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

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  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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    Apr 2008
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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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    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by deneb View Post
    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.


    G98 8400 GS is also manufactured with a 65 nm process.
    I am sure later revisions of the 9xxx series will have VP3. Would an 8400GS be usable for playing games? Also why not use the low end X2 CPU's as some of them also are low wattage and I am sure the performance will be even better still without the excess heat

  7. #7
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    Default Application on the encode side of this GPU?

    Are there applications of either the tested hardware set or the tested software suite (VDPAU + FFMPEG & others) to H.264 encode in any way, or is this application set limited strictly to playback optimization?

    I would imagine that a number of the GPU primitives in the chip would allow to address both worlds to some extent, but I do not know if the VDPAU wouldbe effective glue. FFMPEG surely can do some tricks with H.264 encode, but I do not have any idea what if anything it can do a nice powerful low GPU like this one withou that right glue...

    Anyone set me straight?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by g-man View Post
    Are there applications of either the tested hardware set or the tested software suite (VDPAU + FFMPEG & others) to H.264 encode in any way, or is this application set limited strictly to playback optimization?
    VDPAU (and DXVA on Windows) is limited to decoding. The supported GPUs contain specialized hardware that is only suitable for video decoding. This also applies to ATI's UVD.

    I would imagine that a number of the GPU primitives in the chip would allow to address both worlds to some extent, but I do not know if the VDPAU wouldbe effective glue.
    Using the shaders or stream processors of a GPU for general purpose computing is getting easiear and there have been some attempts to both decode and encode using them. However, current GPU encoder implementations are still less efficient than good software encoders run on modern CPUs.

    This topic has been discussed more thoroughly (and many times over) at the Doom9 MPEG-4 AVC forum. This post links to some relevant threads: http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1193278

  9. #9
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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...

  10. #10
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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.

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