Why is my $1200 MBA almost twice as slow in video encoding than my $269 Lenovo laptop with Celeron?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by SarahKirschbaum, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. SarahKirschbaum, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016

    SarahKirschbaum macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #1
    Why is my $1200 MBA almost twice as slow in video encoding than my $269 Lenovo laptop with Celeron?

    My MBA is a MD712LL/A(11.6-inch, 256gb SSD) that I bought from Amazon.com(shipped and sold directly by Amazon.com) in January 2014. The price was $1199 plus sales tax, with free 2-day Prime shipping)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00746YMHA?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

    My Lenovo laptop is the 20D90027US Yoga 11e Windows 10 convertible laptop/tablet(11.6-inch IPS screen, 128gb SSD, Intel N2940 Quad-Core 1.83GHz processor) that I bought from Woot last week.($269 delivered, no tax and no shipping because it was fulfilled by Amazon.com)
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B16MXLU?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_search_detailpage

    When I copy a full Blu-ray movie files (1 hour 37 minutes) to both laptops and use RipBot264 and Any Video Converter to encode them to 720p MKV videos at 4000kbps video bit rate and audio at 128kbps AAC 2-channel, this is what I get:

    Macbook Air: 7 hours 37 minutes
    Lenovo: 4 hours 1 minute


    That means the cheap Lenovo is almost twice as fast when converting the same video. I've done video encoding on my MBA many times in the past, so the 7 hours 37 minutes was about right. I'm just a little shocked that a cheap $269 Lenovo with Celeron can do it almost twice as fast... I do realize my MBA is 2 years old, but still... If I buy the current MBA, will it be much faster?

    Thanks!

    (this is what the Lenovo looks like, from Google Image Search
    click to enlarge)
    329502394.jpg
     
  2. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    #2
    I use a windows box too to rip videos as i find it much faster.
     
  3. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #3
    What is a "windows box"? Is it like a Mac Mini or something?

    I'm not familiar with Windows at all.... :( The Lenovo was my first computer
    running Windows since Windows 95. :) I only bought it because Woot had it
    on sale for $269. :D
     
  4. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    #4
    First thing: use a natively written converter on the MBA (like Handbrake). Second thing: your MBA has half the number of cores of the Lenovo, so I find your results more or less expected.

    BTW - you'd expect a $1200 computer to be 5 times as fast as the $269 Lenovo? Wrong. It's like cars: almost all of them reach 120 mph, eventually, but you expect a Mercedes-Benz to go 500 mph, because it's 5 times more expensive then a Hyundai...
     
  5. pedrom Suspended

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    Jan 30, 2016
    #5
    Do you even know what you buy?

    For starters, like others suggested, chose a decent converter for OS X and same Definitions across the board. Then, do you know what an ULV processor is?

    The processor in the Air (alone) costs more than your Windows PC. It's not made to be as fast as possible for long periods of time. It's very expensive because it is very fast in short burst of speed, consumes a tiny quantity of power and produces a tiny quantity of heat.

    It's the same processor used on SurfaceBook, Surface Pro, Zenbook, Ativ Series, etc.
     
  6. kohlson macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 23, 2010
    #6
    As noted, it's CPU core count. The MBA is dual core, and the Woot-box is a quad core. Video encoding loves cores. There are lots of factors in encoding, including direct CPU instruction support (depends on the OS and the app), the app itself, and other resources. There are lots of factors that go into the price of a laptop: battery life, screen quality, weight, OS, and more.
     
  7. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #7
    So more cores is always better? I guess I should look for a 6 or 8 or 12-core computer. :)

    I was stuck in traffic next to a $300,000+ Bentley the other day. It's going the same 5mph stop-and-go speed as my al-cheapo entry-level Bimmer that costs about 1/10. :) Of course, the hot chick driving it must have been way more comfortable than me. :( (if I had to guess, she was a rich Chinese college girl going to class, based on the student parking sticker on the rear window)
     
  8. SmOgER, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  9. marioman38 macrumors 6502a

    marioman38

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    #9
    More cores is not ALWAYS better. But specifically for video encoding, more cores is better is a safe assumption. To do a fair test. Use handbrake on both computers and make sure the setting are exactly the same. Just a small change in the video encoding settings could make one movie go from 1 hour up to 6+ hours if your not careful with your encoding settings.
     
  10. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    #10
    I run an 8-core for transcoding video
    Running on Windows 8.1 and above it will make use of all cores anyway. Which is not the case if OP's video converter running on Mac is a poorly ported generic chinese Windows video converter app, not optimized and with buggy C# code.
     
  11. SmOgER, Mar 6, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016

    SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    That N2940 Celeron is absolutely horrible.

    Something is wrong with the software itself if you are getting such crazy results.


    Your Air has literally.. and I do mean literally 2 times more powerful CPU than that Celeron.
    And since MBA doesn't have any problems with cooling since long time ago, it can basically run 24/7 with such loads and be consistently 2 times faster.

    Wrong. It has 2Cores/4Threads (hyperthreading makes 2 cores appear and work as 4 when needed) while crappy Celeron has 1 core per thread for 4 threads in total.

    This basically means that when the software requests less than 4 threads, Celeron sucks even more than I described above cause single threaded performance is worse than horrible. And yes, again I mean it literally - it's now not 2 but 3 times worse than single threaded performance of MacBook Air.

    2C/4T is MUCH better than 4T/4T for every imaginable scenario. You get all the benefits of having 4core CPU and on top of that you get much better ST performance.

    So yeah to conclude I will just say that N2940 is a piece of **** to say the least and OP needs to go and try different software. Or boot to Windows with Bootcamp and use the same software he used on Lenovo if that's more convenient for him. Air should be able to convert the same file with same settings in 2 hours or so.
     
  12. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #12

    I have already tried Handbrake for Windows and Mac and got pretty much the same results.
     
  13. Significant1 macrumors 6502

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    Dec 20, 2014
    #13
    Chances are, that the windows software utilizes Intel's built in hardware Quick Sync encoder and the Mac version does not.
     
  14. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Handbrake for OS X and Handbrake for Windows is not the same thing.
    Either boot to windows with Macbook or try entirely different software.

    My guess is that due to different menus etc you got confused and your encoder settings are different.

    If I came to Nissan GTR forums and told them that let's say my stock Camry drives faster than my GTR, this would look exactly the same like this thread.

    Again, either your Air is faulty (unlikely) or your settings are wrong or that particular version of software is buggy. There is simply no other way, period.
     
  15. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #15
    will boot into Windows on the MBA tonight and give it another try...

    I just remembered that I put a 8gb RAM in the Lenovo when I received it... will put the original 4gb RAM back in so the test will be based on original hardware(or does the amount of RAM make any difference in video encoding at all?)
     
  16. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #16
    with MBA booted into windows and using Handbrake... did two different Blu-ray to 720p MKV conversions last night.

    the MBA was still a lot slower than the Lenovo. All settings were set to the same bitrate for video and audio.
     
  17. SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    You need to make sure ALL the settings are the same. Including advanced program options. Not just the bitrate.

    Have you actually booted using bootcamp or is it just a virtual machine (parallels, virtualbox...) ?
     
  18. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #18
    This is almost certainly the answer. Intel's QuickSync makes transcoding run *MUCH* faster - and sadly, OS X doesn't support it. If you were to install Windows on your MacBook Air, it would be able to transcode much faster than the Lenovo.

    As an example, I have an 8-core dual-Xeon workstation (dual 3.2 GHz W5580 "Nehalem" CPUs - pre-QuickSync, but very fast) that I was using for ripping and transcoding my Blu-ray discs. I could transcode them at about 30 frames per second on average, so ripping and transcoding a disc would take about as long as the movie was. I later upgraded my home theater PC to a Core i3 4330T system - two TOTAL cores, 3.0 GHz, but with QuickSync. That system could transcode Blu-ray movies at over 100 frames per second. All while drawing less power under "load" than my workstation drew at idle. The speed difference was so large that the time to actually rip the disc to the hard drive became a significant portion of the total time. My HTPC had an ancient Blu-ray burner that could only read at 2x - it didn't matter when my main purpose was just playing Blu-ray discs, which only needed 1x; my workstation had a newer Blu-ray reader (no writing) but at 6x. I decided to swap them, because the time to rip had become longer than the time to transcode!
     
  19. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #19
    I received the Mad Max Blu-ray that I received from Amazon this morning. The Blu-ray is listed as 120 minutes. The Lenovo just finished converting in 3 hours 27 minutes.(Handbrake setting at Constant Quality 20 RF, 720p, all other settings at default). The Macbook(booted into Windows) has not finished. It's showing 58 more minutes.

    One thing that I did notice is that the Lenovo's 128SSD is MUCH faster than the 256GB SSD on my MBA. (as measured by CrystalDiskMark) Got curious, so I opened it up and it was a Samsung 128GB SSD. Not sure if that makes any difference.
     
  20. SmOgER, Mar 7, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016

    SmOgER macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Can you try the portable version and run the same exact executable on both machines with MBA running windows in bootcamp dual-boot mode (NOT virtual machine)?
     
  21. SarahKirschbaum thread starter macrumors regular

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    Mar 5, 2016
    #21
    I've never used virtual machine.... don't even know how that works. I've always just booted my MBA directly into Windows.

    Where's the portable version of Handbrake?(Win and Mac)
     
  22. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #22
    Why do you assume price to matter in the comparison? Price does not tell you the specs. Never rely solely on price for any topic to tell you anything other than what you're going to pay.

    No -- don't rely on oversimplified assumptions like "more $ better", "more cores better", etc. "Better" is a vague concept and really depends on the details no matter what the topic. More cores can help if you're doing processing where more cores would be of benefit. For video encoding more cores can help. For other uses (like, say, email for example) you may not see much, if any difference.
     
  23. AFEPPL macrumors 68030

    AFEPPL

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    #23
    Why worry about it? if it works quicker on the Lenovo - simply use that for rip'n
     
  24. Gav2k macrumors G3

    Gav2k

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    #24
    Exactly this. It's the quick sync hardware in the cpu being leveraged by the Windows software where as on OS X we do not have this luxury at the moment.
     
  25. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

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    Virginia
    #25
    This is non-sense. 2x 1.3 Ghz is NOT better than 4x 1.83GHz for a CPU bound task like video conversion. Yes, Hyper-threading allows each core to run two threads, but it is not the same as adding physical cores. For this particular use, the Celeron is a faster processor. Well, really it is always a faster processor, but there aren't really that many use cases that are dependent on raw CPU speed - Video conversion is. Most of the time, your CPU is sitting around waiting for you to finish reading a sentence or to type the next character of a word. When you do Video Conversion, the CPU is running full out until it finishes. 1.83 is faster than 1.3.
     

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