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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  • StardogChampion - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    I am wondering about this comment as well. Everything I've read seemed to indicate it would be available in mini-ITX form for building AIOs (so likely thin mini-ITX). Haswell will be a big disappointment without availability of the BGA packages in mini-ITX form. Reply
  • Sivar - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Thank you for the article.
    Note that x264 is a specific software encoder, not a type of video or a thing that can be accelerated ("While full x264 acceleration using QuickSync...")
    H.264 is the video standard.

    Also note that x264, the CPU-based encoding software, does not need to run in 2-pass mode to get great quality. 2-pass mode is ONLY if you want a specific file size regardless of quality. If you want a specific quality, you use quality mode. --CRF23, for example, returns small (though variable depending on content) file size and good quality.
    Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Sivar,

    I did specifically want to mention full x264 acceleration using QuickSync -- That is because x264 is the H.264 encoder of choice for many users. The most beneficial addition to the CPU would be the ability to get hardware acceleration when using x264 with ANY set of options. That is simply not going to be possible with QuickSync (or, for that matter, any hardware-based encoder).

    Yes, agreed about the mistaken mention of 2-pass for improved quality. I will update it shortly.
    Reply
  • Spawne32 - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    People always fail to realize what key element in every one of these releases, how big the enthusiast market truly is. All of us posting here on this comment section regarding this review are a small fraction of the overall market intel targets, this is part of the reason AMD suffers so tragically with their current lineup. Power consumption and price are the two biggest factors in a regular consumers mind when purchasing a PC, be it laptop or desktop. Performance numbers rarely play a factor. I don't know what AMD is doing over there but I long for a day when AMD can actually challenge intel and drive prices down even further, because these 230-400 dollar starting prices for "mainstream" intel processors proves once again why I refuse to invest in them regardless of performance. The marginal increase in speed in my day to day activities does not warrant the price being paid for something that is obsolete in 1-2 years. AMD's highest priced processor right now is 179.99, its comparable intel counterpart in haswell....349.99, you do the math. Reply
  • bji - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Either the increases in speed with each successive generation are great enough to render previous generations obsolete, or the increases in speed with each successive generation are small enough that the previous generation is not rendered obsolete. You can't have it both ways just to try to make Intel look bad, sorry.

    I don't know what margin Intel is making on these parts - do you? Remember that they are sinking large R & D and transistor budgets into these minor speed increases, and at the same time sinking lots of money into developing the next generation of process technology. If $300 is not worth it to you, don't buy the part; Intel won't be able to sustain their R & D budgets if nobody buys the results.
    Reply
  • Deuge - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    If one of the GT3 or GT3e parts comes out in a refreshed NUC, id love to see a review of it from an HTPC perspective. Very interested to hear if it can handle Lanzcos + AR or Jinc. Reply
  • dbcoopernz - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Is the inability to use LAV with DXVA-native for madVR an Intel limitation? The devs of both the LAV filters and madVR have told me (on the doom9 forum) that DXVA-native is fine for madVR on AMD GPU's. Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    DXVA native DOES work with AMD using LAV filters and MadVR... I'm using it as I type (watching MotoGP) Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    It also works with the Haswell piece. I will update the article ASAP. Reply
  • BMNify - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    APU is the go to for HTPC builders. And stop with the power this and thermals that... undervolt it, toss in a Pico PSU, suspend to memory when not in use and enjoy. Take the hundreds saved and buy a Kabini or two as clients.

    If we're talking balls to the wall processing might, absolutely, lets talk Intel but not for a simple HTPC.
    Reply

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