Over the last few weeks, I’ve been testing video compression speeds with a variety of hardware and software systems. With the release of the 2015 update to Adobe Media Encoder, I wanted to compare the latest version with the 2014 version of AME, along with the latest version of Apple Compressor.
Up until the latest version of Apple Compression shipped, AME was generally one of the fastest compression software available. With this new version, I wanted to see if Adobe was able to squeeze more performance out of it.
Here are other articles in this series:
The new 2015 version of Adobe Media Encoder is only marginally faster than the 2014 version. The greatest performance improvement was only 7.4% when compressing in 1-pass mode. With some codecs, the 2015 version was slower than the 2014 version.
In all cases, Apple Compressor was faster than Adobe Media Encoder; in some cases compressing more than three times faster.
This test was only run on a current-model 21″ iMac:
For this test, I created a series of four test files, all exported as Master files from Final Cut Pro X. These are the same test files I used in all previous compression speed tests, so you can compare results between tests.
During compression all files were scaled to 1280 x 720, using the YouTube 720 preset shipped with Adobe Media Encoder. To allow me to compare results between software, I changed the default bit rate from 16 mbps to 10 mbps, which matched the default bit rate for Apple Compressor. No other changes were made to the compression setting for this test. All source media and resulting compressed files were stored locally.
(Click the image to download a 2-page PDF providing more detailed test results.)
What I did, to compare results, was total the amount of time it took to compress all four files, using both 1-pass (fastest) and 2-pass (theoretically the highest quality) compression. (Duration is expressed as Hours:Minutes:Seconds.)
As you can see in the chart, the speed improvements in the 2015 version are slight and, in the case of 2-pass compression, the new version is slower than the older version.
At no time does the latest version of AME exceed the speed of the latest version of Apple Compressor. In the case of XDCAM, AME is more than three times slower.
Click here to download a 2-page PDF with more detailed test results.
I no longer have access to a new Mac Pro, so I can’t test AME on that system. I would expect the software to take advantage of the GPUs on the Mac Pro which would make it faster, but I would expect the speed differences between the two versions to be similar. Past tests have shown AME performs much faster on a MacPro, but not faster than Compressor on an iMac.
Based on past tests, I did not test this on a current version MacBook Pro, as both the iMac and MacBook Pro use similar Intel chips. I would expect a current MacBook Pro to match the speeds of the iMac, assuming the same CPU speed, ±10%.
I suspect the reason AME did not speed up to the same degree as the latest version of Compressor is that Adobe wanted to maintain parity between the Windows and Macintosh versions of the software, which prevented them from taking advantage of the available hardware acceleration that iMac CPUs provide.
Still, I was surprised at how similar the compression speeds were between the two versions.
Keep in mind that the latest version provides other new features, other than speed, which may be important to you.
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