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I currently use a mac pro for importing mxf files into FCP (equivalent to converting to prores, I believe) at about 3x realtime @29.97fps. I want to get a machine to run ffmpeg & do the conversion from mxf to prores, and then import those to fcp. From my testing, that import is instant.

On a 4 core PC with plenty of ram but a horrible GPU, using ffmpeg I can only get about 0.7x realtime for the same conversion.

So, I'm looking to buy a computer to install linux & ffmpeg onto which would be able to tear through these faster.

What are the important things to consider?

CPU number/Core count CPU speed CPU cache size

RAM/mobo speed

Graphics card.

FFmpeg seems to be maxing out 4 cores on the current PC. But I haven't been able to find out what other hardware it'd be able to use to speed this up. Does ffmpeg even use the video card for this kind of encoding?

If I get an 8 core beast, how fast can linux prores encoding get with ffmpeg? Or is the fast way to do this to split it up and send chunks to different machines? i.e. is ffmpeg good at splitting up the work between cores, or would that be better handled by something that could split up the work and send it out to independent machines and then stitch it back together?

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One important thing you didn't mention: what's inside the mxf files? Depending on the camera it came from, your video can be encoded in many different formats. –  Duvrai Feb 16 at 21:45

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