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XEONs or i7 for Handbrake

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I have been using Handbrake for a few months and have been very happy with the results. I recently came into a large collection of Blu-Rays that I want to RIP to my PLEX server and I really just need a better understanding of a few terms and how they apply to different hardware so I know the next step to take. I just do not want to waste a bunch of money on the wrong thing.

My current rig is a "hand-me-down" Dell R620 server w/ dual 8 core (16 cores total) E5-2690 CPUs and 32gb ram running windows 10 pro 64bit. Didn't need a server OS

I want to encode the Blu-Rays to H.265 for the smaller file sizes. I noticed that when encoding H.265, the process takes a very long time. Roughly 3-4hrs to encode a 2hr movie in H.265.

I also have a Dell Alienware r3 Laptop with an i7 6820HK 8 core CPU. When I encode the same movie on the laptop using H.265 (QSV) the process takes about 25min with no quality difference that I can tell.

Obviously the XEON rig does not have quick sync video which is what I am assuming makes the process much faster.

My question is, can I add a video card (GPU) to the R620 that would enable the use of some sort of acceleration that would be comparable to QSV? I do have a full height x 3/4 length 16x 3.0 PCIe slot in the R620 and it does support a GPU but I want to make sure I buy the right one, and only if adding the GPU will actually help to accelerate the encoding process. OR......do I sell the XEON rig and buy a dedicated i7 PC with QSV built in?

A little advice or help please....

post #2 of 2
Hi, I´m currently having the same "issue" as you and are searching as well for a solution. So I would like to share my currently resarch here, maybe we can find then a better solution together.

What I can say for sure for the moment:
- RAM isn´t the primary factor. My dual CPU board with two "E5-2640 v3" has 128 GB and not all RAM is used. The another board with an single i7-2600K has 30 GB and only 3 are used during the encoding.
- Every Intel Skylake Gen9 or Intel Xeon Purley Family has native x265 support (see here or here), which can be used via Intel Quick Sync Video (QSV) and Handbreak is supporting QSV (could be seen in the logfiles). There are some other tools like handbrake out there which say on there webseite that this isn´t the case and try to force you to buy the product. This might be with an VERY old version, but not with the current one. See the point with the additional GPU and the CPU GPU below because it might affect the overall quality.
- Encoding depends on the movie and and input material. If you have a Disney 3D character movie the process seamed to be faster then some action movies with cars and explosions. A benchmark for x265 would be usefull so it would be possible to pick a CPU which did the best job here. However I haven´t found such a benchmark yet, only a very small one from 2015 here or here.
- You gain no speed when using an SSD instead of an SATA HD

What I currently couldn´t say:
- The board which holds the "E5-2640 v3" is a dual CPU board, so in fact there are two "E5-2640 v3" installed. However Handbrake only used one core. So my conclusion is that Handbrake isn´t able to handle a dual CPU setup or the problem is the Windows 2012 R2 here (i normally use the server for some other stuff, but it has plenty of CPU to jump in and do some encoding). It might be also a limitation with the x265 codec which do not work on 32 threads. Here is an older thread which said that handbrake was only able to use 10 threads, however I can see it used the full CPU (16 threads). So it might be related to the x265 coded or maybe a limitation in the software...

Current research:
- I´m currently checking if I might come up with a Overclocked older Xenon and if that would give me a better speed (without spending thousand of euro) or if I need to buy a brand new laptop. I´m currently happy with my Laptop and an additional PC do not make sense for me.
- I have read on multiple places that an capable additional GPU (e.g. GTX 960s or 980s) would speed up the whole process if the card will support x265. However such an GPU would not produce the best quality. Not sure if that is correct. I mean I will only do that job 1x in my live. Then the BlueRays will be in the basement and I will watch the stuff from my NAS. So I would prefer a higher quality here and it looks like an additional GPU card will not help here. By the was here is a good article but German, google translate it if needed.
- It looks like there is an difference between x265 (open source) and h265 (license needed).
- Energy costs... I think my 2x "E5-2640 v3" rig and your Dell R620 suck a lot of energy. Not sure how much, at the moment. But maybe it would be much better to invest in an Skylake CPU which do the job and save the money for the additional energy.

... something you could maybe share? smile.gif
Edited by BastianW - 9/27/17 at 3:51am
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