Articles: CPU

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Audio and Video Transcoding

We use Apple iTunes utility to test audio transcoding speed. It translates the contents of a CD disk into AAC format. Note that the typical peculiarity of this utility is its ability to utilize only a pair of processor cores.

Apple iTunes is another application that favors Intel processor architecture. As a result, AMD processors lose the entire thing here: even a 3.5 GHz Phenom II X4 970 can’t outperform those Intel CPUs that work at 3.0 GHz.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD benchmark. It works with an original MPEG-2 video recorded in 720p resolution with 4 Mbps bitrate. I have to say that the results of this test are of great practical value, because the x264 codec is also part of numerous popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc.

Like any other task optimized for multi-core architectures, video transcoding works best on the unique six-core Phenom II X6 1055T CPU in the mainstream segment. Moreover, x264 codec is highly efficient on processors with K10 microarchitecture, so that even quad-core Phenom II and Athlon II processors can boast very good performance during video transcoding. In fact, only Intel Core i5-750 can actually compete against them in this price range: this processor is based on Nehalem microarchitecture and features four “real” physical cores.

The performance in Adobe Premiere Pro is determined by the time it takes to render a Blu-ray project with HDV 1080p25 video into H.264 format and apply different special effects to it.

In terms of quality, the video encoding speed in Adobe media Encoder is not too much different from what we have just seen with x264 codec. Summing everything up, I would like to stress that you can use Socket AM3 or LGA1156 processors with at least four cores for efficient work with media content.

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