To test video decode and playback capabilities of Zacate, we attempted to play back a 1080p H.264-encoded QuickTime clip, along with 1080p Blu-ray movie content. We then fired up Windows Task Manager performance monitor to take a look at CPU utilization in both instances.
|HD Video Playback and CPU Utilization
|Blu-ray and H.264 Decode Performance
Interestingly enough, it turned out to be a case of CODEC and driver optimization that gave us results almost the inverse of what we expected to see for each type of media.
Click To Enlarge; 1080p H.264
1080p HD Video Blu-Ray Playback
In general, the more taxing HD video decode requirement should be Blu-ray playback, with both optical drive access and HDCP decode overhead required, whereas the .mov Quicktime clip is a straight-forward simple decode. What we're seeing here though is that Zacate drivers are still being optimized and depending on the player being used currently, AMD's UVD3 decode block may or may not be efficiently utilized. In this case, the Cyberlink PowerDVD player being used in the Blu-ray test is optimized for the platform but the Quicktime player hasn't been yet. As such, there is actually dramatically lower CPU utilization at 33% or so playing the Blu-ray movie but around 60% CPU resources are consumed here playing the H.264 encoded content. We'd expect this to change for the better in the months ahead as AMD wrings out their drivers for the various CODECs and players on the market.