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Slides courtesy of HKEPC

Slides courtesy of HKEPC
ATI's mainstream gains 1080p H.264 and VC-1 hardware decoding

HKEPC has the scoop on ATI’s upcoming mainstream HD-DVD and Blu-Ray playback solution. ATI’s AVIVO video processing engine integrated into every X1000 series graphics card supports H.264 and VC-1 hardware accelerated decoding. However, the mainstream X1300 and X1600 series only support hardware accelerated H.264 and VC-1 decoding up to resolutions of 720p. HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks are typically encoded in 1080p with H.264 or VC-1. Hardware accelerated decoding of 1080p H.264 or VC-1 content is reserved for ATI’s higher end X1800 and X1900 models only.

ATI’s mainstream solution appears to integrate a Xilleon video processor to a Radeon graphics processor. The ATI Universal Video Decoder will be integrated into the GPU and offer extensive video processing capabilities. Video processing capabilities include the ability to decode 40Mbps Blu-Ray and HD-DVD content using only the GPU. Dual-stream decoding is also supported too allowing the Universal Video Decoder to decode two video streams at the same time for picture-in-picture features.

ATI’s Universal Video Decoder will be coupled with an RV516 based graphics core to form RV550. RV550 hasn’t received an official Radeon name yet. Specifications for RV550 are relatively standard for an ATI mainstream part. Engine and core clocks will be around 600 MHz and 800 MHz respectively. RV550 graphics cards will have a 128-bit memory interface, though there’s no mention of memory size. Dual-DVI and HDCP is supported with RV550 too, though HDCP compliancy is up to the board manufacturers.

Two passively cooled low profile reference boards are available from ATI. Clarity is the codename for the reference board with DVI and video outputs while Crystal is the codename for the reference board with DVI and HDMI video outputs.

Samples of the RV550 GPU are expected in September, though production isn’t expected till December. As RV550 is still a mainstream solution, expect pricing below $200.




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