A pair of whitepapers from Intel showcase that you can still do plenty of graphics and media things without a GPU, and do it quote well.
The first one
is more of a whitepaper, where the LA-based 'Bandito Brothers' media company talks about using Xeon processors with Adobe Creative Suite 5 to process some of their massive work. For example, in a recent Mountain Dew spot shot with Canon 5D's and edited via DPX:
Just how big are they? According to Rosenberg, the files occupy 8 MB per frame. So at 24 fps, 192 MB of hard disk space is required per second of video. A 30-second commercial, not counting outtakes, would be stored in a file about 5.8 GB in size. And feature films are generally a bit longer than 30 seconds. 'Let's just say they take up some major real estate,' said Rosenberg. 'In the past, we needed a week to do the work. And now it takes just a couple of days to do conversions or set up files.' Returning to the workflow, Rosenberg describes the process following the editing: 'Next we kick out a single file that represents the commercial without any color correction. That file then goes onto our colorcorrection system, the IRIDAS SpeedGrade system, which grades the files. Having the faster processors means more layers, more effects, and more color correction passes can be done in real time. Part of that is a combination of the processor and the graphics cards.'
The second one
is more technical, talking about Intel's MP4/AVC Decoding library.
The MP4 file format (ISO/IEC 14496-14:2003) is a multi-media container format that is commonly used to store digital video and audio streams. This whitepaper describes the process of decoding MP4 files using the Intel Media SDK. The following code examples will build upon the existing DirectShow decode sample filter that ships with the Intel Media SDK. The popular open source application Media Player Classic will be used to load the new filter and manage the playback.
Looks like Intel is trying pretty hard to dispel the many talking points about GPU's in CS5 and video encoding by showing how well the CPU works. The results are impressive, and I can't imagine dealing with data at a rate of 192MB per Second. Of course, the entire 5.8G could
fit in memory on a Quadro6000, but you probably wouldn't be able to do much with it then.
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