AnandTech has taken a closer look at Elemental's Badaboom H.264 transcoder, this is one of the first commercial applications that uses NVIDIA's CUDA technology to boost the performance of non-gaming software. Anand Lal Shimpi says Badaboom held so much promise but disappoints because it lacks a lot of features and has a lot of compatibility problems:
For the first GPU-accelerated video transcoding application written in CUDA I expected much more from Badaboom. A simple user interface is great, but it lacks the power and customization behind it. NVIDIA has a year before Larrabee hits and you can be sure that Intel will leverage its relationships with the major codec developers (DivX anyone?) to ensure that there’s full Larrabee support right away.
The performance expectations are also interesting. Just as the 8800 GT is pretty much the minimum requirement for decent, speedy gaming in the latest titles, that ends up being the minimum requirement for solid transcoding performance. The GeForce 9500 GT and slower are only really upgrades if you have a slow dual-core CPU, the quad-core offerings are faster than any of NVIDIA's lower end GPUs. The 8800 GT, 9800 GTX and GTX 200 class of products all offer somewhere in the 2 - 4x range of a performance improvement over Intel's quad-core CPUs. While eight-core Nehalems will help close that gap, it's clear that GPUs are much more energy efficient for video transcoding.
NVIDIA needs to do more with companies like Elemental to make sure that launches like this don’t happen. Badaboom held so much promise but disappoints as it is nothing more than a quick way of getting some videos onto your MP3 player or game console without terrible concern for quality or features.