I’m using two of my computers for, among other things, to edit and convert videos for upload to YouTube. Here’s my channel. One of he machines is an Alienware Aurora R2 I obtained used with Core i5-750, circa Q3 ’09. The other is a system I built from scratch, with a Core i7-2600 circa Q1 ’11.
I’m considering upgrading the older Alienware system to an Ivy Bridge 3770 processor. This upgrade of the processor, motherboard and memory will cost about $550. So the question is: How effective will this upgrade be in increasing Video Conversion performance?
I decided to do some testing to find out whether the two systems that I have are very different in performance before proceeding with the upgrade. When using both systems to edit videos, they perform very well using Corel Video Studio X5  and X6 . The editing process proceeds with no noticeable delays or lags. Any performance issue has to do with how long it takes to convert the video. The systems are used for two types of video conversion: Making BluRay disks, and Conversion for upload to YouTube. An adequate benchmark of performance would consist of converting a few minutes of HD video to MP4. It was quite easy to choose about 20 minutes of Fraps collected HD video for the test. The following results were obtained using the identical HD video files and converting to MP4 at HD resolution. My fraps game play capture is HD format from 1920×1080 monitors. The times for converting the same 22 minutes of captured files are:
- Core i5-750 – 29 minutes.
- Core i7-2600 – 24 minutes.
Or a 21% difference in performance. It is interesting to note that the conversion is approximately real time. That is 22 or so minutes of video takes only slightly longer than 22 minutes to convert.
Even though these two processors are one generation apart: 32 nm vs 45 nm – the performance difference is only about 20%. Despite some claims to the contrary, it appears that Moore’s Law has run it’s course, at least in the area of main stream desktop processors. For some time now, apparently, one cannot expect a doubling of performance of similar systems every 18 – 24 months. Based on comparisons at CPUBoss, even purchasing a system that is two generations newer will only garner about a 30% improvement in performance.
It appears that there is no compelling reason to upgrade the older machine, since it performs in all other respects perfectly adequately for tasks such as playing the video game, capturing video, editing video and so forth.
I may proceed with the conversion in a few weeks, more as an exercise in PC building but it is clear that there is no compelling reason to upgrade the processor for video conversion performance.