HEDT Benchmarks: Encoding Tests

With the rise of streaming, vlogs, and video content as a whole, encoding and transcoding tests are becoming ever more important. Not only are more home users and gamers needing to convert video files into something more manageable, for streaming or archival purposes, but the servers that manage the output also manage around data and log files with compression and decompression. Our encoding tasks are focused around these important scenarios, with input from the community for the best implementation of real-world testing.

Handbrake 1.1.0: Streaming and Archival Video Transcoding

A popular open source tool, Handbrake is the anything-to-anything video conversion software that a number of people use as a reference point. The danger is always on version numbers and optimization, for example the latest versions of the software can take advantage of AVX-512 and OpenCL to accelerate certain types of transcoding and algorithms. The version we use here is a pure CPU play, with common transcoding variations.

We have split Handbrake up into several tests, using a Logitech C920 1080p60 native webcam recording (essentially a streamer recording), and convert them into two types of streaming formats and one for archival. The output settings used are:

  1. 720p60 at 6000 kbps constant bit rate, fast setting, high profile
  2. 1080p60 at 3500 kbps constant bit rate, faster setting, main profile
  3. 1080p60 HEVC at 3500 kbps variable bit rate, fast setting, main profile

Handbrake 1.1.0 - 720p60 x264 6000 kbps Fast
Handbrake 1.1.0 - 1080p60 x264 3500 kbps Faster
Handbrake 1.1.0 - 1080p60 HEVC 3500 kbps Fast

Video encoding is always an interesting mix of multi-threading, memory latency, and compute. The Core i9, with AVX2 instructions, sets a commanding lead in all three tests. The AMD processors seem to fluctuate a bit, with the 1950X and 2700X being the best of the bunch. Unfortunately we didn’t get 2950X results in our initial runs, but I would expect it to be competitive with the Core i9 for sure, given where the 1950X is. However the 2990WX does fall behind a bit.

7-zip v1805: Popular Open-Source Encoding Engine

Out of our compression/decompression tool tests, 7-zip is the most requested and comes with a built-in benchmark. For our test suite, we’ve pulled the latest version of the software and we run the benchmark from the command line, reporting the compression, decompression, and a combined score.

It is noted in this benchmark that the latest multi-die processors have very bi-modal performance between compression and decompression, performing well in one and badly in the other. There are also discussions around how the Windows Scheduler is implementing every thread. As we get more results, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

7-Zip 1805 Compression

7-Zip 1805 Decompression

7-Zip 1805 Combined

Oh boy, this was an interesting set of tests. When we initially published this review, without commentary, the compression graph with the 2990WX at the bottom was shared around social media like crazy, trying to paint a picture of why AMD performance isn’t great. It was also used in conjuction with Phoronix’s tests, that showed a much better picture on Linux.

But what confuses me is that almost no-one also posted the decompression graph. Here AMD’s 32-core processors take a commanding lead, with the 16/18-core parts being the best of the rest.

If you plan to share out the Compression graph, please include the Decompression one. Otherwise you’re only presenting half a picture.

WinRAR 5.60b3: Archiving Tool

My compression tool of choice is often WinRAR, having been one of the first tools a number of my generation used over two decades ago. The interface has not changed much, although the integration with Windows right click commands is always a plus. It has no in-built test, so we run a compression over a set directory containing over thirty 60-second video files and 2000 small web-based files at a normal compression rate.

WinRAR is variable threaded but also susceptible to caching, so in our test we run it 10 times and take the average of the last five, leaving the test purely for raw CPU compute performance.

WinRAR 5.60b3

A set of high frequency cores and good memory is usually beneficial, but sometimes some more memory bandwidth and lower latency helps. At the top is AMD’s R7 2700X, with the Intel 10-core just behind. I’m surprised not to see the 8700K in there, perhaps its six cores is not enough. But the higher core count AMD parts struggle to gain traction here, with the 32-core parts taking some sweet time to finish this test.

AES Encryption: File Security

A number of platforms, particularly mobile devices, are now offering encryption by default with file systems in order to protect the contents. Windows based devices have these options as well, often applied by BitLocker or third-party software. In our AES encryption test, we used the discontinued TrueCrypt for its built-in benchmark, which tests several encryption algorithms directly in memory.

The data we take for this test is the combined AES encrypt/decrypt performance, measured in gigabytes per second. The software does use AES commands for processors that offer hardware selection, however not AVX-512.

AES Encoding

Normally we see this test go very well when there are plenty of cores, but it would seem that the bi-modal nature of the cores and memory controllers in the 2990WX gives a poor result. The EPYC 7601, with eight memory controllers, does a better job, however the 1950X wins here. The 2950X, where all cores have a similar access profile, scores top here, well above Intel’s 18-core Core i9.

HEDT Benchmarks: Office Tests HEDT Benchmarks: Web and Legacy Tests
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  • ibnmadhi - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    It's over, Intel is finished. Reply
  • milkod2001 - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    Unfortunately not even close. Intel was dominating for last decade or so. Now when AMD is back in game, many will consider AMD but most will still get Intel instead. Damage was done.It took forever to AMD to recover from being useless and will take at least 5 years till it will get some serious market share. Better late than never though... Reply
  • tipoo - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    It's not imminent, but Intel sure seems set for a gradual decline. It's hard to eke out IPC wins these days so it'll be hard to shake AMD off per-core, they no longer have a massive process lead to lead on core count with their margins either, and ARM is also chipping away at the bottom.

    Intel will probably be a vampire that lives another hundred years, but it'll go from the 900lb gorilla to one on a decent diet.
    Reply
  • ACE76 - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    AMD retail sales are equal to Intel now...and they are starting to make a noticeable dent in the server market as well...it won't take 5 years for them to be on top...if Ryzen 2 delivers a 25% increase in performance, they will topple Intel in 2019/2020 Reply
  • HStewart - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    "AMD retail sales are equal to Intel now"

    Desktop maybe - but that is minimal market.
    Reply
  • monglerbongler - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    Pretty much this.

    No one really cares about workstation/prosumer/gaming PC market. Its almost certainly the smallest measurable segment of the industry.

    As far as these companies' business models are concerned:

    Data center/server/cluster > OEM consumer (dell, hp, microsoft, apple, asus, toshiba, etc.) > random categories like industrial or compact PCs used in hospitals and places like that > Workstation/prosumer/gaming

    AMD's entire strategy is to desperately push as hard as they can into the bulwark of Intel's cloud/server/data center dominance.

    Though, to be completely honest, for that segment they really only offer pure core count and PCIe as benefits. Sure they have lots of memory channels, but server/data center and cluster are already moving toward the future of storage/memory fusion (eg Optane), so that entire traditional design may start to change radically soon.

    All important: Performance per unit of area inside of a box, and performance per watt? Not the greatest.

    That is exceptionally important for small companies that buy cooling from the power grid (air conditioning). If you are a big company in Washington and buy your cooling via river water, you might have to invest in upgrades to your cooling system.

    Beyond all that the Epyc chips are so freaking massive that they can literally restrict the ability to design 2 slot server configuration motherboards that also have to house additional compute hardware (eg GPGPU or FPGA boards). I laugh at the prospect of a 4 slot epyc motherboard. The thing will be the size of a goddamn desk. Literally a "desktop" sized motherboard.

    If you cant figure it out, its obvious:

    Everything except for the last category involves massive years-spanning contracts for massive orders of hundreds of thousands or millions of individual components.

    You can't bet hundreds of millions or billions in R&D, plus the years-spanning billion dollar contracts with Global Foundries (AMD) or the tooling required to upgrade and maintain equipment (Intel) on the vagaries of consumers, small businesses that make workstations to order, that small fraction of people who buy workstations from OEMs, etc.

    Even if you go to a place like Pixar studios or a game developer, most of the actual physical computers inside are regular, bone standard, consumer-level hardware PCs, not workstation level equipment. There certainly ARE workstations, but they are a minority of the capital equipment inside such places.

    Ultimately that is why, despite all the press, despite sending out expensive test samples to Anandtech, despite flashy powerpoint presentations given by arbitrary VPs of engineering or CEOs, all of the workstation/Prosumer/gaming stuff is just low-binned server equipment.

    because those are really the only 2 categories of products they make;

    pure consumer, pure workstation. Everything else is just partially enabled/disabled variations on those 2 flavors.
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Monday, August 13, 2018 - link

    I was looking at some new boxes for work and our main vendors offer little if anything AMD either for server roles or desktop. Even if they did it's an uphill battle to push a "2nd tier" vendor (AMD is not but are perceived that way by some) to management. Reply
  • PixyMisa - Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - link

    There aren't any 4-socket EPYC servers because the interconnect only allows for two sockets. The fact that it might be difficult to build such servers is irrelevant because it's impossible. Reply
  • leexgx - Thursday, August 16, 2018 - link

    is more then 2 sockets needed when you have so many cores to play with Reply
  • Relic74 - Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - link

    Actually there are, kind of, supermicro for example has created a 4 node server for the Epyc. Basically it's 4 computers in one server case but the performance is equal to that if not better than that of a hardware 4 socket server. Cool stuff, you should check it out. In fact, I think this is the way of the future and multi socket systems are on their way out as this solution provides more control over what CPU. As well as what the individual cores are doing and provides better power management as you can shut down individual nodes or put them in stand by where as server with 4 sockets/CPU's is basically always on.

    There is a really great white paper on the subject that came out of AMD, where the stated that they looked into creating a 4 socket CPU and motherboard capable of handling all of the PCI lanes needed, however it didn't make any sense for them to do so as there weren't any performance gains over the node solution.

    In fact I believe we will see a resurrection of blade systems using AMD CPU's, especially now with all of the improvements that have been made with multi node cluster computing over the last few years.
    Reply

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