HTPC enthusiasts are often concerned about the quality of pictures output by the system. While this is a very subjective metric, we have decided to take as much of an objective approach as possible. We have been using the HQV 2.0 benchmark in our HTPC reviews to identify the GPUs' video post processing capabilities. The HQV benchmarking procedure has been heavily promoted by AMD, and Intel also seems to be putting its weight behind that. The control panel for the Sandy Bridge GPU has an additional skin tone enhancement option which the Clarkdale drivers used to lack.

HQV scores need to be taken with a grain of salt. In particular, one must check the tests where the GPU lost out points. In case those tests don't reflect the reader's usage scenario, the handicap can probably be ignored. So, it is essential that the scores for each test be compared, rather than just the total value.

The HQV 2.0 test suite consists of 39 different streams divided into 4 different classes. In our HTPC(s), we use Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 with TrueTheater disabled and hardware acceleration enabled for playing back the HQV streams. The playback device is assigned scores for each, depending on how well it plays the stream. Each test was repeated multiple times to ensure that the correct score was assigned. The scoring details are available in the testing guide from HQV.

Blu-rays are usually mastered very carefully. Any video post processing (other than deinterlacing) which needs to be done is handled before burning it in. In this context, we don't think it is a great idea to run the HQV benchmark videos off the disc. Instead, we play the streams after copying them over to the hard disk. As we noted in the previous section, the capabilities of the APU vary between Blu-ray and local file playback. How much difference does that cause in the HQV scores? How do the scores look when compared to the HD3000?

In the table below, we indicate the maximum score possible for each test, and how much each GPU was able to get. The HD3000 is from the Core i5-2520M with the Intel 15.22.2.64.2372 drivers. The Lynx was tested with Catalyst 11.6, driver version 8.862 RC1

 
HQV 2.0 Benchmark
Test Class Chapter Tests Max. Score Intel HD3000 AMD 6550D (Blu-ray) AMD 6550D (Local file) Sapphire 6570
Video Conversion Video Resolution Dial 5 5 4 4 5
Dial with Static Pattern 5 5 5 5 5
Gray Bars 5 5 5 5 5
Violin 5 5 5 5 5
Film Resolution Stadium 2:2 5 5 5 5 5
Stadium 3:2 5 5 5 5 5
Overlay On Film Horizontal Text Scroll 5 3 5 5 5
Vertical Text Scroll 5 5 5 5 5
Cadence Response Time Transition to 3:2 Lock 5 5 5 5 5
Transition to 2:2 Lock 5 5 5 5 5
Multi-Cadence 2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCam Video 5 5 5 5 5
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video 5 5 5 5 5
3:2:3:2:2 24 FPS Vari-Speed 5 5 5 5 5
5:5 12 FPS Animation 5 5 5 5 5
6:4 12 FPS Animation 5 5 5 5 5
8:7 8 FPS Animation 5 5 5 5 5
Color Upsampling Errors Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP) 5 2 5 2 5
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE) 5 2 5 2 5
Noise and Artifact Reduction Random Noise SailBoat 5 5 5 5 5
Flower 5 5 5 5 5
Sunrise 5 5 5 5 5
Harbour Night 5 5 5 5 5
Compression Artifacts Scrolling Text 5 3 3 3 5
Roller Coaster 5 3 3 3 5
Ferris Wheel 5 3 3 3 5
Bridge Traffic 5 3 3 3 3
Upscaled Compression Artifacts Text Pattern 5 3 3 3 3
Roller Coaster 5 3 3 3 3
Ferris Wheel 5 3 3 3 3
Bridge Traffic 5 3 3 3 3
Image Scaling and Enhancements Scaling and Filtering Luminance Frequency Bands 5 5 5 5 5
Chrominance Frequency Bands 5 5 5 5 5
Vanishing Text 5 5 5 5 5
Resolution Enhancement Brook, Mountain, Flower, Hair, Wood 15 15 15 15 15
Video Conversion Contrast Enhancement Theme Park 5 5 5 5 5
Driftwood 5 5 5 5 5
Beach at Dusk 5 2 5 5 5
White and Black Cats 5 5 5 5 5
Skin Tone Correction Skin Tones 10 0 7 7 7
               
    Total Score 210 173 190 184 197

A look at the above table reveals that Intel has caught up with the competition in terms of HQV scores. There is not much to choose betwee 173 and 184. But, does it pass the video quality stress streams? How does the Llano fare in that? We will see in the next few sections. But, first, we will look at the discrepancy between the Blu-ray and local file playback with respect to chroma upsampling.

Lynx HTPC Testbed Setup Lynx: Chroma Upsampling Errors
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  • patsfan - Sunday, July 10, 2011 - link

    I have read, off and on for the last 7 years or so articles on Anandtech, however, the ONLY reason I come here anymore is the same reason I look at CNN from time to time. For a good laugh. What started off as a fairly serious website for reviews on all things peripheral, has now turned into an INTEL propaganda machine. Seriously, when you look at all the ads, all you see is INTEL, INTEL, INTEL. Anand, if you stepped back and looked at your website as it gets pulled up, you would see what we see, a website that is no longer objective, between Intel, and Crapple you've apparently lost your objective way. I look at the obvious, AMD is the underdog, and I'll pick the underdog every time, and as far as Apple goes, it's a hell of a marketing machine, but as far as equipment goes???? The I-phone was great 4 years ago, today, it is mediocre at best, and if you're into power computing, Apple has absolutely NO compelling entry. Sadly, I resign myself to the fact that this website no longer provides me with any stimulating information, other than being an Intel/Crapple bully pulpit........ Oh well Reply
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  • morohmoroh - Friday, July 22, 2011 - link

    puting northbrigde inside core CPU is wonderfull in age of 32 NM but than ....that GPU radeon is still shared ram outside the processor , and NB still have to hop in out to transfer data in and out from the socket .....and it shared too with other kinda data for system stored at ram socket ddr3

    discreet VGA have dedicated RAM and some indenpendet core CPU too like in Nvidia , i wondering GDDR5 VS DDR3 , which one is fastes speedt?........comboing VGA is another idea but all that handle via software not at hardware it self.... so far see there is just another decoder for movies aka films format

    the northbridge itself inside or outside core CPU will stressing alot hardwork to transforming coming in out data from external socket RAM....and i think it will produce more heat itself at the core

    how can NB self handle 64 Gigs? i read that phenom x6 are gonna be very hot to handle 16 Gigs

    intel create DMI to handle data boost at Mobos ram pci etc ...and QPI for inner core data boost...

    well i not preety sure 32 Nm liano architecture are work fines in real wordl practically electron flows handling data , speed etc.....and mobo compability to manage the potential of it

    pushing external DDR3 speed to act like GDDR5 for integrated VGA on same dies core ?

    and i dont really care about i3 etc with VGA too i think its just another variaton for marketing thats all..seem nothing significant inovation about nano tech age can do more beyond that...

    maybe doctor OCt gonna say "the power of the sun in palm of my hand "LOL

    cheers
    Reply

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