Handbrake Build Update
Roughly two years ago I built a watercooled PC specifically to encode Blu-ray files to MP4.
ASUS X99 Pro motherboard
32GB G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4 3000
(3) ASUS Blu-Ray optical drives
(6) WD 6TB black drives
M.2 512k Samsung boot drive
I use the program MakeMKV to put MKV files on a target hard drive. Then I use Handbrake to encode mp4 files and transfer those files to my media server NASs.
The CPU can run at 100% for extended times so water cooling is highly recommended for this type of work. I run a mild over clock. I read that with more than 6 cores the preferred strategy is to run multiple instances of Handbrake to encode in that Handbrake does not scale up efficiently well beyond 12 threads.
In general I'd encode a Blu-ray and both CPU and the hard drive would stay at about 80-90% utilization. I thought I had nothing left to optimize. This week as my WD drives filled up I replaced them with some 7200 RPM Seagate Enterprise hard drives, (three 10TB Seagate Exos X10 Enterprise from SimplyNAS) in testing they seem to about double the sustained throughput as two year old WD hard drives.
Yesterday I encoded "Goldfinger" (1964) in Blue-ray and something new happened, Disk utilization was way down, well it was 100% very briefly to put the source file into memory and later briefly to write the file to disk. In general it did not stay busy as I am used to observing.
Just as interesting the CPU, all 12 threads stayed at redline all the time not 80-90% like I am used to seeing. I don't know what the actual improvement is, but I'm confident that the improvement is real and not insignificant.
Part of the performance jump may be rotational speed, but on the new hard drives it is also true that the data is stored a lot denser. I don't need to continuously read to keep the encoding program feed and writing one 7 MB file is also over in a single second.
I expected a big jump in disk capacity, I did not anticipate a big improvement in drive performance and encoding times. It is almost like my money was well spent? I figured the days of big performance improvements in physical hard drives was all but over?
I have had very reliable performance from maybe 60-75 WD hard drives I've purchased during the last ten years. But recently shopping the 10-12TB WD drives they all seem expensive. I've pickup Seagate NAS rated drives at very attractive prices and they have roughly double the sustained throughput as the WD drives. I hope they hold up well, so far they have run cool and quiet.
If anyone else is using Handbrake I hope this update may provide useful information if they are building a PC.
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