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Move Over G45: Nvidia's GeForce 9300 Arrives

DVD Playback

A number of our past Blu-ray comparisons relied on a rip from Casino Royale to measure performance. And while that benchmark technique will indeed yield repeatable CPU utilization numbers, it fails to take into account decryption of the copy protection you’d find in playing back a movie from disc, which actually applies a significant processing load.

Having worked with Intel to create a more representative testing environment, we loaded up the latest version of PowerDVD 8 on each of our test beds and ran 100 seconds of playback from Resident Evil: Extinction using Microsoft’s Perfmon.exe to measure average utilization.

Ironically, even after updating to the latest 0079 BIOS and installing the 15.11.2.1554 driver set, our Intel platform would not function with hardware-accelerated decoding turned on—hence the near-60% utilization representative of an unassisted Core 2 Duo E7200.

Our 790GX system displayed even more bizarre behavior, playing through the movie’s trailers and then freezing up with a green screen once the movie actually began. Turning Avivo acceleration off in PowerDVD’s control panel fixed this issue, so that 70% CPU score is representative of AMD’s Athlon 64 X2 cranking on an H.264 Blu-ray movie unassisted as well. We’re working with both AMD and Intel to try to solve these strange behaviors and will update the story once we can test Blu-ray playback at the utilization levels we’d expect to see from either hardware-accelerated chipset.

Meanwhile, Nvidia’s GeForce 9300 works as advertised, dipping under 20% while playing back Chapter 8 of Resident Evil.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • Ryun
    Good article but I feel compelled to say that I don't understand your choice for pitting the 790GX (~$140 board) and a 5400+ (~$80) with an the E7200 (~$120) and the G45 (~$100).

    Wouldn't it have made more sense to pair up similarly priced components, such as the 780g and 5400+ vs a E2180 and G45? Maybe someone could explain the reasoning?
    Reply
  • ricstorms
    I think a better Intel processor for an apt comparison should have been the E5200, which is only about $10 more expensive than the 5400+. Also, no mention was made that the 790GX platform is much more versatile, thanks to its 2 PCIExpress x16 slots (albeit running in x8 mode in Crossfire). Also, I would have liked to see the overclocking results with all three platforms, that is one of the strengths of the 790GX platform. (since AMD processors have fallen from grace, its almost impossible to find good reviews, I didn't see one in a google search for the 5400+ black edition)

    I think that the 780g platform is more analogous to the 9300. I would have liked to seen either a 8650 or a 6000+ competing on that than a 5400 on the 790GX, many of its features are not being used here. That being said I still think the Nvidia/Intel platform would fair better. It seems to me that this article is at some points aimed at gamers and at other home theater enthusiasts. I think the article would have been better suited focusing on either one, not both.
    Reply
  • chaohsiangchen
    I agree with Ryun about the price comparison.

    Cheapest G45 board is around $109 from Intel (discarding ECS) on newegg. G31 is outdated.

    $100 730i board would be pitted against G45 board directly.

    780G boards are slightly cheaper and still more capable then NVIDIA MCP7x and any Intel IGP solution. JetWay is offering JetWay HA07 790GX/SB750 board for $90 on newegg at the moment.

    Reply
  • Reynod
    I still don't understand how you can say the AMD system draws less power at idle then declare the Intel system to be the winner i nthe power stakes??

    Can you please explain that one?

    I would hardly put a 5400+ in a HTPC either ... I'd throw in a low power dual core ... bet that would make mincemeat out of the Intel systems and still give quality playback and much smoother graphics up on the screen.

    Plus we all know the NVidia Graphics chips in this iteration are defective ... why buy a defective mobo to begin with?

    It might not last very long.

    Doesn't make good purchasing sense.

    Even Apple are publicly stating that all current GPU's have defective substrates causing bonding issue, reducing the lifeltime of the GPU largely based on thermals I guess.

    The E7200 is a good performer ... very good in fact.
    Reply
  • Liuqyn
    if they had done that, then they would have had to admit that AMD was still the better value for entry level gaming and HTPC use.
    Reply
  • marees
    I agree perfrectly with Ryun that you cant compare e7200 with ath 5400.

    I would like to add that a phenom (8450?/9550?) processor should have been used because of the higher hyper transport speed advantages and also to check if the power consumtion is different.

    Hopefully TomsHarware will update the figures including scores for phenom processor and also nvidia 8200/8300 chipsets for amd processors, just for completeness sake.
    Reply
  • chaohsiangchen
    ReynodPlus we all know the NVidia Graphics chips in this iteration are defective ... why buy a defective mobo to begin with?It might not last very long.
    Not true. Don't believe anything comes out from Charlie Demerjian until proven.
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    Well written! Next time do you mind posting a bit on if the board is capable of OCing a bit?
    Reply
  • cangelini
    ryunGood article but I feel compelled to say that I don't understand your choice for pitting the 790GX (~$140 board) and a 5400+ (~$80) with an the E7200 (~$120) and the G45 (~$100).Wouldn't it have made more sense to pair up similarly priced components, such as the 780g and 5400+ vs a E2180 and G45? Maybe someone could explain the reasoning?
    Ryun,
    The Intel- and AMD-based platforms both add up to $220. Assuming all other components are the same (memory, HDD, PSU, etc), you end up with two machines that cost the same amount of money.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    ricstormsI think a better Intel processor for an apt comparison should have been the E5200, which is only about $10 more expensive than the 5400+. Also, no mention was made that the 790GX platform is much more versatile, thanks to its 2 PCIExpress x16 slots (albeit running in x8 mode in Crossfire). Also, I would have liked to see the overclocking results with all three platforms, that is one of the strengths of the 790GX platform. (since AMD processors have fallen from grace, its almost impossible to find good reviews, I didn't see one in a google search for the 5400+ black edition) I think that the 780g platform is more analogous to the 9300. I would have liked to seen either a 8650 or a 6000+ competing on that than a 5400 on the 790GX, many of its features are not being used here. That being said I still think the Nvidia/Intel platform would fair better. It seems to me that this article is at some points aimed at gamers and at other home theater enthusiasts. I think the article would have been better suited focusing on either one, not both.
    Hi Rick!
    You're right on the money about the 790GX's support for CrossFire. I'll look for a place in the piece to add mention of that. The 790GX chipset isn't going to add anything to overclocking in this particular comparison, though, since it's not a Phenom in the socket, but an Athlon 64 X2.

    I believe this platform is best suited to an HTPC crowd, but I couldn't ignore Nvidia's insistence that gaming is good here as well. And to that end, I'd still recommend an add-in board under $100 like AMD's Radeon HD 4670.
    Reply