Ramka's Media Buddy offers several advantages over freeware media converters, especially if your PC has a CUDA-capable NVIDIA graphics card. Media Buddy can utilize your GPU's processing power for super-fast file conversion, especially with large files and high-quality formats. But ATi isn't left out of the mix, either: Media Buddy is also optimized to take advantage of your ATi card's codes, or your Intel CPU's built-in graphics' processing power. Media Buddy handles a wide range of audio and video formats, including HD formats. It also burns CDs and DVDs. Media Buddy is free to try, although the free trial version only converts 30 seconds of audio or three minutes of video. It runs in a wide range of Windows versions, from 2000 to 8. We tried it in 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.
Media Buddy's user interface is similar in layout and style to other media converters we've tried, with some variations, though that's largely a case of form following function. The large main window displays files and buttons on the left side add and remove files and folders, and let you select output. Large "Pause" and "Start" buttons, a volume slider, and similar controls round out the control suite. We like the "Copy to iPad" button for fast file transfers. First we needed files to transfer. We recommend unchecking the box labeled "Start Conversion Immediately," until you've selected your Output Format from a drop-down menu since Media Buddy will start converting files as soon as you add them. Once you've got things set, you can recheck the box for extra speed.
We ran Media Buddy in PCs with Intel CPUs and both ATi and CUDA-capable NVIDIA graphics cards. While differences in each PC's performance and resources make comparisons difficult, there's no doubt Media Buddy works fast. The software's ability to tap your GPU's extra processing power can make a big difference, especially with large files or batches. Whether it's enough to put Media Buddy ahead of freeware with similar capabilities depends on your needs and your system. But if you have an ATi or a CUDA-enabled NVIDIA video card, Media Buddy is definitely worth a try.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Media Buddy 3.4.6.