AVIVO HD vs. Purevideo HD Part 3: Midrange and Low-end Card Performance

Cyberlink's PowerDVD Ultra is one of a very small handful of software video players that can play back protected HD content from HD DVD and Blu-ray sources. While we had some trouble with older builds, the new build provided us with smooth operation.

Last but not least, here are the specs of the test system:

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System Hardware
ProcessorIntel Core Duo e4300, 1.8 GHz, 1400 FSB, 2 MB Cache
MotherboardASUS P5B, BIOS: 1604
RAMPatriot PC2-6400, 1x 1024 MB, CAS 5.0-5-5-16
Hard DriveWestern Digital Caviar WD2500JS250 GB, 7200 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA 300
NetworkingRealtec onboard RTL8168/8111 Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics CardsEVGA GeForce 8600 GTS, 256 MB RAMEVGA GeForce 8400 GS, 256 MB RAMSapphire Radeon HD 2600 XT, 256 MB RAMVisionTek Radeon HD 2400 PRO, 256 MB RAM
Power SupplyThermaltake Toughpower 1200w
System Software & Drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Pro, Microsoft Vista Home
Graphics DriverNvidia ForceWare 163.69 (Vista), 163.71 (XP), ATI Catalyst 7.10

We used the lowest-end Core 2 Duo we had on hand with a single gigabyte of RAM, to move as much video decoding stress to the video card as possible. Although even the e4300 appeared to be powerful enough to play back 1080p video with processor-intensive H.264 codec, it was certainly pushing itself to do so at about 75% CPU usage.