PS3 as external accelerator - Fixstars CodecSys CE10 'faster than reatime' encoder

Discussion in 'CellPerformance@B3D' started by Shifty Geezer, May 14, 2009.

  1. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Just chatting with a friend about encoding which he's getting into, and looking up Cell development, I found FixStars are releasing an encoder, the CodecSys CE-10, that runs on PS3 connected to PC as an accelerator over Gigabit. They reckon 1.2x realtime speed at Full HD! Most importantly it means someone's using PS3 as an external accelerator 'board'. This paves the way for other applications to use PS3 as such (my dream of PS3 as a softsynth lives on!)
     
  2. Brad Grenz

    Brad Grenz Philosopher & Poet
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    Yeah, it's a pretty cool idea. It sounds like a pretty strait forward use of linux on PS3 for server side processing of data sent from a client over the network. There shouldn't be anything stopping people from rolling similar solutions for other kinds of work that would benefit from SPE acceleration.
     
  3. one

    one Unruly Member
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    They are planning to sell non-professional version of the said encoder later.
    For something like this to work, PS3's price and size should get steady reduction.
     
  4. Brad Grenz

    Brad Grenz Philosopher & Poet
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    Professionals can buy addin card or blade server versions of their encoding solution. I don't think the PS3's price and size are much of an issue with this product. It's just a creative use of something you might already have. It's not targeted at creating a server farm. The faster than realtime encodes are achieved on a single PS3. If you are at the "prosumer" level authoring Blu-rays a PS3 would be a good thing to have for testing and playback of your discs anyway. And I dare say the folks at Digital Foundry might find some utility in such a product. We'll see what the price of the software actually is and what license it is released under before we might say it's worth buying for someone who wants to rip and recode their movies for DLNA purposes.
     
  5. Shifty Geezer

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    What exactly do you mean by non-professional. Isn't this a home-enthusiast product, with professionals being targeted with the more convenient add-in Cell board? I'm expecting a pricetag that's competitive with a big CPU or GPU for those who are otherwise looking to upgrade their PC to accelerate encoding.
     
  6. Arnold Beckenbauer

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    Is it really fast? You get with Power Director 7 realtime encoding with one GTX260 and a dual-core CPU. And Badaoom is extremely fast, but its quality isn't good.

    http://www.fixstars.com/en/products/codecsys/sample.html

    The quality is really amazing.

    Non-professional could mean: it's made for AVCHD.
     
    #6 Arnold Beckenbauer, May 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2009
  7. one

    one Unruly Member
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    At its Japanese page it retains "Professional" in its product name.
    http://www.fixstars.com/products/codecsys/ce10.html

    According to this report about NAB 2009 (the professional broadcast equipments expo in the US), the rep said, the professional version would be offered as subscription-based. Around the same timeframe in June, they will also release a consumer-package version at a "reasonable price" with some file-format restrictions.

    http://av.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/series/zooma/20090424_153779.html
     
  8. Shifty Geezer

    Shifty Geezer uber-Troll!
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    Do you have a link? I haven't seen encoding figures apart from some poorly defiend examples like CyberLink's nVidia page and a weak reference to a 50% decrease in time when CUDA is applied to Premier CS4 through RapiHD.

    But there's also the matter of cost here, that for people who already have a PS3, it's (possibly!) cheaper to get a software package to use that than buy an expensive GPU just for encoding (assuming no use besides that. Don't really need a GTX260 for browsing the web ;)). PS3's encoding is certainly fast, even if not the fastest option available.
     
  9. one

    one Unruly Member
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    It's now on sale for the Japanese market.

    http://codecsys.fixstars.com/ja/index.html

    CE-10 Personal - 15,840 yen ($164) for a 1-year license
    CE-10 Professional - 158,400 yen ($1,640) for a 1-year license (24,800 yen for a 1-month license)

    Personal can encode movies up to 15Mbps, while it's up to 150Mbps for Professional.
    No commercial encoding is allowed for Personal. All other properties are the same for the both versions.
     
  10. patsu

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  11. Shifty Geezer

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    Ooooooo. Not too pricey at all. Any chance Grandmaster can give it an analysis? 15 megabit seems plenty good enough for many home rippers, but is that really true, or will quality suffer? A free trial is excellent. When's the English rollout?!!
     
  12. V3

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    15 Megabit is about broadcast quality. It's pretty good. If you are working any higher you're probably a professional.
     
  13. Arnold Beckenbauer

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    There are some words about CE-10 in the german magazine c't: So they reached almost realtime encoding, it supports uncompressed AVI, YUV and MPEG2. The CE-10 personal costs $200 per year, CE-10 professional $ 2000. No word about quality.
     
  14. Shifty Geezer

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    Is there any word about an NA/EU release date?
     
  15. Lucid_Dreamer

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    I'm late on this. I didn't know this encodes at about the same speed as CUDA BadaBOOM with a GTX-285 and almost twice as fast as an Intel Core i7 965XE. That's extremely interesting.
     
  16. pjbliverpool

    pjbliverpool B3D Scallywag
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    Quality can vary dramatically between implementations though. Comparisons are on very dodgy ground unless your pretty much using the same encoder on both platforms. Or at the very least, using identical quality settings.
     
  17. Shifty Geezer

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    Indeed. A proper comparison needs quality as well and encode times to be evaluated.

    Edit : I note the '1.2x' figure isn't 'faster than realtime' but 'slower then', so though accelerated, 1080p resolution hasn't hit realtime at the consumer level yet.
     
  18. Lucid_Dreamer

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    Further up in the posts, the quality was referred to as "amazing". Has that changed now? If so, why would they lower the quality? Also, why would one need to use the same encoder on both platforms to determine a quality difference between two results? I'm puzzled.

    I thought 1x is realtime in this case. Wouldn't that mean anything over 1x is faster and no slower than realtime?
     
  19. Shifty Geezer

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    I think the 1.2x refers to the time taken, not speed. That is, it's not "Encoding speed is 1.2x realtime" but "encoding time taken is only 1.2x realtime". So if the film is 1 hour long, it'll take about 1 hour 12 minutes to encode. The figures I've seen show a 1080p encode taking longer than the source by a small amount, and the CE-10 introductory paragraph reads
    720p and 480p are much faster. Encoding for portable will be very quick!
     
  20. grandmaster

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    I'm trying it now. Initial impressions are that it is... basic. I know they want to be "realtime" but no two-pass encoding? Yikes.

    It's using around 33% of a 2.5GHz mobile Penryn and it's processing at 8fps - probably down to the fact I'm running in a lossless 720p60 encode from a USB drive onto my laptop. That said, I just set a small clip on a copy run across to the internal drive and the average FPS in CodecSys remains unaltered at 8fps, so maybe not.

    h264 encoding options are limited. Results i'm getting are excellent but it's Resident Evil 5 (easy to compress) and it's using an average of 16mbps... even on a crappy h264 encoder (hello Quicktime!) you'll get "amazing" results ;)

    It is quite neat to use though - the hookup with PS3 is seamless. The PS3 side of things appears to be built on YDL. It does support the codecs I use for HD capture, meaning it's a straight VFW or DS pipeline on the video decoding side of things.

    Will try to do lots more with it today and built it up into a DF blog entry. A comparison with x264 is natural but I suppose CUDA based solutions on my i7/GTX295 would be good too ;)


    Quick Update: Nope, 720p60 is 8fps even on a clip hosted locally in the ultra-fast-to-decode CineForm HD codec. I'll see if I can snaffle another trial licence and try it on the i7 with uncompressed video.
     
    #20 grandmaster, Jul 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2009

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