When we first took at a look at the GeForce GTX 280 upon its initial introduction back in June, we also spent some time with an early beta build of a program called Badaboom, from Elemental Technologies. If you're unfamiliar with Badaboom, it's a user friendly media converter that leverages NVIDIA's CUDA technology to accelerate the conversion of digital video using a CUDA capable GPU. Badaboom takes advantage of ETI’s GPU-powered RapiHD Video Platform to offload many video encoding duties from the CPU, onto the GPU, to accelerate the process of converting video from a variety of formats to H.264 for portable media devices, like an iPod, Zune, or iPhone.
This past week Badaboom completed the beta phase and was officially released for public consumption, so we grabbed a copy of the final program to get a better feel for it now that it's done.
The first thing to understand about Bababoom is that it is not meant to be the end-all, be-all of video transcoding. It is a relatively small, streamlined application designed for casual PC users who want a fast video transcoder, that is not overly complex. If you've got a collection of video that you'd like to easily convert for use on your iPod, and you've got a CUDA compatible GeForce, Badaboom may fit the bill. On that level, Badaboom certainly succeeds. The final release of the program is a small <8MB download. And the program installs literally in seconds. Once launched, user's are greeted by a simple interface. On the left, you choose the input source, and on the right the output device. In the middle there is a simple slider to determine the output quality.
The Badaboom Interface
There are basic and advanced views in the program should you want a bit more control over the transcoding process. In basic view it has the simple slider to choose between "Smallest File" or "Highest Quality", that I've already mentioned. But advanced mode gives users the ability to alter settings like the output directory, and more advanced video encoder, picture quality, and audio settings.
To experiment with Badaboom, I converted a handful of videos from my collection to various output devices and had no trouble at all, provided I was using a supported file type (a list of supported video and audio formats is available here). Performance of the program on a 9800GX2 was very good, as I was able to convert most videos at over 100 fps. The HDNet video clip in the screenshot for example took only 1:27 to transcode at 103 fps. For reference, an 8-core Skulltrail rig could only muster about 70 FPS using Nero Recode and the process took twice as long. In addition, Nero isn't nearly as easy to use.
If you've got the need for a video transcoder like Badaboom, and you've got a CUDA-capable GeForce graphics card, you may want to hit the Badaboom website and check out the free trial. This is a handy little program that could save you a boatload of time transcoding videos.