Performance Video encoding | Transcoding
Transcoding with MediaShow Espresso
We recently added another benchmark to the test-suite. It's MediaShow Espresso. The fun thing about this video transcoder is that it can utilize the GPU to assist it with the transcoding process. However, you can also solely use the CPU, making this a very interesting benchmark as you can check out behavior of CPU transcoding AND GPU transcoding all in one test.
So here's where we are going to weird things up a little. We used a new update of the MediaShow Espresso software that allows us to transcode purely over the processor, but also transcode with the help of the GPU (Geforce GTX 580 CUDA).
In this test we transcode a 200 MB AVCHD media file to a 1920x1080P MP4 binary (YouTube format). This measurement is in seconds needed for the process, thus lower = better.
Due to the fact that we had to start from scratch with this test, very few products thus far have been inserted, but notice that the 1100T and 2500K processor perform roughly the same, despite the fact that the 2500K has 2 CPU cores less. Now if we take the 2600K with the GTX 580's CUDA enabled we see the project finish nearly three times faster. But... and here's the real kick in the proverbial nuts, just a 2500K processor without a dedicated graphics card (CUDA) + Intel QuickSync enabled routed gets us the fastest performance; 72 seconds are need to transcode the binary file, and once we flick on QuickSync ... only 19 seconds. So that's a 3.8x performance increase in transcoding.
We do have one massive problem here, once we seat a dedicated graphics card into the system, Media Espresso did not allow the QuickSync mode to be enabled any longer. So QuickSync can only be used on a H67 motherboard without a dedicated graphics card.
Multi-threaded Video Transcoding H.264 (DTS5.1) to x.264 AC3 5.1
We now go back to basics and look at pure processor performance again, thus we leave AVX (not supported by Handbrake) for what it is. Video transcoding is well suited for systems that have more CPU cores. Encoding/transcoding to x.264 format is one of the most intensive tasks a processor can perform. As such this is one of the better tests in the entire review. We encoded an h.264 DTS 1080P trailer of 150 MB to Matroska x.264 with 5.1 channels AC3. It's compressed in such a way that you can play it back with Haali media splitter and/or FFDSHOW codecs. We use the Handbrake software suite which is multi-core aware... the more processor cores it sees, the faster it can and will transcode. This software is also a perfect benchmark for CPU and memory testing.
The displayed number is the number of frames rendered per second averaged out over the encoding process. The higher the number, the faster the performance is. It's exactly in applications like these where processors with more cores really shine as they are all utilized to the maximum.