RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [03.15.06]
Manufactured by: AMD, Intel


Video Encoding

Video Encoding is one of the more CPU stressful tasks that is being used more and more all the time. Whether you're encoding your DVD's for backup, or re-encoding home videos to share, there's no question that you need a lot of horsepower to get this done quickly and efficiently.

To test video encoding performance, we use DVD2AVI to convert a single DVD .VOB file into a 780 kbps MPEG-4 AVI file, not including audio. The clip is a 45 minute clip from Groundhog Day.

DivX 6.1.1

Until now, DivX video encoding has been single threaded. That has changed with version 6.1, which introduced multithreaded encoding. DivX claims that this can increase encoding performance on dual core chips by up to 300%! The codec automatically detects how many threads can be run; Hyperthreading sees a nice increase in performance as well.

DivX settings used were: Home Theatre Profile - 780 kbps - Balanced Encoding Mode.

Can you say holy &#%*! A 45 minute high-res DVD clip encoded in just around 10 minutes with any of these CPU's! The new codec seems to even the score as well; Intel processors used to accel in DivX encoding, but performance is a bit more even now.

XviD 1.1

The final version of XviD 1 is out, but it's still a single threaded design. You will see what a difference this makes:

XviD setting used was: Home Theatre NTSC Profile - 780 kbps - General Purpose Quality Preset.

This is what we're used to seeing: 20 minutes to encode a 45 minute clip. And to think, XviD used to be faster than DivX!

PSP Media Manager 1.0a

Even though the PSP is touted as more than just a handheld video game device, the interface looks like more of an afterthought than anything. If you've ever tried to put a movie on your PSP, you know what I am talking about.

PSP Media Manager tries to rectify this, by having a simple drag and drop interface for video, audio, and pictures. However this solutions costs $20, something that most people think should have been included with the PSP for free.

There are other solutions out there, but interface and performance are sub-par (and end results vary quite a bit).

Let's find out how these beefy dual core processors handle encoding low-res, low-bitrate AVC video. The clip used was a different 3 minute clip from Groundhog Day, in DivX format.

The AVC encoder Sony uses performs terribly, taking over 3 minutes on the X2 4400 to encode the 3 minute clip; the Pentium-D 950 manages this in about 2.5 minutes. Resolution is shrunk to PSP screen size, but the file is barely smaller than the DVD resolution DivX clip. PSP is almost a tease to people wanting portable video, but at least the screen is a decent size.

Next Page: (Audio Encoding - MP3, WMA, OGG, M4A)