Handbrake: let’s talk performance

In my last post, I laid out, step by step, the process to create a DVP642-compatible AVI file using Handbrake. Now let’s talk about performance.

By performance I mean two things: speed and quality. How fast will Handbrake encode your video? How good will the picture look when it’s done?

I’ll save quality for a future post; for now, I want to talk about speed.

It’s not an understatement to say that this program screams. It is by far the fastest AVI encoder I’ve ever worked with. Depending on the hardware, you could see encoding rates of more than 100 frames per second (fps).

Let’s look at the specifics.

Source video: Chapter 19 from the Star Trek: Nemesis DVD, copied to hard drive. Length: 5:59.

Handbrake settings: 700kbps, resolution 512 wide, 2-pass encoding, picture not deinterlaced.

So far, I’ve been able to benchmark Handbrake on three separate machines; though I’ll try to add more to this list as I am able.

For reference sake, I’ve included a test done on a 6-year-old 450MHz PowerMac G4 with 768MB of memory. On this machine, the ~6 minute clip encoded in 26 minutes 37 seconds, averaging 13 fps on the first pass and a whopping 9 fps on the second.

Newer hardware, however, puts that to shame.

On a dual 2.0GHz G5 with 2GB of memory, Handbrake encoded this video in 3 minutes 2 seconds, averaging 124fps on the first pass and 78fps on the second. That, in and of itself is pretty remarkable. A 90 minute video can be encoded in 45 (or half that with single-pass encoding).

But the beauty of Handbrake is that it’s a Universal Binary, working natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs. You don’t need expensive, top-of-the-line hardware to get that kind of performance anymore. Check out these stats from a low-end 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac (1.5GB memory): 2 minutes 42 seconds. 136fps first pass. 88fps second pass.

That’s right, a computer that costs half as much as the G5 beat its performance by 12%. Not bad. Not bad at all.

handbrake gets 136 frames per second on an intel imac

I can’t wait to see how the new Mac Pros handles Handbrake with these settings, but since the folks at the Apple store won’t let me perform benchmarks there, I guess I’ll have to wait.

21 August 2006 | Handbrake | Comments

One Response to “Handbrake: let’s talk performance”

  1. 1 bizzyb0t 29 August 2008 @ 11:42 pm

    Amazing benchmarks! I wonder what the benchmarks would be for the same clip and settings with the newer Intel Macs? I have a 2.0 Core Duo Intel MacBook with 2GB of RAM.