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VIDEO PLAYBACK TEST METHODOLOGY
Our second test procedure is designed to determine the card's proficiency at
playing back high definition videos encoded with the popular H.264 and the up-and-coming
VC-1 codecs. We used the same test platform as our thermal and power test with
the Intel Pentium D 930 Presler processor. It's a fairly low-end dual core CPU
by modern standards, so the difference in the amount of assistance it lent to
the GPU between the different test videos would be more easily distinguishable.
The clips were played with Windows Media Player 11 and a CPU usage graph was
created by the Windows Task Manger for analysis to determine the mean and average
CPU use. The higher the CPU usage, the lower the video card's decoding ability.
If CPU usage reached extremely high levels and the video skipped or froze, we
concluded the video card failed to adequately decompress the clip. System power
consumption was also recorded.
Video Test Suite
BBC's HD in Full Bloom is a 720p clip encoded
with H.264. It features time-lapsed photography, mainly of various flowers
blooming with vibrant colors and high contrast.
720p H.264: 1280x720 | 24fps | ~6200kbps
The Rush Hour 3 trailer is a 1080p clip encoded
with H.264. It has a good mixture of light and dark scenes, interspersed
with fast-motion action and cutaways.
1080p H.264: 1920x816 | 24fps | ~10100kbps
The Coral Reef Adventure trailer is a 1080p
clip encoded in VC-1 using the WMV3 codec (commonly recognized by the
moniker, "HD WMV"). It features multiple outdoor landscape and
dark underwater scenes.
WMV3 VC-1: 1440x1080 | 24fps | ~7700kbps
The Microsoft Flight Simulator X trailer is
a 720p clip encoded in VC-1. It's a compilation of in-game action from
a third person point of view. While the source image quality is poor compared
to the other videos in our test suite, it was one of the few decent length
clips we could procure encoded using the Windows Media Video 9 Advanced
Profile aka WVC1 codec, a more demanding implementation of VC-1.
WVC1 VC-1: 1280x720 | 60fps | ~12200kbps
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