Elgato turbo.264 HD video encoding coprocessor review…….

I just picked one of these babies up from the apple store and after testing it a bit for the past hour, I have one word for it: WOW. This little guy is no gimmick, it’s zippy as hell and it does exactly what they say it would. The details for the device are on Elgato’s Website, but this is just a mini review of the tests I ran against a couple of software encoders.

Here is my setup:

– Mac OSX 10.5.8 with latest updates running on a 2.16Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo Black MacBook w/ 2 GB 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM.
– Test input file was a HD movie I grabbed from vimeo through BT. It’s 12.5 minutes in lenght.

– Output was done through the Elgato Turbo stick, Mpeg Streamclip encoder and ffmpegX.

– In all cases I’ve tried to produce a single pass h264/x264 file with the same dimensions and settings as the Elgato software preset for ipod best (640×360 @ 24 fps @ 1500 kbps at 80-90% quality).

The results blew my mind:

  • Elgato Turbo took 8:43 min to encode the 12:29 min movie.
  • Mpeg Streamclip took 50:25 min to encode the 12:29 min movie.
  • ffmpegX took 49:52 min to encode the entire 12:29 min movie.

Here are a couple of full size frames (640×360 px) blown up to 1920×1200 to exaggerate imperfections (click on the pics to see them full size):
– Elgato Turbo stick

– Mpeg Streamclip

– ffmpegX

– And last but not least all three at the original size (left to right): Elgato Turbo Stick, Mpeg Streamclip, ffmpegX

Best C$179 I’ve spent in a while. It just works.

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