Benchmarking Performance: CPU Encoding Tests

One of the interesting elements on modern processors is encoding performance. This includes encryption/decryption, as well as video transcoding from one video format to another. In the encrypt/decrypt scenario, this remains 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.

All of our benchmark results can also be found in our benchmark engine, Bench.

7-Zip 9.2: link

One of the freeware compression tools that offers good scaling performance between processors is 7-Zip. It runs under an open-source licence, is fast, and easy to use tool for power users. We run the benchmark mode via the command line for four loops and take the output score.

Encoding: 7-Zip

7z loves threads. 7z loves it.

WinRAR 5.40: link

For the 2017 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 in 1.37 GB, 2834 smaller website files in 370 folders in 150 MB) of compressible and incompressible formats. The results shown are the time taken to encode the file. Due to DRAM caching, we run the test 10 times and take the average of the last five runs when the benchmark is in a steady state.

Encoding: WinRAR 5.40

WinRAR is another benchmark like Agisoft, with some parts being serial and others multithreaded. When we compare the Core i7 to the Ryzen 7, the high ST performance helps push the Core i7 to the top despite the 2:1 thread deficit. On the other hand, the Core i5 has a 3:1 thread defecit to the Ryzen 5, and falls beneath it in the results.

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.

Encoding: AES

AES is an optimized problem for modern processors, so add frequency and cores to get a proportionally better result. Again, the Core i7-2600K and the Core i5-7640X are almost neck-and-neck.

HandBrake v1.0.2 H264 and HEVC: link

As mentioned above, 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 codec, VP9, there are two others that are taking hold: H264, the older codec, is practically everywhere and is designed to be optimized for 1080p video, and HEVC (or H265) 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.

Handbrake is a favored tool for transcoding, and so our test regime takes care of three areas.

Low Quality/Resolution H264: He we transcode a 640x266 H264 rip of a 2 hour film, and change the encoding from Main profile to High profile, using the very-fast preset.

Encoding: Handbrake H264 (LQ)

High Quality/Resolution H264: A similar test, but this time we take a ten-minute double 4K (3840x4320) file running at 60 Hz and transcode from Main to High, using the very-fast preset.

Encoding: Handbrake H264 (HQ)

HEVC Test: Using the same video in HQ, we change the resolution and codec of the original video from 4K60 in H264 into 4K60 HEVC.

Encoding: Handbrake HEVC (4K)

Benchmarking Performance: CPU Web Tests Benchmarking Performance: CPU Office Tests
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  • YukaKun - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Hat off to you, Mr Ian. A lot of good and interesting information there.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Thanks :) This will hopefully become the new CPU testing standard for us. It's all scripted, making benchmarking relatively easy. Sourcing and writing are now the mentally consuming parts. Reply
  • YukaKun - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    That is nice to know. Will you write an article about the testing itself? Like detailing the process or something along those lines? It would be interesting to know about those little details, for sure!

    I'm sure you can glue together an article in no time! *wink wink*
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    I've had one half-written about the new 2017 suite and an upcoming project for a couple of weeks. Need to get on it! Coffee time... Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Let's hope you won't be Lake to the party... Reply
  • Cellar Door - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    What is lake to the party is Intel - it is just so firetrucking sad how they refuse to give customers more for their money. HT should be enabled on all their chips, it is there on the physical chip.

    I will never buy another Intel cpu - what! You got a problem with that Intel?
    Reply
  • leexgx - Monday, July 24, 2017 - link

    Ryzen on some r3 cpus don't have SMT Reply
  • Lolimaster - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    With the corresponding price, Ryzen 1500X 4c/8t is 90% of the i7 7700 for half the price. Reply
  • Dr. Swag - Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - link

    "With the corresponding price, Ryzen 1500X 4c/8t is 90% of the i7 7700 for half the price."

    This is just incorrect. Ryzen ipc is around 90% of kaby/skylake, but the 7700k oces around 25% higher and also has around a 20% higher out of the box frequency.
    Reply
  • Diji1 - Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - link

    Uh oh, now they have to swear to never buy an AMD chip ever ever! Reply

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