Handbrake on Mac Mini Slower than MBP with same specs

mac1984user

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2009
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I recently bought a new Mac Mini (2.3GHz i5, 8GB RAM) to replace my old one (2.26GHz C2D, 4GB), mainly to help speed up the process of video encoding. I also own a MacBook Pro (13", 2.3GHz, i5, 8GB), which I do not want to use as my primary encoding machine.

When encoding on my old Mini, I was getting about 35fps. On my MacBook Pro, I get in the range of 60fps. Now, on the new Mini, I'm getting closer to 35fps. Why would this be? The MacBook and the Mini are essentially identical machines, with hard drives of the same speeds, the same processors and the same amount of RAM. I have no idea why the new Mini is no faster than a model three years older than it at encoding video, especially since it shares the same specifications as my MBP, which is nearly twice as fast at encoding. Any explanations? Anything I'm missing? Thanks!
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
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Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Those frame rates are WAY too low, I'm getting 150+. This depends on your Handbrake settings as well as the source media.

I rip on my iMac (I7 16GB Ram) a typical movie, say a little less than two hours will take about 12 minutes to rip.

You can try two pass encoding, but I'm guessing that the source media may be the issue here.
 

mac1984user

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Original poster
Dec 10, 2009
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Thanks for that response. The source media I use is the same for both the Mac Mini and the MBP. When ripping a DVD from my collection, I first rip a full disc copy onto my computer and then use Handbrake to encode the folder into a normal M4V file. If the process were any different on the MBP than the Mini, then I would agree that there's something to do with my media, but it certainly doesn't explain why the differences are so great between two essentially identical machines.
 

ljonesj

macrumors 6502a
Oct 20, 2009
944
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Kingsport TN
well i use handbrake and have nice speeds out of the stock optical in my mini but it acts up so i got a new drive to install in it but when i went to rip something it was taking forever what i found out the hl ga32n has riplock it my orginal does not which i got working again.
 

dops7107

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2005
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Perth, Oztrailya
Very curious, I would like to know the outcome of this.

I'm afraid I don't have an instant suggestion, but my initial questions would be - 1) Are there any software differences (version of Handbrake, OSX) and 2) anything else running on the mini that might slow it down? I guess these things are obvious so apologies if you've worked through this already.

Otherwise, not sure. I don't have one of these new-fangled i5/i7 computers, so I don't know - but is there a way to manually limit processor speed? I thought there was on the laptops, not sure about the mini. :confused:
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,196
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Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Thanks for that response. The source media I use is the same for both the Mac Mini and the MBP. When ripping a DVD from my collection, I first rip a full disc copy onto my computer and then use Handbrake to encode the folder into a normal M4V file. If the process were any different on the MBP than the Mini, then I would agree that there's something to do with my media, but it certainly doesn't explain why the differences are so great between two essentially identical machines.
I know this is going to sound nuts, but try ripping the DVD directly from the Optical disk...It's what I do, and my frame rates are high.

Just insert the DVD, (it all start to play, just close the player) then point Handbtake at your optical drive, choose it as source...It will run the scan then rip. You may find it will improve your speeds.
 

martinm0

macrumors 6502a
Feb 27, 2010
563
25
Maybe the fact that you're on an i7 machine has something to do with it :p Honestly, ripping from the ODD will never make your encodes faster.
While it does sound unlikely, I have found that converting directly from the DVD in Handbrake has actually matched the same duration (time wise) as just ripping the VTS out of the DVD using RipIt. I can't say I've watched the framerates, but the time is doubled for my to rip then convert vs just convert directly from the disc.
 

AdrianK

macrumors 68020
Feb 19, 2011
2,230
1
While it does sound unlikely, I have found that converting directly from the DVD in Handbrake has actually matched the same duration (time wise) as just ripping the VTS out of the DVD using RipIt.
Not really surprising, the DVD drive should only affect the time taken to encode when it becomes a limiting factor.
 

mac1984user

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Dec 10, 2009
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United Kingdom
Thanks for the tip about ripping straight from the DVD. I'll certainly try that. However, it's kind of nice to get everything ripped and then do an encode over night for like 10 or 12 files.

This still doesn't really explain why the same process is twice as fast on my MBP than the new Mac Mini despite the fact that their specs are identical. What a mystery...and I really wish I was getting FPS's faster than 35! I've even fully dumped Handbrake and its preferences and reinstalled...nothing changes.

EDIT: I just ran the same file with the same presets and the average FPS for the MBP was 70, while the Mac Mini was 37. Could there be some software issue at play here? The only thing I can think of is that I did a direct transfer using Apple's utility of my old Mac Mini to my new one (Migration Assistant). So, it's completely mirrored. Are there any settings that could affect this? Is the computer replicating the speed of the previous one in some weird way? I know that sounds really stupid, but it's honestly the only thing I can come up with. Why the 2011 Mini is no faster than the 2009 Mini is beyond me. Cheers!
 
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Supra Mac

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2012
118
2
Texas
Thanks for the tip about ripping straight from the DVD. I'll certainly try that. However, it's kind of nice to get everything ripped and then do an encode over night for like 10 or 12 files.

This still doesn't really explain why the same process is twice as fast on my MBP than the new Mac Mini despite the fact that their specs are identical. What a mystery...and I really wish I was getting FPS's faster than 35! I've even fully dumped Handbrake and its preferences and reinstalled...nothing changes.
Specs are the same, but how is the set up? One is external and one is internal DVD drive, correct? Try running the external on the Pro and you may see the the same drop.

Edit: Whoops, see that you save it to the hard disk first.
 

paulrbeers

macrumors 68040
Dec 17, 2009
3,960
120
I apologize if I missed this in the thread:

Have you checked Activity Monitor for CPU cycles? Is your mini maxing out the CPU? Is there something that is running at the same time (i.e. Spotlight indexing?). Your numbers seem awfully low especially compared to the MBP which (as you have already pointed out) have the same processor. The Mac Mini is basically just an MBP without Screen/keyboard/trackpad.
 

shortcut3d

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2011
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Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A406 Safari/7534.48.3)

The numbers seem low. I'm getting those speeds on some Blurays using the Apple TV 2 preset on a 2011 Mac mini server.

I would try a nightly build to see if that fixes the problem.

Also, the 16GB kit may be giving you issues. Handbrake does not use that much memory. Try the factory RAM. Lastly as already stated spotlight could be the issue on a new install.