DivX, DVD, HDTV Playback
GeForce 6800 series GPUs are known to have a video unit, intended for a more efficient processing of video streams as well as for reducing the load on the central processor of the system. However, our tests showed that these options were probably disabled on the driver level, since the CPU load was indecently high when playing video of various formats, reaching 100% with HDTV. We decided to check out if the new ForceWare (version 65.76) had brought anything new in this area. Playing a HDTV clip with a vertical resolution of 1080 lines, we got the following results:
For comparison, playing the same clip on a system with an Athlon XP 2600+ loaded the CPU by 80-90%. The GeForce 6600 GT is targeted exactly at mainstream systems equipped with PCI Express. Owners of such platforms will be able to enjoy smooth HDTV video playback without putting an extreme load on the CPU and having dropped frames or jerkiness.
We used a 640x480 clip in this test, and the new GPU did well in this case, too.
We used a legal copy of the Starship Troopers movie in the DVD playback test. With the new driver, NVIDIA’s GPUs were excellent again.
The asterix in the diagrams marks AGP graphics cards we tested in a system with an AMD Athlon 64 3400+. When using ForceWare 65.76 we always saw a considerable alleviation of the CPU load, and NVIDIA’s GPUs had an advantage over the rest of the participants, save for the S3 DeltaChrome S8 Nitro with its Chromotion engine. Thus, it is now clear that the video processor, highly touted by NVIDIA, does work. Moreover, it works just excellently!