0Media Browser LogoTweaking Media Browser Performance again

Last year I pos­ted about improv­ing the per­form­ance of Media Browser.  In the end that attempt yiel­ded dis­ap­point­ing res­ults.  How­ever, I’ve recently been exper­i­ment­ing with vari­ous ways of improv­ing per­form­ance as my lib­rary size increases.

  • The sql­ite per­form­ance of Media Browser is now notice­ably bet­ter than when it was first enabled and I was very pleased with the res­ults I got from enabling it with the new 2.2.8 release.
  • I will be exper­i­ment­ing with the res­ult of mov­ing the sql­ite data­base file onto the RAM Drive I already use for my WMP data­base and will update this post accordingly

The above changes have yiel­ded some bene­fits, but really I was in search of a bit more.  Whilst bench­mark­ing a new USB Pen drive I checked the size of my media browser image cache and noticed that it had grown sub­stan­tially — to over 600 meg, with an aver­age image size of about 600k.  Given the typ­ical dis­play size of the images in ques­tion this seemed rather a lot and I wondered what else could be done.  I remembered see­ing a post about redu­cing the image cache on TheHTPC, which is one of the blog feeds I keep a half-eye on quite reg­u­larly and decided to dig the art­icle in ques­tion up.  I was delighted to see that the author (another Jon) has tried vari­ous of the things I had already done, and had some excel­lent advice for redu­cing image size.

  • Recom­press all the JPEGs (in my case to 80%).  This saved over 350meg
  • Res­ize all the movie cover images (I fol­lowed the advice to use 600×400).  This saved an addi­tional 230meg.

I would like to echo Jon of TheHTPC in endors­ing Fast­Stone Image Viewer for the above oper­a­tions.  It was free and easy to use.

  • I also decided to limit the num­ber of back­drops per movie to a max­imum of 2.  This saved an addi­tional (post com­pres­sion) 60meg.  I con­sidered redu­cing the max­imum to just 1, but this would only save an addi­tional 14mb — which I decided isn’t worth it for the moment.

In total I have reduced the num­ber of images by approx 250, and the total size by 640mb.

  • I also checked to see if any back­drops were lar­ger than 1920×1080 with the inten­tion of res­iz­ing any that were.  Sadly (or sens­ibly) none were.  But I was able to identify 4 cor­rupt (1kb) back­drop files which I also removed.
  • I have also switched off “use inter­net pro­viders” in the Media Browser con­fig (inside media cen­ter, not the start menu con­fig util­ity) altho I don’t expect this to have any effect as I already have com­plete meta-data that I man­age with Media Cen­ter Master

I still have 189mb of PNG’s and decided to try com­press­ing them fur­ther with PNGOUTWin, which I selec­ted based on a com­par­ison of vari­ous png com­pres­sion tools.  Des­pite the ori­ginal com­par­ison giv­ing PNGOUT rather unfa­vour­able per­form­ance in terms of time to com­plete, I found the win­dows ver­sion, which has been optim­ised for mul­ticore cpu’s, per­formed well, com­plet­ing most images in under 10 seconds, with an aver­age com­pres­sion to 94%.  Extra­pol­ated to all my images this would save just 12mb.  Sadly PNGOUTWin isn’t free, and I decided sav­ing 12mb just wasn’t worth pay­ing for.

Over­all I have now reduced the aver­age size of a file in my ImageCache folder to just under 220kb — only 37% the ori­ginal aver­age.  Once the entire cache is rebuilt I expect (and hope) this will res­ult in a new cache size of under 250mb, which should offer a very sub­stan­tial speed boost.

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