The WinFast PxVC1100 Video Transcoding Card: Worth The Price?

Encoding Performance Benchmarks

We're going to start off the benchmarks with what we think is the most important statistic: encoding speed. Using five CPUs with and without the assistance of the WinFast PxVC1100 card, here are the results:

There are two main things we can see very quickly. First, the TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress application takes good advantage of threading. See how poorly the Athlon II X2 250 is performing, despite its high 2.9 GHz clock speed? Secondly, note just how quickly the WinFast PxVC1100 encodes video, even when paired to the Athlon II X2 processor.

The lesson here is that if you're planning a PC build with a primary function of video encoding, the speed advantage of the WinFast PxVC1100 is very hard to ignore, regardless of the CPU that you choose to deploy in your machine. Even the slowest Athlon II X2 250 managed to encode the video in about seven and a half minutes using the WinFast card, compared to about five and a half minutes with the Core i5-750/WinFast PxVC1100 combo. For comparison purposes, the Core i7-920 completed the task in just over 11 minutes without the SpursEngine helping it along.

We'll explore the cost/benefit ratio below, but for now let's have a look at the video up-scaling performance that the SpursEngine processor offers. We encoded a short 720x480 video sample into the higher HD 1920x1080 resolution using the CPU, the WinFast card, and then the WinFast card again in conjunction with the super-resolution option:

Enabling super-resolution increased the time to encode the video by more than two times as long, which was even slightly longer than with the pure-CPU encoding method. This isn't so bad if the end result is stunning, but if it doesn't provide a notable increase in quality, then this is a hard pill to swallow.

Next, we're going to have a look at the image-quality aspects of software versus hardware encoding.

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    Top Comments
  • SpadeM
    These miscellaneous type of articles is what brightens up my day. Good to know that there aren't many products that launch and slip between the cracks of processor/graphics wars. Great job, nice article!
    24
  • Anonymous
    how does this compare to using ATI AVIVO to encode, with a $200 dollar card?
    23
  • paxiam
    I think for someone who does use their PC for encoding on a regular basis, this would certainly be a welcome addition, but otherwise, forget it.
    16
  • Other Comments
  • paxiam
    I think for someone who does use their PC for encoding on a regular basis, this would certainly be a welcome addition, but otherwise, forget it.
    16
  • paxiam
    I think for someone who does use their PC for video encoding on a regular basis, this would certainly be a welcome addition (the price is reasonable), but otherwise, forget it.
    -20
  • SpadeM
    These miscellaneous type of articles is what brightens up my day. Good to know that there aren't many products that launch and slip between the cracks of processor/graphics wars. Great job, nice article!
    24
  • Anonymous
    how does this compare to using ATI AVIVO to encode, with a $200 dollar card?
    23
  • kumaiti
    Any info on future software support for this card? This card would be extremely useful if plug-ins for other video editor could be made.
    4
  • 4745454b
    Considering AMD has all but abandoned AVIVOm, the better question to ask is how this compares to CUDA. From what I've seen there aren't any problems with the output file. $200 is a bit much but at least it comes with the software. For those that have the $$$ to spare and do the encoding work, this is a big time saver. You could get the 620, mobo, and the card for probably about the same price as the 920 and a good Mobo. The difference is this setup will encode faster, and you can use the computer to do other things while encoding. I don't remember 100% for sure about it, but I think it will use less power as well.
    2
  • JofaMang
    Want.
    -4
  • apache_lives
    hmmm get the feeling this will go the way of the dedicated physx (only) cards...

    what we need is a more GENERALISED co-processor card/device for this type of workload and many other uses, Intel's Larrabee had a good *idea* going - easily programmable, multi-purpose etc
    11
  • g00ey
    I was rather thinking that this hardware could be useful in portable media players where it is designed to consume less power and allow playback of all video formats out there.

    Moreover, this could also be useful in HD video cameras that are either stand-alone HD video cams or fitted into mobile phones (such as the Samsung Omnia HD) or digital snapshot cameras.

    I'm also thinking about its capabilities to be used in Live video applications that is streamed over the internet, either professional or teleconference applications such as SkypeHD.
    1
  • haplo602
    compare to CUDA/UVD2 assisted encoding please. that's what matters.
    11
  • shubham1401
    Nice lil piece of hardware!!

    Encoders Happy B'Day!!
    0
  • cmartin011
    We need charts with encoding on all types of video card's AMD or Nvidia. Then how they preform against this stand alone device.
    3
  • TheDuke
    looks pretty amazing
    0
  • agawtrip
    compare this to CUDA....
    2
  • ecmjr
    I have an ATI 5750 and the AVIVO can't even transcode AVCHD to MPEG2. I find this card very useful (as an videographer, not a gamer). The key is will this card be compatible with Nonlinear Editing software like Sony Vegas Video or Edius Neo 2?
    3
  • Anonymous
    It would be nice to see "objective" quality comparisons. I know that CUDA H264 encoding has been shown to be not even close to the quality of, say, an x264 encode well done. The question of whether or not this encoder is good enough in great part depends on whether it the quality really is good or not. This type of result can be seen "objectively" using a tool like MSU Video Quality Measurement tool.
    1
  • cknobman
    So if I constantly rip DVD's into 2gb Avi files will this board be a good option for me? I currently use a Athlon II X4 620 and a combonation of dvddecrypter and AutoGK or if those dont work(depending on encryption) I will use DVDFab(always works). And from what I read if I buy the board does that mean I wont be able to use the current software if I want to get the benefit of the board?
    0
  • cleeve
    haplo602compare to CUDA/UVD2 assisted encoding please. that's what matters.


    I wanted to, but we can't! Please read page 4:

    "Note that we chose to benchmark the system with a GeForce GTX 260 graphics card installed. This is because we had originally hoped to compare the GeForce's CUDA abilities to the CPU and PxVC1100. Unfortunately, we learned that the CUDA enhancements in TMPGEnc. 4.0 Xpress are limited to video filters and cannot simply be employed to accelerate format-to-format video transcoding. Because if this, we left CUDA filter acceleration out of our testing as we're interested in focusing on hardware transcoding value."
    7
  • Parsian
    I think their Super Resolution algorithm is just not good. I use Video Enhancer which runs on CPU (supports multi thread) and the artifacts are rarely visible... However, i am desperate for a GPU based Super Resolution that actually works for all video size unlike vReveal which only supports SR on videos >= 320 (or maybe less) :S
    -1