience has served to reinforce my belief that you can't over buy, over build or have a PC that's too fast. My desktop is no where near state of the art, and its almost 2 years old (2600k on Asus z68/ 16gb DDR3)
If your considering two processors close in price do yourself a favor and get the higher one. The small extra today will be worth it tomorrow.