AMD Fusion Hits Retail: Zotac and Gigabyte E-350s

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Multimedia Playback

To test video decode and playback capabilities of Zotac and Gigabyte E-350 APU-based systems, we attempted to play back a 1080p H.264-encoded QuickTime clip, along with 1080p Blu-ray movie content, a 1080P MKV file, and HD Flash video.   We then fired up Windows Task Manager take a look at CPU utilization in all instances.

HD Video Playback and CPU Utilization
HD Video Decode Performance

1080P MKV File Playback

1080P YouTube Flash Video

HD video playback was mixed with the Zotac an Gigabyte E-350-based systems. First, the good news. Blu-Ray video and QuickTime files played back beautifully. CPU utilization for Blu-Ray playback (Iron Man 2) remained relatively low--in the 20% to 25% range--and no frames were dropped using PowerDVD 10 (unfortunately, it would not let us capture a screenshot). The same was basically true with the QuickTime clip, but CPU utilization was somewhat higher and hovered in the 40% - 55% range. The MKV file also played back well (screen-cap above) and there were no issues to speak of, except for the fact that CPU utilization was even higher and lingered around 65%, with spikes in the 75% range.

Flash video is another story, however. Throughout the review process, AMD has been sending updates regarding support for Flash video acceleration. With current drivers and the latest official Flash 10.2 release, CPU utilization is very high and dropped frames are common with full-screen HD video. Lower resolutions also have high-CPU utilization, but the experience is much better. With that said, different versions of the plug-in seem to offer varying levels of support, and Adobe and AMD are working on optimizing performance. We expect Flash video acceleration to be much better in future driver and plug-in releases.

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