Encoding to .mp4 container with h.264 | Shall I get Core i7 or Xeon?

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We are a small scale media or video production company that do video encoding a lot, and business start to expand and we are looking for upgrading our hardware to reduce consumed time by encoding.

We are encoding a lot of videos on a daily base.

The source files are .TS and .MPEG-2.

Most of our clients now require encoding to .mp4 containers using .h264 and move atom to the beginning of the file to make it start playing or streamed as fast as possible instead of load the whole file first.

I've goggled and found some specific forum in video encoding like videohelp dot com and doom9 dot org and they helped me a lot to learn more about video encoding, and been advised to come here to ask about the hardware upgrading or recommendations.

After trying many encoders or converter clients we found that almost VidCoder or Handbrake is the best option compared to other ones like WinAVI or a like.

While VidCoder do amazing result for the quality and small file size but our only option with it is the consumed time for encoding.

If a file .TS or .MPEG-2 with an hour length, and encoded to .mp4 using h.264 it is being encoded in about 7 or 8 minutes, this is when we make the vidcoder process with real time high priority and make sure that is using 8 cores.

The current hardware is Intel core i7 2600k sandy bridge, with 16 GB Ram ddr3, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 2 GB.

So what kind of upgrade we may do to reduce the encoding time as low as possible?

Also does using Core i7 is like using the Xeon or there are a much differences?

Also does using a single processor motherboard is the same as using dual socket processor like xeon?

Please does using a motherboard like asus that support dual socket processor and then use two core i7 will be as the same as xeon workstation?

Thanks a lot for reading my question and hope to know what we should do to get a solution.





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Usually for encoding video, you need the fastest available cpu and as the tool you're using is multithreaded it should be able to handle more cpu cores.

Most likely, your ideal encoding station would be something like a DELL R910 with fourIntel Xeon E7-8867L (each cpu has ten cores and 30MB cache ) but be sure to find the right os to support this kind of overkill configuration. Also check if your software (vidcoder or handbrake) will be able to use this much power (80 virtual cpus with hyperthreading enabled).

As for the difference between Xeon and I7, there is much difference but most of the time cache is bigger on the Xeons. Also some I7 cpu can't be used in dual or quad configuration. But most of the time, the highend Xeon are avalaible later than the desktop cpu. So you won't get latest cpu optimization if you buy a Xeon.

Also as you may already know, sometimes getting the best computer isn't the right way to reduce encoding time : in your current configuration, you might perhaps gain a lot of time by using a SSD like an OCZ Revodrive 3 x2. Maybe the source or the destination drive can't follow the speed of your processor. It is easy to know if this the case: a simple copy between the source drive and the destination drive should show you the max speed that you could attain with those.


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Thanks for your help.

Please it seems that I reported a wrong information regarding CPU usage.

Please I've recorded a video for the whole process and what system monitoring says as well in the attached video.

Choose HD quality.

I think that HDD maybe the reason for this slow performance if I am not mistaken.

So please tell me your opinion regarding this issue and shall I go for the SSD option 1st before go to xeon.

So what kind of a Motherboard I should stick to in case I will buy a SSD drive and does the brand vary or all are the same?

I will buy the biggest size of course which is 256 GB as far as I know.

Thanks a lot and too much appreciated

Edited by WuxiIxuw

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I saw the video and indeed it might be the hard drive.

Do you have more than one hard drive ? If yes, it might already improve overall speed if you try encoding from one drive to the other.

If not, you should try copying one source file and check how much time was need for this.

For the SSD, no all brand and models aren't the same and doesn't give the same performance. Also the max size is a lot bigger than 256Gb even as PCi Express card: OCZ RevoDrive 3 X2 exist in different sizes up to 960GB. It is also currently the fastest SSD for the money.

But again before thinking to buy new hardware, do many copy tests to check if the drive is the current root cause.

If the drive is the current root cause, you might get an improvement after doing a defrag of the drive.

Edited by allen2

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If the drive is the current root cause, you might get an improvement after doing a defrag of the drive.

Well, I did defragmentation using defraggler and the same encoding time still the same.



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