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This work presets two emerging media microprocessors, VIRAM and Imagine, and compares the implementation strategies and performance results of these unique architectures. VIRAM is a complete system on a chip which uses PIM technology to combine vector processing with embedded DRAM. Imagine is a programmable streaming architecture with a specialized memory hierarchy designed for computationally intensive data-parallel codes. First, we preset a simple and effective approach for understanding and optimizing vector/stream applications. Performance results are then presented from a number of multimedia benchmarks and a computationally intensive scientific kernel. We explore the complex interactions between programming paradigms, the architectural support at the ISA level and the underlying microarchitecture of these two systems. Our long term goal is to evaluate leading media microprocessors as possible building blocks for future high performance systems.