CPU Tests: Encoding

One of the interesting elements on modern processors is encoding performance. This covers two main areas: encryption/decryption for secure data transfer, and video transcoding from one video format to another.

In the encrypt/decrypt scenario, how data is transferred and by what mechanism is pertinent to on-the-fly encryption of sensitive data - a process by which more modern devices are leaning to for software security.

Video transcoding as a tool to adjust the quality, file size and resolution of a video file has boomed in recent years, such as providing the optimum video for devices before consumption, or for game streamers who are wanting to upload the output from their video camera in real-time. As we move into live 3D video, this task will only get more strenuous, and it turns out that the performance of certain algorithms is a function of the input/output of the content.

HandBrake 1.32: Link

Video transcoding (both encode and decode) is a hot topic in performance metrics as more and more content is being created. First consideration is the standard in which the video is encoded, which can be lossless or lossy, trade performance for file-size, trade quality for file-size, or all of the above can increase encoding rates to help accelerate decoding rates. Alongside Google's favorite codecs, VP9 and AV1, there are others that are prominent: H264, the older codec, is practically everywhere and is designed to be optimized for 1080p video, and HEVC (or H.265) that is aimed to provide the same quality as H264 but at a lower file-size (or better quality for the same size). HEVC is important as 4K is streamed over the air, meaning less bits need to be transferred for the same quality content. There are other codecs coming to market designed for specific use cases all the time.

Handbrake is a favored tool for transcoding, with the later versions using copious amounts of newer APIs to take advantage of co-processors, like GPUs. It is available on Windows via an interface or can be accessed through the command-line, with the latter making our testing easier, with a redirection operator for the console output.

We take the compiled version of this 16-minute YouTube video about Russian CPUs at 1080p30 h264 and convert into three different files: (1) 480p30 ‘Discord’, (2) 720p30 ‘YouTube’, and (3) 4K60 HEVC.

(5-1a) Handbrake 1.3.2, 1080p30 H264 to 480p Discord(5-1b) Handbrake 1.3.2, 1080p30 H264 to 720p YouTube(5-1c) Handbrake 1.3.2, 1080p30 H264 to 4K60 HEVC

7-Zip 1900: Link

The first compression benchmark tool we use is the open-source 7-zip, which typically offers good scaling across multiple cores. 7-zip is the compression tool most cited by readers as one they would rather see benchmarks on, and the program includes a built-in benchmark tool for both compression and decompression.

The tool can either be run from inside the software or through the command line. We take the latter route as it is easier to automate, obtain results, and put through our process. The command line flags available offer an option for repeated runs, and the output provides the average automatically through the console. We direct this output into a text file and regex the required values for compression, decompression, and a combined score.

(5-2c) 7-Zip 1900 Combined Score

AES Encoding

Algorithms using AES coding have spread far and wide as a ubiquitous tool for encryption. Again, this is another CPU limited test, and modern CPUs have special AES pathways to accelerate their performance. We often see scaling in both frequency and cores with this benchmark. We use the latest version of TrueCrypt and run its benchmark mode over 1GB of in-DRAM data. Results shown are the GB/s average of encryption and decryption.

(5-3) AES Encoding

WinRAR 5.90: Link

For the 2020 test suite, we move to the latest version of WinRAR in our compression test. WinRAR in some quarters is more user friendly that 7-Zip, hence its inclusion. Rather than use a benchmark mode as we did with 7-Zip, here we take a set of files representative of a generic stack

  • 33 video files , each 30 seconds, in 1.37 GB,
  • 2834 smaller website files in 370 folders in 150 MB,
  • 100 Beat Saber music tracks and input files, for 451 MB

This is a mixture of compressible and incompressible formats. The results shown are the time taken to encode the file. Due to DRAM caching, we run the test for 20 minutes times and take the average of the last five runs when the benchmark is in a steady state.

For automation, we use AHK’s internal timing tools from initiating the workload until the window closes signifying the end. This means the results are contained within AHK, with an average of the last 5 results being easy enough to calculate.

(5-4) WinRAR 5.90 Test, 3477 files, 1.96 GB

CPU Tests: Simulation and Rendering CPU Tests: Legacy and Web


View All Comments

  • Dribble - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Might be because it isn't as power limited and hence won't throttle in the same way the AMD chip. Reply
  • Danvelopment - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Is the 5600G 6 core or 8 core? The first page of the article says it's both on the two tables. Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Now, imagine if those 5700 APUs would have kept the core numbers of the 3400, but clocked at current speeds. I hope that Intel will bring its 10 nm Desktop CPUs with the full Xe compliment of mobile Tiger Lake, as that might force AMD to up its game; well, the next APU generation will be RDNA2, so as long as AMD doesn't gimp it by keeping the GPU tiny, it should have significant uplift over Cézanne Reply
  • Cooe - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Far Cry 5 running at ≈25fps on average at "1080p Ultra" is actually CRAZY freaking impressive. Why? Because that means it should hit a solid >=30fps running at "1080p High", which basically means that this single chip APU solution is outperforming BOTH of the last generation console base models (aka PS4 & Xbox One/S) in this title!!! That's freaking NUTS!!! Reply
  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - link

    I wouldn't be surprised to see 1080p60 in the same scenarios with Rembrandt next year. But DDR5 will be expensive. Reply
  • nanonan - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Every other source I've read states the pcie configuration as 24 lanes divided into 16, 4 and 4 just like the 4000G series. Do you have a source for this 8+4+8 configuration? Reply
  • linuxgeex - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    Anand wasn't perfect with proofing either but he was thorough on deep dives, exposing bottlenecks and explaining how and why it was relevant. These days Ian and co assume that if we're Anandtech readers we just trust their methodology and do some lip service by adding cut&paste boilerplate around specs and throw in an image sometimes from a past review, sometimes not directly relevant, and I get that they only have so much time to invest. It bores me, and it doesn't give the new people the same level of engagement that will built their future audience. Oh welles. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    I blacked out after getting to the part where an entry-level AMD APU starts at $259.

    While I get yes there are the Athlon's, they are mostly outclassed by a 9th gen $90 Intel Core i3 so it isn't even worth consideration.
  • GeoffreyA - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link

    Yes, pricing is disappointing. Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, August 8, 2021 - link

    They're starting strong, because it's a lot easier to lower prices than raise them, and that pricing reflects the supply/demand situation, especially when the 3000-gen are still widely available.

    Over time, I'm sure you can expect to see the gap close, particularly since the process node is the same and die sizes are similar.

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