TMPGEnc Xpress 4 MPEG-2 Encoding Performance
For this review, we've totally revamped our media encoding tests, upgrading to TMPGEnc Xpress 4, and changing our default video file. TMPGEnc Xpress 4 not only provides real-world video encoding performance results, but also includes a host of specialized CPU support options. The program is fully multi-threaded and supports virtually all CPU multimedia features such as MMX/MMX-2, SSE/SSE2/SSE3, 3D Now!/Enhanced 3D Now!, along with a Core 2 Duo/Extreme mode.
Due to the increasingly high performance of quad core processors, we have again upgraded our reference video to a higher-end, 8-minute AVI file. In our first test, this file is encoded to 720x480 MPEG-2 DVD quality video using TMPGEnc 4 and the encoding time is recorded. The results are expressed in the form of time elapsed (minutes: seconds) and unlike our other benchmarks, a smaller bar denotes less time taken, and therefore better encoding performance.
Although MPEG2 DVD encoding isn't the most difficult test in our suite, we start to see the power of these higher-clocked, quad core models. The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 makes short work of the video encoding, and is the only processor to complete it in under 2-minutes. The quad core is very evident here, and none of the dual core models can even come close. These time gaps may not seem like much, but remember we're only talking about an 8-minute file, and relative positioning is still the most important factor.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 DivX Encoding Performance
For the next test, we've taken the same video file, and encoded it to DivX (656x336) using TMPGEnc 4. This is about on par with the previous DVD authoring test, but uses a difference codec. The performance results are expressed in the form of time elapsed (minutes: seconds) and as with the MPEG-2 results, a smaller bar denotes less time taken, and therefore higher performance.
The DivX encoding test shows very similar results, and once again, the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 is the only processor to dip below the 2-minute mark. The only real difference here is that dual core processors do slightly better, making up some of the ground on their quad core siblings.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 Windows Media Video Encoding Performance
This time out, we're switching to Windows Media Video (WMV), and encoding the same video file as a 656x336 .wmv file. As with the previous tests, these are time-based and a smaller bar denotes higher performance.
It's much the same story in the Windows Media Video encoding test, as the Core 2 Extreme QX9650 posts the fastest time. It is surprising that quad core doesn't seem to be as big an advantage compared to previous media encoding benchmarks, and that clock speed seems to be king where WMV is concerned.
TMPGEnc Xpress 4 High-Definition Video Encoding Performance
Our final media-encoding test ups the ante considerably, this time forcing the processors to handle a high-definition video job, taking the end resolution to 1440x1080, with a 25000 Kb/s CBR. This test forces many systems to their literal knees, and is certainly not for the faint of heart.
The benchmark chart says it all; quad core is where it's at if you're processing HD video files. The Core 2 Extreme QX9650 again posts the fastest encoding time, just ahead of the Core 2 Extreme QX6850, and way ahead of any dual core competition.