The future of hardware encoding?



I know that there has been professional stuff that most of us cannot afford for years, but I’m talking consumer level stuff.
I got an ati 2600xt a while back, in part because it claimed to be able to convert in 20% of the time. It of course couldn’t. I recently found out that it doesn’t hardware encode like it claims. Ati’s only response that I have heard is that the hardware is capable of it (but their own software doesn’t support it and they seem to have abandoned developing it). Some places it says you have to have a 1000 series card, while other places say 2000 series will work. I have an x1300 pro that I could try, but since no one else has got it working, why bother? Fyi I updated to that latest drivers/ccc as a last ditch effort. Not only didn’t it fix anything, but now the option to convert to h.264 is gone!!!

So next is nvidia’s cuda. It will allow second party programmers to write software that can use the gpu for processing (and they are claiming among other things, 10 times the speed for encoding). There is an encoder that is offered on nvidia’s site (badaboom). So its only 2-4 times faster. It works terrible but when it works, the results are fast and good. Thats ok because its still in the beta stages (I think the software will probably cost when its finished). Then I find out the bad news. Thats with a gtx 280, which is nice if you have 400-500$ for a video card (not quite main stream consumer level yet). While any 8 series or newer supports it, the low to mid range cards have terrible performance.
Tmpgenc 4.0 xpress is supposed to support it soon. I wonder if we will get any better results there (badaboom uses their own codec etc. so maybe its not up to par with more seasoned softwares).

There are a few things out there now in the few hundred dollar range which is beter than the several thousand dollar range?

So does anyone have any thoughts on the future of it all? Can we expect a reasonably priced solution anytime soon? More people seem to be developing it, and it seems to be more main stream than it used to be.

Has anyone heard of any other technology’s or anything promising for the near future?

Fyi, yea, I know, just get a fast computer. From time to time I have multiple computers running several conversions overnight, so I might get 8 movies converted in a night (on 2 computers, thats the most I have done). Those blazing fast conversion speeds that they seem to keep promising, but cannot deliver would sure be nice though. I’m not looking for anything to buy now (though I might if there were something good and not too expensive). I’m just wondering what promising technology’s others might have seen, and kind of wondering how things will develop?


Well if your going to do encodes and things I think your best bet is the fastest Intel Quad core you can afford:cool: I don’t think most consumer level video cards will make that much of a difference, most of them are made to play Uber games as fast as possible and play HD formats well. I just got a 3870x2 card and it pretty much rocks but my encodes from HDTV to HD-DVD still take pretty much the same time they did before I added it (yes I do hdtv to HD-DVD on regular dvd’s) They play just like a real ones and are full 1080i with up to 5.1 sound.
Maybe the newest 4870 series is better or the newest Nvidia offerings, they are even faster. I think you need to hit a specialized forum like maybe AVS and places like it to see if anyone is doing what you want and what they are using and how it works.
I’d love to make my new card help speed up encodes instead of just mainly games.


The idea behind the ati avivo converter, was that it was supposed to offload the encoding to the gpu, so your cpu wasn’t even doing the processing (and it was supposed to be faster). There is no telling if the gpu is really capable of it like they claim, because they never got working software.

Nvidia claims that their fastest gpu is 10 times faster than the fastest intel cpu. Well, turns out they were right with encoding anyway (but only 2-4 times faster), but with their mid and low range offerings, cpu’s seem to blow away their gpu’s. Fyi its the same as avivo, the encoding is offloaded to the gpu. If the software were not so buggy (its beta so I guess you cannot really blame them yet), it might really have potential. Here is a review.
Fyi the review is on ver 1 of the beta. Version 2 is supposed to be improved some and support HD.

I have to wonder if the price wars between intel and amd have anything to do with budget cpu’s being so much better? Cpu prices have been dropping like crazy for a while?


Unfortunately as with every conversion, speed sacrifices quality.
ATi’s AVIVO Encoder produces really bad quality at the expensive of speed.
x264 is still pretty slow but it provides you with very good quality, XviD (MPEG-4) isnt really an issue these days.