For now, we have a few media playback apps (decoders) and a couple of media conversion titles (encoders/transcoders) to play with.
CyberLink’s MediaEspresso has already been optimized to take advantage of AMD’s Stream (now called APP) and Nvidia’s CUDA API. Taken in the context of a machine without any hardware-based acceleration at all, you get a really freaking nice speed-up.
But the Quick Sync optimizations put Sandy Bridge in another league entirely. Converting an almost-500 MB source to 1024x768 for playback on an iPad takes a scant 22 seconds.
MediaConverter 7 presented more of a challenge. The pre-release version optimized for Quick Sync also accelerated AMD’s Stream API, but it wouldn’t recognize our GeForce GTX 570. Swapping out to the currently-shipping demo version didn’t give us a drop-down to turn on CUDA either, but it at least yielded results that show acceleration is definitely turned on. Arcsoft’s app has the added benefit of giving you a utilization monitor.
The result is fairly compelling. Without acceleration enabled, the iPad profile transcode took 1:35, tying up a Core i7-2600K at roughly 30% utilization. With Nvidia’s card installed, utilization jumped to 50%, but the job finished almost 20 seconds faster. A Radeon HD 6870 turns back lower utilization numbers and better performance results. But the Quick Sync-optimized path is most impressive, wrapping up in 41 seconds and barely touching the processor cores at all.
Unfortunately, you have to be using Intel's integrated graphics core in order to take advantage of Quick Sync. Neither MediaEspresso or MediaConverter are able to recognize the pipeline with a discrete card installed. So, if you're doing media work on a gaming PC, Quick Sync might not be an option for you.
- Core i7-2600K, Core i5-2500K, Core i5-2400, And Core i3-2100 Reviewed
- Inside Of Sandy Bridge: Cores And Cache
- The System Agent And Turbo Boost 2.0
- Sandy Bridge’s Secret Weapon: Quick Sync
- Quick Sync Vs. APP Vs. CUDA
- Blu-ray Playback And Video Performance
- HD Graphics On The Desktop: Intel Trips Up
- Two New Platforms, More On The Way
- Overclocking: Sandy Bridge Changes The Game
- Meet Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs
- Hardware Setup
- Benchmark Results: PCMark Vantage
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark11
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra 2011
- Benchmark Results: Content Creation
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Metro 2033 (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: F1 2010 (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs. Predator (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: Power Consumption