CPU usage with Handbrake

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by tbayrgs, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I had been using my 2009 C2D HTPC for all of my encoding and while it got the job done, it took an awful long time, especially for encoding of blu-ray rips(8-10 hrs for 720p), and I was always jealous of the comments from others here using new iMacs, MBP, and Mac Pros whose encode times were a fraction of mine.

    I'm aware that Handbrake is a well known CPU hog--part of the reason I went with the quad core server model as I'm still working my way through my media and plan on doing so with anything new I purchase. I was under the assumption that Handbrake would utilize as much of the CPU as possible when encoding but in the couple weeks that I've been using my new Mini, I only see CPU usage maxing out when I'm doing full 1080p encodes. As my encoding job's resolution goes down, so does CPU usage. For example, right now I'm encoding a blu ray rip at the old iPhone/iPod Touch preset for my kid's 2nd gen. iPods and it's only averaging about 35 fps with CPU usage hovering around 150-175% (vs. 750% when I encoding the same movie at 1080p).

    Is this normal and can it be managed manually?
  2. lilsoccakid74 macrumors 6502

    Apr 13, 2010
    this is normal, and cannot be managed manually.
  3. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010

    You can tell the x264 encoder in HandBrake on the command line that he should use more or less threads.

    The "threads" parameter should be a power of 2 (2, 4, 8 or 16). You can change the x264 command line options within the HandBrake GUI. Use existing command line parameters as a guide!

    More info:
  4. appsfinder macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2009

    what do you type in the command line on mac
  5. lali macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2007
    very interested to learn more about this... I am a very heavy-duty user of Handbrake but I only use it in the GUI mode.... choose appletv2 preset and encode..... that is the extent of my customizing !
    what I wanted to say is that I read that the decode portion of the process is single threaded, and the encoding is multi threaded... but don't listen to me. Dynaflash is the absolute master of handbrake and he might jump in, he is usually very generous about helping folks using the software

    PS I am too on core2duo. I should have made the move to quad core a loooong time ago
  6. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    IF you are using a lot of handbrake you have to get a quad core.

    The mac mini server cuts time down by 55% over a c2d cpu!
  7. eyepea macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2012
    If you are worried about heat you can run the MM on its side (in a stand such as Newer Technology) and also replace the heat sink past with Arctic Silver or Tuniq. But you have to pull the MM logic board out to do that so it is a bit of a job. My MM server runs hot on Handbrake but the speed makes up for it. Generally it runs quite alright with temp and as Philipma said, you really need the Quad Core if you want to do video transcoding.

    I have an i5 MM and i7 Quad Core MM and there is significant difference in video transcoding speed.


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