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Video Transcoding Tests
x264 HD Benchmark 3.19 Test
Tech ARP's x264 HD Benchmark comprises the Avisynth video scripting engine, an x264 encoder, a sample 720P video file, and a script file that actually runs the benchmark. The script invokes four two-pass encoding runs and reports the average frames per second encoded as a result. The script file is a simple batch file, so you could edit the encoding parameters if you were interested, although your results wouldn't then be comparable to others.
Since the Sandy Bridge CPUs are meant to be more media minded, video transcoding tests should give us a good idea of just how much they have improved. In the AVI format transcode, the Core i5-2500K outperforms the similarly priced Phenom-II X4-975BE by about 16.5%.
The MP4 test shows a similar story to the AVI test, but with slightly more impressive gains. The Core i5-2500K performs 28% better than the Phenom-II X4-975BE. With the huge expansion of the smart phone market, a lot of people are ripping their DVDs or other videos to MP4 format. Also, digital storage of movies and videos is becoming more common than ever. With this in mind, the CPUs that can handle this process the fastest will have a large market, probably even larger than the Gaming CPU market. I think Intel is counting on it.
Handbrake 0.9.4 Video Transcoder
HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder program designed to convert MPEG video (including DVD-Video) into an MPEG-4 video file in MPEG-4 Part 14 (.mp4) or Matroska (.mkv) containers. The program is used to convert DVDs into other forms so they can be viewed on portable media devices and with most media players. While Handbrake was originally developed for BeOS, it is now available for Linux, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X.
Handbrake is a readily available program that easily handles and utilizes multiple CPU cores and threads. This makes it an ideal program for us to use to test CPU performance. The amount of time it takes for Handbrake to convert a media file scales very nicely based on the clock speed and available cores of the CPU. For this test, I used a 4.34GB video file in MPEG format to be converted to MP4 format using the "iPhone & iPod Touch" presets. I recorded the total time in (min:sec) that it took to transcode the video file.
The Handbrake video transcode test shows us the same result that we got from the x264 test. When transcoding video from one format to another, the Core i5-2500K has the definite advantage. We transcoded a home video file that was just over 2 hours long into a format that fits on an smartphone or mp4 player. The Core i5-2500K completed this almost 3.5 minutes faster than the Phenom-II X4-975BE and over a minute faster than the Core i7-920.