The current king of the hill codec for portable digital video is hands down h.264. With this codec you can squeeze an hour and a half movie down to well under 1 GB, while still being able to maintain both color and detail. This makes it perfect for converting your favorite movies and videos for playback on your iPod, iTouch, and iPhone. The only downside is that with great compression comes very long processing times. A typical movie can take several hours to encode depending on how fast your host's computer processor is.
Elgato has come up with an ingenious and economical way to solve this problem. Turbo.264 is a USB 2.0 device that plugs in to your computer just like a typical thumb drive, but instead it features a built in processor that is designed specifically to encode h.264 videos. You can expect to see a speed improvement of about 2 to 3 times faster on newer macs. With much older macs the speed improvement will be even more dramatic. Some users of prehistoric macs have reported speed increases up to 10 times faster.
Is the Turbo.264 right for you? If you just bought a new 8 core Mac Pro, then you don't need it. For slower laptop users and owners of older macs it could just be the kick in the pants that you are looking for.
Pros: Faster Encoding, Leaves CPU Free to Perform Other Tasks
Cons: Somewhat Larger File Sizes Compared to Software Only Compression
List Price: $99.00
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