ASRock CoreHT 252B Reviewby Ganesh T S on September 2, 2011 3:45 AM EST
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. Starting with the Core 100 review last year, we have been using the HQV 2.0 benchmark for this purpose.
The HQV 2.0 test suite consists of 39 different streams divided into 4 different classes. 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 on the HQV website.
In the table below, we indicate the maximum score possible for each test, and how much the ASRock CoreHT 252B was able to get. As mentioned in the previous section, we used Intel Graphics Driver v2372 for the benchmarking.
|HQV 2.0 Benchmark|
|Test Class||Chapter||Tests||Max. Score||ASRock CoreHT 252B (Intel HD3000)|
|Video Conversion||Video Resolution||Dial||5||5|
|Dial with Static Pattern||5||5|
|Film Resolution||Stadium 2:2||5||5|
|Overlay On Film||Horizontal Text Scroll||5||3|
|Vertical Text Scroll||5||5|
|Cadence Response Time||Transition to 3:2 Lock||5||5|
|Transition to 2:2 Lock||5||5|
|Multi-Cadence||2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCam Video||5||5|
|2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video||5||5|
|3:2:3:2:2 24 FPS Vari-Speed||5||5|
|5:5 12 FPS Animation||5||5|
|6:4 12 FPS Animation||5||5|
|8:7 8 FPS Animation||5||5|
|Color Upsampling Errors||Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)||5||2|
|Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)||5||2|
|Noise and Artifact Reduction||Random Noise||SailBoat||5||5|
|Compression Artifacts||Scrolling Text||5||3|
|Upscaled Compression Artifacts||Text Pattern||5||3|
|Image Scaling and Enhancements||Scaling and Filtering||Luminance Frequency Bands||5||5|
|Chrominance Frequency Bands||5||5|
|Resolution Enhancement||Brook, Mountain, Flower, Hair, Wood||15||15|
|Video Conversion||Contrast Enhancement||Theme Park||5||5|
|Beach at Dusk||5||2|
|White and Black Cats||5||5|
|Skin Tone Correction||Skin Tones||10||3|
This table is almost the same as the one we presented in the Llano review. The only difference is that the HD 3000 now gets some points for skin tone correction. While AMD and NVIDIA tend to correct the skin tones and make the picture appear better as the strength of the correction is increased (move away from default), Intel seems to work best at the default setting. Experimenting with the strength of the skin tone correction makes the image quality much worse than either AMD's or NVIDIA's at any setting.
It is heartening to see that there is a big jump in performance for Intel's integrated graphics with respect to the HQV scores. While the Core 100 turned up with a sub-140 score last year, we see the CoreHT 252B rising above what AMD and NVIDIA's entry level GPUs achieve.
Does this improved HQV score actually lead to better picture quality in general? What about other HTPC video aspects? We will cover these in the next two sections.