Last night, AMD announced that its upcoming R600 graphics processor family will feature dedicated universal video decoding hardware that works alongside Avivo.
Traditionally, even if the graphics card capable of decoding video, the video processing done by it will only amount to 50% of the work – the rest is picked up by the CPU.
With AMD’s R600 family, the company’s engineers have designed a product that can almost completely negate the CPU in all video processing: colour, scaling and playback of common codecs will be handled by the GPU.
The problem with the Radeon R5xx line is that only the top end GPUs have enough horsepower to do 1080p. With the universal video decoding engine (UVD) now being separate from the 3D engine, means even the most basic R6xx is capable of handling full 1080p High-Definition playback.
AMD has also integrated an audio controller on its low and mid-range RV6xx range of graphics cards, as the GPUs natively support HDMI.
Since HDMI carries both video and audio streams over one cable, you might want to take advantage of this, especially in HTPCs. With an internal audio controller, this means the entire sound loop back process doesn’t require external cables and is synced up using graphics software before the frames are sent out.
This is a far superior way of doing things for two reasons: 1) no messy cables going out from your sound card, back in your case on your video card and 2) sync issues. Since graphics can take longer to process than audio, especially if you’re upscaling or doing a lot of post processing effects. Thus, you want the software to manage the audio and sync it with the processed video before it hits your screen.
This audio syncing technology isn’t wholly new; it’s essentially the same as we’ve previously seen in the AMD 690G intergrated graphics chipset last month.
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