Skip to main content

Part 4: Avivo HD vs. PureVideo HD

Quirks, Frustrations, And Compliance Woes

One quirk on the Gigabyte 780G board is that during testing HCDP compliance didn’t seem to work over the DVI connection. Reader comments suggested that this is an isolated problem with our test configuration so we’re asking Gigabyte for clarification.

Thankfully, when HDCP compliance is having a problem, there are a few options. One option would be to shell out another $115 to Slysoft for its excellent AnyDVD HD app that is able to decrypt HDCP playback in software, so you don’t need an HDCP-compliant monitor or graphics card. This is a pretty hefty expense for folks who have a great high-resolution monitor with no HDMI connection (like myself) and it could have been avoided by simply making the DVI output on the motherboard HDCP-compliant.

Of course, there are much cheaper options. The issue can also be avoided by purchasing a cheap discrete card with DVI and HDMI output like the 2400 PRO.

The cheapest alternative is to use an HDMI cable with an HDMI-to-DVI converter on one end. We tried the DVI-to-HDMI converter bundled with a separate Radeon HD 4870 card, but we weren’t sure this would work. Its purpose is to convert the DVI output from the Radeon card into an HDMI cable format—the exact opposite of what we were doing. Luckily, using the HDMI output of the motherboard and attaching the DVI-to-HDMI converter directly to the monitor seemed to do the trick. HDCP compliance was achieved and the system had no trouble playing back protected Blu-ray disks.

The ECS GF8200A board avoids the issue by offering only an HDMI connection with an analog output instead. Of course, the analog output doesn’t support HDCP, and wouldn’t let us go higher than 1650x1080 for Blu-ray playback. Of course, using an HDMI-to-DVI converter is an option, as it is with the Gigabyte board.

Now, I can understand the argument that these boards are targeted at home-theater PC users who are much more likely to have an HDMI connection, but it still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me that those with HDCP-capable DVI monitors are left looking for workarounds. What about students relying on their PCs for entertainment ?

Apart from this, everything went fairly smoothly with Blu-ray playback, but there were a few other issues. First of all, the most recent WHQL-compliant Nvidia 175.19 driver proved MUCH slower than the newest 177.92 beta drivers in our testing. People who assume WHQL is the way to go will experience much choppier Blu-ray playback than intrepid folks who install the beta software.

Also, a CrossFire test using the Catalyst 8.7 drivers seemed to muck up HD playback capabilities until the newer Catalyst 8.8 drivers were installed. Using the 780G platform, we did experience some rare quirks where PowerDVD would sometimes refuse to play back a disk. After running the Cyberlink Blu-ray compliance tester, which would show everything was okay, playback would work fine.

ECS GF8200A Motherboard And Stuttering Video

We encountered an irritating, but very easy-to-fix issue with our ECS GF8200A motherboard.It seems that in some cases, the board will default to a 200 MHZ HyperTransport speed. This low speed won’t really demonstrate itself in regular system operation and the machine will seem to work fine until any graphics power is required, such as a game or Blu-ray playback. If HyperTransport is left at 200 MHz, game and HD video will stutter like it’s running on a 15-year-old computer.

Happily, the only fix required is to go into the BIOS during start-up and set the HyperTransport speed to “Auto” instead of “200.” After that, the machine will run smooth as silk. It’s nice that the fix was this simple, but it was a real pain trying to diagnose the issue.

  • abzillah
    Don't the 780G chips have hybrid technology? It would have been great to see what kind of performance difference it would make to add a discrete card with a 780G chip. Motherboards with integrated graphics cost about the same as those without integrated graphics, and so I would choose an integrated graphics + a discrete graphic card for hybrid performance.
    Reply
  • liemfukliang
    Wao, you should update this article part 5 in tuesday when NDA 9300 lift out. 9300 vs 790GX. Does this NVidia VGA also defect?
    Reply
  • TheGreatGrapeApe
    Nice job Don !
    Interesting seeing the theoretical HQV difference being a realistic nil due to playability (does image enhancement of a skipping image matter?)

    I'll be linking to this one again.

    Next round HD4K vs GTX vs GF9 integrated, complete with dual view decoding. >B~)
    Reply
  • kingraven
    Great article, specially liked the decrypted video benchmarks as I was indeed expecting a much higher difference.

    Also was expecting that the single core handled it better as I use a old laptop with pentium M 1500mhz & ATI 9600 as a HTPC and it plays nearly all HD media I trow at it smoothly (Including 1080P) trough ffdshow. Notice the files are usually Matroska or AVI and the codecs vary but usually are H264.

    I admit since its an old PC without blueray or HD-DVD I have no idea how the "real deal" would perform, probably as bad or worse as the article says :P
    Reply
  • modtech
    A refreshingly informative article. Well done.
    Reply
  • I have a gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H m/b (780G)
    I just bought a Samsung LE46A656 TV and I have the following problem:

    When I connect the TV with standard VGA (D-SUB) cable,
    I can use Full HD (1920 X 1080) correctly.

    If I use the HDMI or DVI (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor) I can not use 1920 X 1080 correctly.
    The screen has black borders on all sides (about 3cm) and the picture is weird, like the monitor was not driven in its native resolution, but the 1920 X 1080 signal was compressed to the resolution that was visible on my TV.

    I also tried my old laptop (also ATI, x700) and had the same problem.
    I thought that my TV was defective but then I tried an old NVIDIA card I had and everything worked perfect!!!
    Full 1920 X 1080 with my HDMI input (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor).

    I don't know if this is a ATI driver problem or a general ATI hardware limitation,
    but I WILL NEVER BUY ATI AGAIN.
    They claim HDMI with full HD support. Well they are lying!
    Reply
  • That's funny, bit-tech had some rather different numbers for HQV tests for the 780g board.

    http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2008/03/04/amd_780g_integrated_graphics_chipset/10

    What's going on here? I assume bit-tech tweaked player settings to improve results, and you guys left everything at default?
    Reply
  • puet
    What about the image enhacements in the HQV test posible with a 780G and a Phenom procesor?, would this mix stand up in front of the discrete solution chosen?.
    This one could be an interesting part V in the articles series.
    Reply
  • genored
    azraelI have a gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H m/b (780G)I just bought a Samsung LE46A656 TV and I have the following problem:When I connect the TV with standard VGA (D-SUB) cable, I can use Full HD (1920 X 1080) correctly.If I use the HDMI or DVI (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor) I can not use 1920 X 1080 correctly. The screen has black borders on all sides (about 3cm) and the picture is weird, like the monitor was not driven in its native resolution, but the 1920 X 1080 signal was compressed to the resolution that was visible on my TV.I also tried my old laptop (also ATI, x700) and had the same problem.I thought that my TV was defective but then I tried an old NVIDIA card I had and everything worked perfect!!!Full 1920 X 1080 with my HDMI input (with DVI-> HDMI adaptor).I don't know if this is a ATI driver problem or a general ATI hardware limitation, but I WILL NEVER BUY ATI AGAIN.They claim HDMI with full HD support. Well they are lying!
    LEARN TO DOWNLOAD DRIVERS
    Reply
  • Guys...I own this Gigabyte board. HDCP works over DVI because that's what I use at home. Albeit I go from DVI from the motherboard to HDMI on the TV (don't ask why, it's just the cable I had). I don't have ANYDVD so, I know that it works.

    As for the guy having issues with HDMI with the ATI 3200 onboard, dude, there were some problems with the initial BIOS. Update them, update your drivers and you won't have a problem. My brother has the same board too and he uses HDMI and it works just fine. Noob...
    Reply