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We'll be performing three types of Blu-ray-based benchmarks: playback image quality, CPU usage, and power usage.
As usual, we’ll use Silicon Optix’s HQV Blu-ray test disc in order to judge the high-definition playback quality of our various contenders. This benchmark consists of a series of tests that scrutinize image quality enhancement features, each of which is assigned a number of points. When all of the tests are completed, the playback image quality of each graphics chipset is represented by the sum of all of the points it scored. The best possible total score is 100 points, and the worst possible score is zero.
To judge CPU usage, we will play back a Blu-ray disk for three minutes and record the CPU usage during this time. Since there are three different codecs (compression-decompression algorithms) used on Blu-ray disks (and each codec requires a different amount of processing power to decode) we must test each codec separately. We will use the Blu-ray disk 300 to test the VC-1 codec, the Blu-ray disk Tomb Raider to test the MPEG-2 codec, and the Blu-ray disk The Fifth Element to test the H.264 codec.
For the last CPU utilization test, we will check the capability of these graphic chipsets to accelerate picture-in-picture (PIP) video streams. To do this, we will use the Blu-ray disk Sunshine, which utilizes the H.264 codec and features PIP commentary during playback.
Finally, we will test total system power usage at the wall to see how much power H.264 playback requires compared to the PC's idle state.
Here are the particulars of the test systems we ran:
|Test System Configuration|
AMD: Phenom II X2 550 BE (3.1 GHz, 6.0 MB Cache)
AMD 785G: Asus M4A785TD-M EVO
DDR2: A-Data AD2800E002GOU (2 x 2 GB)
DDR3: G.Skill F3-10666CL7-2GBPK (2 x 2 GB)
Radeon HD 4200 (785G) - 500 MHz GPU
GeForce 8200 - 500 MHz GPU, 1.2 GHz shader
Intel G45 - 800 MHz GPU
Western Digital Caviar Black 640 GB
Integrated HD Audio
Integrated Gigabit Networking
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium x64 SP1
GeForce 8200/9300: Nvidia GeForce 190.38 WHQL