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


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  • mode_13h - Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - link

    > that hot, expensive Gen 4 M.2 NVMe SSD you want to use on your new
    > motherboard will not achieve the speed you paid dearly for.

    None of the 1st gen PCIe 4.0 M.2 NVMe SSDs did, in fact. A lot of them still don't. And if you're not running it at PCIe 4.0, then it's probably also running a bit cooler.
  • alfatekpt - Monday, August 9, 2021 - link

    Currently 5600G and 5600X are at the same price in my country. Should I get the 5600G? I already have a GPU so having an integrated one is only useful in case the GPU breaks or needs to go under warranty and I still can use the PC... Reply
  • mode_13h - Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - link

    I wouldn't get the G. The X is faster in every single benchmark, and sometimes substantially! Plus, you get PCIe 4.0, in case that's ever of interest.

    If you just want a backup GPU, so you're not completely dead in the water, then maybe pick up a used low-end model (especially when GPU prices cool off, a bit). I'm seeing used RX 550's for < $100, which is roughly performance-equivalent.

    If you don't care about performance, then you can go even older. I have a HD 5450 as a sort of last-resort fallback, and those are CHEAP! That's pre-GCN, but I know it still works on Linux. I think it shouldn't be too hard to find something a bit newer that's also cheap, though. Or, if you have some friends who would loan you an obsolete GPU in a pinch, that's also an option worth considering.
  • phoenix_rizzen - Monday, August 9, 2021 - link

    The "Ryzen 5 APUs (65W)" table on page 1 lists the Ryzen 5 CPUs with 8 cores / 16 threads. Should be 6/12 instead. Reply
  • plonk420 - Tuesday, August 10, 2021 - link

    thanks for the core to core latency tests! looks like RPCS3 will definitely benefit from it \o/ Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - link

    ‘In our largest sub-test, the Intel processors crack on ahead,’

    Did I miss the stuff about performance-per-watt?

    If an Intel chip needs a boatload more power to do the barely faster work, how is that a victory for Intel’s chip?

    Performance-per-watt is important when we’re dealing with today’s 14nm vs. ‘7nm’ situation.

    There should be an entire page devoted to performance-per-watt.
  • mode_13h - Thursday, August 12, 2021 - link

    There is indeed a page on power consumption, but the most revealing charts only compared the three AMD 5000G-series processors to each other. That was a painful omission.

    Intel got included in the peak power chart, but we all know that peak power is hardly the whole story.
  • Oxford Guy - Thursday, August 12, 2021 - link

    ‘There is indeed a page on power consumption’

    Indeed, there is no page on performance-per-watt — and the article continues this site’s erroneous tradition of claiming that getting a slightly higher score in a benchmark whilst using a ton more power constitutes a victory.

    Context is key. These articles should pay more mind to practical context, rather than things like pumping 1.45 volts into Rocket Lake and ignoring power consumption failure (vis-a-vis the competition) when examining a benchmark.
  • mode_13h - Friday, August 13, 2021 - link

    FWIW, I was trying to agree with you. Their "Power Consumption" page had several key omissions. Reply
  • Oxford Guy - Sunday, August 15, 2021 - link

    Regardless... peak power isn’t enough to constitute a page on performance per watt. Reply

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