Saturday, August 16th 2008

Intel G45 Blu-Ray Playback Acceleration Imperfect, Buck Passed on to Software

It's been a few weeks since Intel launched its latest chipset with integrated graphics, the Intel G45. Among other things, Intel claimed this chipset accelerated HD video formats such as Blu-ray, where the integrated graphics logic is supposed to off-load the CPU of processing the video. Such as it is, Intel's integrated graphics processors (IGP) have been hugely reliant on the CPU for its functions.

Aaron Brezenski, a product engineer for Intel at its Chandler, Arizona US facility. In his recent blog entry (read here), he writes about the G45 not exactly achieving what it set out for, in other words, it was "still imperfect". He mentions about AMD hosting a demo booth where it was publicly demonstrated that a G45 based notebook made by HP failed to accelerate Blu-ray playback, the processor tipped 100% load throughout the playback which isn't what G45 is intended to bring about.

On the other hand, AMD claims its integrated graphics processors (namely AMD 740G, 780V, 780G) performed Blu-ray playback without this issue. Brezenski quashed AMD's study saying they didn't mention which processors they used, which Intel disapproves saying it wasn't an apples to apples comparison, but did buy their findings that despite the presence of G45, the processors peaked in utilization indicating the G45 was caught napping at its desk. A certain review ExtremeTech did of an Intel DG45ID motherboard came up with the same findings as those postulated by AMD.

Brezenski says that his sources have told him that the low HD HQV test scores were the result of a software player issue. Brezenski says that properly configured advanced de-interlacing would raise scores 20 points higher, and while he admits those scores are still not perfect, he says they are workable. Brezenski hopes driver tweaks will help improve performance even more in the future.

The critical flaws however, according to Brezenski are that when accelerating video using Arcsoft Total Media Player (in which acceleration is found to work, with CPU usage staying around 20%), it is found that the G45 is stuttering every 15 seconds when playing Blu-ray at 24 Hz, and that the G45 isn't able to pass 7.1 channel digital audio to a receiver. Keeping in mind the number of home theater PC users likely to use the G45 chipset and using AV receivers in their home theaters, this one issue will be a deal killer, reason being that while passing video and audio over HDMI makes it HDCP capable, the audio routed out to the receivers wouldn't be 7.1 channel.Source: DailyTech
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11 Comments on Intel G45 Blu-Ray Playback Acceleration Imperfect, Buck Passed on to Software

#1
1c3d0g
Right. Somehow I doubt Intel will ever get their graphics right on their own. They'd have to buy NVIDIA or some other experienced GPU maker to achieve this, IMO. For as long as I know Intel their graphics have been quite sh!tty. Numerous hardware compatibility errors (HUGE ones!), anemic performance and software drivers that ain't worth a d@mn. I don't believe Larrabee will change this fact. If it does, I will take back what I said and it'll truly be a new era for Intel graphics. Hopefully those benefits will trickle down to their IGP's as well.
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#2
lemonadesoda
Dont knock Intel's IGPs so hard. They are pretty good for 2D desktop, using low power, costing less than $5, requiring no active cooling. Works for their designed purpose IMO.

For 3D Intel has been out of the market. Larrabee looks interesting, although still high power consumption for comparable GPU performance. HOWEVER, use that power for regular multitasking and there is an enormous winner there.

Remember, that with Windows 7, your taskmanager will show 36 CPUs or more with Larrable when running a 2D desktop. (4 on your quad and 32 on your larrabee GPPU). Just imagine what you can do with that!



When running a DirectX game, we'll still have to see how that will perform.

****

The G45 is pretty embarassing if it cant accelerate video codecs properly. But AMD may only have a short window to gloat. Intel could be pretty dangerous if it designs a new mainboard concept with main CPU socket and a second socket NOT for a second CPU but for a Larrabee, ala x87 style, using Quick Path between it and the CPU. That would be an absolute monster, where depending on how you used your machine, you could plug in a 8-way, 16-way, 32-way or 64-way Larrabee.
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#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
On the other hand, AMD claims its integrated graphics processors (namely AMD 740G, 780V, 780G) performed Blu-ray playback without this issue. Brezenski quashed AMD's study saying they didn't mention which processors they used, which Intel disapproves saying it wasn't an apples to apples comparison, but did buy their findings that despite the presence of G45, the processors peaked in utilization indicating the G45 was caught napping at its desk. A certain review ExtremeTech did of an Intel DG45ID motherboard came up with the same findings as those postulated by AMD.
Apples to Apples...and just because they didn't mention CPU? ROFL. Captain Obvious to the rescue, AMD would have used...AMD processors since 740G/780V/780G support only AMD processors, and AMD's dual-core mobile chips are any way weaker than those Core 2 Duo's right? So, using weaker processors, they rubbish G45 saying a claimed feature doesn't work, and that CPU 100% throughout playback proves it and Intel doesn't buy this? OTOH ExtremeTech separately come to the same conclusion albeit they didn't use a comparison to prove it.

by: lemonadesoda
Dont knock Intel's IGPs so hard. They are pretty good for 2D desktop, using low power, costing less than $5, requiring no active cooling. Works for their designed purpose IMO.
G45 is supposed to be a flagship product, of the kind that makes it to HTPCs etc. Besides, Blu Ray acceleration was an unconditional feature (unconditional = you shouldn't need some random software only to get this to work, any Blu-Ray software should use it).
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#6
xfire
Bta hit the nail on the head.
I'm sure they'll do the same if larrabee fails.
The intel IGP's are still popular among people who don't know much about computer's.
Most laptops come with the GMA x3100 which isn't very good.
How's the Intel stock doing?
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#7
Dark_Webster
100% CPU usage is too much. At least AMD can say that they have a good IGP to accelerate Blu-ray.

My GME965 doesn't decode any HD at all, I'm seeing 720p content with a core fully utilized.
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#8
candle_86
if anyone expects great things from the Intel IGP market I want what you smoke k?
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#9
xfire
by: candle_86
if anyone expects great things from the Intel IGP market I want what you smoke k?
:laugh::pimp: Quoted in sig.
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#10
dmce
Go read up on AVSforums for some proper information on what the G45 can and cant do. The last paragraph sums up the problems with G45 in reality which are the 24p stuttering issue and the repeater bug.

It does accelerate all the HD codecs as required, and the issue in the test was due to the software used.

The reason the CPU issue is mentioned is that if you throw enough CPU power at HD material you can playback without hitting 100% or needing GFX card help (However, it will be higher than HD accelerated playback via a GFX card (IGP or otherwise)). 780G accelerates all HD material as well so i dont know what the fuss is there. The key thing 780G doesnt do is allow you to take advantage of HD audio, which is a pretty big failing as well.

If the 24p issue can be resolved and something is done about the repeater issue (which is related to intel sticking to a spec (which ati/nvidia dont) then the G45 will be the best solution for an HTPC. If they arent resolved it still has a place but not for people who want a complete solution (to which i dont think there is at the moment)
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#11
sixor
people just want their laptops to show stuff, thats the market of those intel igp crap

i just got a dell vostro 1500, i prefer to spend more on a nvidia 8400 crap than the x3100

but most people dont game on laptops, i just want to put some old games, i know 8400 is crap
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