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Graphics Video Encoding & Rendering - CPU or GPU Intensive ?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Itchy Rim, 29 Apr 2012.

  1. Itchy Rim

    Itchy Rim Member

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    Hi,

    I am in the process of reconfiguring a couple of PC's, one of which will be used for video capture, encoding and streaming to the web, all done live in real time. The same PC will also be used for some video editing and rendering on static video files using Abobe Premiere Pro.

    For the video work is this more CPU intensive or GPU intensive? My understanding is that if I use a Z68 board with an i7 2600k CPU and load the lucidlogix software then the encoding to flash file format will be handled by the internal graphics of the CPU and that the GPU would not process this task?

    Does the same situation apply to video edititing/rendering with Adobe Premiere Pro, ie, would editing and rendering of static video files be handled by the internal graphics of the CPU or would they be handled by the GPU?

    I have a choice from two GPU's to use in the video machine, one an ASUS 6670 and the other an HIS 5850. Out of preference I would like to use the lesser ASUS 6670 GPU card in the video machine as this frees up the Radeon 5850 card for the other machine which will be a general PC with some games, internet etc but no intensive video work.

    However, if I will be compromising the video encoding and video editing/rendering PC by using the lesser GPU then I will have to use the Radeon 5850 in that machine.

    Any advice or feedback most appreciated.



    Itchy Rim
     
  2. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Premiere Pro has the Mercury Engine encoder that uses the GPU but only for clips that use "accelerated" effects. If you have none of the Mercury approved effects applied to your clip then it's entirely on the CPU... unless you use a Quadro card and Elemental's Accelerator plug in.

    If you use a SB or IB chip then you have "quicksync" as an option, and a lot of software supports it... including Adobe Media Encoder, but there are limited rendering options compared to other solutions and quicksync won;t make the editing process any faster, or more fluid.. just the encoding of the final video.

    Personally if video editing and encoding was a main use for the rig I'd go with as many fast cores as possible, as much memory bandwidth as possible, and fast HDDs for scratch.

    Basically... if you're serious about video editing, SB-E is still what I'd recommend.
     
  3. Farting Bob

    Farting Bob New Member

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    As Pookey said, the CPU is what you want to focus on. Some programs can use the GPU for some parts of the encoding, but the difference you'd gain for the price of a fast GPU will be far less than that money being spent on a better CPU unless you fit the very narrow channel of using the programs and features that really benefit from GPU acceleration. Also, if quality is important, CPU all the way, GPU's cant compete.
     
  4. 3lusive

    3lusive New Member

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    SB-E all the way. Something like a hexcore 3930K on a P9X79 Pro with 16GB ram. That's money well spent if you regular encode video.
     
  5. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    I've owned that motherboard and can recommend it.
     
  6. Itchy Rim

    Itchy Rim Member

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    Thx for the detailed reply, the video editing and encoding is not on a professional level, ie, it is not a source of income, rather, it is at a hobbyist level but I would like to get decent results.

    The two areas for improvement based on your suggestions would be to upgrade the i7 2600k and probably a faster hard disk. In connection with a hard disk, what speed would you say was advisable?

    Going back to QuickSync there is the issue for me of program compatability. I use a Viewcast Osprey card for video capture and Wirecast for encoding and streaming, according to the list from Intel, Wirecast does not yet support QuickSync. I guess it's a trade off, to use QuickSync I need to purchase new software, or use existing software at no extra cost but unable to use QuickSync?

    Finally, concerning the CPU, I am currently using an i7 2600k, what would be my options for upgrading, would it be to go to an IvyBridge CPU such as a 3770 or to go to one of the Sandybridge CPU's such as a 3960. Also, there is the motherboard to consider if upgrading to SB-E.

    I would be comfortable with further outlay in the mid hundreds for a new mobo, HDD, CPU and encoding software as I should recoup some from the sale of my current i7 2600k. However, after that the tank is running on vapour and I am not sure if I could get all the stuff required within what I can afford. I will have a scout around for some gear to see if there are any X79's and SB-E's floating about for less than a monkey. I can then flog the i7 2600k and ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe and use the splog from that to get a new HDD and software?

    Or, stay in the slow lane...............



    Itchy Rim
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2012
  7. feathers

    feathers Well-Known Member

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    Video rendering (HD) is slow with CPU. I used to do it on my 1st gen i7 860. Even at 4ghz it was slow. On the other hand, there are some pleb video editing suites that support CUDA and the difference is astonishing. Where premiere pro might take 24 hours on a HD video encode, the CUDA GPU rendering took 3 hours using an 8800.

    It's just a shame that the video editors supporting CUDA encoding/previewing are low end systems such as Nero video and a few others I can't remember.
     
  8. Deders

    Deders Well-Known Member

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    According to tests video's encoded with Cuda aren't as good quality as ones done by the CPU, even quick sync isn't quite the same but it is much better.

    Tbh I think the best option might be to overclock the 2600K as you'll can overclock them much more than the new ivy bridge CPU's and most likely get more performance out of it. Something worth looking into as a decent cooler will be a third of the cost of a CPU.

    Am I right in thinking that you can put a 2600K into an Ivy bridge board and get Quicksync to work that way?
     
  9. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    SB-E is a huge outlay for non professional use. I'd go with a well overclocked IB if it's non essential work. However, having said that, an Asus P9X79 Pro and a 3930K would be doable on your rough budget. You would see a marked difference with the extra 4 threads.

    I'd get two fast 7200RPM drives in RAID0 for scratch. Ideally a dedicated SSD would be better, but A) it's expensive, and B) using it as such will shorten its life. Again though, for amateur use, just a dedicated, fast 7200RPM drive. Just something on its own SATA channel with nothing else accessing it.

    Feathers is right, CPU encoding is slow compared to anything using CUDA, but for some reason, the low end offerings that support GPU encoding are usually pretty crap. Ideally if I had room for 2 rigs in here I'd go with a Quadro card and Elemental's accelerator plug ins. As thuis rig is used for both pro use, and as my main rig, some compromises have been made. Most of the stuff I do however, DOES have mercury accelerated effects, so I see some big improvements with that.

    To give an idea of speed increase with SB-E.. what took over an hour with my 4GHz i7-920 takes less than a third of the time with this. The difference between a well overclocked SB or IB will be less dramatic, but still very noticeable... probably in the region of around 15 to 20%.

    Ideal world: 3930K or 3960X and Socket 2011 - RAID0 7200RPM scratch disks or dedicated SSD on SATAIII

    Good compromise: IB on Z77, well overclocked with a dedicated fast 7200RPM drive with exclusive access by your video software.

    I'm fairly certain IB CPUs support quicksync.
     
    thehippoz likes this.
  10. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    For professional usage

    Workstation with quadro graphics performance is leaps and bounds ahead of anything consumer related (3960 is fast 2 xeons + quadro is faster)

    If the speed you encode related to the amount of cash you can earn in a week then the xeons will repay themselves in a few weeks

    If its just for casual video editing 2600k that you have Is more than sufficient and the difference going up to a 3960k which is Aprox £12-1300 once board and ram are added is not gonna be a cheap upgrade and it's not £1300 faster.

    The amount of program's that can use gpu acceleration are quiet small.
     
  11. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Don't get too hung up on Xeons. A 5GHz 3960X can keep up with dual Xeons at stock speeds.

    No argument from me about Quadro cards though.
     
  12. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    Well, CS6, using OpenCL (so it's not tied to nVidia), 'apparently' has encoder acceleration in addition to specific effects...

    "And if that wasn’t enough, it also accelerates the export from your source format to your preferred destination format by up to 241%* for quick and easy distribution and publishing."

    ...& that wasn't using a particularly top end Mac or AMD gfx card...

    [Edit]

    i wrote 'apparently' as it's always possible that Adobe cherry picked the effects used to maximise the difference.

    Well, the first thing is to have dedicated source & destination drives which (ideally) only contain the data for the project you're working on at a given time.

    What you're then after, for a good basic setup, are 2 drives that have a decent sequential r/w speed...

    Whilst you 'could' spend lots of money on something like my 15K7s or, for that matter, use SSDs, something like a pair of 1TB F3s (short stroked to ensure that the data's only ever stored in the faster cylinders) would be a good, more budget orientated, choice.

    [NB you can, of course, add a 2nd partition to the HDDs & use the slower ones for storage.]
     
    Last edited: 29 Apr 2012
  13. LordLuciendar

    LordLuciendar meh.

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    Definitely a recent Sandforce SSD, you'll really benefit from the write speeds. Corsair Force Series 3 or Force GT would be my vote.

    If you're stuck on LGA1155 and can't upgrade to LGA2011, I'd definitely consider adding a Quadro graphics card.
     
  14. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Just to add that JUST adding a Quadro card will do nothing for your encoding times, especially if you use Premiere. You also need acceleration software/encoders that will render on the GPU, as Mercury Engine (Adobe's own GPU acceleration) only works on clips with approved Mercury compatible effects applied.

    You can force Premiere to accept any NVidia card for GPU acceleration with Mercury by the way.. it's just a case of altering a .cfg file. Some recent cards such as 580s and Kepler easily perform as well as mid range or higher Quadro cards if you can get them to play nice.

    Elemental's Accelerator 2.0 of higher with a high end Quadro has to be seen to be believed though... but so does the price!

    We are getting head of ourselves a little though. As someone said earlier in this thread, unless you do this full time on a professional level it's not really necessary to go to these lengths.

    Right now... for home or even semi pro, I still reckon a well overclocked SB-E would be the best way to go. Only when it becomes important to have a large throughput where long encoding times will cost you money would I consider anything as radical as quadro cards.. especially if it's not a dedicated video production workstation machine, as it just compromises the computers use for anything else BUT that.... unless you install a Quadro card as well as your normal 3D GPUs... but that can cause problems in itself.
     
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  15. LordLuciendar

    LordLuciendar meh.

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    Do you have any info on that? I remember back in the day you could flash certain 7xxx cards to Quadro firmware to gain Autodesk and Adobe compatible drivers, this sounds even easier.
     
  16. Pookeyhead

    Pookeyhead It's big, and it's clever.

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    Look inside your Adobe Premiere folder for GPUSniffer.exe


    It should be in c:\program files\adobe\adobe premiere pro cs5

    Run it from an elevated command prompt, not just by clicking it.

    Note the EXACT spelling of your GPU in the report it generates.

    find the file called "cuda_supported_cards.txt" and open it with NOTEPAD. Not word, or wordpad, but NOTEPAD.

    type in the exact GPU name GPUSniffer.exe reported (case sensitive).

    Save the amended cuda_supported_cards.txt by using file/save or ctrl+S.

    Run premiere.

    Go to Project/project settings and select the general tab.

    At the bottom of the window that pops up you'll see video rendering and playback.

    select "Mercury Engine GPU Acceleration". Select it.

    Your GPU should now be used for playback and rendering of Mercury accelerated effects.


    This only works with NVidia cards.


    Apparently, yes :)
     
  17. rollo

    rollo Well-Known Member

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    Depending on software your using

    I know episode Encoder pro supports quaddro cards but it's one expensive program

    Elemental accelarator for adobe cs4 and above ( speed is insane )

    Sony Vegas on some file formats

    As I said above if your only doing home vids spending 5k+ for quadro + 3960x is nuts

    Your current setup will suffice

    Proffesional level video encoding is not cheap
     
  18. Itchy Rim

    Itchy Rim Member

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    There is quite a big difference in price between the 3930k and the 3960x and the only spec difference I can see is 3.2GHz / 12mb L3 Cache for the 3930k and 3.3Ghz / 15mb L3 Cache for the 3960x.

    Unless the jump from 12mb to 15mb L3 Cache makes a big difference when encoding and rendering then I would think that for any interested purchaser the option would be to get the 3930k and overclock it to around 75% of its maximum overclock capability keeping within sensible limits?

    As regards risking an overclock with an expensive CPU, I think that intel offer some type of insurance that can be taken out at extra cost just in case of toast.



    Itchy Rim
     
  19. debs3759

    debs3759 Was that a warranty I just broke?

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    You can find details of Intel's Performace Tuning Plan (their name for the overclocking insurance) at http://click.intel.com/tuningplan/. It costs $25 to insure a 2500K, 2600K or 2700K, and $35 for a 3930K or 3960X. It has to be a retail chip to be elegible.
     

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