Except when you've got a 2600k you can transcode at a LOT faster than 30FPS (hell, my 930 transcoded faster than that).
I get about 5 fps on my i3 370m when encoding.
But that's mainly because I transcode 1080p material at very high quality settings via x264.
Maybe you do SD material at normal/fast settings.
PS If I could, I would get an ssd for my laptop (warranty though...), but that would NOT be for increasing transcoding speed