Besides 3D games, the Kabini’s graphics core can be used to accelerate video encoding and decoding. Like discrete graphics cards, it features VCE (Video Codec Engine) and UVD (Universal Video Decoder) subunits. The VCE unit isn’t used by any popular video transcoding tools, though. The UVD engine, on the contrary, is employed by many software players to decode various video formats.
To check out its efficiency we will test the image quality and processor load while playing different H.264 videos with the software player Media Player Classic – Home Cinema version 1.7.5 with K-Lite Codec Pack 10.4.5 and with video decoding enabled via LAV Filters 0.61.2.
The following diagram shows the average load on the processors’ x86 and graphics cores while playing a typical AVC Full-HD video with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a frame rate of 25 fps. The video clip’s bitrate is about 13 Mbps.
None of the tested processors has problems playing ordinary Full-HD video content. That’s not surprising at all. The CPU and GPU load is low with every configuration, so even very inexpensive desktop processors have enough resources to play more sophisticated video files.
So let’s test a more difficult scenario. The following diagram shows the load while playing an AVC Full-HD video with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and a frame rate of 60 fps. The video clip’s bitrate is about 20 Mbps.
There are no critical problems here although the GPU load is much higher. The Kabini’s GPU load is up to 90%, yet they cope with the task well. There are no dropped frames in this test.
And now let’s see the processors play a video file encoded with the Hi10P profile using 10-bit color depth. The test video has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, a frame rate of 24 fps and a bitrate of about 12 Mbps.
Today’s GPUs don’t yet offer full hardware acceleration for Hi10P video decoding, so a large part of work is done on the x86 cores. The latter cope with the job well enough, though. Even the slowest processor in this test session, Sempron 3850, has a load level of about 50%.
The last test is about playing 4K video. The video clip has a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels, a frame rate of 30 fps, and a bitrate of about 100 Mbps.
Many entry-level processors have problems in this test and the Kabini is among them. The Socket AM1 platform is no good for playing 4K video: the processor load is 100% and there are dropped frames. It must be noted that we see the same picture with the Bay Trail. The Celeron processors of the Ivy Bridge and Haswell generations are absolutely different. Their integrated graphics cores offer hardware acceleration for 4K video decoding, so the playback is smooth.
Overall, the Socket AM1 platform is suitable for multimedia players and HTPCs but with certain reservations.