Although the processing cores in Intel’s Sandy Bridge architecture are decidedly similar to Nehalem, the integration of on-die graphics and a ring bus improves performance for mainstream users. Intel’s Quick Sync is this design’s secret weapon, though.
That takes care of the encode/transcode optimizations, but what about decode? I really wanted to know what Arcsoft and CyberLink were doing with Quick Sync leading up to launch, so I spent time with both companies talking about their work.
It turns out that the decode pipeline on Sandy Bridge is so complete that even the AACS decryption is offloaded to fixed-function hardware. AACS employs AES encryption, which most Sandy Bridge-based CPUs accelerate, so that’s rather convenient.
In a best-case scenario, Arcsoft’s reps say that you bitstream encoded Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio to an HDMI 1.3- or 1.4-capable receiver (meaning there is no audio decoding for the CPU to do) and see CPU utilization as low as 0% playing back Blu-ray content.
I used CyberLink’s PowerDVD 10 bitstreaming audio and didn’t get results that stunning. However, CPU utilization did hover around 10% on a Core i7-2820QM-equipped notebook while watching Quantum of Solace, which employs AVC.
- Core i7-2600K, Core i5-2500K, Core i5-2400, And Core i3-2100 Reviewed
- Inside Of Sandy Bridge: Cores And Cache
- The System Agent And Turbo Boost 2.0
- Sandy Bridge’s Secret Weapon: Quick Sync
- Quick Sync Vs. APP Vs. CUDA
- Blu-ray Playback And Video Performance
- HD Graphics On The Desktop: Intel Trips Up
- Two New Platforms, More On The Way
- Overclocking: Sandy Bridge Changes The Game
- Meet Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs
- Hardware Setup
- Benchmark Results: PCMark Vantage
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark11
- Benchmark Results: SiSoftware Sandra 2011
- Benchmark Results: Content Creation
- Benchmark Results: Productivity
- Benchmark Results: Media Encoding
- Benchmark Results: Metro 2033 (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: F1 2010 (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs. Predator (DX11)
- Benchmark Results: Power Consumption