Pure Video HD Performance
Finally, we set out to stress the new GeForce 8800 GT's PureVideo HD video processing engine, in terms of both image quality and CPU utilization with our HQV and H.264 playback tests.
HQV is comprised of a sampling of SD video clips and test patterns that have been specifically designed to evaluate a variety of interlaced video signal processing tasks, including decoding, de-interlacing, motion correction, noise reduction, film cadence detection, and detail enhancement. As each clip is played, the viewer is required to "score" the image based on a predetermined set of criteria. The numbers listed below are the sum of the scores for each section. We played the HQV DVD using the latest version of Cyberlink's PowerDVD, with hardware acceleration for AMD AVIVO and NVIDIA PureVideo extensions enabled.
The HQV benchmark has lost much of its luster with us. Not only because both ATI's and NVIDIA's respective architectures produce near perfect scores (130 points is a perfect score here), but because this benchmark leaves a portion of the scoring open to interpretation and depending who you talk to (Silicon Optics, Intel, NVIDIA, ATI, etc.) you'll likely get a different answer as to how to score a particular product. Regardless, thanks to AVIVO and PureVideo, the PC is a solid platform for playing most SD content. You'd have to spend thousands of dollars to get a DVD player that can produce similar results in this benchmark. Overall, we'd tip our collective hats toward NVIDIA's PureVideo HD output versus AMD's AVIVO but we've seen the tables turn from launch to launch and unless you're really a pixel snob, the differences are rather subtle.
We then conducted a test using an H.264 encoded movie trailer clip for "Evan Almighty" which is available for download on Apple's QuickTime website. The CPU utilization data gathered during these tests was taken from Windows Vista Performance Monitor. The graphs shows the CPU utilization for a GeForce 8800 GT and a Radeon HD 2900 XT using PowerDVD for the QuickTime clip. We'd caution you to focus on the red color-coded processor utilization line in the following graphs. The other green, yellow and blue lines for disk IO and memory utilization can vary greatly from run to run.
Radeon HD 2900 XT
GeForce 8800 GT
Here we see NVIDIA's PureVideo HD enabled system with the GeForce 8800 GT, on par mostly with AMD's AVIVO technology running on the Radeon HD 2900 XT. Though the peaks and valleys are significantly more dramatic with the 2900 XT, overall CPU utilization recorded was 14% on average for either system, which is pretty spectacular when you consider the processing requirements for playing back such high quality digital video content.