Compared to even the latest CPU and Graphics hardware, the Spurs Engine held its own. Though testing different encoding/transcoding types and programs can be quite a headache, it’s easy to see that the PxVC1100 can benefit those who do large amounts of this type of work. While there are only a couple of different formats to be used, they process very quickly and have outstanding quality.
I have seen a lot of questions about taking SD quality video and converting to an HD format and most are answered with “don’t waste your time because it will be the same quality.” Well with the Spurs Engine, that answer can be thrown out. While taking SD quality video and reaching the quality of an original HD source would be impossible, the content was very clearly much higher quality than the source. Best of all was that this process was quick, encoding at about 20% faster than real time playback.
Availability is a bit of concern. This card has been on the market for a few months but a quick check shows only a handful of vendors have the card in stock. Those that do have it in stock are pricing it around $250, which is not cheap for a device that has fairly limited functionality. It is very hard to justify the price of the card unless you have an enormous movie/video collection and want to shrink the foot print of the raw data. Another case may be that you make professional videos (such as weddings) and want to keep the video quality up but be able to leverage the speed and high quality compression. For casual users, there isn’t a particular reason to spend this kind of money unless you are on a slower system that can utilize a PCI-e 1x card and have a need for this sort of thing.
All in all, this is a solid product that does what it claims, but is outside of what mainstream users need. If you find yourself spending a large amount of time encoding/transcoding video, then it may be worth your while to give the Leadtek PxVC1100 a go. Besides, how many people can say they have a Cell processor in their PC?
Legit Bottom Line: Leadtek brings Cell technology to your PC in the form of a very fast hardware encoding/transcoding/decoding monster. While most people don’t need a hardware based solution, this is another alternative to CUDA and traditional CPU workloads.