Handbrake Media Encoding
I like media encoding benchmarks for several reasons. One, most of them are “real world” benchmarks rather than synthetic benchmarks that are only good for comparison with other scores from the same benchmark. Second, media encoding is one of the very few things that can really use all the threads and horsepower a modern CPU can provide. Unless you’re upgrading from a really old machine, that spiffy new CPU won’t play your games any faster, nor make your web browsing any smoother. But when you’re ripping that DVD to watch on your phone or tablet, then yeah, nobody ever said their transcoding was too fast.
Intel changed this game dramatically with the introduction of the Sandy Bridge CPUs a couple of years ago. Their new “Quick Sync” feature leveraged the parallel cores of the new Intel HD integrated GPUs to dramatically speed transcoding tasks, and several third party programs jumped on the bandwagon.
We’ll start, though, with a program that doesn’t use Quick Sync. For this test I used Handbrake 0.96 to transcode a standard-definition episode of Family Guy to the “iPhone & iPod Touch” presets, and recorded the total time (in seconds) it took to transcode the video.
The lack of Hyper-Threading makes its presence known again, with the 4430’s transcoding taking 33% longer than the 4770K.
x264 HD Benchmark 5.0
With version 5.0, TechArp’s x264HD Benchmark finally integrates AVX instructions into the main code branch. Previously, there were separate versions of this benchmark that used XOP and AVX instructions; now, they’re integrated and will be used if your CPU supports them. Of course this means that the results from the new benchmark can’t be directly compared to results from the old benchmark, but that’s the price of progress. An added benefit is that the new version runs in full 64-bit mode.
x264 HD 5.0 encodes a 1080p video segment into a high quality x264 format.
The pattern is repeated in this test, with the Core i5 CPU turning in scores that are 30% lower in Pass 1 and 24% lower in Pass 2.
Now, let’s try something that uses Quick Sync: Arcsoft’s Media Converter 7. For this fully Quick Sync aware program, I used the same Family Guy episode I used for Handbrake testing, transcoding it to Media Converter’s built-in iPad presets.
Here, the difference is much less pronounced, with the 4430 coming in only 17 seconds (9%) behind the 4770K. Since both CPUs use the same Intel HD4600GPU, this result isn’t too surprising. In fact, it’s almost completely explained by the slight difference in maximum iGPU clock speeds– 1250MHz for the 4770K and 1100MHz for the 4430.