Product: AMD Cayman HD 6970 & HD 6950
Company: AMD
Authour: James Prior
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: December 15th, 2010
Media Features

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 (UVD) fixed function hardware block is now in its fourth iteration - UVD 3.

Universal Video Decoder 3

UVD 3 adds hardware decoding for Blu-ray multiple stream transforms, and DiVX encoded files. This is obviously the result of AMD's analysis of popular media formats for consumer devices to play files, and driven by the needs of the FUSION program.


Universal Video Decoder 3
Universal Video Decoder 3

UVD 3 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 were unable to test this functionality for this article.

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
AMD Deinterlacing Performance

As you can see, excellent smoothing and clarity. In action there was no judder or unseemly flickering.

AMD Eyespeed

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.

AMD Eyespeed
AMD Eyespeed

The AMD Radeon HD 6000 series now feature DisplayPort 1.2 outputs. The standard configuration of outputs on the HD 6800 series is three digital and two mini-DisplayPort (mDP). The digital displays consist of one Dual-Link DVI-I and one Single-Link DVI-I, and a full-size HDMI 1.4a output. The decision to reduce one of the DVI-I outputs to single-link is an interesting one, that allows cost savings on the board as SL-DVI only requires one TDMS transmitter, but still supports up to 1920x1200 resolution (at 60Hz). Displays using 2560x1600 resolutions have been shipping with DisplayPort or HDMI interfaces for a long time, and if you require dual DL-DVI then a passive mDP-DVI adapter is pretty cheap. However, this doesn't address users who might have 120Hz DVI displays; they will need to have HDMI connectivity as well as a DisplayPort active DL-DVI adapter.

AMD Radeon HD 6900 Display Output
AMD Radeon HD 6900 Display Output

DisplayPort 1.2 outputs feature daisy-chaining functionality. This means every Radeon HD 6000 series equipped with dual DP outputs is, in fact, an Eyefinity 6 capable card - with a big caveat. There are currently two ways of connecting multiple displays to DisplayPort 1.2 outputs. Displays with native DP 1.2 and passthrough connectors can be chained together, three per card output, to give six outputs. These displays are not in the market yet, and not expected for a year or more, unfortunately. The second method is to use a Multi-Stream Transport (MST) hub.

Dual DisplayPort 1.2 Outputs = Eyefinity6
Dual DisplayPort 1.2 Outputs = Eyefinity6

The Multi-Stream Transport hubs can solve a lot of connectivity issues, as they can potentially output a lot of different connections - VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort. Using DP 1.2 MST hubs allows more displays and higher resolutions, with different color gamuts, refresh rates and timings. These are currently in the bring up phase, meaning 2011 availability. Eyefinity6 investors need to wait a little longer.

AMD HD3D

DisplayPort 1.2 and HDMI 1.4a both offer more bandwidth, critical for new display technologies such as 3D. AMD Announced the Open Stereo 3D initiative at Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2010. This defined a method for delivering 3D content using interoperable hardware and software, not tied a single vendor. AMD's method for 3D relies on a third party 3D driver to perform the stereo conversion, such as from DDD or iZ3D. Viewing technology, such as 3D glasses can be provided by Bit Cauldron, XpanD and RealD, with Oakley getting involved in passive glasses technology as well. Displays from LG, Samsung and Viewsonic can provide the display, for playing and watching on.

AMD 3D
AMD 3D

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