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Performance during Video Playback

We couldn’t disregard the CPU utilization analysis during playback of various video formats. Therefore, we conducted a short test session with Windows Media Player 10 and a standard set of media:

  • “Magic of Flight” movie in WMV HD 1080p format;
  • A movie in DivX format in 640x480 resolution;
  • A DVD disk with “Starship Troopers” movie in PAL format

In addition we also tested the video playback in H.264 format with the BBC Motion Gallery Reel movie in H.264 720p format.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to test any other graphics cards in the latter format besides ATI AIW X1800 XL, which demonstrated about 35% CPU utilization. As for the other formats, the new AIW model copes with them as efficiently as the regular RADEON X1800 XL.

This is the best result for WMV HD playback so far among all contemporary video adapters: even GeForce 7800 GTX doesn’t use the CPU resources as efficiently as the new ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL and other RADEON X1000 family members featuring a new-generation Avivo video processor.

During the DivX content playback, the newcomer doesn’t feel so at home any more, although in this case the CPU is not loaded by more than 18% even in complex dynamic scenes.

DVD playback is the simplest video playback task of all, because this format doesn’t eat up a lot of resources. But even here, ATI AIW X1800 XL showed its superior efficiency by taking over almost all the MPEG-2 decoding work. We assume that during digital TV reception in DVB-T format the CPU utilization will remain pretty much as low as now, because this format is based on MPEG-2 standard.

All in all, AIW X1800 XL copes with the video playback with an A+ mark, just as all other RADEON X1000 solutions. The question about hardware H.264 decoding remains open, however, because during the test movie playback on the RADEON X800 XL as well as on the engineering sample of S3 Chrome S27, the CPU utilization hardly went over 40-42%.

In fact, the current version of ATI CATALYST driver might have no hardware support of H.264 decoding. This support is most likely to appear in the new driver version. However, even without this support, you can play video in this format and you won’t need any super fast system for that. All you need is a PC with an AMD Athlon 64 3500+ or Intel Pentium 4 560 processor.

We decided to refrain from posting the whole bunch of gaming performance tests for ATI All-In-Wonder X1800 XL graphics card, because it works at the same frequencies as the regular ATI RADEON X1800 XL, and hence should perform identically in games (for details see our article called ATI RADEON X1800 XT and XL Performance: Crushing NVIDIA's 7800? ). AT the same time, we do understand, that this solution has no direct competitors: there is just a slower predecessor – All-In-Wonder X800 XL.

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