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2019 iMac vs Late 2014 iMac—Ripping addendum

In Part 1 of my 2014 vs 2019 iMac comparison articles, I provided an overview and a number of comparison benchmark results. In Part 2, I looked at changes in gaming performance between the two machines.

But there was one more thing I wanted to do: Compare Blu-ray ripping speeds. At the time, though, I didn’t have any new movies to rip, and I really didn’t want to spend the time re-ripping an existing movie. Now, though, I do have a few new movies to rip, as I’m trying to finish our collection of all the films in the first three phases (now called the Infinity Saga) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

That meant buying the films I’d liked the least—The Incredible Hulk and the first two Thor movies. With that came the chance to compare the Blu-ray ripping speed of the two iMacs. I use the method described in my article Revisiting ripping Blu-ray discs, which is this:

  1. Use MakeMKV to create an MKV file on the hard drive that contains the video and audio tracks.
  2. Use Don Melton’s Video Transcoding tools to create the final movie from the MKV file.

Using The Incredible Hulk, I timed how long it took to create the MKV file and how long it took to create the finished movie. Without further ado, the results (times are in hh:mm:ss format)…

Machine File Size Make MKV Transcode Total
Late 2014 iMac 20.9GB 0:20:43 0:50:24 1:11:07
2019 iMac 20.9GB 0:19:34 0:23:37 0:43:11
Time Saved 0:01:09 0:26:47 0:26:57

It gained nearly a minute just copying the file to the solid state drive—I wasn’t expecting much of an improvement, as I figured the limiting factor was the speed of the Blu-ray drive.

The real time saver is in the video transcoding: The new iMac was over twice as fast as the old one. This is where the extra cores in the Core i9 processor really pay off—even more so than I was expecting.

Overall, the new iMac saved nearly 30 minutes compared to the old iMac. In percentage terms, that’s 35% faster.

What you don’t see in the table, though, are the test conditions. I gave the old iMac every advantage possible. I had already removed all my background apps and cloud services, Time Machine is disabled, there’s nothing running in the menu bar, and the only tasks the iMac had running were related to the test.

On the new iMac, on the other hand, it was business as usual: I had all my background tasks running, all my cloud services were connected, I had 18 apps running with about 40 open windows, and I was actively working, switching between browsers and email and chat and Excel.

I imagine if I were to set the new iMac up to mimic the old, and let it just do the ripping test, the differences would be even greater than what I saw.

As someone who still prefers physical media, and where said media doesn’t always come with a digital copy (older movies in particular), this is a welcomed improvement.

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