Badaboom 1.1.1 ReviewZertz - April 7, 2009
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Badaboom is all about digital video content so I chose a 1080p movie, The Lord of the Rings, and, since full HD content isn't quite mainstream yet, I also took Iron Man in 720p and Bourne Ultimatum in standard DVD format. Finally, this latest version of Badaboom can also handle video files produced by FRAPS, so I recorded 30 seconds of gameplay from Call of Duty: World at War. I will transcode the videos using Badaboom and also use Handbrake, a free, open source and multithreaded transcoder for processors. SlySoft's AnyDVD was also used to decrypt and rip movies, so all the transcoding was done directly on the hard drive to eliminate bottlenecks caused by the optical drive. All three movies will be transcoded to H.264 in a mp4 container at their native resolution, as well as a suitable format for the iPhone. Badaboom can only output AAC audio so there's no choice to make here. I cut a ten minute sample out of every movie using mkvmerge, another free and open source application. I used the application's built in timers to measure the time it took to complete the operation and also the number of frames per second processed.
- Processor: Intel i7 920
- Motherboard: MSI X58 Platinum
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 9-9-9-24
- Video Card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 260
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800W Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Samsung DVD-RW
- Case: Cooler Master ATCS 840
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit
- Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (10:01) 1080p Xvid
- Iron Man (10:03) 720p
- The Bourne Ultimatum (10:44) 480p DVD
- Maintain aspect ratio
- iPhone: 480x320, 1500 Kb/s Video, 128 Kb/s AAC Audio
- Xbox 360: 1280x720/1920x1080, 5000 Kb/s Video, 160 Kb/s AAC Audio
- YouTube: 640x360, 2400 Kb/s Video, 128 Kb/s AAC Audio
- Codec: H.264
- Container: mp4
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Badaboom and the GTX260 are only 18% faster than i7's eight threads combined with Handbrake when transcoding to a small resolution, but things quickly change when the resolution ramps up. Simply transcoding to the same 1080p resolution took the processor nearly three times longer than the video card's 216 smaller cores. This means the processor took over 18 minutes to transcode a 10 minute movie, while the GTX260 took less than 7 minutes.
Moving to a mere 720p resolution, Intel's i7 takes 39% longer to complete the transcode to an iPhone friendly format. For some reason, it both took them less time to complete the task at 1080p. However, transcoding to 720p is a whole lot faster and, once again, the GTX260 completes the job more than twice as fast.
The Bourne Ultimatum
Once again, Badaboom brings a notable improvement; 44% in this case. DVD content, at 480p, is pretty low resolution compared to today's standard so I actually upscaled this one to 720p. Ironically enough, the i7 took 920 seconds to complete the task, well over twice as much as the GTX260. As you can see, upscaling is quite demanding since times are comparable to transcoding 1080p content.
Overall, there are clear gains to be had from transcoding movies on the graphics card instead of the processor. It was, on average, 34% faster to complete the task using Badaboom instead of Handbrake, which is able to fully utilize all eight of i7's threads. The difference was even more impressive when transcoding to same, or higher, resolution, where the GTX260 was, on average, two and a half times faster across the three movie samples. Let's see how much time you could save using your graphics card instead of the processor to transcode movies for the Xbox 360. The difference in actual time shown here may not seem huge, but don't forget these are only 10 minute samples. Multiply those results by about nine to obtain a movie's average length and the usefulness of this application suddenly becomes much greater. You will save a minimum of 50 minutes and as much as two hours, which is nothing to scoff at!
Transcoding the FRAPS clip wasn't nearly as entertaining. Badaboom downscaled the 2.4GB file to 640x360 in 47 seconds, but there's a catch. They don't actually have the code to do the job on the graphics card so the processor was handling the work. The final file weighed in at a mere 34MB and the quality was, to YouTube standards, decent. Let's wrap this up now.