HD-Video Hardwar Acceleration?

Arjen van der Meijden acmmailing at tweakers.net
Mon Aug 31 00:20:59 PDT 2009

On 29-8-2009 12:53, Harald Braumann wrote:
> I for one care less about 3D acceleration. But it's very frustrating
> that it's still not possible to watch full HD videos on Linux. 

This is slightly off-topic, but I had to comment on your statement.

I have been watching 1080p content on my linux-htpc for over a year 
using Intel's G35-videochip and a E6750 (2.6Ghz Core 2), which could 
decode (almost?) all of the video content I threw at it with at most a 
minor stutter so now and then.
My system did start stuttering badly on the famous bird scene, but there 
isn't much material that is that heavy. It would also start to stutter 
when there are heavy background jobs, but using 'nice' and 'ionice' on 
those jobs will help a lot.

I switched to a VDPAU-enabled motherboard last week, and there is no 
significant stuttering with cpu-heavy background jobs running, although 
disk-heavy jobs still make it stuter (so I still need ionice).
My mplayer dropped from 70-100% cpu to 0-2% during full-hd decoding. And 
it indeed requires much less power to play video. The new motherboard is 
so much more power-efficient, it now consumes less power during 
video-playback than the old one did when idling (now idle ~ 70W, full hd 
playback 75-80W vs, old idle ~ 80W and full hd ~ 100W).

So your statement is not true. There are fast enough cpu's to do the 
decoding on their own and there is video-decoding available if you can 
live with the binary drivers from nvidia (at least for now). So there 
are two basic choices; you could pick-up a video-chip that will likely 
get video-decoding in the future (like the Intel G45 and better) and 
combine it with a fast cpu (like a E8200) to use for now, or pick up a 
motherboard with a nvidia chip (like the G9300/9400) and use the binary 
drivers untill the open source guys catch up.
If you're more concerned with power-consumption, the latter is your best 
bet. If you're more concerned with not tainting your linux environment, 
you should go with the first.

Best regards,


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