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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  • ganeshts - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Haven't come across a 4Kp60 sample yet. All the stuff on YouTube is at a max. of 30 fps, and I have some samples sourced from other platforms that are QuadFHD at 30 fps. Please pass on any 4Kp60 clips that you have.

    I know there are two crazy scene encodes with 4Kp50 (Crowd Run 2160p) and a 250 Mbps one (Ducks Take Off). No hardware decoder I have seen has been able to handle either properly. So, I doubt 4Kp60 is going to work :| That said, if I get a chance, I will definitely evaluate the Iris / Iris Pro.
    Reply
  • madwolfa - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Why do you still need 23.96 support since "Smooth Motion" feature in MadVR? I couldn't care less now... Reply
  • Dug - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Because not everyone can, wants to, or even knows what MadVR is. Never mind setting it up properly. Reply
  • HOSH - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Personally this is going in the right direction, but I am wondering what low power settings we could use with the Core i7-4750HQ or the Core i7-4770R in an Mini-ITX HTPC style board since they both have the Iris Pro 5200. From reading the reviews here the Iris Pro 5200 should be closer to what NVIDIA or AMD currently has to offer in the HTPC discrete graphics, but on die for a cleaner system. Reply
  • Aikouka - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Is it worthwhile to assume that the poor QuickSync performance is just a software problem? I've been interested in gaining QuickSync support, but the performance presented isn't that enticing. Reply
  • ganeshts - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Very much possible. I am going to evaluate a driver downgrade to see if the issue is in the latest drivers. Reply
  • superjim - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Why do we need an i7 for HTPC duty? A 45W Core 2 Duo or Athlon II system is plenty using a 6570/430 and up GPU. Sure it uses more power but that's hardly a problem (both in money and heat). What is the usage scenario for an HTPC that needs an i7? Reply
  • Aikouka - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    They probably didn't have access to a lower-end Haswell processor... especially since Intel hasn't released the i3 Haswell processors yet. Reply
  • superjim - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    Makes sense but even an i3 is overkill for an HTPC as another commenter suggested. I think Trinity has a pretty tight grip on the bang-for-the-buck HTPC right now. Richland will only make that better. Reply
  • Penti - Monday, June 03, 2013 - link

    It really depends on the amount of post processing done on the HEPC, a Trinity/Richland or Intel with integrated graphics or something like a HD6450 really isn't enough for all. Obviously a fast CPU is good as a fallback when there is no hardware acceleration too. Reply

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