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One of the most glaring issues we found with local file playback was the chroma upsampling error. Initially, we suspected that the MPC Video Decoder (our preferred H.264 decoder for use in MPC-HC running on AMD GPUs) was at fault.

Screenshots are not allowed while playing back Blu-rays in either PowerDVD or Total Media Theater. Thankfully, playing a mounted ISO enabled screenshots while apparently retaining the same playback quality as the original Blu-ray. Since the ArcSoft video decoder is the easiest to get working with MPC-HC, we grabbed screenshots when playing back the ISO and the M2TS files using Total Media Theater. To put things on a equal footing, we took the ArcSoft decoder from Total Media Theater 5 and enabled its usage in MPC-HC. Presented below are the screenshots from approximately the same timestamp for the three cases.

BD ISO (TMT) BD M2TS (TMT) Local File (MPC-HC/ArcSoft)

Considering that the video decoder used in all the cases is the same, the difference is only in the renderer / driver applied post processing. Even assuming that the EVR CP renderer used by MPC-HC lacks the quality of the ArcSoft renderer, there is a definite difference between the local file played back from within TMT and the ISO. It can only be concluded that the AMD drivers are enabling certain post processing steps only for Blu-ray playback. Will AMD rectify this issue? Only time will tell.

HQV 2.0 Benchmarking Deinterlacing Performance
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  • ckryan - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    There's lots of good stuff to do with a GPU that doesn't involve games; unfortunately, it seems like that is the only thing AMD had in mind for the Llano GPU. It's unfortunate, since running a discrete GPU with Llano in its desktop form just seems to make Llano pointless. In a laptop you at least get decent game performance at low screen resolutions.

    My enthusiasm for the future of Llano isn't diminished, but strangely, it seems that Llano makes a cheap Phenom II + dGPU seem like a much better idea than it was yesterday.

    Still, with some Bulldozer cores, improved GPU section, and some better drivers will go a long way to making Llano mainstream vs. a super-niche product for the desktop.
    Reply
  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    a super niche product for the desktop..... did you ever went to any large electronic shop? it's full of these kind of designs that you brand "niche". Check few OEM very soon they will all bulk this kind of Liano setups.... just like Brazos was a success this will also and already a major reason why intel introduces the 2105 just at release of Liano.... but the HD3000 over HD2000 remains crap. Reply
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    You don't get it, the guy above is right !!!

    It's a super-niche product, for the biggest niche there is in the whole consumer market, normal people.

    Gee AMD ... bad idea really ;)
    Reply
  • Ananke - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    :) Llano is exactly what the mass-consumer grade computer market uses and needs. That's 99.5% of the total market. The other negligible 0.5% is enthusiast market, where most of the AnandTech readers belong. Intel is still king there. Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    "However, this leads to increased expectations like support for full post processing on Blu-ray videos."

    Did I misunderstand the comment?

    Assuming a faithful transfer from film (16mm/35mm/65/70mm) to Blu-ray (1080p24), there should be absolutely no reason to apply any post-processing to a Blu-ray. The worst transfers are those cases where the studio applied processing prior to encoding on the Blu-ray, and then there is no recourse to undo the effects. With only a handful of examples of low-budget or foreign films, there are no interlaced Blu-rays. And then, you would only need deinterlacing, not post-processing. Any artificial sharpening, coloring, or smoothing will ultimately degrade picture quality, not improve it. Outside of playing back Blu-rays in the proper color space and eliminating judder, not much else should be done to them.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Sorry if I wasn't clear in this respect. I had also mentioned in the HQV section that we believe Blu-rays don't need post processing.

    First, there are a lot more interlaced Blu-rays than we would actually expect. Loads of nature documentaries and concerts are available in 1080i60. While the former ones are mostly VC-1, the latter Blu-rays are all H.264

    AMD's main stance with respect to not supporting 1080p60 camcorders was the fact that they want to target the Blu-ray market mainly. Now, 1080i60 is less demanding than 1080p60, and is also present in many camcorders which are already in the $200 - $300 range. If Llano GPUs don't support post processing on 1080i60 fully, I think it is a long way off before they start supporting 1080p60 decode along with post processing. So, the 'even for Blu-rays' comment is meant to stress that aspect rather than mean that we actually need the post processing for Blu-ray videos. (Local files were the main target of my post processing tests)
    Reply
  • therealnickdanger - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Understood, thanks for taking the time to respond! Reply
  • StormyParis - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    for a very detailed review. I don't know much about HTPCs to start with, and I'm left a bit overwhelmed and confused, though.

    First, I really don't think the current Llano is meant to be used with a discrete graphics card. I think the whole point of the product, and the only situation in which it's worth coping with their underpowered CPU / higher power draw, is if I actually take advantage of their GPU.

    Second, I'm not really clear which issues are fixable in software, and which will stay. Actually, I'm not really clear which issues are important, and which aren't.

    Third, It'd be nice to have a hint about what lower clocks / core counts will do. I'd rather use 65W parts for small enclosures, and I have the feeling that wouldn't change much, but I'm not sure.
    Reply
  • geniekid - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Sounds to me like, if they fixed their software issues, AMD would be the preferred platform for HTPC. Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Yes, let us wait and watch for a couple of driver releases Reply

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