Using NVIDIA's VDPAU On Mobile Platforms
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 6 January 2010. Page 2 of 2. 26 Comments

The NVIDIA ION graphics processor's temperature really had not changed too much between GL2, X-Video, and VDPAU. VDPAU was less than 1°C cooler than X-Video, which in turn was 1°C cooler than when using X-Video. However, with the ASUS Eee PC 1201N netbook that runs very warm to begin with, every little bit counts.

When looking at how the battery power consumption was affected by GL2, X-Video, and VDPAU, these results surprised us somewhat. Using X-Video actually caused the system to consume a third of a Watt less than using X-Video. In other words, VDPAU was not the most power efficient. However, eating up the most power was the GL2 method.

The Phoronix Test Suite system monitoring module though did produce some additional results that may explain why VDPAU was going through more power than X-Video. As can be seen from the graph above, when using VDPAU the GPU core was constantly clocked at its highest 450MHz state. When using X-Video and GL2 the GPU core had down-clocked via PowerMizer to different power states, but when VDPAU was active this did not take place. It appears that when VDPAU is active the GPU is forced to run in its highest power state. This may be a bug in the driver but we have not confirmed whether this action is intended at this time of publishing.

From these quick VDPAU benchmarks, this NVIDIA video API continues to work very well, even when it is on an ION-based netbook. VDPAU right now is eating up more power than running with X-Video, but it's only about a third of a Watt. The decreased CPU usage though is clearly worth it if you wish to enjoy HD content on a NVIDIA-powered netbook or other portable device.

About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

Related Articles
Featured Articles
Trending Linux News