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Yes to all questions.
by how many percent?
Depends the CPU's. Be more specific.
The Core i7s actually have only 4 cores, but each core has Hyperthreading enabled.
Hyperthreading is a way to simulate an additional core. It allows for a second processing thread (set of instructions) to be active when the first thread isn't using the full power of the CPU. So technically there are four cores, but the system can often behave as if there are eight.
Early benchmarks have the Core i7s performance around 30% to 40% faster than a similarly spec'd Core 2 for video encoding, though the reviews I've seen don't mention which program was being used to test the encoding.
There is a decent article (a tad dated) that describes advantages of the new Intel processors related to video editing:
"The SSE4 instruction set comprises 54 new instructions, most of which were developed to speed up video editing tasks. However, Intel has not implemented the full instruction set yet - only 47 of its instructions. That is why this SSE extension is also called SSE4.1 (version 1). The second version, which will contain the entire instruction set, will be implemented in Penryn's successor Nehalem, and will be called SSE4.2."
Nehalem is of course now called the i7. The advantage to rendering relates to the SSE4.2 instruction set reducing what formerly required several lines of code to: MPSADBW xmm0, xmmm1, 0
Hopefully this is all still up to date. If it is, it's good news for us. Read about it here:
so I guess my main question now is if the Premiere Pro CS4 supports SSE4.2 ?
Intel worked with Adobe to develop these new instruction sets.