|Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Processors|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 13 November 2011|
Page 11 of 17
Handbrake Media Encoding
It's a truism that consumer-level computer performance reached the "fast enough" point years ago, where increases in system performance don't make things any faster for most people. Web browsing, e-mail, word processing, and even most games won't benefit dramatically from a super-fast CPU. There are some exceptions, though, and media encoding is one of them: transcoding video, especially high-definition video, can bring the strongest system to its knees. Fortunately, media transcoding is one of those things (depending on the design of the code, of course) that scales really well with both clock speed and the number of cores, so the more you have of both, the better your results will be.
The free and open-source Handbrake 0.95 video transcoder is an example of a program that makes full use of the computational resources available. For this test I used Handbrake 0.95 to transcode a standard-definition episode of Family Guy to the "iPhone & iPod Touch" presets, and recorded the total time (in seconds) it took to transcode the video.
Here's a nice, linear progressive decrease in encoding times as we move "up the CPU scale". Comparing the encoding times of the four-core i7-2600K and the six-core Sandy Bridge Extreme processors, there's almost perfect scaling with the two additional cores of the latter, with the encoding time dropping only a little less than you'd expect.
x264 HD Benchmark 3.19
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.
The AMD Bulldozer does well here, matching the performance of the i7-2600K. But cores win in this scenario, and the six-core Extreme processors simply walk away from the rest of the field.
The 2600K takes a surprising dive here, but again the six core CPUs are in their element.