Since the release of DirectX 10 along with Vista back in 2007, and compatible GPUs such as AMD’s Radeon HD 2900 XT and NVIDIA’s GeForce 8800 GTX, the hardware capability has been there to offload many more general-purpose computing (GPGPU) tasks than was possible with DirectX 9.
We’ve looked at one such general-purpose task, video-encoding, back in December 2008, where we tested AMD’s revamped AVIVO video converter application.
Looking for a cross-company performance comparison, finding applications that support GPU-accelerated encoding for both manufacturers has been rather elusive. Thankfully, a couple of companies, CyberLink and Roxio, have agreed to work with both AMD and NVIDIA's GPGPU technologies, and it’s now possible to conduct a fair comparison between the two.
Starting off with the high-end and using CyberLink’s MediaShow Espresso application, costing £30, we’re pitting AMD’s recently released Radeon HD 5870 against NVIDIA’s closely priced GeForce GTX 295, setting them to transcode a 1080p MPEG-2 HD clip into a YouTube-compatible 720p MP4.