HTPC Credentials - Display Outputs Capabilities

The comes with display outputs, and their characteristics are summarized in the table below. From a HTPC use-case perspective, the entries of interest include the ability to support UHD (3840 x 2160) or higher resolutions, along with HDCP 2.2. The latter enables the display output to be used for viewing protected content such as 4K Netflix streams (assuming the presence of a handling mechanism for PlayReady 3.0 DRM).

ASRock DeskMini A300 Display Outputs
  HDMI DisplayPort VGA
Version 2.0a 1.2 N/A
Max. Video Output 3840x2160 @ 60Hz 4096x2160 @ 60Hz 2048x1536 @ N/A
HDCP Yes (2.2) N/A
HDR Yes No No
HD Audio Bitstreaming Yes N/A

Supporting the display of high-resolution protected video content is a requirement for even a casual HTPC user. In addition, HTPC enthusiasts also want their systems to support refresh rates that either match or be an integral multiple of the frame rate of the video being displayed. Most displays / AVRs are able to transmit the supported refresh rates to the PC using the EDID metadata. In some cases, the desired refresh rate might be missing in the list of supported modes.

Custom Resolutions

Our evaluation of the as a HTPC was done using the native HDMI output connected to a TCL 55P607 4K HDR TV via a Denon AVR-X3400H AV receiver. In addition, we also used a LG 34BK95U-W 5K monitor for additional testing. The Radeon control panel allows addition of custom resolutions, but, we didn't have the need. All commonly used refresh rates for HTPC purposes (23, 24, 25, 29, 30, 50, and 59 Hz) were already available.

We tested out various display refresh rates ranging from 23.976 Hz to 59.94 Hz. Of particular interest is the 23.976 Hz (23p) setting.

The gallery below presents screenshots from the other refresh rates that were tested. The system has no trouble maintaining a fairly accurate refresh rate throughout the duration of the video playback.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Support

The ability of the system to support HDR output is brought out in the first line of the madVR OSD in the above pictures. The display / desktop was configured to be in HDR mode prior to the gathering of the above screenshots.

By default, the DeskMini A300 drives a YCbCr 4:4:4 signal to the display in HDR mode. This is in contrast to the sub-samped (4:2:2 or 4:2:0) formats used by other GPUs. 4:4:4 ensures that the desktop doesn't have any chroma sub-sampling artifacts leading to fuzzy display of text content. The Readeon Settings application allows for easy configuration of any desired pixel format. We were also able to configure a RGB 4:4:4 full level signal (0-255) in the HDR mode.

AMD systems do not support the Software Guard Extensions (SGX) feature needed to play back UHD Blu-rays. Hence, we didn't bother running the CyberLink UHD Blu-ray Advisor Tool in the DeskMini A300.

GPU Performance for Workstation Workloads - SPECviewperf 13 HTPC Credentials - YouTube and Netflix Streaming
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  • Thvash - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    For some reason 4K HDR, VP9 Profile 2 is not accelerated at all under Windows, while GPU claims to support it, no such issues under Linux Reply
  • Smell This - Friday, April 26, 2019 - link

    **Microsoft removed the in-built HEVC decoding capabilities of Windows 10 in the 2017 Fall Creators Update, and replaced it with an extension that had to be downloaded from the Microsoft Store. Without the extension, playback is restricted to 1080p non-HDR streams encoded in H.264. In addition to the decoding capabilities, the system also needs to support PlayReady 3.0 DRM.**
    ______________________________________

    Ding!
    Another drive-by DRM borking by WIntel ...
    Reply
  • Ratman6161 - Monday, April 29, 2019 - link

    This doesn't come with an OS, so if you hate Microsoft so much, then don't use Windows. As far as DRM goes, support for it is a necessary evil to avoid being sued. So it's not a "borking by Wintel", its a symptom of our lawsuit happy society + rampant piracy that the owners of intellectual property feel they must defend themselves against. Reply
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, May 02, 2019 - link

    Wow, talk about buying MS' spin. Amazing how people are so happy to throw away their freedoms. In reality the blatant abuse of consumer IP rights is far more important but rarely addressed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUAX0gnZ3Nw
    Reply
  • peevee - Thursday, May 02, 2019 - link

    "In reality the blatant abuse of consumer IP rights"

    You have NO rights to OTHER PEOPLE'S Property. Intellectual or not.
    Reply
  • ripbeefbone - Thursday, May 02, 2019 - link

    I miss the 90s when nerds weren't embarassing bootlickers who fawned over corporations. get a soul you shills Reply
  • peevee - Monday, May 06, 2019 - link

    I was the nerd in the 90s (and 80s) and still supported patents and copyrights. While violating some of them. Reply
  • airider - Thursday, May 02, 2019 - link

    Interesting perspective. Intellectual property is not defined anywhere. It is a made up term assigned to copyrighted material and patents. If you live in the U.S. these are protected by Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution:

    “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”

    The "right" to IP is only guaranteed for a limited time. When this time expires, the "right" no longer exists and it becomes public domain.
    Reply
  • airider - Thursday, May 02, 2019 - link

    In fact, the reason these legal definitions exist is because copyright material and patents are not property, but rather the expression of ideas and thoughts through various forms of media (i.e. verbal, visual, etc).

    Because expressions are not property, a legal construct was created in order for "expressionists" to protect their ability to "make money", since once they expressed themselves, the expression is no longer their own, and the ability to profit was no longer in their control.
    Reply
  • sorten - Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - link

    I was also a nerd in the 80's (and still today) and have never thought it was cool to steal others' creations. If you do that on a large enough scale then there's no incentive left for creative types to create, and what a unhappy world that would be to create. Reply

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