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Small Clip Transcoding Speed: APP Versus CUDA Versus Quick Sync

Video Transcoding Examined: AMD, Intel, And Nvidia In-Depth
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We downloaded three 1080p clips (H.264/MOV container) from Apple's trailer service to show more storage space-friendly bitrates (~9.5 Mb/s) that you would likely encounter on a day-to-day basis. Since we are more interested in the GPU side of things, we are only enabling the hardware encoding when we can.

AMD Radeon HD 6970
App
Setting
MediaEspresso
SW Decode / APP Encode
MediaEspresso
SW Decode / Encode
MediaConverter
HW Decode / APP Encode
MediaConverter
SW Decode / Encode
Up!0:00:370:01:050:00:380:00:30
Fast & Furious0:00:330:00:530:00:270:00:25
Letters from Iwo Jima
0:00:360:00:590:00:310:00:26
Nvidia GeForce GTX 580
App
Setting
MediaEspresso
SW Decode / APP Encode
MediaEspresso
SW Decode/Encode
MediaConverter
HW Decode / APP Encode
MediaConverter
SW Decode / Encode
Up!0:00:330:01:050:00:260:00:30
Fast & Furious0:00:270:00:530:00:200:00:25
Letters from Iwo Jima
0:00:280:00:590:00:210:00:26
Intel HD Graphics 3000 (Core i5-2500K)
App
Setting
Media Espresso
Performance
SW Decode / Quick Sync Encode
Media Espresso Performance
SW Decode / Encode
Media Espresso
Quality
SW Decode / Quick Sync Encode
Media Espresso
Quality
SW Decode / Encode
Media Converter
HW Decode / Quick Sync Encode
Media Converter
SW Decode / Encode
Up!0:00:370:00:460:00:380:01:200:00:240:00:31
Fast & Furious0:00:290:00:370:00:310:01:030:00:150:00:20
Letters from Iwo Jima
0:00:310:00:410:00:340:01:110:00:200:00:25


When it comes to smaller files and lower bitrates, the CPU route is always slower than employing GPGPU or fixed-function encoding, in the case of Quick Sync.

The only outlier here is AMD in MediaConverter. For whatever reason, we are still getting longer transcode times when we select UVD 3-based decoding/APP-based encoding. Unfortunately, MediaConverter doesn't allow us to separate the two settings, so we have no way to know which part of the pipeline is causing the slowdown. We let both AMD and Arcsoft know about the issue, and we are told they are working on a resolution to this problem. This anomaly isn't exhibited in CyberLink's MediaEspresso.

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