This morning I downloaded the nightly LiveCD build of Ubuntu 9.10. I figured if I grabbed the nightly build I'd get a really up-to-date Intel driver and the associated bits. The driver was reported as 2.7.99, so I'm fairly sure it was good enough for my testing.
I booted it up and got the nice LiveCD desktop, no corruption or missing UI components, I checked and was indeed running with UXA, not EXA. So that seems much improved. The desktop was being nicely composited, fading windows in and out without issue, again this is much improved since I last tried.
I set gnome's visual effects to full and got wobbily windows and the couple of other effects to go with it. This was where I started to notice a little slowdown, but I figured I likely wouldn't be using that on a daily basis, so I ignored it.
Next up I installed mplayer and tested a couple of HD videos I have kicking around.
The Deus Ex 3 trailer was encoded with H264 at 720p. It ran almost as well as windows with the exception of the fast motion right at the end where it seemed to struggle, which I thought was a little odd.
"Meet the Spy", a WMV encoded at 720p was slightly jumpy throughout, again this video plays fine under Windows. It stuttered more on fast motion that slow.
I tried getting mplayer to output using gl or gl2 and even XvMC, but both gl options reduced the framerate to 2 or 3 fps and the XvMC option displayed nothing at all.
Being a LiveCD I was unable to test my Sam & Max games via WINE as there was insufficient space to install them.
I figured as I had a GeForce card on had I'd give that a try. Again I booted the LiveCD, but this time I dropped to the terminal, stopped GDM and installed the binary nvidia driver.
Upon restarting GDM I was taken to the same desktop as before (go figure!). I set about testing the same things as I'd run on the X4500HD.
The desktop effects were smooth even on full, which wasn't surprising considering the power difference between the 2 GPUs. What did surprise me was the difference in playing HD video's.
Both videos were smooth from start to finish, just as it is in Windows. I could even drag the window about and have it "wobble" without noticing a single jump.
Now this GeForce is a GF 7600GS, so it doesn't have access to VDPAU. There wasn't any hardware offloading happening, so I'm a little stumped as to why the Intel card struggled so much.
So far it's looking like I may have to try and put a little extra money aside and get a laptop with an nvidia GPU in it. I know I'd be happier that way.
Thanks again to everyone for your input, and for putting up with me asking all these questions ^.~ If anyone else has anything they'd like to add, please do so ^^
And just to make sure, this is bare, no-frills mplayer (and especially not gmplayer, which is terrible), right?
EDIT: Also, how does it do if you disable the more demanding compositing effects, or turn compositing off completely?
Come on, a Pentium Dual Core 1.73GHz can decode 720p "without a hassle", why should anyone with a new processor have to disable compositing?
Why is the performance of the Intel chip so superior on Windows and OS X? I badly want Intel to do better on Linux. They're doing the right thing. They're completely open and I own their product. However, the performance in Linux leaves me puzzled.
I guess that the quality of the support of each Intel graphics chip varies a lot. It seems that the support for playing Full HD videos on G31/G33 is now perfect (on my PC) but the support for the more powerful G45 is behind. I say: just be patient. The support for my G33 was minimal when I bought this mobo, but it has improved tremendously, so much that I stopped exploring which graphics card I should buy to be able to watch Full HD videos. I am now perfectly happy with what I have got (I used to be very disappointed by the G33 and Intel programmers before).
My constant use of the latest versions of Mplayer and VLC and the related codecs in Debian Experimental may also take a significant part in the improvements I saw.
The fact is that any Canon 5D MkII video plays perfectly fine here, whatever the format or resolution.
Looking at the utilization of the two cores of my Core2duo@2.8gHz, I see that when playing a 1080p video from the Canon 5D MkII with xine, xine uses between 60% and 94% (with one spike to 99.99%), and xorg moves between 30% and 60%.
Last edited by DebianAroundParis; 06-09-2009 at 06:29 AM.
Well beginning with 3 ghz it seems to be smooth even in software single threaded for 1080p. When you look at the mplayer hp there are instructions how to compile it for multithreading, that might help you.