Refresh Rate Handling - 23.976 Hz Works!

Readers following our HTPC reviews know by now that Intel's 23 Hz issue was left unresolved in Ivy Bridge. It is definitely better than the Clarkdale days, as users no longer get 24 Hz when setting the display refresh rate to 23 Hz (23.976 Hz intended). However, the accuracy is not enough to prevent a frame drop every 4 minutes or so (the 23 Hz setting results in a display refresh rate of 23.972 Hz in Ivy Bridge). One of the first things I checked after building the Haswell HTPC was the 23 Hz setting. The good news is that the display refresh rate accuracy is excellent.

Even better news is that the set of display refresh rates obtained with the Haswell system is more accurate than anything I had obtained before with AMD or NVIDIA cards. The gallery below presents some of the other refresh rates that we tested out. madVR reports frame drops / repeats only once every 6 hours or more in the quiescent state.

Unfortunately, Intel still doesn't provide a way to easily configure custom resolutions (in fact, the latest driver release seems to have removed that option completely. Update: A reader pointed out that the feature is still available as CustomModeApp.exe in the drivers folder, but long time users still miss access to it from the main control panel). I know for a fact that my Sony display (KDL46EX720) does support 25 Hz and 50 Hz refresh rates, but Intel doesn't allow those to be configured. We are willing to cut Intel some slack this time around because they have finally resolved a bug that was reported way back in 2008.

Video Post Processing and HTPC Configuration Options Decoding and Rendering Benchmarks
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  • heffeque - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Well... the AMD A4-5000 seems to be perfect for HTPC and I don't see in this comparison.
    Why not try comparing what the AMD A4-5000 can do (4k, 23Hz, etc) versus this Haswell system?
    The CPU isn't that good, but there's no need for much CPU on HTPC systems, and also... the price, just look at the price.
    Reply
  • meacupla - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    when you playback hi10 or silverlight content, having a fast cpu helps immensely, since those formats don't have dxva support. Reply
  • halbhh2 - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Consider prices, at $122 suggested, the new A10 6700 is going to be interesting as the real competition to this Intel chip. Reply
  • majorleague - Wednesday, June 05, 2013 - link

    Here is a youtube link showing 3dmark11 and windows index rating for the 4770k 3.5ghz Haswell. Not overclocked.
    This is apparently around 10-20fps slower than the 6800k in most games. And almost twice the price!!
    Youtube link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Yo2A__1Xw
    Reply
  • JDG1980 - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    You can't use madVR on ARM. And most ARM platforms are highly locked down so you may be stuck with sub-par playback software from whoever the final vendor is. Reply
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, June 04, 2013 - link

    Because we don't live in next year, Doc Brown? Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - link

    for the same reason that QS isn't being used far more today, that being Intel and arm devs talk the talk but don't listen to or even stay in contact with the number one video quality partners ,that being the x264 and ffmpeg devs and provide their arm patches for review and official inclusion in these two key Cecil app code bases to actually use the arm/intel Low Level video encode/decode API's Reply
  • MrSpadge - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Use an i5 and the price almost drops in half. Then undervolt it a bit and each regular CPU will only draw 40 - 50 W under sustained load. Which media playback doesn't create anyway. Reply
  • Mayuyu - Sunday, June 02, 2013 - link

    2-Pass encodes do not offer any improvements in compression efficiency in x264. The only time you would want to use a 2-Pass encode is to hit a certain file size.

    Quicksync is irrelevant because their h264 encodes are inferior in quality to xvid (which has been outdated for a long time now).
    Reply
  • raulizahi - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - link

    @Mayuyu, 2-pass x264 encodes using VBR do offer improvements in compression efficiency at the same video quality. I have proven it many times. An example: target 720p50 at 3Mbps VBR, first pass I get a certain quality, second pass I get noticeably better quality. Reply

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