Intel Sandy Bridge VA-API Video Acceleration Performance
Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 7 March 2011. Page 4 of 5. 48 Comments

When having such a fast processor and X-Video 1080p playback even chewing up less than 10% of the CPU resources, the numbers are not too fascinating. It is not like in previous tests when showing Linux HD video playback with a $20 CPU and $30 GPU considering that this mid-range Sandy Bridge CPU (Core i5 2500K) sells for over $200 USD. The Intel H67 engineering sample motherboard doesn't allow us to down-clock the processor below 1600MHz to see how low we can possibly go with the CPU's performance while still handling Intel VA-API fine and making X-Video choke. The best we can do to limit the CPU's performance is disabling three of the four CPU cores. When the Core i5 2500K is limited to just one CPU core from the BIOS, this is what the CPU usage during 1080p video playback looks like:

When just a single physical CPU core is exposed, the VA-API utilization average is around 7%, NVIDIA VDPAU is around 10%, and the various X-Video implementations are 30~35%.

The NVIDIA VDPAU driver continues poking the CPU more often than VA-API.

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