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Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 Ultra64 review

Ben Pitt
21 Dec 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
80
inc VAT

Much faster and more refined than before, PowerDirector is now well equipped for demanding as well as casual use

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Consumer video-editing software was once a two-horse race, with Adobe Premiere Elements leading in powerful features and Sony Vegas Platinum excelling for streamlined efficiency. However, Premiere Elements recently veered off course, just as Vegas Platinum 10 received a big injection of power, leaving the competition for dust.

With the launch of PowerDirector 9, the race is back on. With up to 100 tracks per project and improved handling of effects, this update matches the key strengths of Premiere Elements. However, it avoids mimicking Elements’ main weakness – poor performance.

Cyberlink PowerDirector 9 Ultra64

PowerDirector already excelled for preview performance, playing complex projects without dropping frames. Version 9 is better than ever. We were able to play eight simultaneous AVCHD streams on our Core i7 860 test PC, up from seven in the previous version. More significantly, previews are no longer limited to 640x360 pixels, and now come in five sizes up to 1920x1080. Increasing the resolution inevitably increases the processor load, but it still managed four streams at 1280x720. Version 9 is also much faster at rendering; we saw 1080p AVC export times fall to around 40 per cent of version 8 speeds.

These improvements stem from a move to 64-bit code, so you’ll need to be running a 64-bit version of Windows to get these benefits. It is compatible with 32-bit Windows, but we’d strongly recommend that even casual videographers should make the upgrade. You’ll not only benefit the latest software rendering engines, but you can also address more than 3.5GB of memory.

Cyberlink has also addressed some of the limitations that made PowerDirector 8 unsuitable for demanding users. It’s now possible to unlink a video from its soundtrack and edit them independently. Clips can be dragged to a different track and grouped for easier rearranging, while the increase from 10 to 100 tracks means you’ll never run out.

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