Transcoding Performance: Second-Gen Quick Sync
Quick Sync remains one of the most useful and innovative features to come from Intel in recent memory. Using optimized software, the features comprising Quick Sync accelerate video decode and encode, making it possible to reformat content in a fraction of the time that would have been required by x86 cores operating on their own. Will anyone tackle transcoding on their Ultrabook, though? More than likely, no.
In our opinion, most folks maintain media libraries on large local or networked disk drives. This means there are far more likely to transcode video on a potent desktop and then move it over to their mobile device. That might not be an option if you use a machine like Samsung's Series 9 as your primary computing device, though. Quick Sync does make it possible to convert video quickly (and with little power cost), and then move it over to a smartphone, for example. We've also used it at trade shows to get coverage YouTube-ready.
With the exception of Lenovo's ThinkPad X230T, all of the systems we benchmarked benefit from an SSD. Of those armed with solid-state storage, only the 13.3" Series 9 leverages an SSD other than Crucial's m4. The X230T falls behind the other machines with Ivy Bridge-based processors because its storage subsystem cannot keep up with the hardware-accelerated conversion.
The HD Graphics 3000-equipped Acer comes equipped with a Sandy Bridge-based CPU, which leverages first-gen Quick Sync functionality. The difference between old and new is particularly pointed.