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CyberLink PowerDirector 9 review

Verdict

Significant improvements to performance and effects handling make this an impressive update

Review Date: 6 Dec 2010

Reviewed By: Ben Pitt

Price when reviewed: £68 (£80 inc VAT)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
4 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Ease of Use
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

Over the last couple of years we've seen PowerDirector evolve from an undistinguished application into a serious contender for the consumer video-editing crown. This latest update completes the transition with support for up to 100 tracks, powerful keyframe automation and a significant overhaul behind the scenes to speed up operation.

CyberLink makes a big fanfare over the fact that this is the first 64-bit consumer video-editing software. While 64-bit code brings only small improvements to most applications, it can make a big difference for video editing, as Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 has already demonstrated at the professional end.

To test it, we rendered a 15-minute AVCHD project with effects and overlays on our Core i7 870 PC with 8GB of RAM. PowerDirector Ultra 8 took 1hr 24mins, while version 9 did it in just 31 minutes. Yet Windows Task Manager revealed RAM wasn't the issue - both were well within the 2GB limit that 32-bit applications can address. The significant difference was CPU usage. Version 8 fluctuated between 20% and 60%, but version 9 went full throttle at 96%.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 9

We replicated the project using our current favourite consumer video-editing software, Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum HD 10. This 32-bit application took 46 minutes, registering only 30% on the CPU meter. Clearly, there's more to video rendering than 32- and 64-bit code, but the bottom line is PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 is the fastest consumer editing software we've seen.

PowerDirector 8's preview performance was excellent, playing seven simultaneous AVCHD streams on our test PC. The downside was the fixed 320 x 180 preview resolution, which looked ugly and made precise edits tricky. Version 9 managed eight AVCHD streams at this resolution, but also adds the option to increase the preview resolution. It played six AVCHD streams at 640 x 360, four at 1,280 x 720 and three at 1,920 x 1,080 on our test PC. These are impressive achievements, and the ability to balance preview detail against smoothness is extremely welcome.

PowerDirector also retains its support for proxy files - low-resolution copies of HD clips generated on import for smooth previews, which revert to the original footage for export. It's an excellent system for HD editing on slower PCs, and one that's notably absent from most of PowerDirector's competitors.

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User comments

So... when will Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum go 64 bit? I think I'll wait for that.

By randomtoast on 6 Dec 2010

This new version is the best

I have been using PowerDirector since version 7 and other video editing software. This new version 9 has proved to be the best of all, especially when you are editing multiple HD video clips on a 64-bit PC. The performance of PowerDirector is amazing!

By RichardK on 6 Dec 2010

This is really cool!

If you see the speed comparison videos on CyberLink website you will be amazed! I do not perform the comparison for myself, but the SVRT rendering for my HD H.264 video is really quick! Now my 64bit PC with 8GB memory is really running in full speed.

By 5DMark2 on 7 Dec 2010

dfgdfgfd

you see the speed comparison videos on CyberLink website you will be amazed! I do not perform the comparison for myself, but the SVRT rendering for my HD H.264 video is really quick! Now my 64bit PC with 8GB memory is really running in full spee

Read more: CyberLink PowerDirector 9 reviews | Software | Reviews | PC Pro http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/software/363385/cyb
erlink-powerdirector-9#ixzz17PgDIB65

By sdfsdfds on 7 Dec 2010

Adobe premiere pro

Forget this, there are only 2 pieces of software that windows users should use.
Sony vegas and adobe premiere pro cs5.
I use both, but my main focus tends to be with adobe premiere pro cs5, it works amazingly well considering I have an old AMD athlon 6000, Windows 7 64bit and 4 gig ram.
Ive seen it run very well on Intel machines. Its a better piece of software compared to powerdirector.

By r1sh13 on 7 Dec 2010

@r1sh13
Adobe CS5 Premiere Pro is 599GBP, CyberLink PowerDirector 9 is 79.99GBP so you're not really compairing like with like. I'm happy to try Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum but would prefer to wait for 64bit...

By randomtoast on 8 Dec 2010

@randomtoast

I agree, 64-bit Vegas Movie Studio Platinum is a tantalising prospect. It shouldn't be too hard for Sony to implement either, as Vegas Pro is already available in both 32- and 64-bit forms. I've just tried the same timed test described in the review on Vegas Pro 10 64-bit, and the render took 26 minutes. I've also seen 50% improvements on preview performance on Vegas Pro 64-bit over 32-bit.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Sony will add this to Platinum any time soon.

By benpitt on 9 Dec 2010

This new version is really the best video editing software for now

I have been using PowerDirector for my video creating for a while. This new version of PowerDirecor is really great in performance improvement, especially for hi-def video processing. Also, the new magic movie themes is also cool for me to create movie easily.
Overall, this product is by far the best video editor on the market.

By AppleDavid on 15 Dec 2010

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