ATI's Surprise

by Anand Lal Shimpi on December 16, 2005 4:51 PM EST
Working with the Avivo team at ATI is very different from working with the GPU folks, they really are two very separate groups over there. Giving everyone a little present, for free, before the end of the year is just something we don't usually see from companies.

I made 3 trips to NYC in the past 2 weeks, one for Sun, one for Intel and one for ATI. I got back from my ATI trip last night and immediately went to work on the Catalyst 5.13 piece. I seemed to run into a few problems, but I'm working on getting those resolved so I can bring an updated Avivo DVD quality comparison.

One thing I would like to touch on is NVIDIA's PureVideo. I've talked to NVIDIA about this before and how the PureVideo DVD decoder is never bundled for free, anywhere, even if you're buying one of their $600 cards. NVIDIA's stance is that they've got to make money, but I look at the stuff that ATI is giving away for free right now or in the near future (accelerated H.264 decoder, Avivo Video Converter) and I can't help but feel that PureVideo, at least on the highest end cards, ends up nickle-and-diming NVIDIA's biggest supporters. After all, just about anything you buy these days comes with some sort of a DVD decoder, so why shouldn't NVIDIA at least try to do the same with PureVideo?

I am curious to see when NVIDIA will bring H.264 decode acceleration to the table on their GPUs, as they did promise it at the launch of G70. I'm convinced that NVIDIA will do it, after all they have to given the move to Blu-ray and HD-DVD starting next year, but I'm really curious as to when.

My Intel meeting in NYC also involved listening in to an update on Viiv. While I do think that Intel is doing the right thing with Viiv, I honestly don't think it will be all that big of a deal until Vista. The reason being that we do need real HD support (read: cablecard and not just OTA) on MCE PCs, and until that comes along, Viiv does little more than rebrand MCE boxes without fixing a serious problem in their functionality.

The Sun meeting was about their new Sunfire servers based on the UltraSPARC T1. I was working on an architecture piece on the UltraSPARC T1, but given my backlog of Yonah, Presler and other testing, I handed it off to Johan and he's going to hopefully have a piece ready for you after the holidays.

During one of my trips to NYC I managed to get terribly sick, which threw a wrench in my Yonah Part 2 plans. But despite pleadings from my lovely wife, I did manage to squeeze some work in during my recovery and I'm all but done with the article. I had to go back and re-run the DivX tests using the newest 6.1 build since that just came out, and most importantly, it adds multi-threading support which was broken in 6.0.3.

Surprisingly enough, the landscape has changed a bit after I updated all of the benchmarks for Yonah Part 2. There are some areas where Yonah did a lot better and there are others where its performance is a bit more complicated.

Vinney and I head down to NC for close to a month starting next week. I'll be shipping down a few testbeds so I'll have something to work on while down there, but it should be nice. We'll be leaving for CES from NC and then returning to NC before eventually making it back up here to the cold North East. But, knowing our luck, it'll probably snowing when we get down to Raleigh again :)


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  • MitchP - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    Will nVidia support H.264 decode acceleration only on G70 GPUs? Isn't the G70's arhitecture almost the same as NV4x's? If I remember correct, in Purevideo article on Anand, something was mentioned about H.264 support on NV43 as something on NV40 was broken. Reply
  • blckgrffn - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    Isn't that included in the NVDVD 2.0 software? If so, I recieved that that with two of the last higher end video cards that I purchased. My BFG 7800GT and the then highend EVGA 5900SE both came with that.

  • creathir - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    but why on earth can the "TV Capture Card" guys create a card that RECIEVES Component HD signals? Is there more to it than just the signal traveling across the three cables and I am just being stupid? More than likely so. I just look at this stuff and wonder aloud what anyone is thinking. If an A/V receiver can decode the crap and output it to another format, why on earth can't my Athlon 64 with 2GB of RAM? Why should the device on the other end give a rats rear end what I am outputting to, be it my monitor, my LCD panel, or my PC? What the heck does it matter?? Copyright protection? What a load of garbage... it will be surpassed... it will fail... it will not stand. DRM is about the closest thing to a good system they can come up with, stopping the playback of the file (unless its hacked of course) and not caring about how it is delivered to the viewer/listener. Your speaker does not have to report back to the receiver saying "Yup, I'm playing a file I am authorized to play", instead, it just plays what it is told to do. This business of making me buy a "CableCard" (which only Time Warner has... hmm, I wonder if they'll sell it to Cox... or if they'll allow DirecTV or DISH Network to use it... my guess is NO...) This monopoly junk has got to stop...

    I hate CableCard...
    I hate that my MCE 2005 can play HD yet I am screwed if I want to watch Discovery HD...
    I hate this conformity to self proclaimed authorities...

    Give me my component/DVI/HDMI inputs, or prepared to be hacked... maybe not by me... but by someone... your system will fail... it is only a matter of time, which is on our side.

    - Creathir
  • creathir - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    ^ That should be NOT create a card Reply
  • Furen - Saturday, December 17, 2005 - link

    "There are some areas where Yonah did a lot better and there are others where its performance is a bit more complicated."

    "Complicated"? That doesnt sound too good... though I don't see just how it can become complicated, it should either be better or worse unless you ran into incompatibilities (yikes).
  • monsoon - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    thanks for reassuring comments on the YONAH PART 2 preview; if you mind to check the comments on the "part 2 underway" of your blog, you'll find lots of support and unfortunately a very disturbing comment ( number 26 )...

    ...anyway, the AVIVO piece was excellent news ( will this cards be supported by the coming Mac Mini ? ) and i wish you the best holidays with your family, and a wonderful time at CES !=)

  • mlittl3 - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    Are you going to get a chance to go to the MacWorld Expo in January? Should be a good one. :) Reply
  • monsoon - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    sweeet, good idea !=P Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, December 16, 2005 - link

    Have a safe trip, thanks for the work, and listen to your wife! :)

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