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What kind of hardware could I get (CPU type, Video Card, MotherBoard, etc...) to aid in the conversion of video files (not the playback of video files)?

I generally use AVS products (avsforyou.com).

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I have to run out the door, so can't speak specifically to AVS, but in general: Motherboard will make virtually no difference whatsoever. The CPU and number of cores is going to be your largest factor, and Intel processors are currently top-of-the-heap with video transcoding. However, it depends on whether or not the software you use can take advantage of multiple cores and hyperthreading. Depending on the software, video card can make either no difference or a huge difference -- depends on whether or not it supports CUDA (employing GPUs for extra processing power). –  Uninspired May 2 '11 at 22:15
    
@Uninspired Damn, I just posted exactly the same thing :P –  slhck May 2 '11 at 22:16
    
+1 for being faster on the draw :) (and a more complete answer) –  Uninspired May 2 '11 at 22:18
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2 Answers 2

I can't give you any specific hardware recommendations.

In your case I think it's mostly CPU that you can improve. Just buy the best you can get for money — Intel's i7 are quite the workhorses now. Then again, it all depends on the codec. If you have a quad core and a poor codec, it will only use 25% of your CPU. I've experienced this myself: On the same system (Intel quad core), converting 4 videos with the MPEG-4/h.264 reference encoder took almost the same time as 1 video.

Also, some video codecs enable GPU acceleration, but only if they are compiled that way. I think x264 or ffmpeg can do that, but most certainly not the software you linked.

Also, a faster hard drive will help you edit/copy the material faster. I often transcode .mkv files to .avi and here, changing my work disk to an SSD really paid off.

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In general terms (not AVS-specific): Monitor your system while your transcode is running.

If your CPU utilization is high, you're waiting on your CPU. A faster one or one with more cores (assuming software support for more cores) will improve your transcode times.

If your CPU utilization is low, you're probably waiting on disk access. The biggest improvement for this will be to ensure that a second physical disk is involved. Reading from one, writing to the other. Beyond that, faster disks.

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