PureVideo to offer H.264 Decode Acceleration

Ever since ATI first demonstrated that their R520 GPU (Radeon X1000 series) could accelerate H.264 decoding NVIDIA had always claimed that they could do it as well. We had been asking for proof and today NVIDIA delivered on just that.

NVIDIA announced that all GeForce 6 and GeForce 7 GPUs will eventually (when drivers and software are available) support H.264 decode acceleration for all the way up to 1080p videos. Obviously the faster the GPU (mainly the more ALUs and the higher the clock speed), the more that can be offloaded from the CPU onto the GPU.

In order to prove the support was functional, NVIDIA setup a Pentium D 830 with a GeForce 6600GT and tried to play back a 1080p H.264 encoded movie. CPU utilization across both cores was basically pegged at 100% while the CPU handled the entire decode.

Enabling hardware acceleration offloaded a good hunk of the decoding task onto the Geforce 6600GT, reducing CPU utilization to around 50% or less:

In order to take advantage of the H.264 decode acceleration you will need two things: 1) Compliant InterVideo WinDVD, CyberLink PowerDVD or Nero software, and 2) a NVIDIA driver enabling the support.

NVIDIA promised that both of these items would be available to end users in the next 2 - 3 months. While they are definitely lagging behind ATI in H.264 decode acceleration, at least NVIDIA has finally provided us with a working demo of the technology and they have also committed to us that it will work on all GeForce 6 and 7 GPUs (AGP and PCIe).

Index Toshiba's HD-DVD Enabled Notebook with H.264 Decode Acceleration
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