For the last 24 hours I've been waiting for some files from a Sony camera (about 60Gb) to convert to MP4. I'm thinking there must be some other way to speed this up. I'd much rather go for a purpose-built piece of hardware rather than trust CUDA or ATI as these options have failed miserably (I have both ATI and NVIDIA cards and it seems the software simply ignores them).

So, what are my options for hardware transcoding?

3 Answers 3


While this is borderline a product recommendation question, there is an entire class of hardware encoders that support h.264. The cheapest ones I know of are made by Black Magic Design. Matrox also makes some pretty affordable ones. Be aware you are still talking about a $200 - $500+ device for doing the real time encoding though.

  • But in this case, presumably, the software used to encode video must support the device, right? Or is it a driver thing? Dec 1, 2013 at 14:10
  • @DmitriNesteruk - depends on the device. Often they either have their own software for using the encoder or will provide support that popular encoders can hook in to.
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 1, 2013 at 19:47
  • you mention realtime encoding, but what I actually need is beyond realtime, e.g., converting an existing uncompressed AVI to MP4... instantly, if possible. Sep 14, 2015 at 21:13
  • @dmitri acceleration cards will go faster than real time these days but it still takes time. You are primarily limited by how much processing you throw at it.
    – AJ Henderson
    Sep 14, 2015 at 21:24

I'm sure there are dedicated MP4 encoders out there, maybe someone else has better info.

But I've had good results using AVC Ultimate, which takes advantage of CUDA on an NVIDIA card to speed up MP4 processing, to about double the rate I get without it. There's a free version, but I can't remember if the CUDA option is available in that -- I've used the paid version for quite a while.


There are many hardware options including Intel media SDK, FPGA options, nvidi, ASIC solutions, elgato, etc. But for my money, I prefer quality. The software solutions, especially x264, perform WAY (WAY) better as measured by visual quality by file size ratio. As for Quality per watt in terms of encoding, you cant beat a good ASIC.

  • Any COTS ASIC/FPGA solutions out there? Dec 10, 2013 at 9:06

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