|ASRock Vision 3D Blu-ray Compact HTPC|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Notebook | Compact PC|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 24 November 2010|
Page 11 of 14
Handbrake Media Encoding
Encoding DVD-format multimedia to use on portable devices such as a SmartPhone is becoming very popular. Using a 22-minute long television episode (the show isn't important, and I don't want to give away my poor taste in television programming), I've used Handbrake to encode the DVD into MP4 format. To remove the optical drive from impacting test performance, all of the VOB files were moved to the local drive (Vertex SSD). The output file was also saved to the same system drive.
TEST SUMMARY: Intel's N330 Atom processor, albeit dual-core in nature, fails to compete with the others in terms of encoding performance and takes nearly a half-hour to complete the job. Hyper-Threading seems to help the HP Pavilion DM3-1044NR notebook (1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100/4500M GMA HD), but 21 minutes is nothing to brag about. It's not until we get to the ASRock Core-100HT HTPC (2.13GHz i3-330M/GMA HD) that encode times are more acceptable, and the 2.4GHz i3-370M paired with the GeForce GT 425M helps gives the ASRock Vision 3D HTPC a slight advantage. Intel's quad-core 2.8GHz Core i7-930 desktop processor with GeForce GTX 580 doesn't exactly encode in snap, but it does the same job in half the time.
Blender Layer Rendering
Blender is a free open source multi-threaded 3D content creation suite, available for use on all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License. Our tests use Blender to a very limited degree of its full capability (see blender.org for more detail), but the image rendering function serves its purpose well. Using the icetest project, we allow the processor in each system to render the image layers. This might seem like a fairly simple task, as I did at first, but that was before I realized how long it takes each system to render.
TEST SUMMARY: Blender does an excellent job of illustrating the difference in rendering power between mobile and desktop CPUs. The ASRock Nettop ION 330 HTPC (1.6GHz Intel Atom N330/ION GT9400) rendered the icetest project in 57.0 seconds, which in improved to 32.6 seconds with the mobile Pentium processor in HP's Pavilion DM3-1044NR notebook (1.3GHz Intel Pentium SU4100/4500M GMA HD). ASRock's Core-100HT HTPC (2.13GHz i3-330M/GMA HD) manages to render in 17.4 seconds, which is improved to 15.3 seconds using the ASRock Vision 3D HTPC (2.4GHz i3-370M/GT425M). With all the muscle and might of Intel's quad-core 2.8GHz Core i7-930 desktop processor, the icetest project is rendered in 12.4 seconds and demonstrates how closely the others are catching up.