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Phoronix Test Suite

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Using NVIDIA's VDPAU On Mobile Platforms

Michael Larabel

Published on 6 January 2010
Written by Michael Larabel
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
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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