CPU's and hype, are computers getting nowhere slow ?

Hi members, this is my first post.
I have recently tested the speed of encoding the same vidio clip, using the same program, but on different computers.

my comp is about 2 and a half years old, using an intel core 2 duo E6750 2.66ghz. 2 gig ram, nvidia gt 8500 vid card, windows vista

friends new computer (laptop) has a intel i7 720QM 1.6 Ghz 4gig ram, ATI HD5730M/ 1 gb vid card. windows 7.

The video took 160 seconds to encode from HD to SD on my old core 2 duo, computer,

It had taken 185 seconds on the new laptop with an i7 processor, (which the salesmen at the shop, had argued with me that these new i7 chips will blow away a core 2 duo and literally everthing else on the market because it can use 8 threads). I was skeptical.

About 15% Quicker on and old core 2 duo, WOW and to think I was looking to upgrade to a slower technology myself.

The main point that stuck when talking with the salesmen is that the multiple core is great for multitasking, So if i was using multiple programs the combined time would be quicker than on a single core.
This made me think about how often do i encode a video, and use another program that uses high resources (or wash the dishes) at the same time, Not often.

So would an i7 be quicker than my core 2 duo if i had installed 4 copies of the video encoding program, and encode 4 videos at the same time ?

When i first had an old Pentium 1, 200MMX computer and upgraded to a pentium 4 2.54gig computer, i ran a test and it was 12 X faster running complicated spreadsheet macros and various other tests. (in other words the actual processor speeds seemed to match actual tests).

From the Pentium 4, 2.54 gig 512 mb ram, windows xp, 128 mb nvidia card, compared to the intel core 2 duo (above), a difference of about 6 years when purchased, running a test on video encoding, the core 2 duo increase in speed wasnt noticable. (maybe i should test this on the fastest pentium 4 i can find and blow away the core 2 duo).

When reading computer magazines and the improvements of computers i actually wonder if the results (when used in the real world) are true.
Almost every year there are articles with computers being tested, showing an impressive increase in speed, but from the time i purchased my pentium 4 (2002) upto the i7 720QM processor, the speed does not seem to be much of an improvement, or in the case of video encoding its actually slower.
At one stage it seemed like the speeds were doubling every year, that cant be said after the pentium 4's.

On the cpubenchmark web site the pass mark for the i7 720 QM is scored at 3,244.
for the intel core 2 duo E6750 2.66ghz it scored 1,660.

By looking at these scores i could say the i7 is 2 X better or more powerful than the core 2 duo. (dont know if my thoughts are correct) and if they are correct thats not much of an improvement over 5-6 years, and as my test above no improvement.
Fancy numbers but where do you find the actual real life results when using certain types of programs or running certain tasks ?

What is the idea of multiple cores ?, apart from salesmen (or adds) getting orgasmically excited when describing the unbeileivable number of times its faster than your old system ?

had the manufacturers hit a wall with increasing speed on a single core ?
Is the idea of using multiple cores (in theory ) to split the task into separate sections, run each section in a separate core (all at the same time ) , then recombine the result back to 1 file ?

if it is it doesnt work when encoding video.

For the extra money spent purchasing a new computer i would expect at least a 4X increase of speed over a 5 year period, when editing videos,
5 years is a huge leap in technology when it comes to computers, but with all the new technology and hype i have not noticed much of an improvement when ruuning certain programs, only noticed an increase of hype.

Any other members noticed this, or have any advice on systems that would encode video 2- 4 or 5 times faster than my system, any comments welcome as i would like to update, but even a doubling of speed from my old system would not get me to depart with my savings.
8 answers Last reply
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  1. I think the issue here is not that the CPU market is overhyped, rather that the software market hasn't quite caught up enough to fully utilise the hardware available. The idea of multiple threads and multi-tasking CPUs is not a new one. Back in the days of the P4,Intel introduced Hyperthreading for this very reason. But yet, only now software companies and game companies alike are starting to cotton on to this trend. and produce software that can utilise multiple cores. WinZip would be a good example of this. The kind of work that program does would benefit greatly from having multiple cores or threads, however WinZip is only a single-threaded application. WinRAR on the other hand does utilise multiple threads.

    I often use ConvertXToDVD to convert AVI files to DVD format and then burn them to disc. On my old P4 3.0GHz machine, this would take between 1hr to 1hr and a half. On my new rig (see sig for specs) it takes between 10-15mins at the most for the same file size etc. This is a very good example of the benefits of having multiple cores/threads.

    Its arguable whether or not the CPU market is overyhyped. I think the main issue is that CPU manufacturer's are producing hardware for tomorrow, not for today's market. Realistically, a dual core CPU would be ample for somebody who wanted to run all of today's programs quickly and without any hiccups. However, as you correctly pointed out, computer technologies are probably the fastest growing technology around. Bearing that fact in mind, who in their right mind would buy or build a computer for the programs of today. People want a computer that will last a few years before they need to upgrade or buy new again. So people will inevitably buy a computer that is built for tomorrow probably knowing full well that it may not grant them immediate, massive performance benefits today, but it will ensure they have the ability to keep up with the software of tomorrow.
  2. What program are you using for the encoding? It may only use 2 threads, in which case any extra are wasted.
  3. TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress which does have an option to use multiple cores, and nvidia cuda,
    i tested using cuda on an nvidia 9800 geforce gtx, result was about 10% slower.

    Also videoredo tvsuit which uses multiple cores, which i used to test the speeds from the i7 to the core 2 duo to convert a HD mpeg to a SD DVD.
    Even on the videoredo forum this advice was stated for this program,
    "If you are recoding (i.e. DVD conversion), then multiple cores can be a big help. There are lots of output threads going on during recoding, so the more cores the better."
    Why was it About 15% slower on the i7 ?

    Have used other encoders that are quicker than tmpg but with a lower quality.
    I usually encode a Hd mpeg to SD mpeg.

    Downloading a video from a website to compare results from this thread


    i'll post the results of the time it took.
  4. See I think the problem that is going on here is that you are testing an I7 mobile to a desktop core 2 am I right? The I7 720Q running which if running on more then one or two threads will only be running at 1.6ghz now even if turbo mode is kicking in if it isnt cooling right it wont clock up too high it all depends on heat. So clock for clock the I7 isn't really much faster then the core 2 its main gains is in hyper threading. If you would actually get an I7 desktop running at the same speed of 2.8ghz it will blow the core 2 away so your test doesnt prove anything at all you are going about the comparison of those two processors all wrong.

    You really shouldn't compare a laptop to a desktop it is the wrong way to test what you are trying to test also llike the others said if your programs aren't taking advantage of more then 2 threads and like I said if it is clocking up because of heat which is always a problem with laptops your results will not show any improvements and like you are seeing they are actually worse.
  5. Thanks for the advice,
    As i t was me who had imformed my freind of what laptop to buy, and talking to many salesmen, they all excitedly stated that the asus laptop with the i7 chip would be quicker than the core 2 duo desktop as its ancient technology ( believe it or not, even if i encoded video) "DONT TRUST SALESMEN" which i dont,
    I was even querying about upgrading to a new system myself, with the main use being video encoding, in which the salesman stated that depends on the video card, this was a suprise to me as when i bought my previous system was told video cards do not increase encoding speed.
    When i mentioned this he didnt beleive me, i told him that i only thought that the video cards that use CUDA technology could do this, in which he said "WHATS CUDA" and then quietly mumbled "oh yeah ive heard of that".

    i would not personally use a laptop for video editing, i only used the laptop to perform a test as i wanted to know if it was quicker and worth upgrading, didnt realize that the processors in laptops as compared to a desktop with the same processor speed would be slower.

    that still doesnt explain why my dual core duo (desktop) compared to a 2.53 pentium 4, didnt show improvement when encoding video.
    SAAIELLO be careful when using the term blow away, this sounds the same as the salesmen, and my idea of blown away would be different to yours.
    My idea of blown away would be something like 5-10X faster so my example in the first post would only have taken 16 seconds to encode.
    By the way tmpgenc does make use multiple cores and is not a basic encoder.

    Even today i can still test the same program on a pentium 4 and compare this to my core 2 duo using vista and an encoding program that makes use of multiple cores and see that the speed is basically the same,
    as i stated before, this is more than 5 years of so called improved technology.
    so does this mean that its still due to the sofware not catching up, as i thought vista and the video program made use of multiple cores.
    So if i upgrade now, i had not actually made any use of a faster system from the previous upgrade. ( would it be better for me to keep waiting for the software to catch up to my core 2 duo), or upgrade and hope that the software has caught up to make use of the latest processors that would speed up encoding.
    So basically it was a waste of money, it may be quicker with other programs, and i do notice its quicker when playing video games, but the main purpose i use this computer for is video editing - encoding.

    I had just tested the video i had downloaded,
    downloaded windows media coder 9 and ran a test as on the thread below.


    The thread above also has imformation about power consumption, but i was not interested in this, only the time it took to encode the video.

    I may have had a problem using windows media encoder, as i could only get 1 pass, which the session duration took 245 seconds or 2X = 490 seconds

    the phenom II X 4 balanced on the thread above is 715 seconds 2 pass (may have had other settings, not enough info to compare).

    I dont know why i cant get 2 passes on this program as i dont use it, also even though its encoding i cant seem to find the saved file.

    If any one wants to run the same test download this video file


    then use windows media encoder 9.

    When opening media encoder 9 select "convert a file"
    select the downloaded video file, and an output location
    file download(computer playback)
    kept the video and audio as is HD 5mbps VBR, HD audio quality VBR.
    finish and start encoding.

    All other settings are as is when installing a new copy of this program.

    Post times as i am curious about speeds of newer systems, as i would like to upgrade.

    If its at least 3 X faster i might be blown away.

    Or if you use tmpgenc run a test on this video using the "DVD standard MPEG file" template, using ntsc,
    prioritize quality, 16:9 aspect ratio, CBR rate control, audio dolby digital. keep all other settings as is.

    This took 411 seconds to finish using a double pass

  6. moody89
    the program you use, is it free or have a free trial, as i would like to test it on a pentium and core 2duo.

    or test it on the system i want to upgrade to.

    If tmpgenc was about 6 X faster on a new system i would definately upgrade.
  7. downloaded a trial version of ConvertXToDVD, and ran tests of converting the sample video above on a pentium 4, 2.8 gig, and a core 2 duo e6750 2.66 ghz

    ran it in pal, and did not change any other setting, just added the video file and converted,

    pentium 4 was 4min 55 sec
    core 2 duo was 2min 21 sec,

    this program does show an improved speed, but to me this is not impressive to get a little more than double the speed over about a 5 year period.
  8. beetlejuicee said:
    downloaded a trial version of ConvertXToDVD, and ran tests of converting the sample video above on a pentium 4, 2.8 gig, and a core 2 duo e6750 2.66 ghz

    ran it in pal, and did not change any other setting, just added the video file and converted,

    pentium 4 was 4min 55 sec
    core 2 duo was 2min 21 sec,

    this program does show an improved speed, but to me this is not impressive to get a little more than double the speed over about a 5 year period.

    I can see where you're coming from here, but then at the same time you have to take the file size of the video ou are encoding into account too. I often convert AVI files of 700-800MB in size. This took over an hour on my old P4 3GHz rig but now only 10 mins on my new system. This makes a massive difference to me personally since it means I can now produce 5-6 more DVDs in the same time as it took to do one on my old machine. If you look at it from this point of view then the technology advancements are well worth it, particularly when you consider that I actually bought my newer system cheaper than I got my older P4 rig...which btw is still in use as a web browsing etc. machine for the rest of my family. It still performs very well for these tasks.
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