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Thread: HD Video Playback With A $20 CPU & $30 GPU On Linux

  1. #1
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    Default HD Video Playback With A $20 CPU & $30 GPU On Linux

    Phoronix: HD Video Playback With A $20 CPU & $30 GPU On Linux

    A month ago NVIDIA had introduced the Video Decode and Presentation API for Unix (VDPAU) that brought PureVideo-like features to Linux. Our initial benchmarks of this video decoding API within NVIDIA's binary driver were quite favorable as it was able to dramatically cut down on the CPU usage when playing H.264 video files. To see how well NVIDIA's VDPAU really is though, we have carried out some more thorough testing now and our hardware consists of a CPU we purchased for $20 USD and a NVIDIA GeForce graphics card that retails for just $30. Can this very low-end hardware manage to play high definition videos under Linux?

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=13232

  2. #2
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    That's pretty sweet. Can pick up $5 mouse and keyboard. What would the motherboard be? Can you get $10 ones? Maybe $20? Then some RAM, it's cheap now, pick up 512MB?
    Now the only expensive thing left is the monitor.

    Head-less computer that plays HD movies while compiling linux kernels: under $100 now?

  3. #3
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    Cool

    FYI, GeForce 9-Series graphics controllers features third generation PureVideo hardware which should offer better offloading of VC-1 and MPEG-2 than the older GeForce 8-Series graphics controllers hardware which only features the second generation PureVideo hardware. Decoding of H.264 video should however offer similar performance with GeForce 8-Series and GeForce 9-Series hardware as long as the GPU and memory is clocked the same, but the GeForce 9-Series chips are usually clocked higher and they use a more modern manufacturer method thus will generate less heat at the same clock speed compared to the older GeForce 8-Series chips.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PureVid...on_3_PureVideo

    PS! I think it cool that there are now both GeForce 8-Series and GeForce 9-Series cards available for PCI to buy, which mean that you can install them in a older motherboard that does not have an AGP or PCIe (PCI-Express) slot.

  4. #4
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    I think new OpnCL will solve all problems with HD decoding

  5. #5
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    Unhappy Silly way to test

    Why overloading the CPU while playing the Videos? This is a non-sense : any poweruser that does two things at the same time while quickly learn to renice a process to make it only use the idle CPU.

    What I would like to see is the test with a niced 20 kernel compilation, then let's see if the video playback is good without nvpau. If you want, you can then indicate time to compile the kernel with both solutions, to show how much faster it is with nvpau.

    Anyway, thanks to your work on Phoronix, even if I feel this site is way too nice with hardware companies : where is the point in using open source linux with closed source drivers? Still a system where you will not be able to use your hardware the day the manufacturer decide they stop. I had used the NVidia driver to play DVD through XvMC on a 333MHz Celeron with Geforce2Mx. Then, one day, they stopped support for this video card, without even open sourcing the abandonned driver. GOTO THRASH...

  6. #6
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    I would have like to have seen tests with 1080p streams like BBC-HD in the UK which are encoded using MBAFF. These type of encoded H.264 streams tend to bring most modern CPU's to their knees. Usually the CPU is 100% all the way through if HA is not present.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zézinho View Post
    Why overloading the CPU while playing the Videos? This is a non-sense : any poweruser that does two things at the same time while quickly learn to renice a process to make it only use the idle CPU.
    It would be nonsense if most people weren't using modern desktop-oriented distros, where brief (and sometimes not-so-brief) CPU usage spikes can come without warning.

  8. #8
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    Nice, well-balanced article, I liked the summary at the end about where everyone was at as far as video acceleration. ^^

    Come oooooooon Gallium 3D, show us an example of what an awesome Linux API can be/do.

  9. #9
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    Nice article, and VDPAU sure does have a lot of promise indeed. Playing accelerated HD videos on a lowend gfx card and lowend mobo/cpu does sound sweet in a way

    BRB buying a cheapo system

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gamester17 View Post
    FYI, GeForce 9-Series graphics controllers features third generation PureVideo hardware which should offer better offloading of VC-1 and MPEG-2 than the older GeForce 8-Series graphics controllers hardware which only features the second generation PureVideo hardware.
    G98-based GeForce 8400 GS models do have VP3. Most GeForce 9 GPUs only have VP2 as can be seen in the table behind your Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PureVid...Purevideo_GPUs

    Only G98 chips have VP3. This includes some of the integrated (mobile) GeForce 9 versions. The VDPAU announcement lists these and a more complete list that includes 8400 GS can be extracted from the drivers: http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/show...32&postcount=3

    Currently G98 GeForce 8400 GS is the only non-integrated graphics card that contains VP3.

    Decoding of H.264 video should however offer similar performance with GeForce 8-Series and GeForce 9-Series hardware as long as the GPU and memory is clocked the same, but the GeForce 9-Series chips are usually clocked higher and they use a more modern manufacturer method thus will generate less heat at the same clock speed compared to the older GeForce 8-Series chips.
    G98 8400 GS is also manufactured with a 65 nm process.

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