3.2GHz OctoCore MP Toast+Handbrake Vs Popcorn 3 Benchmarks

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by MacRoom, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. MacRoom macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #1
    Toast is limited to 4 cores. Popcorn is limited to 2 cores. Handbrake uses between 6 and 7 cores @ framrates up to 260fps.

    But the Popcorn 3 encode looks better. I'm using the AppleTV mode which lets me convert a native EyeTV HD recording CUSTOM to Advanced BASE (not Main) 2 Pass 1000kbps video + 128 audio from 48K samples, 640x360 which is exactly 1/3 HD res and still loads in iPods.

    When I encode the same show with Toast set on maximum quality + Handbrake H264 iPod 2 pass 624x352 (max allowed in Handbrake that still loads in iPods), I see banding that I don't see in the Popcorn encode. Plus Popcorn adds chapters automatically every 3 minutes. And Popcorn doesn't cut off the last 7 seconds like Handbrake does.

    Downside is the Popcorn encode is limited to 2 cores so it's not as fast as Toast + Handbrake. But since it's done in one 5 pass action directly from the EyeTV original and is limited to 2 cores, 4 can be run simultaneously. I need to time that compared to doing 4 the Toast+Handbrake way next. I don't have much experience using Compressor. I'll try that after I finish these tests first.

    I hope someone else will post their results too.
     
  2. Michael73 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    #2
    Hey, I'm using Toast 8 and Handbrake. Just a quick ?...are you adjusting the settings in these programs at all to take advantage of multicore support or does it use as many cores as it can grab by default?

    Also, what version of Handbrake are you using? I'd upgraded to the latest version but when I upgraded from Tiger to Leopard it didn't function correctly so I went back to an earlier version which seems to function with no problems.
     
  3. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #3
    0.9.1 is radically better than previous versions. You are allowed to keep feeding the queue perpetually so you can keep encoding indefinitely. When you run into a bug like that you shouldn't give up. It functions totally correctly in Leopard as it did in Tiger.

    I just finished looking at two encodes of the same new CSI New York episode from last night - entitled "Playing With Fire" 414.08 episode 85 - one encoded with Toast + Handbrake side by side with a Popcorn 3 encode.

    The results are a wash. They appear identical. However there is a certain amount of horizontal banding when red lights appear and the opening of the episode in the Toast+Handbrake version that do not appear in the Popcorn encode. Although Popcorn takes longer due to it's 2.5 core limit, the fact that you can encode a lot of shows at once with each instance of Popcorn 3 and not hose the 8 core system with up to 3 running at once makes Popcorn 3 a winner. Plus you can assign an exact 1/3 HD size that will still load on iPods in Popcorn that you can't do with Handbrake.

    Popcorn 3 - 640x360
    Handbrake - 624x352

    Now that's for native HD. For SD the opposite is true. The Popcorn encodes add an obnoxious amount of black around the sides and top but not the bottom of SD encodes. I can't explain why. I set them both for 544x400 - upper iPod dimensions allowed. In 0.9.1 Handbrake the auto crop works flawlessly on CW off air recordings while Popcorn 3 adds slim black pillars and a black top to the same recordings.

    I will continue to use Toast + Handbrake for the SD encodes.

    NOTE: Using Popcorn for multiple show encodes only allows for ONE setting so you need to gang all the HD recordings into one Popcorn 3 encode AppleTV Custom set @ 1000kbps, 2 pass Baseline 640x360 and do any SD encodes separately although I don't recommend you use Popcorn for SD.

    NOTE: Popcorn won't let you access the Advanced Video settings if you use the iPod Custom path. So you have to use AppleTV and then change it for the iPod according to the above settings. These encodes are also completely AppleTV compatible.
     
  4. bigbird macrumors 6502

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    #4
    MultiMedia?

    MacRoom = MultiMedia?

    It's that handbrake stuff that got my attention.
     
  5. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

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    #5
    sssh
     
  6. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #6
    Screen Shots Of Popcorn 3 Settings

    Here is the set of screen shots showing how to set your EyeTV Native HD recordings to mp4 encodes with Popcorn 3 that will play on all iPods as well as AppleTV. I am able to run 3 instances of Popcorn 3 simultaneously on the 3.2 GHz 8 core MP. Overnight I can encode about 10-15 shows at once this way up to about 6-8 hours in each copy of Popcorn 3. Each instance uses about 2 cores. The Multi-Pass encoder does 5 passes.

    The last two shots are the before and after you customize the AppleTV presets to add iPod conformity and bit rate reduction for file size efficiency.

    The results are spectacular @ 1000kbps. On the big HDTV screen the encodes look almost indistinguishable from the originals. At the same time they all fit economically on any video iPod and the iPhone.
     

    Attached Files:

  7. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    #7
    You're just noticing this now? :confused:
     
  8. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    #8
    Image Of Four Instances Of Popcorn 3 Encoding Native HD EyeTV Recordings To mp4

    Here's what the set of four copies of Popcorn 3 look like as they are crushing about 20 shows at once - including several movies - overnight. I put the Activity Monitor in the middle so you can see how many cores they are using each. Sometimes an instance will shoot up to as high as 2.5 cores but usually they are all under 2 cores and one is often under one core. But considering that all 4 are fighting for access to only 8 cores it's easy to see why we'll all be looking forward to 16 cores next year. :D

    NOTE: All these encodes are for HD only. I still find Toast+Handbrake the best way to encode SD 4x3 recordings due to the need for both cropping and deinterlacing among SD recordings. When not deinterlacing, Handbrake can do 2-pass encodes at over 250 fps on the 3.2 GHz 8 core MP using up to over 6 cores at once.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #9
    All Fox 720P Recording Popcorn 3 Transcodes Result In Out Of Synch Audio

    All the 1080-60i transcodes from NBC and CBS have perfectly in synch audio. But all the FOX 720-60p transcodes have majorly out of synch audio. Have to redo all of them in Toast+Handbrake.

    Might have something to do with the 60p pull down to 30p fps. Just a guess. Since Toast can use up to 4 cores each, the encodes this way are confined to two instances of Toast + all in sequence of one copy of Handbrake which can use up to 6 cores at once.

    The Toast+Handbrake encodes are so much faster than the Popcorn 3 encodes. But the look of the 1080i Popcorn 3 encodes with audio in synch is excellent and done with one setup instead of two.

    UPDATE: The FOX 720p re-dos with Toast+Handbrake have perfect audio synch. And they were done in very fast times. Even with another Toast DVD image encode running, Handbrake prevails on 5 cores leaving only about 2 for Toast.
     
  10. bigbird macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I guess so. The content and style of the postings reminded me of the gone but never forgotten MM.
     
  11. randyhudson macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2007
    Location:
    East Coast
    #11
    Is video encoding the primary motivation for 8 cores?

    Dual quad-core Xeons seems like a very brute-force and expensive approach to encoding mpeg4. For around $90 (and while consuming less than 2.5W) Elgato's turbo.264 USB "key" does a better job, relatively speaking. It may even out perform the 4-core MPs in some cases. How is it that "AppTel" can market a 2nd, 85W Xeon for $500 as a reasonable solution to Image/Video editing?

    Let's hope that GPGPUs or Cell-like CPUs can offer a better price/performance solution in the near future.
     
  12. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #12
    The Elgato Turbo.264 H.264 Encoder Is A Very Poor Quality Path

    I have a different opinion. I bought the Turbo H.264 "Encoder" and think the results it provides are very inferior low quality. I was able to return it for a full refund within a week. No Two or Multi-Pass encoding allowed. That alone should tell you it is not going to yield decent encodes. Compared to Toast+ 2-pass Handbrake or 5-Pass Popcorn 3 encodes the results from that stick SUCK BIG TIME. You might want to try the alternatives to the Elgato Turbo to see what I mean.

    I have a lot of experience converting digital broadcast HD and SD EyeTV recordings to mp4 files for several years. I can say in no uncertain terms that the Elgato Turbo stick makes very inferior encodes that look very bad when interpolated up to a HDTV screen while the Toast+2-pass H.264 Handbrake and 5-pass Popcorn 3 encodes look fantastic - almost like the originals.

    A better job with the Turbo? You really must have little experience with any other approach or you wouldn't think that. I can not tell you how majorly disappointed I was with the Turbo product. All the editors of the major Mac magazines that gave it such favorable reviews are either blind or they don't care about big screen compatibility. I know they look fine on an iPod. But that is not my goal at all. I want small files that look great on both any iPod and any size big screen HDTV screen as well via direct connect or AppleTV.

    The 8 core Mac Pro provides a way to make these files rapidly. I'm getting rid of all my Quad core Macs and buying more 8 core units as soon as they go refurb. These new 8 core Macs are freaking awesome tools.
     
  13. Tracer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2007
    #13
    The whole purpose of using a 8-Core machine for Video Encoding is the flexibility. Note that Elgato's software is very limited when you are using the USB H.264 Video Encoder.

    Tracer
     
  14. randyhudson macrumors regular

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    East Coast
    #14
    Actually, I have very little (read "none") experience with Elgato's product. But my point is, one could write software which produces the identical sucky results as the turbo H.264, but the stick is going to produce those results both faster per dollar, and faster per Watt, by an order of magnitude or more.

    IMO, 4 general-purpose cores are more than enough for most Mac Pro owners. Rather than purchasing 4 more cores, why not solve the real problem (the software) for "free"? Handbrake should be encoding video with your GPU.

    You're right, the major advantage of the Xeons is that they are programmable. But, so are the 120 stream processors found in the iMac's video card.
     
  15. MacRoom thread starter macrumors member

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    Oct 25, 2007
    #15
    4 Cores Is Not Enough For Almost Everyone. 8 Cores Is The New One Core.

    So now we are debating theoretical reality that does not exist?
    Write them a feedback note on their website. I am running two processes right now. They want 6 cores to do their thing. Four cores are not enough and you are completely out of touch with the reality of why 16 will not be enough either. The idea that 4 cores is enough for everyone reminds me of when someone said no one will ever need more than 640KB of RAM.

    I am 100% certain that 4 cores is not enough for almost everyone. I have been using 4 core Macs for 2 years. They are not enough. I was hosing them all the time since day one. This 8 core is just as easy to hose as the quad core was. I need a second 8 core to get my work done. You must never multi task. I already have a queue backing up for jobs on the one 3.2Ghz 8 core MP I have here so far. I use applications that use 2, 4 and 6 cores each. No way is 4 cores enough to keep up with my workload.
    Do you have a developer in mind to petition? Why not ask the Handbrake developers?
     
  16. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

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    #16
    He may have many faults but Bill Gates never actually said no one will ever need more than 640KB of RAM.
     
  17. randyhudson macrumors regular

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    Oct 28, 2007
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    East Coast
    #17
    You're missing my point. I'll bet you that 99.9% of the time that your system is loaded over 4.0 (or probably 2.0), it's because you are running jobs that should be running on hardware better suited to the task. Perhaps you can provide a counter example of software you use that doesn't fall under this category?
     
  18. Canoehead2 macrumors newbie

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    Jan 29, 2008
    #18
    Even though Handbrake can theoretically take advantage of all 8 cores, in reality you cannot use more than 60+% of CPU power for one instance - the solution is to run two instances at the same time. Each will be a little slower than running a single instance, but not much, and the total time to product will be much lower. Plus if one crashes (and they do crash sometimes), you'll still have the output from the other when you get home. To see how far I could push it I took an episode of Heroes (in HD) from my Tivo, cut out the commercials and fixed the stream in VideoRedo on my PC, then ran it through Handbrake at full resolution (deinterlacing) with a targetted file size of 3.5GB. My output is a beautiful HD file with 5.1 sound that plays natively on the PS3 and looks great playing on the Mac. Not too shabby.
     
  19. sk8ordie macrumors regular

    sk8ordie

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    California
    #19
    Good info.

    Why was MacRoom Banned? Very informative post.
     
  20. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030

    Wild-Bill

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    bleep
    #20
    MacRoom = MultiMedia

    Probably because it was really MultiMedia????? Had he attempted to alter his posting style and had been more selective about talking about the hardware he has, perhaps the mods would not have caught on. I'm sure posting the same exact stuff over at AppleInsider under 'MultiMedia' didn't help his cause either. :rolleyes:

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who knew it was him. And I knew it was only a matter of time before he'd get caught. :eek:
     
  21. sk8ordie macrumors regular

    sk8ordie

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    #21
    Whos MultiMedia?
     
  22. Mattww macrumors 6502

    Mattww

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    Jan 11, 2008
    #22
    Anyone know how well the 4 core and 8 core machines cope with running a modern intensive 3D game whilst encoding H264 in the background? Is there any choppiness or reduction in performance in the game?
     
  23. FF_productions macrumors 68030

    FF_productions

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    #23
    He got banned from the website for making a few comments months ago. The mod's here just don't like him.

    No matter how informative + helpful, they still give him the boot....
     

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