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icculus
11-17-2002, 01:26 AM
I'm teetering on the edge of upgrading my CPU, currently an Athlon 600.

It looks like it's going to take TMPGenc about 28 hours to encode a 21 minute file to MPEG-2, 720x480, 2 pass VBR, MP2 audio. Also, I'm clipping the frame (an old Tivo stream), and doing high quality noise reduction. I would guess the latter would affect the encode time rather significantly.

I'm thinking around an Athlon 2100 or so is the sweet spot these days, I know how much it'll cost me, I want to know how much of a difference in encoding time it'll make.

What sort of performance do those of you with faster CPUs get?

thanks

icculus

Wooly
11-17-2002, 08:54 AM
My own opinion here...

Go with the Athlon XP, unless you can wait for the "b" chips to come out - which will be faster AND cooler (due to the larger integrated chip cover, ala the PIV style). The 2100 is the sweet spot (can be had for $80 at most online locals..my favorite is Googlegear.com, as they offer $0.50 2day Fedex on many things like CPU's and such, and offer competitive pricing. Also VERY OVERCLOCKABLE.

NOW, if you REALLY want my advice, go the next step - if you're doing video editing, and using tools like TMPGEnc or RMPEG2 (which are both MultiThreaded Apps, so take advantage of Dual CPU setups) go with this:

Asus A7M266-D Motherboard
2 Athlon 2100 XP's


This motherboard with bios 1008 or higher has a bios setting that, when set properly, DOESN'T CHECK IF THE CPU'S ARE XP'S OR MP'S, so you can run a Dualie Mobo for around a $350 upgrade price (again, GoogleGear.Com offers LOW LOW shipping on the mobo as well). This saves us older farts (36 years old) with not-so-steady hands anymore from shorting that last L5 bridge to trick the CPU into being an MP.

I just re-encoded Star Wars 2 to get it down to DVD-R size...normally takes 8+ hours on a PIV 2.4 Ghz, but with the setup above with NO OVERCLOCK I did a re-encode in 3.2 hours, and the system didn't feel any slower (gotta love dual cpu setups).

I keep trying new uni-cpu mobo's, just to see if they're better/more stable, but I always come back to a dual-cpu config as it suits my work/lifestyle best. The Asus is a VERY solid mobo with some decent overclocking capabilities (better than the Tyan). That's my $.02, so take it for what it's worth.


Originally posted by icculus
I'm teetering on the edge of upgrading my CPU, currently an Athlon 600.

It looks like it's going to take TMPGenc about 28 hours to encode a 21 minute file to MPEG-2, 720x480, 2 pass VBR, MP2 audio. Also, I'm clipping the frame (an old Tivo stream), and doing high quality noise reduction. I would guess the latter would affect the encode time rather significantly.

I'm thinking around an Athlon 2100 or so is the sweet spot these days, I know how much it'll cost me, I want to know how much of a difference in encoding time it'll make.

What sort of performance do those of you with faster CPUs get?

thanks

icculus

icculus
11-17-2002, 11:56 AM
Originally posted by Wooly

NOW, if you REALLY want my advice, go the next step - if you're doing video editing, and using tools like TMPGEnc or RMPEG2 (which are both MultiThreaded Apps, so take advantage of Dual CPU setups) go with this:

Asus A7M266-D Motherboard
2 Athlon 2100 XP's

Hmmm... interesting; thanks for the info. That's something I hadn't even considered (a dual mobo). I wasn't aware TMPGenc was written to be capable of using the second CPU (or are you just saying it was able to dedicate one and leave the other to your uses?). Are most other tools capable these days?

I was actually thinking the Asus A7V333RAID (I think that's the model) with a couple of HD's striped. I figured the extra disk performance would be quite useful when dealing with these humungous files.

thanks!

Wooly
11-17-2002, 10:57 PM
TMPGEnc is a multi-threaded app, so aside from some system headroom, you get roughly double the performance (in the real world, you get about an 80% speed increase over an otherwise identical uni-processor system). Most AV apps (Premiere, TMGPEnc, ReMpeg, Photoshop, etc.) are all Multi-Threaded, so they're ready to go duallie (assuming you're running Win2k Pro or WinXP Pro, which are both Multi-CPU enabled OS's). I suspect that we'll see more MT apps when Hyperthreading gets more entrenched - unfortunately, Hyperthreading just can't beat out 2 dedicated CPU's - can't get more blood out of the same size stone, you know? But it's good for us running Duallies, as it increases our resources.

As for HD storage...Get yourself a 64 bit 66 mhz PCI IDE Card that does Stripe sets and you'll REALLY be going fast (the mobo I was referring to has 2 of those PCI slots, 3 standard PCI slots and 1 AGP slot). Personally I've had good results with the HighPoint line (they have a 4 port IDE card that does Ultra133 that is under $80 that ROCKS), but Promise is good as well.

The A7V333 Raid is a good mobo, don't get me wrong, but for video editing with impatient people a duallie is the only way to go IMHO. You'll spend more money, but get a LOT more bang for your buck.


Originally posted by icculus
Hmmm... interesting; thanks for the info. That's something I hadn't even considered (a dual mobo). I wasn't aware TMPGenc was written to be capable of using the second CPU (or are you just saying it was able to dedicate one and leave the other to your uses?). Are most other tools capable these days?

I was actually thinking the Asus A7V333RAID (I think that's the model) with a couple of HD's striped. I figured the extra disk performance would be quite useful when dealing with these humungous files.

thanks!

zabs
11-18-2002, 02:41 PM
Interesting post wooly. Time to get ANOTHER dual athlon going. :)

For a somewhat cheaper dual solution:
Also keep in mind that ALL Athlon XP 1700's and lower (palomino core, not the Thurough bred core) were dual processor capable by default with almost any dual athlon motherboard out there.

zabs
11-18-2002, 02:56 PM
Just to give you an idea of the speed you'll get from a dual setup:

My dual xp1800's running FlaskMPEG to convert DVD to DIVX runs that about 24 - 27fps, just under real time processing.

zabs
11-19-2002, 09:40 AM
rc,
There are probably some differences in bitrate and size of output and I am (or more accurately, was [it has been some time since I did any ripping]) using the older divx codec. I ussually output in standard size 720 X 480 (cutting out letterboxe space when necesary,) key frames every 2 seconds, and use a bitrate over 2000bps. Some times I drop encoding quality down around 75% because it seems to smooth things out a bit (not so grainy on fog and water scenes.)

If I were converting to vcd standard 320 X 240 @ 1250bps it would go much faster.....

I will have to try that mpeg mediator you mentioned and I obviously need to get up to date with the divx codec if I decide to go that route again (right now a dvd burner is looking really nice.)

rc3105
11-19-2002, 05:59 PM
..

icculus
11-19-2002, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by rc3105

tmpgenc can take the divx files & convert them back to 352*480 2000k mpeg2 & they insert back into the dtivo nicely...

:D

--
Riley

Interesting... most of the stuff I've been looking into (and most people seem to care about) extracting, not instering. What tools do you recommend for this?

FredThompson
11-21-2002, 01:46 AM
Originally posted by icculus
It looks like it's going to take TMPGenc about 28 hours to encode a 21 minute file to MPEG-2, 720x480, 2 pass VBR, MP2 audio. Also, I'm clipping the frame (an old Tivo stream), and doing high quality noise reduction. I would guess the latter would affect the encode time rather significantly.

Questions:

1) Why VBR? Storage is fairly cheap so why not use CBR and gain all that processing time? 21 minutes of video at full SVCD rate will easily fit on a CDR. If you use a higher bitrate, there's still plenty of room.

2) Why 720x480? All you're doing is distorting the image and creating a larger amount of data which then needs to be encoded. This means fewer bits per pixel with the result being a double hit on quality. Your original format is 480x480, stick with it for higher quality/smaller size.

2.1) If 720x480 because you plan to burn to DVD, suggest you look at DVDPatcher (posted to the forums and also linked at the site in my sig.)

3) What do you mean "clipping"? Do you really mean "cropping"? If so, why not use VirtualDub (using nic's MPEG-2 AVISynth plugin) and Donald Graft's Smart Resize filter?

FWIW, CCE 2.50 will create a full-bitrate SVCD file using a 1.2M Duron at about half the playing speed of the source file. Your 21 minute file would take around 45 minutes on one of these CPUs.

Yes, the 2100 XP does seem to be the best choice for power/low cost right now. Make sure you get an appropriate fan and pay extra for a quiet one like a Molex. You'll be glad you did, unless you're already deaf.

icculus
11-21-2002, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by FredThompson
Questions:

1) Why VBR? Storage is fairly cheap so why not use CBR and gain all that processing time? 21 minutes of video at full SVCD rate will easily fit on a CDR. If you use a higher bitrate, there's still plenty of room.


I want to fit 7 shows on one DVD. I didn't see any significant difference between my CBR and VBR encodings, but I would assume there has to be at least marginally higher quality at 2-pass VBR, given a certain bitrate (3000 seems to be about right, although I've not yet seen if 7 shows will fit at that rate).



2) Why 720x480? All you're doing is distorting the image and creating a larger amount of data which then needs to be encoded. This means fewer bits per pixel with the result being a double hit on quality. Your original format is 480x480, stick with it for higher quality/smaller size.


Hmmm.... yes, the answer is to put on DVD. I guess I'd just finally found a "recipe" that works, namely:

.ty -> VSPLIT -> .m2v + .m2a

.m2a -> WINAMP -> .wav

.m2v -> DVD2AVI -> .d2v -> VFAPI_CONV -> .avi

.wav + .avi -> VIRTUALDUB (edit) -> TMPGENC (clip) -> DVD standard .mpeg



2.1) If 720x480 because you plan to burn to DVD, suggest you look at DVDPatcher (posted to the forums and also linked at the site in my sig.)


I'll look into it; thanks. I assume the purpose would be to encode to 480x480 and then change the header on the file so the DVD burner software thinks it's 720x480, and won't transcode it?



3) What do you mean "clipping"? Do you really mean "cropping"? If so, why not use VirtualDub (using nic's MPEG-2 AVISynth plugin) and Donald Graft's Smart Resize filter?


Well, the TMPGenc term seems to be "clip frame", but yes, it's just cropping out the green bars (and a black bar at the top or bottom, I forget which). I didn't do this in VirtualDub because I was using Direct Stream Copy rather than full processing mode. The only place I was doing transcoding was in TMPGenc.

I'm also planning on using the noise reduction filter in TMPGenc, as the original source .ty files were recorded when my cable TV was a little crappy; it does seem to make it fuzzier, but otherwise it seems to help.



FWIW, CCE 2.50 will create a full-bitrate SVCD file using a 1.2M Duron at about half the playing speed of the source file. Your 21 minute file would take around 45 minutes on one of these CPUs.


Hmmmm... you're saying CCE is significantly faster than TMPGenc? How is the quality in comparison? I've been very impressed with the TMPGenc mpeg2 quality; I had some DV-video stuff I'd shot and the encoder on the DVD burner software I've used (myDVD and Ulead DVD WS 1.2) left me unimpressed. After encoding it with TMPGenc at 6000VBR, it looks like the original source DV tape (great!).



Yes, the 2100 XP does seem to be the best choice for power/low cost right now. Make sure you get an appropriate fan and pay extra for a quiet one like a Molex. You'll be glad you did, unless you're already deaf.

Well, I did it a few days ago. Got the 2100, and it smokes pretty hard. The slowness of TMPGenc ain't so bad anymore!!

Thanks for your input; it's very much appreciated! I'll try that 480x480 hack and see if it works on my DVD player

iccy

FredThompson
11-21-2002, 01:03 PM
If you know the length of the file you want to encode and how much space to put it in you should be able to find a best-fit bitrate using any good bitrate calculator. CBR is a lot faster to create and, if you use a high-quality encoder, still pretty darn good. That's assuming you want to re-encode.

Blank DVD media is quite cheap, around $1 for a 4.7 disc at the volume stores like meritline.com. Seems crazy to me to spend an entire day trying to squeeze a 30 minute show into a VBR on your rig.

Yes, DVDPatcher changes the header so it's DVD-friendly. That also depends on your playback method. Some standalone units are very strict regarding formats.

If you convert from an MPEG to an AVI format like you describe you're probably also changing the color model of the file multiple times. Since there is no 1:1 relationship, you're losing color information and creating a huge amount of overhead. That's why a lot of people cut out unwanted segments with TMPGEnc. VirtualDub uses RGB color model, your MPEG-2 files don't.

Oops, didn't see the Direct Stream comment.

Well, try taking the hit on color model and do your processing with VirtualDub. Use my links list and look at the various cleaning filters. Donald Graft has an awesome AVISynth plug in for anime and the 2D cleaner he hosts is very nice.

CCE is far faster than TMPGEnc and the quality is as good or better, usually. You can usually get 3-pass VBR in the time it takes TMPGEnc to do one pass.

TMPGEnc works with non-standard framerates, though, so it's useful for some other stuff like making CD-based video (cut the rate in half and things usually still look very good. This gives double the data per frame or half the data rate, take your pick.)

Now that you've got the 2100, try CBR and see what the results are.