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Fast H.264 Video Compression on the MacBook Pro Beats the 2013 Mac Pro

Regarding an earlier post about astonishing MacBook Pro video encoding speed, Iain A writes:

About QuickSync, regarding H.264 compression. It’s entirely possible for a 13” MacBook Pro to outclass a Mac Pro in H.264 encoding, if done the right way.

- QuickTime Pro X will use QuickSync on supported Macs.
- FCP X will use QuickSync in “Faster Encoding” but not otherwise.
- Compressor will use QuickSync only in “Single Pass” H.264 encoding for .mov and .mp4 targets, so it’s necessary to make a preset which uses single pass and not multi-pass.

The QuickSync feature is only supported on consumer CPUs, and not on the Xeon in the Mac Pro. I performed a few tests with a colleague here, and the H.264 encodes are quite revealing:

https://www.macprovideo.com/hub/final-cut/final-cut-pro-x-performance-test

Faster doesn’t mean worse, either. While it’s possible that you could see a difference in quality with the faster encode on some sources, I simply haven’t seen it with the default (high) data rates that Apple uses, which are of course recompressed anyway by online video sharing services. QuickSync is a massive time saver, and it’s a real shame that the Mac Pro can’t use it.

MPG: Does this mean that all 2013 Mac Pros for video use should be purchased with a “MacBook Pro accelerator” add-on?

Transcoding 3840 X 2160 4K UltraHD video to 1080p using QuickTime
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