Quick Sync vs. CPU vs. Discrete GPU
As we've mentioned before, Ivy Bridge-based third generation Intel Core processors feature an updated Quick Sync media encoding engine, that's enabled when the integrated Intel HD graphics core is used. We tested the Intel Quick Sync encoder using Cyberlink's MediaEspresso 6.5, which can take advantage of Intel Quick Sync technology, as well as leverage NVIDIA's CUDA / NVENC technology, or simply run on the CPU alone.
In this test, we took a 277MB AVCHD MTS file recorded using a Canon HD camcorder and converted it to an H.264 encoded MP4 compatible file designed for use with an iPhone / iPad (or other portable media playback device).
Quick Sync with the Core i5-3470 worked as expected, which is to say extremely fast. When using MediaEspresso's 'fast' encoding option, the Core i5-3470 performed identically to the Core i7-3770K. Using the app's higher quality conversion option, however, slowed things down to the point where the Core i5-3470 trailed the other Ivy Bridge chip by a few seconds, but it was still faster than the i7-2700K.
We monitored CPU utilization while playing back a number of different multimedia file types on the Core i5-3470 / HD 2500 with very good results. Regardless of the file type, CPU utilization was always low. What you see pictured above is the 1080P movie trailed for "The Avengers" playing from Youtube.com, full screen. CPU utilization remained in the single-digits throughout and image quality was very good.