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18 November 2008, 11:46

Linux Nvidia driver for HD video acceleration tested

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The recent beta version 180.06 of Nvidia's Linux graphics driver supports the HD video acceleration API – VDPAU, or Video Decode and Presentation API for UNIX – that is integrated into the vendor's graphics cards and chipsets. Benchmark specialist Phoronix, known for its Phoronix Test Suite (PTS) Linux benchmark, has already tested the driver's video performance.

Phoronix uses the current SVN version of MPlayer as the playback software, adding the libavcodec, libavutil and ffmpeg video libraries with the appropriate VDPAU patches. System performance was measured during playback of a Nvidia's reference sample H.264 video. The test used GL2, X-Video and VDPAU with a 3 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and a 512MB Nvidia GeForce 9800GTX as the output device.

The results clearly show that using VDPAU to shift video-decoding from the CPU to the graphics card reduces the peak load to some 20 percent below the level attained when the CPU handles all of the encoding with GL2 and X-Video. The hardware requirements for the playback of high-resolution videos accordingly drop dramatically. All you need is a fairly recent Nvidia graphics card or Nvidia mainboard chipset with a Pure Video HD unit and a video player that can utilize Nvidia's VDPAU API.


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