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

Enabling Hardware Acceleration With Purevideo

Turning On Inverse Telecine, Noise Reduction And Detail Enhancement

Similarly to Avivo, Purevideo will now work with most DVD decoders that offer a hardware acceleration option, assuming you have ForceWare drivers 91.47 or higher. Also, similar to Avivo, the pulldown detection option (called "inverse telecine" in the Nvidia control panel) is set to off by default. Indeed, noise reduction and detail enhancement are also off by default.

Purevideo's pulldown detection features are like those of the Catalyst driver, which are also not activated by default. These controls are nested in the new Nvidia control panel, under the "Video and Television" category, under an "adjust video color settings" heading. Furthermore, the "advanced view" option must be activated.

I personally don't think that it's very user-friendly to put inverse telecine, noise reduction and detail enhancement controls under the video color settings section. None of these three items really has anything to do with color settings. Hopefully, Nvidia will make a separate, fitting category for these options in the future that is easier to find.

The good news is that everything works great, and that Purevideo offers a DVD quality enhancement feature here that Avivo doesn't: detail enhancement. We'll look into all of the bells and whistles that these cards offer next.

One small item of note, though: I found that if I changed the Purevideo options in the Nvidia control panel while the DVD player was on - not running a DVD, but in stop mode - this would sometimes shut down all of the Purevideo DVD enhancements. Closing and restarting the player would not fix the problem; I actually would have to reboot to get the features to work again. This is something you might want to consider if you're troubleshooting.

Test System

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System Hardware
Processor(s)AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Venice)2.2Ghz (overclocked to 2522 MHz), 512k L2 cache
PlatformASrock 9393dual-SATA2 (socket 939)ULI 1695 chipset, BIOS v1.6
RAMPATRIOT EP1 x 1024 mb PC3500 (CL2.0-3-2-5)
Hard DriveWestern Digital WD1200JB120 GB, 7,200 RPM, 8 MB cache, UltraATA/100
NetworkingOn-board 100 Mb Ethernet
Graphics CardNvidia 7600 GT Reference Board (PCIe)256mb GDDR3ATI Radeon X1900 XTX (PCIe)512mb GDDR3
Power SupplyUltra X-Connect , ATX, 550 W
System Software & Drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform DriverAMD Athlon 64 Processor Driver
Graphics DriverATI Catalyst 6.11, Nvidia Forceware 93.71
DVD Playback softwareCyberlink PowerDVD 7.0

Note that in this review we've pitted a Radeon X1900 XTX against a Geforce 7600 GT. Before you protest, keep in mind that this is not a 3D acceleration review, but a video playback review. The 7600 GT has all of the video playback features of its big brother the 7950 GTX, and as we'll see in the test results, it has nothing to apologize for.

We'll test DVD playback with one of the popular packages out there that often comes bundled with DVD optical drives: Cyberlink's PowerDVD. This fairly common yet solid DVD playing software will give us a good idea how well Avivo and Purevideo hardware acceleration works when combined with a typical DVD decoder and software package.