Image Processing Reference
for some time. The product is apparently not discontinued, but no announcements have
yet been made about future upgrades.
Building Around a Windows Architecture
On the Windows platform, you have the Microsoft Windows Media tools, which are
clearly going to work at an optimum level on this platform since they come from the same
manufacturer as the operating system.
If you prefer, there are other specialized tools such as Canopus ProCoder, and as was
the case with Linux, you may have some open-source alternatives available as well.
Sorenson Squeeze 4 is also available for Windows.
Building Around a Linux Architecture
On the Linux platform, your choice is likely to be one of the open-source solutions. Obvious
candidates are DivX (which is a derivative of MPEG-4) or maybe the Ogg Vorbis codec.
There are others, too. If you want to go with a proprietary solution, the Real Networks
products are quite popular, although their penetration of the market is declining in favor of
Windows Media and QuickTime compared to the market share that it used to enjoy.
Choosing a CPU
In the end, the amount of computing power that you deploy is what dictates the through-
put of your encoder. You might build a system in a suboptimum way and bottleneck it by
badly configuring your storage or keeping everything on remote network drives and writ-
ing back to a remote device. Assuming you have not done anything stupid with your sys-
tem design, the raw CPU power is what counts.
Single or Dual Processor?
A fast single-CPU computer may compress faster than a slightly slower dual processor
because the codec may not have been optimized for dual-processor operation. If it has, the
technical specs should mention that as a feature. Match the codec hardware requirements
to the CPU. Checking the manufacturer's online knowledge base (if they have one) will
often direct you to a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) or specifications with the infor-
mation you need. Alternatively, if you telephone the manufacturer of the codec you want
to use, the technical support staff for the product in question should be able to answer
questions about choosing an optimal CPU for their codec.
It is a mistake to base your assumptions purely on GHz clocking speeds for the CPUs. Some
CPU architectures lend themselves well to video compression for very subtle reasons.