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HUGE Reduction In Encoding Time

Discussion in 'All other topics' started by A_Klingon, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. A_Klingon

    A_Klingon Moderator Staff Member

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    I simply cannot believe my good fortune!

    I would never have thought that a hard-drive's speed would have much (ANY) effect on the time it takes to encode a vob file to mpeg-1 vcd format.

    Specifically, I just installed a new 80-gig hard disc. It is rated at 7200 rpm. My old drive, and I think a lot of other people's too, was/is rated at 5400 rpm.

    I would have thought that the single most imortant factor in encoding speed would be the speed of one's cpu! But, my encoding time, using TMPGEnc has been *cut-in-half*, simply by virtue of the new drive! This is a SUBSTANCIAL increase in efficiency.

    Details: I only have an older P-III 450 Packard Bell computer, not the speediest of machines. The time needed to encode a standard "1-hour" (45 minute) episode of 'Star Trek-The Next Generation', has always been just a shade over 9 hours.

    After installing all the necessary software, I noticed, in TMPGEnc's view screen, that the encoding process was scooting along at a most impressive (for me) speed! About 2 or 3 minutes into the encode, I noticed that the 'Time To Completion' was only 4 hours, 21 minutes!

    Can anyone explain this? I would not have thought that a 5400 rpm drive would be (much, if any) of a limiting factor in compression time. Would a 5400 rpm drive not save the images as quickly as TMP could produce them? (Apparently not).

    My vcd-production time has just been *squarely* cut in half, *without* a cpu upgrade!!

    Any thoughts, in case you might be considering an upgrade yourself? I have not seen this situation addressed in any other forum.

    -- KlingonAgent --


     
  2. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

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    Few educated guesses:

    -your system needs to swap (Windows always does, it really doesn't matter if you have 2GB of memory, it just loves to swap anyway) and during the memory hogging encoding process, it swaps even more. And as swap is -- like oldskool dudes tend to remember, even most of the people don't -- virtual memory, which means that computer uses your HDD as an additional memory storage and obviously it needs to access this space a lot, which then effects directly to the encoding time.

    -as well as swapping, system needs to read the data off from the VOBs as well -- causing yet another additional requirement for HDDs. Best way to speed up things without doing anything major is to use one of your __PHYSICAL__ harddrives (not partitions) to store the swap and one to store VOBs (and third one to write the VCD, even that this only takes a very, very small amount of overall drive performance)

    -you inserted a new HDD to your system -- the HDD hasn't been fragmented yet, which speeds the overall Windoze performance a _LOT_. Defragging is always a Good Idea(tm), but unfortunately most of us are too lazy to do this on regular basis :)

    -as I understood, you installed your system from the scratch again, all stuff (Windoze & apps) to a blank HDD -- you got rid of tons of useless apps and probably close to zillion useless reg entries and DLLs in your system. Good way to speed up things is to perform FORMAT C: every 6 months or so (well, before W2k, you kinda had to ;-)
     
  3. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

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    Overall, I don't believe that the rpm rise from 5400 to 7200 had that much to do with the performance gain, but the facts I listed above. I ordered 40GB HDD couple of days ago and made the mistake to order 5400rpm, even that I 5mins after placing the order, noticed that the same drive with 7200rpm was £1 cheaper -- "ORDER CAN'T BE CANCELLED ANYMORE AT THIS POINT".. Thanks... =)
     
  4. A_Klingon

    A_Klingon Moderator Staff Member

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    Good points all, Petteri.

    a) Yup, Windows swaps data on a constant basis, creating temporary files like mad when using any cpu-intensive process such as compressing video files, but -- would not the *amount* of swapping being done be exactly the same for *either* the 5400 or 7200 drives?

    b) It would be wonderful to have three separate HDD up and running concurrently, but I expect few people ever do that. Also, I (or you) would have to somehow figure out how to instruct our machines (and software) to have, say, hard HDD1 read the vobs, HDD2 to store the temp swap files, and HDD3 to store the mpeg(s). But that's really a utopian and unachievable situation. I haven't heard of anyone being able to configure their machines accordingly; Windows probably wouldn't allow it; and the software, in this case TMPGEnc, wasn't designed for it. (I gave the old 10 gig drive away to a friend anyway.) Have you any idea of the compromises I had to make, and the 'tricks' I had to learn, to be able to get a whole, longer dvd movie (say 160 minutes' worth) into 3 vcds with only that single 10-gig drive? (You rip selected chapters *only* for a start). You only encode *portions* of the movie for another, enough at-a-time to fill one cdr. You do multiple rips, and you keep your fingers crossed that the a/v doesn't go out of sync.

    I can't *tell* you what a relief it is to rip a FULL movie in one single pass (something that most people take for granted I suppose, but something I've only now been able to do now that I have the HDD space). When you have only 10 gigs to work with, you really *learn* how to use your software! All that is in the past now, thank god.

    c) Defragging your HDD is like changing the oil in your car -- you do it periodically *or else*. No, my old (tiny) 10.1 gig 5400 HDD was defragged on a regular basis. Speaking of which, even the defrag process *itself* has speeded up Hugely! (The psychedelic defrag screen which you can watch by choosing 'view details' while the defragging is going on, goes absolutely ballistic as it scoops up file fragments and pastes them back together at breakneck speed.

    Even the bootup process completes in only a fraction of the time it used to take.

    What a crummy bit of bad luck you had with the 5400 vs 7200 HDD you just ordered. Not to add to your chagrin Petteri, but the guy at the computer store told me that fewer and fewer 5400 rpm drives are being made these days, and are getting harder and harder to find. People still ask for them because, as a rule, unlike your own unique experience, they are cheaper per gig than the same size 7200rpm machines.

    Why did you choose a 40 gig model? Myself, I am very....uh.....'poor', to say the least, or else I would have pay paled this site ages ago, so I did look at the 40 gig models at first, but you know something?

    I found that the *amount* of space you get over and above the 20 gig models increases *outrageously* for just a very few dollars (pounds) more! It just doesn't pay to get a 20 gig (or perhaps even a 40) when 60 and 80 giggers cost so *little* more!

    My case: (all 7200 rpm models, in canadian dollars) The local computer store was selling 20 giggers for $118. For $140, you get 40 gigs. (DOUBLE the capacity for just an additional $22). 60 giggers were $160 (that's 20 *more* gigs for just an additional 20 bucks), and the one I settled on, 80 gigs, was $188.88. Mind you, I had to wait a little while (a week) to scrape up the extra bucks, but I would have hated myself if I had got a 40 or 60 gig model.

    So anyway....... I still can't figure out why my compressions take only half the time they used to. (I'm not complaining, just marvelling!) I've even got 4 copies of TMP running right now, doing up 2 dvd movies if four cdr-size pieces.

    I can't believe I pieced this whole thing back together again in less than 2 days. Yup, I installed everything from scratch onto the new drive, which as you have correctly guessed, required the tedious removal of 6 billion bits of software dumped onto it from the factory "Master Recovery Disc", which is designed to restore your computer back to the condition it was in when you first bought it. (Along with scads of "useful, quality" software, outdated as the dinosaurs.) I missed a day of work and at in this chair for something close to 24 hours I think. I'm not even sure if my *e-mail* address is the same or not! (go figure) Re-initializing ISPs and setting up email accounts is *such* a pain.

    But, dear me, I am beginning to ramble again - what's the topic at hand? Oh yeah, hard drives.... well, I hope *your* new 40 gigger serves you well, but try try try to make it an 80 gigger next time, if you at all can. One has only so many ports/slots to plug into, and you're probably doing all sorts of dvd to dvd stuff by now. When blue ray/laser gets here you're going to need all the HDD space you can muster.

    This site rocks, Petteri, you're doing a cracker-jack job.

    Later,

    -- A Klingon who doesn't even know his own email address yet - :)

    P.S. Why such a departure from the norm in your new vcd (with subtitles) guide? The old one worked superbly (and is what I use exclusively, with just a few twists). When one has gone through the necessary software-learning curve, and has fine-tuned his methods to a 'T', he is loathe to change. (And besides, "if it ain't broke, why fix it"?) As I recall, you (or, more correctly, this site) had a hard time convincing me that there was a better way of making vcds than I had been doing. (FlaskMpeg). And you guys were right too!

    Later......

     
  5. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

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    I know your pain -- I have 26GB on this machine and NO CD nor DVD writer at the moment to clean the HDDs by any chance -- I have virtually minimum install of W2k, bunch of video editing tools, OpenOffice and rest of the HDD space is used by videos, VOBs and DVD rips in various stages :) So, I'm kinda excited to get slightly more HDD to play with. But I'm hoping to get £199 to spend on DVD-R later this year.

    I have an old mobo that has been upgraded as far as their BIOS upgrades went and the final BIOS updated the max HDD size to 45GB, so I'm kinda stucked with max 40GB of HDD :) Hopefully I can kick my dusty old P3/500 out of this house by next year and buy a decent, modern computer equipment that would convert DVD to SVCD _UNDER_ 24 hours when using 4-pass CCE. Ah well...

    Thanks. After 3.5 years doing this stuff, it finally looks slightly better in terms of growth, etc.. Only downside is obviously that the excitement of maintaining the site is slightly fading away, although the excellent group of regulars we have here and constant "this site rox" emails / forum posts give the extra boost you need when you're frigging tired on Monday night and there aren't really anything worth mentioning in news and you decide to write a dull article about some Liquid Audio/similiar company's interim financial results :)

    You mentioned the reason -- subtitles. This was actually demanded by the group in our Finnish forums -- obviously some of the users tend to need subs (no, we don't dub anything in Finland) -- and doing the VCD+perm subs from DVD using VirtualDub is just _way_ too much hassle and causes too many almost-impossible-to-assist problems in between -- so, DVD2SVCD package was kinda natural way to go with this one. And obviously -- some people like mothers, some daughters and some dogs -- variety is always good, so people can choose the method that they think is good for them. And DVD2SVCD actually uses the same tools as we normally use (DVD2AVI, TMPGEnc & etc) -- it just offers braindead-easy GUI for those.
     
  6. A_Klingon

    A_Klingon Moderator Staff Member

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    Okie-doke, I understand now.

    If you're tired on a Monday night, and can get away with it, I hope you have the ability/option of maintaing the site, say, on Tuesday nite instead.

    It's a great deal of fun for *me*, of course, (but then, the only thing I have to 'maintain' is my sanity). ;-)

    -- Mike --
     
  7. dRD

    dRD I hate titles Staff Member

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    ;-) I wish it would be that easy, but nah.. Well, I've kinda optimized the updates by now and spend on average around 3 hours a day to find/write news and update our software items, which is not too bad.

    Forums are just impossible to go through nowadays, way, WAY too much messages daily to go through every single one of them, but that's the beauty of having tons of active users -- we (admins) don't need to answer to every single question by ourselves anymore :)

    Yep, even maintaining the site is still fun -- I (and 'we' as in our admins, as well) love digital audio/video world, because of its possibilities and due the fact that we have only seen a very, very thin slice of the future in this area of development so far.

    One would say that even that is a big-ish task every now and then ;-)
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2002
  8. A_Klingon

    A_Klingon Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, it's a 'labour of love' for sure. I hope maintaining the site has enough rewards in it to make it worthwhile for you. But for sure, it's an obligation too (I know that) -- frankly, I would NOT want to have to spend three hours a day scouring the web for news stories that would interest my membership. Fact is, I don't *have* 3 hours a day to do that even if I wanted to. Plus al the others things you must do to keep it up and running, and too, I don't know how much this all cost$ you.

    Yes, by all means, let the members work out their issues with each other, and just ocassionally jump in when something jumps out at *you*. You can't solve the world's problems single-handedly.

    I don't know what a 'mobo' is. (The one whose bios you say can handle no more than a 40 gig HDD). But you mention your 'dusty ol' P3-500'. Well, that's *better* than my dusty ol' P3-450 by 50MHz !!! (So hang on to it). But my point is, any P3-500 should handle an 80 gid drive. (right???)

    I absolutely and positively don't expect (or want) you to agree with what I'm going to say next, but I'll say it anyway.

    I have been known to rent dvds, then make my own vcds out of them. I don't feel guilty about it, because frankly, I don't think Hollywood feels particularly guilty for flogging $30.00+ dvds, and engaging in price-fixing anyway. Point is, they do a healthy rental business from me (and 6 billion others) - business that that they would *not* have done, if I did not have at least a reasonable chance of making a decent vcd out of them.

    I'm probably just one of *many* members who do this (no need to raise any hands).

    Also, a life-long buddy of mine, a Librarian, told me that the local libraries are *all* going to be carrying dvds shortly for free borrowing, and here in Canada, if I'm not terribly mistaken, it is completely *legal* to borrow and copy cds (and presumably dvds) for one's own *personal* use.

    (Source: UHF Magazine, Issue # 64): "In Canada, you can even copy a CD you haven't purchased, providing it's for your own use (though no one but an accredited public library may lend it to you against remuneration)."

    Well, anyway, let me tell you how very much a single 80-gigger can hold in terms of rented/borrowed dvds, in case you *can* put one into your P3-500.

    Right now, my new drive has the entire (and I do mean *entire*) ripped contents of the boxed set of Season One of 'Star Trek-The Next Generation', bonus tracks and all. The set was rented to me for $12.99. The cheapest I've seen it on the web is $99.99 U$A - so in Canadian dollars, plus shipping, plus customs/duty, plus..... that probably translates to $150.00 to buy the set. Multiply that by seven (there are seven seasons to be released overall), and you can probably understand why few people will even own the whole set in either this lifetime or the next.

    This set = seven dual-layer dvds, 26 Episodes in all + extras. The discs hold an average of 180 minutes' worth of shows each. (4 x 45 = 180).

    Add to that, "The Sound Of Music" (Julie Andrews/Christopher) - a 174 minute dvd.

    Plus two, library-borrowed double music cds (4 discs) in ripped wave files.

    I still have about 6 gigs left to play with! This probably translates to about 10 or 12 more normal, "regular" sized movies, if they're not all dual-layered ones. (80 - 120 minutes, say).

    I'll return all the originals shortly, to ensure no late charges, and can then compress my .mpgs and .oggs at my leisure, as time permits.

    *This* is what having an 80 gigger can mean.

    (And I'll likely not mention any of this stuff again, because it has the potential to get me into deep sh##.) But for what it's worth, I have spent a *fortune* over the years, on commercial dvds, and I just got tired of it. I got tired of mandatory copyright notices, extra material that I neither wanted to watch let alone pay for, movie trailers, and multi-layered menus. In contrast, you put a homemade vcd into the player, press 'play', and *bing*! Instant movie.

    Enough of that..........

    You're right, we've just touched on the involved multimedia audio/video world coming to us in the future. It's going to be fun, interesting, expensive, full of joys and pitfals. (Which is why sites like this are going to be so valuable, and *needed*.) To cut through the hype and separate the honesty from the bullsh##. Never before in history, thanks to the internet, have we been so aware of the sneaky, sleazy, self-serving, underhanded, outright *illegal* practices of both the audio and video industries. (MPAA & RIAA).

    We're gonna need someone to help us sort it all out.

    (You'll be around for the ride, wontcha?)

    Best Regards,

    -- Klingy --
     

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