Quick observation of Biostar GeForce6100-M9 and DVD encoding

I haven’t sat down and methodically documented the DVD ripping and encoding process on my Biostar Geforce 6100-M9 Athlon64-based motherboard. I have started ripping and encoding a few of my DVDs so I can put them away in storage (they take up an entire 6 foot bookcase 2 layers deep). What I noticed is that the setup on this Athlon64 doesn’t seem to be that much slower than my wife’s quad-core AMD system.

I mentioned before that I plan on sitting down and doing a more scientific comparison of DVD encoding, but in the meantime I’ve been just trying to plow through my DVD collection on both systems. I expected the Athlon64 to be significantly slower, but this doesn’t appear to be the case. The results are really surprising considering the difference in technology. The Athlon64 is as follows:

  • Biostar GeForce 6100-M9 motherboard
  • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ CPU
  • 1GB DDR 400 RAM (2 x 512MB in dual channel mode)
  • 80GB 7200 RPM 300MB/s SATA hard drive
  • 256MB Nvidia 7900 PCI-E video card

My wife’s quad core Athlon is significantly better:

  • Asus motherboard (don’t remember the model)
  • Quad Core AMD CPU with all 4 cores set to 2.5GHz
  • 4GB DDR 667 RAM (this may actually be a bottleneck since the motherboard is really made for 1066MHz RAM)
  • 2TB 7200RPM SATA Hard Drive
  • 512MB video card (don’t remember the model) (writing this at lunch)

This actually tells me it might not be a good idea buying a new quad or 6 core system for encoding purposes. That said, the software also might not be optimized to use all cores. I’m using Acidrip to rip CDs. At the back end Acidrip uses mencoder to encode video. I’m pretty confident mencoder could take advantage of other cores, but there may be some work required to do so.

Now I’m particularly interested to see if switching to a 64 bit OS on both will speed up the encoding process. Current results are based on the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 11.04. I’ve also been thinking about regressing to Ubuntu 10.04-LTS for both tests because 11.04 seems less reliable.

I’m hoping to be able to complete the experiment this weekend.

What makes all of this really cool is that I bought the Biostar motherboard a few years ago and it never worked. When I bought the board I also bought RAM and a boxed CPU + Heat sink combination. The system unit would turn on, but when I started anything graphical, whether it was Windows or Linux the unit would totally lock up and “zebra stripe.”

I saw a lot of suggestions what the problem might be, including the usual laundry list of suspects (all of which I changed with no luck): power supply, RAM, grounding in case. Lots of people reported it as a fault in the motherboard itself. It appears the real problem was the new boxed AMD Athlon64 3800+ CPU. It must have been faulty because other than the motherboard it’s the only component I didn’t change (until now).

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