ATI Stream vs. NVIDIA CUDA - GPGPU computing battle royale
Cyberlink PowerDirector 7 Overview
PowerDirector 7 Overview (Note: This portion of the review was initially taken from our first CUDA article. The CUDA information is identical, but we added a lot of extra information on ATI Stream and how PowerDirector 7 uses this technology.)
Main video editing screen
PowerDirector 7 is a consumer-oriented video editing program that supports high definition video, from importing to editing and output. It also includes support for GPU-accelerated H.264 encoding and 10 CUDA-accelerated video effects, significantly reducing the time it takes to render projects. It also uses ATI Stream to utilize the GPU to transcode high-definition video. PowerDirector 7's support for ATI Stream technology lets users leverage advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD graphics processors, working in concert with the systems central processor, to accelerate the video production process. This ensures more balanced system performance for faster handling of HD video capturing, editing and encoding.
Video effects screen
The program gives the growing number of consumers with high definition video cameras a user-friendly platform for all of their video editing tasks. PowerDirector 7's support for CUDA technology delivers significant gains when encoding HD video into the H.264 format. Cyberlink claims the program offers performance gains of 270% for encoding high-definition video using CUDA. It also works with ATI Stream to accelerate the conversion of standard and HD video into multiple formats for use on differing consumer electronics devices.
PiP objects screen
Upon opening PowerDirector7, I’m greeted with a more traditional video editing interface with a movie timeline, preview pane, and various effects and transitions tabs. This layout is a lot more accommodating to experienced video editors or even novice users who have played with other types of video editing software.
One major factor to note is that PowerDirector7 only uses CUDA when encoding high-definition video. Encoding lower-resolution video formats will rely exclusively on the CPU to handle the entire workload. This software also allows the output of H.264 content for playback on PSP, iPod, iPhone and PS3. It uses CUDA to accelerate video rendering for effects like abstractionism, color painting, Gaussian blur, glow, replace color, pen ink, kaleidoscope, color edge, radial blur, and light ray. These ten effects use the GPU instead of the CPU during final rendering.
Audio mixing screen
Power Director7 was the first application to use the CUDA video encoder library, but others have also integrated this library into their software. This library is an enabling tool that was designed by NVIDIA for video software developers to use in the development of high-performance GPU-accelerated video encoding applications. According to Cyberlink's website, ATI Stream is only utilized in PowerDirector 7 if users have one of the following ATI graphics cards installed: Radeon HD 4650, Radeon HD 4670, Radeon HD 4830, Radeon HD 4850, or Radeon HD 4870 X2. But, we're testing it with a Radeon HD 4770 and it works fine, so this list needs to be updated. Cyberlink's website also says users will need to install Avivo video converter in order to enjoy all the speed benefits while transcoding.
Out of all the transcoders we've reviewed over the past couple of weeks, PowerDirector 7 is by far the closest one that resembles a traditional video editing application like Premiere or Final Cut. The interface is pretty intuitive and doesn't leave you hanging for pre-installed transitions, effects, or other more advanced video options.
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