Badaboom 1.1.1 ReviewZertz - April 7, 2009
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Without a doubt, many graphic cards are much better at handling tasks that scale well with additional cores like transcoding. With the power of nVidia's CUDA language, the Badaboom team was able to come up with an impressively fast tool to complete this otherwise extremely lengthy process. The vast array of input file types should please most people, although it cannot handle protected content so you will have to rely on third party tools to decrypt those DVDs. However, the same thing does not apply to output files. Saying the choice is limited wouldn't be quite exact since there is no choice at all. I can deal with being restricted to an H.264 video output, but having the audio locked to 2 channel AAC isn't too satisfying, especially when the input had much better sound quality. Apparently, multi-channel audio is on their to-do list, but no deadline has been given, which is a major downside for a lot of people.
Aside from the fact that there are only two audio channels, sound quality was good and just what you'd expect from such an output. On the video side, there was no discernible difference between the original input and output produced by either Badaboom or Handbrake. Both also worked well for upscaling a 480p DVD to 720p and had no problems downscaling for smaller devices like the iPhone.
Obviously, the major advantage to Badaboom is speed. There simply is no processor that can come close to the performance shown off by the GTX260's 216 cores. nVidia's card was well over twice as fast as Intel's i7 in this particular task. Another related advantage is that while a processor-dependent transcoding tool like Handbrake gets the job done, it also pretty much locks you out of your computer since it requires all of the eight threads' attention. Badaboom only uses the graphic card so you're free to continue whatever you were up to, as long as it is not 3D related of course.
Considering time is a valuable resource, Badaboom, available for $30, is a worthwhile investment for anyone that has a lot of video content to transcode. However, if multi-channel audio is a must, you will want to be patient and stick to a more conventional tool that can handle more than two channels. Patience is the keyword here. My home theater, if I can call it that, was more than happy with the output produced by Badaboom and my schedule was even happier.
- Good video quality
- 2 channel audio
- Cannot decrypt