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Modern multimedia workloads provide increased levels of quality and compression efficiency at the expense of substantially increased computational complexity. It is important to leverage the off-the-shelf emerging multi-core processor architectures and exploit all levels of parallelism of such workloads in order to achieve real time functionality at a reasonable cost. This paper presents the implementation, optimization and characterization of the AVS video decoder on Intel Core i7, a quad-core, hyper-threaded, chip multiprocessor (CMP). AVS (Audio Video Standard), a new compression standard from China, is competing with H.264 to potentially replace MPEG-2, mainly in the Chinese market. We show that it is necessary to perform a series of software optimizations and exploit parallelism at different levels in order to achieve FullHD real time functionality. The input dependent variability of execution time per work chunk is addressed using dynamic scheduling to allocate work to each thread. Moreover, we evaluate the interaction of the application with the i7 CMP architecture using both high-and low-level performance metrics. Finally, we evaluate a new feature of Intel's i7 micro-architecture called Turbo Boost, which dynamically varies the frequencies of non-idling cores to optimize performance.