CPU vs GPU Video Encoding with Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11

CPU vs GPU Video Encoding with Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11

A unbelievably long title for a rather long article, nevertheless the title is justified and you shouldn’t be concerned about it. 😛 Let’s jump to the details, shall we?

Have you seen the video in the last article? (AMD APU Media Launch) – notice how the video now has an intro and ending? 🙂 I finally took the leap and acquired a proper video editing software, and now it’ll be use for all upcoming benchmarks.

Since the software supports GPU acceleration, I thought I’d give my existing processors and GPU a spin. (AMD Athlon X3 425 and Phenom II X6 1100T will be added, some other time).

The Contenders

3 CPUs in this test, with the i5-2500K overclocked, just for lulz.

CPU Clock Cache
Intel Core i3-2100 3.1Ghz (31×100) 4MB
Intel Core i5-2500K 3.3Ghz (33×100) 4MB
Intel Core i5-2500K Overclocked 4.0Ghz (40×100) 6MB
Intel Mobile Core i7-2630QM 2.0Ghz (20×100) 6MB
AMD A8-3850 2.9Ghz (29×100) 4MB
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 3.3Ghz (33×100) 9MB

2 GPUs added to the fray.

GPU Core Mem Shader Shader Qty
Palit GTS 450 1GB GDDR3 783Mhz 700Mhz 1566Mhz 192
Leadtek GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 OC 725Mhz 900Mhz 1450Mhz 336


The test is simple – to convert this video in its original Full HD (1080p) form into 720p

Audio: 128 Kbps, 48,000 Hz, 32 Bit, Stereo, AAC
Video: 25 fps, 1280×720 Progressive, YUV, 8 Mbps

Here’s the result from the benchmark, I’ve sorted them (based on completion speed) for ease of viewing.

CPU Time Taken Cost (MYR) Value
Intel Core i5-2500K OC 258 seconds 650
Intel Core i5-2500K 294 seconds 600
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 326 seconds 710
Leadtek GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 OC 330 seconds 750
Intel Core i3-2100 454 seconds 350
AMD A8-3850 473 seconds 470
Intel Mobile Core i7-2630QM 518 seconds N/A N/A
Palit GTS 450 1GB GDDR3 618 seconds 330

Note that I’ve also added a COST and VALUE column. The numbers under the VALUE column is derived by dividing the time taken with cost. Higher the number indicates better the value for money. While speed is important, I think studying the value makes the benchmark more informative.

*Just realized the VALUE part doesn’t seem quite right. Still wondering what formula would be good.

I thought of adding the power consumption part but I don’t think it’s necessary, since the video encoding time doesn’t take all that long and the difference in your electricity bill wouldn’t be significant. Let’s back track to the discussion on value.

*The GTX 460 is a previous generation card which is practically non-existent in the market now. The closest you can get, in terms of number of CUDA cores, is the GTX 560 that retails at around RM 750. The stock speed i5’s cost is based on the non-K version.

I Don’t Have A Computer Yet

Then getting the Intel Core i3-2100 and pair it with the cheapest H61 board is the best option, low cost and pretty decent encoding speed. If you have budget to stretch then go for the Core i5-2500 (non K). You could go for the i5-2500K for overclocking but you’ll also be spending on a P67 / Z68 board that costs more, that lowers the value number (*the value figures in the table does not factor motherboard cost) plus you’ll need to muster the courage to enter the OVERCLOCKING territory (it’s not that bad, really).

I Already Have a Computer BUT……

You could ….

a) change the system (actually la, this one is no different from the above – buy a new system! You can sell off your old parts to reduce overall cost)

b) upgrade the processor – the easiest path as long as your existing motherboard supports the processor intended.

c) upgrade the graphic card – this is the path to take if upgrading the system is not an option and you’re stuck with a motherboard that doesn’t support those better processors. That said, this course of action requires you make sure your power supply is capable of handling the graphic card. Graphic cards using the nVidia GTX 560 GPU are great BUT they consume quite some power when on full load.

As you can see, either path incurs some cost. If you’re not doing video encoding that often, you could just bear with what you have. If you’re using processors like AMD Athlon X4, AMD Phenom X4, Intel Core 2 Quad, Intel Core i3 / i5 (previous generation), it’s quite likely your system’s performance is still faster than the GTS 450 in this test, and would hover around (or even beat) that of the A8 and i3.


So there ya have it, a comparison between CPU and GPU. 🙂 I look forward to add the X3 and X6 into the scores above for a more detailed comparison. It’s too bad the GTX 580 review unit has left goldfries HQ if not I would’ve included it into the comparison.

Keep in mind that the “course of action” points are just…. POINTS! You need to keep in mind the overall cost of upgrade.

For example, RM 1,000 could be spent on a new PSU and a GTX 560 – this path makes your machine a nice gaming rig too! Alternatively if you’re not into computer gaming, that RM 900 could get you an i5-2500 with H61 board and 4GB RAM.

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  1. Dear community,

    I’ve been having some off problems lately, and i want your opinions:

    Here’s my setup:

    Sony vegas pro 11 x64
    i7 2600k asus-stock-overclocked at 3.4ghz, 8core
    Windows 7 ultimate x64
    8gb ram gamers edition 1600mhz
    msi nvidia gts450 1gb ram ddr5
    normal sata-2 hard disk drives at 7200rpm, western digital

    I have shot a live band playing with my Sony HVR-HD1000E at 1080-50i
    The project is 2 hours long and has the following video fx:

    neat video for noise reduction
    sony color curves for brightness and contrast
    sont hsl correction for desaturating the colors
    sony color correction

    My problem is that when i render at MPEG2-Blu-ray 1080p it needs 25 hours to export the project!

    During render, Cpu load is average 30-40% which is nothing and ram is 8gb-ram.

    What am i doing wrong ?

    I have gpu acceleration (using the latest option in vegas pro 11 and cuda cores) enabled but even if i turn it off, it doesn’t change a thing. Nor does exporting to interlaced makes it go any faster.

    Take a look at this Vegas Pro 11 GPU acceleration http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/vegaspro/gpuacceleration

    Since my cpu and ram aren’t being stressed at all, i imagine it’s either a bad setting in the project / software or the gpu being relatively old and slow, so If i invest 660 euros to get the asus nvidia gtx680 2gb ram which is a beast, ASUS – Graphics Cards- ASUS GTX680-2GD5 http://www.asus.com/Graphics_Cards/NVIDIA_Series/GTX6802GD5/ will i see any worthy difference or will it be money thrown away? Would it be better strictly for video applications (i am not dealing with graphics or animation) to opt for quadro? ‘Cause sony shows otherwise in their gpu benchmark site which i linked above.

    Any experience with neatvideo?

    I would deeply appreciate your inputs.

    Thank you!

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