Blu-ray Done Right: How Does Your Integrated GPU Stack Up?

Video Jargon Quick Reference

This is the latest in a series of Avivo Versus PureVideo articles, so some of the terms might justify re-explanation for those who are joining us fresh. For detailed explanations, we encourage the reader to check the other articles: 

Avivo vs. PureVideo, Round 1: The Radeon X1000 vs. Geforce 7000 Generation

Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD: What You Need to Know about High-Definition Video

Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD Part 3: Mid-range and Low-end Card Performance

Part 4: Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD


High-Definition Content Protection is an encryption scheme used by high-definition video to prevent the video data stream from being copied between the digital video output on your computer (DVI or HDMI) and your monitor. For it to work, the graphics card and the monitor must be HDCP-compliant. If both pieces are not compliant, the system will refuse to play the video.


The High-Definition Multimedia Interface is a digital audio/video output option, used mostly with high-definition televisions. HDMI has the distinction of being able to carry both digital audio and digital video information at the same time. If the hardware is compliant, then it can carry an HDCP signal.


The Digital Video Interface is another digital video output option, used mostly with computer monitors. It is only designed to handle video, not audio. If the hardware is compliant, then it can also carry an HDCP signal.


Referring to the horizontal resolution of high-definition content, 1080p, in this case, represents 1920 vertical lines by 1080 horizontal lines. The “p” means that the signal is “progressive,” which indicates that all 1080 lines are broadcast at once. An “i” instead of a “p” means that the signal is “interlaced” and only shows half of the total horizontal lines of resolution at one time.


Also referring to the horizontal resolution of high-definition content, 720p, in this case, represents a signal of 1280x720.


Linear Pulse-Code Modulation is a method of encoding digital audio. This is currently the only way of transferring eight-channel digital audio over a graphics card's HDMI output, discrete or integrated.

Video Codecs – H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2

The term “codec” stands for “compression-decompression.” As high-definition video includes too much information to broadcast without compressing it, a codec must be used to fit movies on a Blu-ray disc. There are three video codecs used in Blu-ray discs today: H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2.

H.264 is the newest and most demanding codec to play back, but it offers the best compression. The VC-1 and MPEG-2 codecs are a lot easier for the hardware to decompress, so they require less processing power. But they also take up more space on the disc.

  • Proximon
    Great article. I think maybe the 4650 is a bit overkill, but that's just nitpicking.

    As long as you are talking about HTPC builds though, you might want to mention temps... aren't the 9300/9400 boards very hot?
  • epsiloneri
    Power draw is not interesting because of the electricity bill, it is the generated heat needed to be dissipated with the associated noise levels due to cooling that is critical for an HTPC.
  • HalfHuman
    i don't get it why a home theater would use a 1200w power source. at the same time i don't get why would someone evaluate the power efficency using this kind of power sorce. if you ask me i'd make this crazy ass power supplies illegal. a normal hometheater should not use more than 50w at idle and 100-150w at load. seems that this is what these actually consume. factor in the less than 5% load on the power supply and you get a masterfull 50-60% power efficency. i'd love to see some proper power supply test.
  • falchard
  • falchard
    BTW, I would like to see a "Can it play Crysis" article in the future that runs down every video card and IGP, then determines if it can possibly play Crysis and at what settings.
  • HalfHuman
    the 1200w power supply is green as in blue-green mould green.
    this is in fact an excellent power supply... if you use it. at 100watts load it has a "cool" 76% efficency. if the intel pc uses less than 82watts in load and 66watts in idle you can only imagine the efficency a power supply has at below 5% load. the site suggest around 65% so instead of having a proper power supply using 40watts or less when idle, you get this "green" efficient hummer who swollows 66w. i really like you articles guys but this kind of testing is not the way to go.
  • Efficiency isn't even tested below 20% load i believe But it should still be around 70-80% it is a Thermaltake Toughpower 1200w and all of them(3 listed on their site) are standard 80% eff rated or bronze. Ture a more modest Delta,Seasonic 250w or 300w would be much more appropriate for a htpc.
  • HalfHuman
    20% for this would be 240watts and efficency would still be reasonable.
    i posted some link but i see it's been removed. that review said something about 65% minimum.
  • drew_a
    Uh, guys... you might want to edit this article...
    "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 dick Sunshine, which utilizes the H.264 codec and features PIP commentary during playback."

    on page 6
  • icepick314
    "If you are an audiophile, you should know that out of these remaining options, only the GeForce 9300/9400 can handle uncompressed eight-channel LPCM audio over HDMI 1.3."

    i did NOT know this...

    i thought only way to listen to uncompressed audio on blu-ray was using Asus Xonar HDAV 1.3 audio card to bitstream to your receiver...

    it's nice to know that IGP has enough power to handle 1080p while streaming HD audio codec....