Intel's Nehalem Provides Boost for Single and Multi-Core Transcoding Tools

At an event last Thursday where I spoke to Skaugen, which took place at BMW Group Designworks USA and DreamWorks Animation's Glendale, California, campus, representatives from HP and DreamWorks Animation spoke about the benefits of Nehalem on the workstation level.

Using the example of the HP Z800, a new Nehalem-based HP workstations which are being rolled out to the general public today, as well as the HP DreamColor monitor, which was created through joint collaboration between DreamWorks and HP, a DreamWorks representative said the move to Nehalem-based workstations makes today's workstation equivalent to yesterday's server.

"For us, this 3-D revolution is about immersing the audience into the movie," said Ed Leonard, DreamWorks Animation's CTO, reminding the audience of DreamWorks' decision that all future animations will be released in 3D. "HP’s unique ability to deliver advanced technical tools that help to eliminate creative limitations has allowed us to dive headfirst into the exciting storytelling capabilities of stereoscopic 3-D."

An HP representative reiterated the point.

"Our new workstations can hold up to 192GB of memory," said Jim Zafarana, vice president, worldwide marketing for Hewlett-Packard Company's Workstation Global Business Unit. "The new architecture allows us to use all triple-channel DDR3-1333 MHz memory, so we think end users—from video editing to web streaming and 3D rendering—will be pleasantly surprised. Our customers are telling us that they are seeing real-world decreases in processing time from 50-100% beyond their current workstations."

An Adobe representative also showed off performance gains for video editing and transcoding applications for Flash within the Adobe Creative Suite 4 suite of applications.

At one point during the Thursday event's Q&A session, DreamWorks' Leonard and several members of his team said they are able to see gains of at least 50% in their render times, even for older applications, thanks to the new Turboboost and QuickPath technologies, making 3D rendering was now technically possible at speeds approaching or exceeding traditional 2D animation render times.

"During uncertain economic times," said HP's Zafarana, "we had to make a decision as a company to roll out these new workstations. Given the benefits we think our customers will see from our implementation of Nehalem, we are moving full speed ahead."

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