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I've got a desktop at home that I use for streaming all my media to my 360 (in a different room, all hardwired). The problem is that any HD content I have from BD backups, to trailers, to HD DVR videos, can't seem to transcode at a respectable speed. I've tried using Tversity and Media Center but there's a bottleneck somewhere I need to break. I'm assuming it's my CPU. All my DVD backups run fine.

I'm currently running: Core 2 Duo e6400, nVidia 8800GTS 640, 4GB Corsair XMS2, ASUS P5B Deluxe

I've been considering upgrading to an i7 920 (plus mobo, RAM), but I'd much rather stick to an upgrade under $500 that would still allow video transcoding at maximum quality.

Any suggestions?

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If you are talking about on the fly transcoding for streaming, I am not really sure how to help, but if you are talking about converting a stack of files from one format to another, with a budget of $500, here is a good solution!

Buy any reasonably powerful Nvidia based graphics card that can take advantage of CUDA and take a look at Badaboom, I have used it in the past and it is amazing at just how fast it can convert videos!

From the Cuda site, I also found a link to TMPGEnc Which isn't free but has a demo, and Mediacoder which is free, but again, I haven't used these two.

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I've tried Mediacoder and handbrake, the problem is that converting a BD backup can take upwards of 14 hours when keeping audio and video at full quality. I'll definitely try out Badaboom, that looks like it might help out for conversion purposes. On-the-fly transcoding is still ideal case here, though. – jeffwain Oct 20 '09 at 16:33

Why don't you just use the computing resources your GPU got. Don't know about nVidia but ATI delivers stream libraries to do the transcoding stuff on GPU whith almost no leftovers for the CPU. That's way cheaper than buying a whole new machine.

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