Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: October 21st, 2010
AMD's Radeon series have included some nice HTPC and Media computing features for a while now. Originally introduced with the HD 2000 series (except HD 2900), the Universal Video Decoder fixed function hardware block is now in its fourth instance, as version 3.
UVD 3 now includes Multi-Stream Transport decoding for Blu-ray, which includes 3D, as well as hardware acceleration for DiVX encoded files. ATI HD Audio is unchanged, offering high bitrate multi-channel audio pass-through for Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio, required for protected audio path playback of Blu-ray audio via your receiver. The audio output can be directed through either the HDMI or DisplayPort outputs, but not both at the same time. Using these audio configurations will require a supported video playback application like Cyberlink PowerDVD 10, and for the audio LPCM output to be set inside the application. Lacking the necessary Home Theater setup to fully test 3D Blu-rays and bit-streaming audio we have been unable to verify correct operation.
GPU Accelerated Video Decoding
To test the media playback performance of the cards, we played an MPEG-2 (.vob dvd-rip file) and MPEG-4 (AVC encoded m2ts file) using CyberLink PowerDVD 10, and recorded CPU utilization. ATI STREAM is enabled, and ATI Video Color Vibrance, Flesh tone correction, Brighter Whites, Full Dynamic Range (0-255), Edge Detection, De-noise, Mosquito noise reduction, de-blocking and dynamic contrast enabled, with enforce smooth playback unchecked, and settings applied to internet video. NVIDIA PureVideo enhancements enabled in CP: edge enhancement, noise reduction and full dynamic range with color enhancement. ASUS EPU set to maximum power savings, locking the frequency to 800MHz maximum. We also tested GPU accelerated Flash playback by playing a 1080 YouTube video fullscreen in Internet Explorer 8, and used Media Player Class - Home Cinema build 1.4.2499 with DiVX 6.8 (internal DiVX filter disabled for GPU testing, enabled with 6 threads for CPU test). CPU utilization was recorded using windows perfmon, lower values are better.
Video Deinterlacing Performance
To test the performance of vector adaptive deinterlacing of 1080i video with post processing effects, we used the Cheese Slices test in PowerDVD 10 with ATI STREAM enabled. Below is a screenshot of the video playback:
AMD Deinterlacing Performance
As you can see, excellent smoothing and clarity. In action there was no judder or unseemly flickering.
To test media transcode performance, we used Cyberlink MediaEspresso 6 with hardware accelerated enabled (encode and decode) to convert a 22 minute MPEG-2 .vob file to H264 encoded media file. Mouse over the results to see details. Faster times are better.
AMD Eyespeed is the new name for the group of functions that encompass playback, transcode and image enhancement. If you thought ATI AVIVO was this, well, now it's AMD Eyespeed. Closer work with Cyberlink looks to be in order, to get AMD upto Eyespeed, looking at the beat down provided by the GTX 460 to all the AMD hardware.
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