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spacepower7
Apr 3, 2007, 12:11 AM
New product under development? Looks like Elgato are making a h.264 encoder (USB 2.0) for high speed conversions.

http://www.macnews.de/news/98679

http://blogs.sun.com/seapegasus/entry/turbo_quicktime_encoding


Looks promising


"I just wanted to show this (macnews) and this (MacWelt) to a colleague of mine, but noticed that there are no English articles to be found describing this new piece of hardware, so I just write one myself.

Elgato Turbo 264 is an external CPU in a USB stick. When you encode a lot of H.264 Quicktime movies (for iPod or Apple TV), you know how it maxes out your Mac's CPU(s), and still takes between 4h and 20h to encode one movie? Right, so the idea is to let this specialized additional CPU do the encoding for you, and take off the load of the main CPU.

The main advantage is of course speed: The tested prototype's statistics for encoding a 1 min long 640x480 video on a Mac with 2 G5 CPUs are: 3.5 min (without turbo), versus 46 secs (with turbo). Presumably, if you already have an uber-fast Mac Pro, the speed gain is less noticable, but for everybody else it should make a big difference.

The included software comes with a plugin that adds the hardware encoding option to the Quicktime Exporter menus, e.g. in EyeTV, iMovie and Quicktime Player Pro. It also support a video format compatible with Sony Playstations somewhere. If you don't have Quicktime pro, you can get the functionality (*) included in the stand-alone version of the product.

And why am I advertising it? Let's say I might know someone who may or may not possibly have had a hand (or two) involved in the development of the software's spiffy GUI. ;-) (Sources: MacWelt and MacNews)

PS: (*) To be more clear, the stand-alone version does not contain a QuickTime Pro license, but something with equivalent functionality by Elgato."



Multimedia
Apr 3, 2007, 12:16 AM
I want one now.

spacepower7
Apr 3, 2007, 12:37 AM
Looks like the elagto turbo is the same as this ADS h.264 encoder. Elgato are probably rebranding the same hardware and writing the Mac software.




http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/15/ads-techs-instant-video-to-go-offers-up-ipod-psp-video-conver/

Multimedia
Apr 3, 2007, 12:47 AM
Looks like the elagto turbo is the same as this ADS h.264 encoder. Elgato are probably rebranding the same hardware and writing the Mac software. http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/15/ads-techs-instant-video-to-go-offers-up-ipod-psp-video-conver/Here's the November 20, 2006 ADS Press Release (http://www.adstech.com/media/mediafiles/PR_Instant_Video_to_Go.htm). You're probably right.

macenforcer
Apr 3, 2007, 12:54 AM
Looks like the elagto turbo is the same as this ADS h.264 encoder. Elgato are probably rebranding the same hardware and writing the Mac software.




http://www.engadget.com/2007/01/15/ads-techs-instant-video-to-go-offers-up-ipod-psp-video-conver/

They did the same exact thing with the eyetv hybrid. Check out the hauppauge 950. I bought the 950 for $60 after rebates from Circuit city. Plugged it into my mac and EyeTV 2.0 recognized it as an eyetv hybrid and it works perfectly. Same exact hardware.

Multimedia
Apr 3, 2007, 01:09 AM
They did the same exact thing with the eyetv hybrid. Check out the hauppauge 950. I bought the 950 for $60 after rebates from Circuit city. Plugged it into my mac and EyeTV 2.0 recognized it as an eyetv hybrid and it works perfectly. Same exact hardware.Thanks for telling us NOW?!?!?! They resell it for $150! Holy *****! :eek: :mad:

Why weren't you enforcing our bad buying decisions before now!! :mad:

macenforcer
Apr 3, 2007, 01:12 AM
Thanks for telling us NOW?!?!?! They resell it for $150! Holy *****! :eek: :mad:

Why weren't you enforcing our bad buying decisions before now!! :mad:

For $60 it doesnt come with the remote or video cable but check this out. FUlly mac compatible.

http://registration.hauppauge.com/webstore/hardware2.asp?product=hvr900_avcable

gmanca
Apr 3, 2007, 01:51 AM
WOW! That is freaking awesome; the 950 would totally make DVR on my Imac economically feasible and set aside money for the turbo. Hmm, I wonder if the net amount of this 950, which is still on sale from Circuit City, plus a Turbo with an :apple: TV and hard drive upgrade is a tipping scale in my decision to go from Mac Mini to Apple Tv for a media center...

spacepower7
Apr 3, 2007, 01:55 AM
Thanks for the info about the hauppauge 950.

I have seen that and a Pinnacle version of the same hardware at Circuit City and Microcenter.

Since I have a $50 credit at Circuit City, I am going to go pick up a hauppauge 950 tomorrow for $10 ($30 - $20 rebate) more. I bought a copy of EyeTV when it was on sale for $40 awhile ago. So now I can have an EyeTV hybrid for $10 out of pocket. Awesome.

Thanks for the info.

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 3, 2007, 02:00 AM
This seems like it would only be useful for older/slower machines. My Mac Pro can already encode SD res 1500kbps .h264 in 2x real time.

Multimedia
Apr 3, 2007, 02:27 AM
This seems like it would only be useful for older/slower machines. My Mac Pro can already encode SD res 1500kbps .h264 in 2x real time.How? What workflow?

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 3, 2007, 10:31 AM
How? What workflow?

I use handbrake settings:

mp4 h.264 main profile
1500kbps video, 128kbps AAC
average output file size for 2 hour movie - a little over 1 gig.

I usaually average around 65-70 FPS encoding, so on 23fps movie that's 2-2.5x faster than realtime. The resolution of the movies varies due to different widescreen aspect ratios that the movies were shot in, but all are at least 720 pixels wide. My Mac Pro chews through renders much faster than my old 2ghz G5, it's scary.

liketom
Apr 3, 2007, 10:35 AM
I use handbrake settings:

mp4 h.264 main profile
1500kbps video, 128kbps AAC
average output file size for 2 hour movie - a little over 1 gig.

I usaually average around 65-70 FPS encoding, so on 23fps movie that's 2-2.5x faster than realtime. The resolution of the movies varies due to different widescreen aspect ratios that the movies were shot in, but all are at least 720 pixels wide. My Mac Pro chews through renders much faster than my old 2ghz G5, it's scary.

just out of intrest - what FPS would you be getting using normal Mpeg setting (no h.264) on 2500k and 160 for audio ?

i get round 50-65 on a Core2 1.83

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 3, 2007, 10:41 AM
just out of intrest - what FPS would you be getting using normal Mpeg setting (no h.264) on 2500k and 160 for audio ?

i get round 50-65 on a Core2 1.83

I have no idea, I haven't used handbrake to encode regular mp4. I'll try a sample using the above settings and get back to you.

liketom
Apr 3, 2007, 10:47 AM
I have no idea, I haven't used handbrake to encode regular mp4. I'll try a sample using the above settings and get back to you.

thanks if you crunch through H.264 at that speed i would be very intrested in dropping the money down on a Mac Pro like yours


awaiting the results :)

Peace
Apr 3, 2007, 12:08 PM
I want one now.

If that doesn't give a hint at Leopard's GUI I don't know what does.

Eidorian
Apr 3, 2007, 12:55 PM
I'm already out of USB ports. A FireWire version would be more to my liking.

Diode
Apr 3, 2007, 01:00 PM
Apple is supposed to include built in encoding support in future graphics cards.

Eidorian
Apr 3, 2007, 01:01 PM
Apple is supposed to include built in encoding support in future graphics cards.You mean that the current video cards do have encoding support. Apple just hasn't made drivers to enable it.

Diode
Apr 3, 2007, 01:04 PM
You mean that the current video cards do have encoding support. Apple just hasn't made drivers to enable it.

That I didn't know.

nateDEEZY
Apr 3, 2007, 01:30 PM
You mean that the current video cards do have encoding support. Apple just hasn't made drivers to enable it.

That's wishful thinking.

GFLPraxis
Apr 3, 2007, 01:56 PM
This seems like it would only be useful for older/slower machines. My Mac Pro can already encode SD res 1500kbps .h264 in 2x real time.

Is that particularly impressive? My MacBook CD encodes SD @ 2000 kbps MPEG-4 at 2x real time as well, around 50-60 fps average.

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 3, 2007, 02:00 PM
just out of intrest - what FPS would you be getting using normal Mpeg setting (no h.264) on 2500k and 160 for audio ?

i get round 50-65 on a Core2 1.83

Averaging 85fps, the video resolution is 720x304.

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 3, 2007, 02:03 PM
Is that particularly impressive? My MacBook CD encodes SD @ 2000 kbps MPEG-4 at 2x real time as well, around 50-60 fps average.

It's much better than my old G5, so yeah, it's impressive to me. A Mac Pro would be much faster if mediafork/handbrake was optimized better, it usually only uses between 130-150% of CPU. I use episode to encode for none DVD rips, it utilizes all 4 cores efficiently.

RazorWriter
Apr 3, 2007, 03:07 PM
For $60 it doesnt come with the remote or video cable but check this out. FUlly mac compatible.

http://registration.hauppauge.com/webstore/hardware2.asp?product=hvr900_avcable

Unfortunately, the Hauppage does not come with the EyeTV software either, which Elgato sells for $80. Together, they add up to the Hybrid's price.
http://www.elgato.com/index.php?file=shop_onlineshop

I think the software UI here is probably the most important thing, so if you don't already own the EyeTV software, is there any other way to use this tuner?

jesteraver
Apr 3, 2007, 08:46 PM
Interesting idea.

eXan
Apr 3, 2007, 10:25 PM
Is that particularly impressive? My MacBook CD encodes SD @ 2000 kbps MPEG-4 at 2x real time as well, around 50-60 fps average.

Thats just regular MP4, but he is talking about MP4 with h.264 encoding, which is much more CPU-intensive.

BTW, my MacBook Core2Duo 2 GHz encodes DVDs to 1400kbps 640wide videos for iPod at about 35 fps (using MediaFork). Originals are PALs, so they are at 25 fps, so encoding is about 40% faster than real time.

My iMac averages at about 10-12 FPS though, but it has only one CPU core...

Also, I wonder why MediaFork, iSquint (the only h.264 encoding apps I tested) use only about 130-158% CPU on my MB? they max out y G5 though... Do they have poor multi-core support or what? :confused: I mean if they used full 200% (or at least more real 190), it would help encoding speed so much!

Krevnik
Apr 4, 2007, 12:36 AM
Also, I wonder why MediaFork, iSquint (the only h.264 encoding apps I tested) use only about 130-158% CPU on my MB? they max out y G5 though... Do they have poor multi-core support or what? :confused: I mean if they used full 200% (or at least more real 190), it would help encoding speed so much!

Uhm, there are limits to how much utilization any app can have. There are 2 big reasons why MediaFork would not hit 200% on a MacBook:
- Slow DVD drive
- Slow HDD drive

Plus, right now, frames have to be rendered in order. So x264 can't easily be split across two processors except by x264 itself. However, you can throw AAC and muxing onto the second processor easily.

As a note, MediaFork/Handbrake does hit 200% on my Mac Pro, and I can max out my system by running two copies ripping two drives at about 350-375% CPU utilization.

Not all bottlenecks have to be in the CPU. The CPU could be starved by the DVD drive, or the app can't write to the HDD quickly enough to keep up with what the CPU is capable of.

eXan
Apr 4, 2007, 02:45 AM
Uhm, there are limits to how much utilization any app can have. There are 2 big reasons why MediaFork would not hit 200% on a MacBook:
- Slow DVD drive
- Slow HDD drive

Plus, right now, frames have to be rendered in order. So x264 can't easily be split across two processors except by x264 itself. However, you can throw AAC and muxing onto the second processor easily.

As a note, MediaFork/Handbrake does hit 200% on my Mac Pro, and I can max out my system by running two copies ripping two drives at about 350-375% CPU utilization.

Not all bottlenecks have to be in the CPU. The CPU could be starved by the DVD drive, or the app can't write to the HDD quickly enough to keep up with what the CPU is capable of.

I checked Activity Monitor while ripping DVD and drive activity shows only that under 1 MB/sec is being written, so I think its bad coding of app, not slow DVD/HD drive.

Scarpad
Apr 4, 2007, 08:15 AM
I want one now.


Wonder if it will support the PSP as well?

Scarpad
Apr 4, 2007, 08:18 AM
This seems like it would only be useful for older/slower machines. My Mac Pro can already encode SD res 1500kbps .h264 in 2x real time.

Should help my G4 mini thou I would think...

Krevnik
Apr 4, 2007, 09:43 AM
I checked Activity Monitor while ripping DVD and drive activity shows only that under 1 MB/sec is being written, so I think its bad coding of app, not slow DVD/HD drive.

Remember one important thing: On the MacBook... read speeds for the DVD drive are fairly slow, and on inner tracks, max out at about 1-2MB/sec under OS X. Open Disk Utility, and make an image of the DVD. Watch activity monitor show that it is reading the same data at the same speed as Handbrake was.

I take Handbrake to my MacPro, and its much, much, faster reading DVD drive, and I get about 4-6MB/sec on inner tracks, and 10MB/sec on the middle tracks.

It isn't Handbrake in this case, it is your DVD drive and some sort of overhead that OS X is introducing with DVD reads. The CPU can't run full-tilt without being fed, and the DVD drive isn't feeding it that well. And it isn't like Handbrake can make x264 (the h.264 encoder library used) suddenly use all your CPU for you. That is what the x264 dev team should be doing, if it can.

Here is something interesting to try. Do a full disc rip with MacTheRipper, and then rip from that with Handbrake. I bet you will go faster. ;)

liketom
Apr 4, 2007, 09:58 AM
Here is something interesting to try. Do a full disc rip with MacTheRipper, and then rip from that with Handbrake. I bet you will go faster. ;)
not that much faster though only 5-10FPS faster

Krevnik
Apr 4, 2007, 10:13 AM
not that much faster though only 5-10FPS faster

Which is about right though, and indicates you are much closer to full CPU usage.

A MacBook in theory would max out at about 40fps when using H.264.

Heck, my Mac Pro jumps from about 30-40 to 50-60 when running from a DVD ripped by Mac the Ripper, using about 300% CPU usage.

Laslo Panaflex
Apr 4, 2007, 10:41 AM
I've never gotten mediafork/handbrake to utilize more than 200% of the CPU on my Mac Pro, even when the video_ts folder has been ripped to my hard drive.

Krevnik
Apr 4, 2007, 10:44 AM
I am also using a build from their source tree, so it might have updated libraries which better utilize multiple cores.

robbieduncan
Apr 4, 2007, 10:45 AM
I've never gotten mediafork/handbrake to utilize more than 200% of the CPU on my Mac Pro, even when the video_ts folder has been ripped to my hard drive.

The current builds only ever use 2 threads so you won't. You need a build that spawns more threads :D

Eidorian
Apr 4, 2007, 10:55 AM
The current builds only ever use 2 threads so you won't. You need a build that spawns more threads :DRun multiple instances...

Krevnik
Apr 4, 2007, 12:40 PM
Run multiple instances...

I do that as well, works pretty well with two optical drives.

dylan
Apr 4, 2007, 05:14 PM
It doesn't look like it will work with VisualHub or similar, just Quicktime. If this is so you'd get a better performance boost just by using a different encoder.

I hope I'm wrong.

Eidorian
Apr 4, 2007, 05:16 PM
It doesn't look like it will work with VisualHub or similar, just Quicktime. If this is so you'd get a better performance boost just by using a different encoder.

I hope I'm wrong.The developer will probably get requests to support it via plugin. AppleTV support on the day it ships? Yeah they're a great developer.

eXan
Apr 4, 2007, 10:42 PM
Remember one important thing: On the MacBook... read speeds for the DVD drive are fairly slow, and on inner tracks, max out at about 1-2MB/sec under OS X. Open Disk Utility, and make an image of the DVD. Watch activity monitor show that it is reading the same data at the same speed as Handbrake was.

I take Handbrake to my MacPro, and its much, much, faster reading DVD drive, and I get about 4-6MB/sec on inner tracks, and 10MB/sec on the middle tracks.

It isn't Handbrake in this case, it is your DVD drive and some sort of overhead that OS X is introducing with DVD reads. The CPU can't run full-tilt without being fed, and the DVD drive isn't feeding it that well. And it isn't like Handbrake can make x264 (the h.264 encoder library used) suddenly use all your CPU for you. That is what the x264 dev team should be doing, if it can.

Here is something interesting to try. Do a full disc rip with MacTheRipper, and then rip from that with Handbrake. I bet you will go faster. ;)

Sorry, I didnt have exact numbers when I said drive activity never gets past 1 mb/sec, I just remember it was very low. Now, after ripping a DVD I can say that drive activity show about 45 KB/sec transferes, so its even lower than I though.

But I'll try to copu DVD to hard drive first and then encode it to h.264, just to test the difference if there's any :)

Krevnik
Apr 5, 2007, 02:13 PM
Sorry, I didnt have exact numbers when I said drive activity never gets past 1 mb/sec, I just remember it was very low. Now, after ripping a DVD I can say that drive activity show about 45 KB/sec transferes, so its even lower than I though.

But I'll try to copu DVD to hard drive first and then encode it to h.264, just to test the difference if there's any :)

It should be low, though. DVD drives are slow, and because of the pipeline used in Handbrake, 190+% CPU utilization is unrealistic. Right now, I get about 160% CPU utilization, with spikes reaching 185%, or dipping down to 140%, depending on which part of the scene is being looked at... This is with my 2Ghz MacBook. My Mac Pro averages at 300% CPU utilization with a single copy of Handbrake, with faster drives.

And remember, when encoding at 2Mbps, you are getting about 256KB/sec written to disk. Take into account that the OS will cache writes until they get large (over a MB or two)... and your write speed will seem very, very slow.

That said, the DVD drive in the MacBook gets about 1/5th the read speeds that I see in my Mac Pro, from any app. That right there will slow down Handbrake a bit. Performance monitoring is NOT an easy thing to do, nor tracking down the root cause of why an app isn't speedy. Trust me, I work in the industry for a living.