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Old 09-06-2019, 01:11 AM   #1
Liverpool TV
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Liverpool, England.
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Default HQX to H.265 encoder speed test using Quick Sync & NVENC in Handbrake


This video may be interesting to those who encode externally for H.265 from their Edius masters, in this case HQX. Below the video is some boring details from the YouTube description.

I'll be posting some videos soon about building the best sub $1000/1000 computer for Edius, more so Edius 9.


Handbrake 4K H.265 video encoder speed test - NVENC v Quick Sync QSV - Intel i9 9900K vs RTX 2080 TI

So what is faster at encoding 4K MP4 H.265 HEVC video files in Handbrake, Intel Quick Sync via the i9 9900K CPU or NVENC via the Nvidia RTX 2080 TI GPU graphics card?

While both NVENC and Quick Sync Video QSV are both faster than software only, one of them is definitely faster than the other.

This test can also been seen as Intel versus NVIDIA, or more precisely, Intel's Quick Sync video encoding technology versus NVIDIA's NVENC video encoding technology. Although both Quick Sync and NVENC are usually just referred to as video encoders. They are both capable of lending themselves to other video post applications.

In the broader scheme of things they can both be used for rendering, decoding, filters and basically fairly much whatever video post processing acceleration and assistance duties that software writers account for within their video post production software and products. But in this instance I'm just concentrating on the task of video encoding within Handbrake.

Just like H.264 before it, H.265, or HEVC, is very taxing on your CPU and/or your GPU for both decoding and encoding. This is mostly due to the complexity of an inter-frame codec, which both H.264 and H.265 are. Despite the similarities, H.265 creates even more drain on your system's resources compared to the already difficult to decode/encode/process H.264. Which basically means that H.265 requires more in the way of raw CPU and/or GPU processing power.

To make matters worse for both codecs, 4K also has to be factored into the equation and quite often up to frame rates of 60FPS and beyond. With the addition of 4K and high frame rates in the equation, it really does compound the technical difficulties and system processing requirements that are needed for encoding and generally any type of work where H.265 is part of the production workflow.

Another thing to bear in mind here is that there are also pure software encoding option for H.264 and H.265. What I mean by pure software, or software only, is a codec, or a specific encoder's codec, that will do all the encoding just with the CPU and not utilise any CPU iGPU like Quick Sync QSV or the AMD equivelent or a dedicated GPU such as those by Nvidia or AMD. There are a number of software encoders available, some of which that are extremely good at encoding very high quality H.265 or H.264 video files. It'd probably be very fair to say that these software encoder solutions can create better encodes compared to QSV or NVENC, especially at the lower bit rates, with the very best probably being the X264 & X265 video encoding engines. But despite the fact that X264 & X265 are probably the best for pure technical video quality, this is only usually noticeable at the lower bit rates or in complex scene structures, such as fast movements within the frame and fast wide changes in chroma and luma content. With increased bit rates the results are usually very similar with regard video picture quality outputs comparing software only such as X264 & X265 and iGPU/GPU assisted ones.

Another thing to bear in mind with software only encodings, even in their fastest modes, they take a long time to complete and can be seriously long if you use higher quality, thorough analysis settings. The one thing that I hope is clear so far is that H.265 can be a serious drain on your resources and that is regardless of the type of encoder used.

Despite the differences in encode times between the NVENC encoder and the Quick Sync encoder. They both offer a very clear and substantial benefit when it comes to encoding times. These benefits will also be seen in any video post production software, and video encoders, that utilise them.

So the last thing to mention are the basic technical details of the files used and generated during the test. The source file was a 4K/UHD 3840x2160 25FPS HQX video file. HQX is a professional intra-frame video production codec that's used by Grass Valley in their excellent Edius NLE, none linear editing software. Although the HQX master intermediate was 10 Bit, the source files that it was rendered from were only 8 Bit. In this instance the last two bits are padded. Both the H.265 files that were encoded by Quick Sync and NVENC were 8 Bit outputs with the the same resolution and frame rate attributes of the HQX master.

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