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Opinions Of El Gato Turbo.264 With Toast



For those users who have the El Gato Turbo.264 I would like your opinion on how userful it is with Toast.


I specifically would like to know if it will speed up the conversion to my iphone or perhaps later to AppleTV.


Another option is to expand my memory which is only 1 gig. I had planned on expanding to 4 gig in the near future.


Thanks again!

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A little more information would make this easier to answer. More ram is, of course, a good thing, but what is your present hardware? How sensitive are you to issues of quality? What is your source material? The Turbo has some significant limitations in terms of file sizes and shapes. These don't bother me with my iPod Touch, but do bother me on my AppleTV. Handbrake in general offers better quality and more control of the output, but (with older computers especially) it can be quite slow. I tend to use the Turbo for stuff that I need quickly where quality isn't really an issue, but Handbrake or Visualhub if I'm going to be watching it on the big screen.

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Sorry for not being more specific.


I have a new iMac coming over from the PC.


I primarily would use the Turbo to convert Tivo files to move them to my Iphone which I did very easily on the PC. I've got the same funcationalilty working in Toast last night. I noticed that the conversion to Mp4 was very slow and was wondering if the Turbo would speed up the process.





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There you get into territory I haven't tried. (No Tivo!) If you have a new iMac, the benefits shouldn't be huge, but they should be noticeable. One of the biggest advantages is that it acts as a coprocessor, taking the heavy lifting off your main system. You can use your main system to do other work with no speed lag.


If you look at El Gato's web page, you'll see that the limitations are no two pass encoding, (Apple TV) 800X600 maximum resolution, 30fps maximum frame rate, (iPhone) 480X360 max. I find if you feed it a disk with a number of TV episodes, it has trouble identifying the separate episodes and sometimes has trouble finding the main feature on a DVD. Because of the lack of two-pass, there can be some pixellation in high motion sequences and an occasional dropped frame.


From my own use of it with a year old iMac, I would say that there is definitely speed up over Quicktime, though both Handbrake and Visualhub do faster/better conversions than Quicktime. El Gato's Turbo uses Quicktime as its basis. I would not say that it lives up to the "up to four times" with Intel Macs claim that El Gato makes on its website. For my iPod Touch, I find the quality of the El Gato is fine. For my Apple TV, I prefer the results from Handbrake (free; for DVDs) or VisualHub (shareware; for other internet files). Handbrake is capable of producing anamorphic files and of trimming black bars; VisualHub can get rid of black bars.

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I have one of these, connected to a Dual G5 powerMac, and it makes a big difference to the speed of the encodes. On my intel Mac mini, it doesn't make as big a leap, as the mini can outrun the G5 without the Elgato installed.


Anyhow, as previously posted, the Elgato software is a bit light on, so I usually use it for TV shows recorded and smaller things like that.


If you want better output quality, use Mpeg streamclip (which is free) and uses the Turbo 264. This software allows multipass encodes etc, and does an excellent job.


As it is free, it doesn't hurt to give it a try (also works without the Elgato).


Good luck.

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