3D Blu-ray Playback CPU Load

We saw in one of the previous sections that the 6550D doesn't have the same MVC decode feature of the 6xxx GPUs. We took the 3D Blu-ray version of Alice in Wonderland for a spin and played it on the 6550D as well as the 6570 (not in CrossFire mode). As expected, the 6570 had marginally lesser CPU utilization. The GPU load (not recorded here) was also lesser compared to the 6550D (that is to be expected because of the difference in the DRAM and GPU core clocks). We also recorded the CPU load while playing a 2D Blu-ray (HQV Benchmark) on the 6550D. It  gives an indication of the CPU assistance required by the 3D Blu-rays.

Blu-ray Playback CPU Usage
Alice in Wonderland [3D] (6550D) 21%
Alice in Wonderland [3D] (Sapphire 6570) 16%
HQV 2.0 Benchmark Blu-ray [2D] (6550D) 12%

Steady Video

AMD is also advertising 'Steady Video', a feature to make your shaky hand held videos such as those from the PlaySports and the Flips look more stabilized. This requires the CPU and the GPU to work in close conjunction. The good aspect is that 'Steady Video' is available even when playing back videos in MPC-HC. For reasonably steady videos, it works wonders, but fails in places where it really matters (like videos taken while walking, where there is a lot of scene change as well as shakiness). The bad aspects come in when one tries to be aggressive with the steady video algorithms. Sometimes, the image quality suffered, while there were lip sync errors in other cases. Even in videos where it is effective, there are slight periodic jerks.

All in all, our opinion is that this is a good feature for the marketing department to advertise. Note that Cyberlink has been having a True Theater Image Stabiliser for camcorder videos since PowerDVD 10. That feature works across all CPU / GPU combinations.

YouTube and Netflix

The good news is that hardware acceleration is present and works for both YouTube and Netflix, as the screenshots below show.


Power Numbers

We put our testbed through some typical activity and recorded the average power consumption numbers. Note that these numbers are relevant only when compared with the idle playback power consumption. Different testbeds may end up with different power consumption numbers.

Llano HTPC Testbed Average Power Consumption (W)
Idle 36.1
1080p MKV from SSD 49.1
2D Physical Blu-ray Playback 57.1
Call of Pripyat Benchmark (Max. settings) 91.8
Prime 95 + Furmark 141.2

Miscellaneous Notes

We are yet to evaluate some important aspects like RGB - YUV colour conversion accuracy and audio channel mapping in 7.1 channel configurations. AMD is looking into the local file playback having high GPU load issue also. By the time we evaluate the next HTPC / HTPC GPU, some Catalyst releases should have passed by. Expect further analysis of the AMD 6550D in those pieces, particularly with respect to the aspects we have missed covering in this review.



Custom Refresh Rates Final Words


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  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    You mention that 6550D is a good first step to counter the intel GPU HTPC market, I would turn it around.... provide any reason why there would be a need for any Intel HTPC without additional graphics with Liano released?

    Liano Display Quality and performance HTPC wise is better
    Liano total cost is lower, at least when you take the right board for it. (not like the asrock extreme review bold compare max vs low)
    Liano can actually play a game, can't on the Intel parts for any decent level and quality
    Liano will consume less power on idle, htpc use
    the boards have standard better features.

    anything left? oh yes unfortunate... its not an Intel branded logo...
    Quicksync is a marketing part just like the amd smooth
  • L. - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Clearly, the opinion in the last AT reviews about the Liano is biased, and it's a pity.
    Good thing AT is not the only website that reviewed it, shows just how much of a threat this is for Intel.

    Fact of the matter is you can build your HTPC with just a Liano for cheaper, it does better and consumes less.

    Yes Liano is not half as good as it should be, but that's still much better than the Intel alternative, no matter how much you attempt to downplay the GPU part of this APU.

    Either way, platform costs will always make AMD a better option, the cheapest P67 mobo is around 100 euros, the first Liano mobos are 100 bucks, with a good price drop coming as usual.
  • cacca - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I second your analysis, here is getting ridiculous.

    They even split the review to not close their analysis saying that as a generalist solution llano is the best for buck for medium/low market.
  • prdola0 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Sorry but this back-patting squad seems like the AMD PR department on a posting spree.

    If AMD wanted to make waves, they shouldn't come with a half-done product. For gaming, the best Llano APU is barely able to play some new games at minimum details. Great. But that is only the top product. All the other Llanos are just going to be worse. Did you miss that?

    For the $30-$40 you can save on the expensive memory needed for Llano to get a half-decent gaming result, you could just invest into a low-end discrete GPU (AMD or NVIDIA, i don't care) and Intel i3-2100 and you get a more powerful CPU, better graphics power- and quality-wise and the ability to actually upgrade the GPU and CPU parts independently, should such a need arise.

    Please AMD PR, stop throwing your paid posters at every review that is just and fair - even if unfavourable to your product. Thanks.
  • cacca - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    i think you have a reading comprehension problem.

    Llano is for medium/low market and if you go around you will see that it can run at medium settings with dX11 a lot of games and even some of the new.

    HD3000 can't run DX11 and not even at medium setting. That the reasono for the other review using not even AntiAliasing and/or super crappy quality/resolutions

    Is not problem of PR marketing or not.

    If i want a high market PC i would go intel 2500k/2600K overclock it and buy a 6950 mod to 6970 and overclock. Because INTEL has the best top processor.

    But at medium/low market for the same money Llano just puts a big torn in the ass to i3 and other half assed intel GPU. Are really 2 different worlds.

    If Intel halves the prices for motherboards and i3s they would get back the crown as system but not as single jack of all trades chip.
  • prdola0 - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    It is really a simple, elementary school type, equation. You save some money when you buy a i3-2100 instead of A8. You save some money by going for just DDR3-1333, which is enough for the i3, instead of DDR3-1600 or even DDR3-1866, that are needed in order to get decent performance. Buy a low end GPU with that saved money, and you get better CPU power, better HTPC video quality, possibly better gaming framerates and the ability to upgrade the parts separately.

    It can't be simpler. You may even buy an Athlon II X4 instead of the APU for pretty much the same effect with more money to spend on the GPU. I don't care about the brands.

    Llano is only half-done and your AMD PR relation is too obvious. The rhetoric is too similar on most of the review sites. And most of the sites stated that Llano is far from expectations (on the desktop side, mobile is decent).
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Here's what I expected:

    1) Llano's GPU would be bandwidth constrained and faster RAM would help ease these issues.
    2) Llano's GPU would approach DDR3 HD 5570 performance. It may not surpass it, but we're talking relatively close.

    In terms of its gaming performance, Llano has turned out pretty much as I expected. I can't be the only one to have this opinion.
  • duploxxx - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    I suggest you read again what you posted....

    HTPC Quality is better on Liano vs

    Mobo Price is lower for liano when you compare the same type of mobo, not the cheapest intel and the most expensive AMD like anandtech did. SO total price is already lower from the start not to mention the additional gpu cost and power consumption.

    you don't need 1866, 1600 has shown to be more then adequate and actually you can just use 1333 for HTPC only. Price of 1333-1600 is equal btw...

    Features are better on AMD chipsets

    Liano is able to play at least games on the same CPU, Intel not

    you can always add a gpu on liano, even a cheaper one in cf will do better.
    Performance idle and playback is lower then Intel
  • cyrusfox - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Agreed, Super BIAS!

    Ganesh that whole bit about Intel getting the GPU on die quicker than AMD didn't mean anything for Intel as the GPU was very very weak. Even now on SB its still at the bottom of the discrete pile. Its also why Brazos is creaming atom and the only reason the ion market ever took off.

    Llano/Lynx is a great value proposition, you get AMD's superior GPU drivers and a bumped up Phenom ii performanc. With the A75 Chipset you also are getting usb3, when is Intel going to make that standard, 2012? Sure Intel has the fastest CPU's on the market, even in this price range. AMD 32nm is on the market! Can you imagine the impact fusion will have especially when it is this cheap.
  • mino - Thursday, June 30, 2011 - link

    Just FYI, Clarkdale did NOT have a GPU on-die.

    It was a MCM - essentially a northbridge & CPU put on the same package.

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