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

  • Cooe - Friday, August 6, 2021 - link

    The recent GPU driver additions were NOT for Rembrandt. My guess is that's from some as of yet unannounced custom/embedded part for a market/use case where die size is absolutely CRITICAL (the only reason to pick RDNA over RDNA 2 is raw transistor density), that we're seeing there. Rembrandt otoh has had explicitly "RDNA 2" based graphics IP literally since it very first appeared on leaked AMD roadmaps YEARS ago, and it's consistently stayed "RDNA 2" in every future appearance/leaked roadmap.

    In fact with AMD's penchant for copy-pastaing reusable IP blocks across as many different products as they can, the iGPU implementation on Rembrandt is likely to be EXTREMELY similar to what is currently seen on Van Gogh (in fact, it wouldn't surprise me at ALL if they end up just sharing the exact same 8CU RDNA 2 iGPU block wholesale).
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, August 7, 2021 - link


    "Van Gogh is said to have eight compute units (CUs) per shader array with a 1 MB L2 cache while Rembrandt will have six CUs per shader array with 2 MB L2 cache, with the added cache possibly translating into improved gaming performance. It must be noted here that we still do not know the total number of CUs on the GPU, but rumors indicate up to 12 CUs for Rembrandt."
  • AThomas - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    These APU's have my exact use case. Upgrading my HTPC which has trouble with HEVC codec (YouTube 4K) that can easily play PS2, PS1, Dreamcast, Sega 32X/CD, etc, etc. Plus Space Engineers which none of my rigs can play at the moment. All done with the iGPU at 60+FPS or better , also some Xbox titles like Forza Horizon since I don't play on buying a Xbox X.

    Second use is server. WIth a couple of VM's but mostly containers. Maybe throw a GPU in their for renting out GPU. All those threads will allow lots of functional task to be done.
  • Jorgp2 - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    AMDs APUs don't support GPU virtualization Reply
  • GreenReaper - Sunday, August 15, 2021 - link

    Not yet, no. Reply
  • boozed - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    Are you sure? Reply
  • eastcoast_pete - Thursday, August 5, 2021 - link

    Hush now! Ian was spilling Intel's newest acquisition plans.. Reply
  • ballsystemlord - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    In addition to what Dan said above your table entitled, "Ryzen 5 APUs (65W)" Is completely wrong. The 5600G is a 6 core processor and I suspect some of the other entries are incorrect also. Reply
  • Rudde - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    "The second part is a Ryzen 5 5600G, featuring six cores and sixteen threads, with a base frequency of 3.9 GHz and a turbo frequency of 4.6 GHz. "
    This sentence has suffered from some copy and pasting. 12 threads and 4.4 GHz boost.
  • nandnandnand - Wednesday, August 4, 2021 - link

    "However slow quad cores (like the 2400G still let you down."

    Missing closing parenthesis mark.

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