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Old May 11th, 2011, 02:41 PM   #1
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Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

So I've seen some demos on the Matrox Max compressions through Compressor & been impressed. I've done a couple demos & results have been good & quick.

I've been using Squeeze (which doesn't play with Squeeze), and already have a bunch of pre-sets in there. Looking to upgrade to the newest Squeeze & heard something about using Nvidia CUDA to speed up compression.

Does the Squeeze CUDA combo work at all similar to Matrox Max?
Could I see less than real time h264 exports with the Nvidia & Squeeze?
Is this comparing Apples to Oranges?
Any guidance?

Thanks!
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Old May 11th, 2011, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

You're confusing technologies and purposes.

Matrox Max is an encoding accelerator specifically for H.264 encodes, nothing else. Nvidia CUDA technology is for visual rendering in a sequence or the rendering that occurs in games (think frame-rate playback).

CUDA has no effect whatsoever on file-encoding, only real-time scaling and display rendering - it's a visual accelerator, not an encoding accelerator.

The only thing outside of a hardware accelerator like the Max (of which there are precious few for the Mac) that will speed up encoding - especially for other codecs outside H.264 - is more cores, RAM and of course using ultra-fast SSD drives.

The new version of FCP is supposed to be native 64-bit along with the updated Grand Central Dispatch coming in Lion means that every encoding job will be accelerated, not just H.264, because FCP/Compressor will finally be able to take all CPU cores to the max. However the trade-off will most likely be that the machine will get quite hot due to all cores being pushed hard and the fans will spin up like a jet engine. We'll have to see what happens when it's all available and tested.
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Old May 12th, 2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Thanks for the reply Robert.

After seeing a demo for the Matrox Max I was wondering if there was anything else out there. When I searched in the past couldn't find anything.

From this page: Total Video Encoding Solution | Sorenson Squeeze 7 it does look like there is hardware acceleration. GPU Acceleration: "Encode H.264 video up to 3x faster using NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. Enjoy accelerated parallel processing too."

Is it possible they've found a way to take a "visual accelerator" and turn it into an "encoding accelerator"?

Any more insight is very welcome.



...

Definitely looking forward to FCP X, and definitely wouldn't mind when we leave long sequences to compress overnight if the office starts to sound like an air field if it means that everything is done when we show up again the next day.
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Old May 13th, 2011, 05:01 PM   #4
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

I have no hard data on the Squeeze claims however postings on Nvidia-specific forums indicate zero acceleration on a Mac CUDA Quadro card.

The Mac does not have large-scale or wide-capability file encoders like PC's do. Even the uber-perfect MPEG-2 encoder from Cinemacraft is software-only for the Mac, while the PC version has an outboard hardware accelerator option.

What many high-end post houses that are primarily Mac-based have done is setup a hardware-accelerated PC specifically (and only) for encoding jobs not only to get the maximum time and quality back, but also to free up the main edit system from those tasks.

So if you're looking for maximum efficiency and quality I'd suggest going that route. Even a cheap-o WinTel box running XP-Pro would be well suited to the task since all the heavy lifting (and cost) would be in the hardware accelerator anyway.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 02:23 AM   #5
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Lane View Post
The only thing outside of a hardware accelerator like the Max (of which there are precious few for the Mac) that will speed up encoding - especially for other codecs outside H.264 - is more cores, RAM and of course using ultra-fast SSD drives.
The only other hardware accelerator for H.264 encoding on the Mac that I know of is the Elgato Turbo.264 HD USB dongle which for producing video for the web works extremely well & is a real bargain at $90. It's not the tool to use if you are producing BluRay masters but for lower end work is a great time saver producing 1080p 10Mbps encodes in near real time.
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Old May 14th, 2011, 04:47 AM   #6
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Hi Zach

Yes, you're correct about the Squeeze support for CUDA accelerated encoding of H264 clips.

-snip-

How much faster is this CUDA accelerated encoding?
I took a 4:36 music video and these were the encode times using a default iPhone preset:

GPU accelerated codec - 6:14
No CUDA GPU acceleration - 17:16

-snip-

So certainly a big benefit but perhaps not quite so generous a speedup as you'd get with the Matrox MAX / CompressHD offering.

Hope it helps
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Old May 14th, 2011, 05:11 PM   #7
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
The only other hardware accelerator for H.264 encoding on the Mac that I know of is the Elgato Turbo.264 HD USB dongle which for producing video for the web works extremely well & is a real bargain at $90. It's not the tool to use if you are producing BluRay masters but for lower end work is a great time saver producing 1080p 10Mbps encodes in near real time.
I will second what Nigel says. I love these Elgato turbos. I just upgraded from the original to the HD version. They're fast & the quality is very good and they're pretty cheap to boot!
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Old May 15th, 2011, 05:11 PM   #8
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Matrox MAX is an excellent hardware H.264 accelerator for Mac. It has very deep codec controls as well and that's critical for getting the best possible encodes for those who understand the depth of control. MAX is a "high end" encoder whereas I don't think the Elgato Turbo. Sorenson can use the GPU to accelerate encoding but the reports I've read from Jan Ozer is that the quality is poor compared to GPU disabled.

If you need high quality H.264 deliverables including H.264 for Blu-ray I'd say nothing beats MAX for both speed and quality short of setting up a Telestream Episode Engine Cluster.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:38 PM   #9
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Wow, thanks for the replies.


Craig, you said: "Sorenson can use the GPU to accelerate encoding but the reports I've read from Jan Ozer is that the quality is poor compared to GPU disabled."

Are you saying that the GPU is worse than the software alone? Kinda defeats the purpose if the hardware eats away at quality.

Is this what you were talking about RE: Jan Ozer?
http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articl...ely-73402.aspx

That image of CPU vs GPU is horrible. Gasp!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 05:54 PM   #10
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Re: Matrox Max vs Sorenson Squeeze + CUDA

Yes, Jan's finding in the article are also in the book. While GPU speeds the encode the quality is notably worse in Squeeze.
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