The Avivo Video Converter

Alongside the new Catalyst 8.12 drivers is AMD's Avivo Video Converter (AVC) - it's supposed to be like Badaboom, but with a five-finger-discount. The Avivo Video Converter will use any Radeon HD 4800 or 4600 series GPU to offload some of the calculations needed for video transcoding, resulting in faster overall performance.

The AVC is a separate 22MB download from the 8.12 drivers, available at AMD's website on the same page you use to download the latest Catalyst release.

Currently, the new video converter only works with Radeon HD 4k series hardware, and video encoding is only accelerated with 46xx and 48xx series hardware.  Further, only H.264 and MPEG-2 output is currently hardware accelerated. This means that WMV and DivX and the rest are not. Even though it is a little limited, we are interested in comparing the converter to Badaboom which only outputs H.264 anyway, so not a big loss thus far. But definitely something to keep in mind when playing with the application.

The Avivo Video Converter is contained within the Catalyst Control Center's Basic view. This means that if you've opted for the Advanced view, you need to go up to the top left tab (views) and select basic. This will pull up the screen you see here.

Hitting Go brings us to the next step: selecting a file for transcoding. It is unfortunately not clear what types of inputs work with Avivo, as we tried some DivX, H.264, and WMV files that either were not recognized as valid video files or just didn't produce an output video that worked. We ended up sticking with VOB files from DVDs as test sources because they just worked.

After selecting your source file, it's time to pick which format the file will be transcoded to. Many of the usual options are there, but some of the options will resize your video while other's won't. It isn't clear what resolution the options will target until after the video has been produced, and there is no way to change this option. The quality slider appears to just change bitrate, but for most formats the range of bitrates is fairly restrictive. We'd like to see higher bitrate output options in the future.

Pressing the next button after format and quality are selected brings up this progress bar window showing both elapsed time and estimated total time. This is very informative, but the window disappears when encoding is completed without logging or displaying the total time (which, while not necessary, would be a nice bit of polish).

After this step, we are left with a window that tells us file size and bitrate for the video. We've got some options to either open the folder the new video is in, play the file, finish or start over. Both finish and start over bring us back to beginning (the first interface image above), and if there's any other difference between the two option we have yet to discover it.

And there you have it. AMD went with a simple interface that give people some solid options for doing simple video transcoding with relative ease. Now let's take a look at how well the program actually works.

ATI Catalyst 8.12 Changes and Bug Fixes And now, the rest of the story
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  • mediaconvert - Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - link

    I record a lot of tele on my computer and am always wanting faster ways to convert and compress my videos. When I heard about ati producing an equivilant of badaboom I was really excited and thought I could finally justify spending £150+ on a graphics card especially when it would be faster than the cpu. I have a ati 3450 and man was I dissapointed. I tried to compress a 120mb mpeg2 file and ended up with a 150 mb file. Also if the reviews are right it doesn't use the gpu. whats the point in having a gpu converter that doesn't use the gpu??? I can only speak for myself but if amd/ati comes out with a serious way of quickly converting/compressing the mpeg2 files (perhaps also with a batch processing mode) then they have a sale here especially if it allows me to play the latest video games.

    Currently I have been looking at video cards and I have to say there are two things pushing me to nvidia one is badaboom and the other nvidias hybridpower (use of an nvidia motherboard integrated graphics to reduce gpu usage and hence gpu fan noise when gpu is not needed)

    I recon ati/amd needs to get creative here and really commit to gpu video conversion. ( or even gpu + cpu video conversion ) If they can produce real world speed benefits then people will buy it.
    Reply
  • Focher - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I have a 3-way SLI of 280s with a QX9650 CPU. I have both Badaboom and TMPG Xpress, both of which support GPU encoding. In my experience, I can actually encode video a bit faster with just the CPU. Badaboom apparently supports multi-GPU configurations now, but only to split encoding when you have queued multiple files. TMPG Xpress is definitely the more powerful and capable tool, but doesn't support multiple GPUs. Also, Badaboom apparently just released 1.1 that adds quite a few features but I have not yet tried it. Reply
  • Rainman200 - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    Just assign resources to help the developers of x264 to make use of GPU's through OpenCL and that will do more good than any of these waste of time apps.

    Anand I'd definitely say the x264 is sharper vs Badaboom in the two pictures you posted, also please use Ribot264 or AutoMKV as they use the latest builds of x264, Handbrake trails development of x264 because of its Apple Mac focus so important features added to x264 which improve its image quality are left out months behind other x264 encoders.
    Reply
  • dryloch - Wednesday, December 17, 2008 - link

    I had a few ATI cards years ago but have been using Nvidia recently. I decided to try a 4800 series ATI card this time around partly because I hoped the number of stream processors would be useful for stuff like this. I have been looking forward to this driver for months and now they release something that doesn't work. My time is valuable to me ATI, don't waste it trying to make somthing work that you know is broken. I don't care what happens with the speed of the next gen cards I am going back to Nvidia. Reply
  • toyotabedzrock - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=647">http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=647
    This review seems to have gotten it to work better. Althought still not flawless.
    Reply
  • talmholt - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Anand,

    I think some of your issues are coming from Vista. I have used the converter on a WinXP32 machine with good results. It converts a 2 hour movie (MPEG2 640x480 3GB initial size) to an iPod file (320x240 500MB final size) in 8 minutes and the result is flawless!

    I have also tried converting HDTV (OTA) content to a DVD format and that worked great too.

    PS, my system is only a Intel Core 2 E6420 with a AMD 4850 (everything at stock speeds). Please try again Anand.

    Thomas
    Reply
  • Chris Simmo - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    I use handbrake, but noticed something wierd. I had a 9800GT in the system, using handbrakes default movie options x264 and I would get about 150 turbo first pass, 48fps second pass on my overclocked q9400@3.5. I changed the graphics over to a HD4850, and saw an option for VP3. I selected it, the CLI crashed, the handbrake UI was still running though, changed back to x264, and then it was 290 turbo first pass and over 150 second pass. This is running vista 64 with the 8.12 drivers. During this time the GPU temp went up 2 degrees, all four cores were at 100%. I really need some one else to have a play and see what they get. I put in a 4870 to try, but I hadn't worked out the VP3 thing yet, so it didn't change form the standard 48fps Reply
  • Chris Simmo - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    Sorry, that was 'Shaun of the dead' DVD to MKV, Reply
  • niuniu2012 - Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - link

    You can use http://www.dvdtomp3converter.com/">http://www.dvdtomp3converter.com/ to select target subtitle and audio track according at your will. DVD to MP3 Converter also provides you with fruitful options to set audio properties of audio bitrate, Sample Rate and so on. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, December 16, 2008 - link

    "Last year, NVIDIA introduced it's CUDA"

    it is CUDA!
    Reply

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