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

Image-Quality: HQV’s High-Definition Video Benchmark, Cont'd

Film-Resolution Loss Test: Out of 25 points

This test shows a pattern of lines and color bars. If the hardware can show the smallest lines without flickering, it is successfully de-interlacing the image. This is an important feature, as many movies and television shows are shot at 1080p24, and successful film resolution compensation will display a superior, de-interlaced image.

Film-Resolution Loss Test
Graphics ProcessorScore
Integrated Radeon HD 3200 25
Integrated Radeon HD 4200 25
Integrated GeForce 8200 25
Integrated GeForce 9400 25
Integrated Intel G45
25

Here the Intel G45 was incapable of proper inverse telecine in our test system, even though it should be capable of handling this feature. The Radeon and GeForce chipsets coped with the test admirably, but the GeForce 8200 must use the older 182.5 driver in order to work. Since film resolution is something most users are likely to come across during movie playback, this is an important test.

Update:As documented on page five, we did manage to get Film Mode Detection to work on the G45 chipset, earning it a full 25 points in this test.

Film-Resolution Loss Stadium Test: Out of 10 points

This test shows a video of a stadium captured on film. If there are no visual artifacts, then there is no resolution loss.

Film-Resolution Loss: STADIUM
Graphics ProcessorScore
Integrated Radeon HD 3200 10
Integrated Radeon HD 4200 10
Integrated GeForce 8200 10
Integrated GeForce 9400 10
Integrated Intel G45
10

Once again, the Intel G45 isn't able to handle film-resolution loss even though it is supposed to possess the feature, while the Radeon and GeForce chipsets are doing a great job of processing the video. Once again, the GeForce 8200 required the older 182.5 driver in order to succeed at this test.

Update:As documented on page five, we did manage to get Film Mode Detection to work on the G45 chipset, earning it a full 10 points in this test.

Now that we’ve examined the specific tests, let’s have a look at the totals:

HD Benchmark Totals
(100 possible points)
Graphics ProcessorScore
Integrated Radeon HD 3200 80
Integrated Radeon HD 4200 80
Integrated GeForce 8200 80
Integrated GeForce 9400 100
Integrated Intel G45
90

These results are definitely encouraging for home-theater buffs, especially when you consider that our HQV tests last year yielded zero points for the 780G and GeForce 8200. Clearly the driver technology has come a long way for AMD, Intel, and Nvidia. 

Even the Intel G45 musters a decent score, and while it doesn't make the grade when it comes to the important film-resolution loss tests, it does a good job of noise cancellation and interlaced video processing.

Update: With Film Mode Detection now working, the Intel G45 board scores an impressive 90 total points.

The GeForce 8200 was the biggest disappointment. Even though it achieved a decent score, it did not have enough graphics horsepower to run without stuttering when the noise reduction feature was used.
Without the noise-reduction feature enabled, the GeForce 8200 has a realistic total score of 55 -- much less impressive.

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  • 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.
  • HalfHuman
    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=417&type=expert&pid=6
    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.
  • Other Comments
  • 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
    BUT CAN IT PLAY CRYSIS!
  • 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
    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=417&type=expert&pid=6
    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.
  • Anonymous
    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....
  • raptor550
    "To do this, we will use the Blu-ray dick Sunshine"
    I hate Blu-Ray dicks!

    Otherwise nice article. How about throwing in a GTX260 or other high powered card just for shits and giggles?
  • videoxprt
    I've tried the HD version of HQV a few weeks ago on my G45 based HTPC (Asus P5Q-EM), with slightly different results.
    The Film Resolution Loss test actually works, almost perfectly. There is just a minor glitch at the beginning of each scene, that you can see only if you know what to look for.
    In fact, if the "Film Mode Detection" control is toggled in the middle of playback, I can see a significant improvement in image quality at runtime.
    I would actually give 90 points to G45, for the simply reason that the denoise is not as good as the GeForce - but still one of the best HTPCs in the market.
  • Anonymous
    I find this review to be problematic on several fronts.

    First of all, there is way too much emphasis given to de-interlacing tests. This is mostly an issue with standard-definition DVDs and with some HDTV channels. The VAST majority of Blu-Ray content is stored in 24p format (23.976 frames per second, progressive). It does not need to be de-interlaced at all because it originated on film. This is even true of many newer TV shows, which are often shot on film, not video.

    Rather than wasting time with obsolete de-interlacing tests, you should have tested stutter-free 24p playback with compatible TV sets. Most new LCD flat panels that run at a 120Hz refresh rate are capable of supporting smooth 24p playback with 5:5 pulldown. However, not all chipsets can send this out properly. There have been reports of problems with the Intel G45 and some other chipsets - stuttering on 24p playback has been an issue in the past. I would be interested to know if this has been fixed. Also, you should have tested whether the HDMI repeater function (needed for hooking up through an A/V receiver) works properly with all chipsets.
  • burnley14
    I'd love to see an update in this after the release of the integrated GPUs on the upcoming Clarkdale chips.
  • philosofool
    I'm not really sure why anyone would even both spending money to build an HTPC and not spend the $40 for a Radeon 4350 or a 9400GT. They're passively cooled solutions that will easily outperform anything reviewed here today. It could even save you money because it would allow you to get a less expensive motherboard. Anyway, if you are serious about building an HTPC, it seems to me that one of these cards is just a no brainer. Why would you even risk blu ray stutter or graininess in your home theater?

    Anyway, I would really like to see a review of the 9400gt and hd 4350 as far as their effectiveness in video play back.
  • Anonymous
    I did not see any mention of what software was used to playback the blu-ray disks. I would like to see an article comparing various software options against a couple dedicated Blu-ray players.
  • Anonymous
    It would be nice next to the graphics card roundup, to see some articles about integrated graphics!

    Most people buy a mobo or laptop with integrated graphics card, and don't even bother to see how their performance could differ between AMD, intel, or an NVidia graphics powered mobo.

    I think it could really help the people who want to buy a new computer,eg: for work purposes, but would like to casually game on it, without suffering too horrible resolutions or lagging framerates.
    Ofcourse everyone serious about gaming would buy an additional graphics card to play their crysis, and I don't expect IGP's to run that game.
    But perhaps they are good for games like Tycoon, Formula 1, some basic 3rd and 1st person shooter games, etc...
  • cangelini
    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....


    Actually, the ASUS card is used to bitstream those high-def audio codecs to your receiver, where they can be decoded (giving you 24-bit 192kHz, if the content offers it). If you're happy decoding the audio locally on the HTPC and sending the uncompressed LPCM (16-bit 48kHz) to your receiver, Nvidia's GeFOrce 9300 will do the trick!
    Regards,
    Chris
  • cleeve
    HalfHumani don't get it why a home theater would use a 1200w power source.


    It wouldn't... It's a testbed. I don't think there's any recommendation for a 1200w PSU in the article.
  • Major7up
    I still prefer the discrete card solution, I just feel better about my systems with em.