Print 65 comment(s) - last by mraix.. on Jun 2 at 6:12 PM

AMD's Avivo HD slide material specifically details AMD UVD as a subset of the Avivo HD family (Source: TechReport, Scott Wasson)

AMD guide highlighting the lack of UVD from the same presentation as above (Source: Beyond3D, Geo Rule)
Regardless of what you may have heard, ATI's newest Radeon does not have hardware or software HD acceleration

AMD has hit another obstacle with its ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT. After constant delays, weak performance improvements and questionable benchmark tactics, AMD’s Universal Video Decoder is the new source of controversy.

The ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT lacks AMD’s highly touted UVD hardware video processing engine, a feature highlighted in roadmaps. Not only that, AMD continues to tout its entire ATI Radeon HD 2000-series as having UVD, when in fact it is only the 65nm HD 2600 and HD 2400 series that possess the hardware decoding capabilities.

Scott Wasson from TechReport came across the issue while testing the UVD features. "True to my word, I set out yesterday to test HD video decode acceleration on a Radeon HD 2900 XT using an HD DVD drive and a version of PowerDVD supplied by AMD for such purposes," he said. "To my surprise, CPU utilization during playback on our Core 2 Extreme X6800 test system ran between 40 and 50%, well above what one would expect from a solution with full HD video decode acceleration."

Wasson proceeded to contact AMD with his results. AMD confirmed the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT does indeed lack UVD hardware processing capabilities on the GPU and offers video decoding performance on par with the last generation ATI Radeon X1000-series, according to Dave Bauman, technical marketing manager, ATI.

AMD advertises the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT features Avivo HD support, despite the lack of UVD. AMD’s Avivo HD page lists UVD as part of the Avivo HD feature set.
Smooth HD Video Playback with UVD
ATI Avivo HD technology is designed for high-end, high definition video playback in home theater systems. Free your CPU to power other applications with new UVD (Unified Video Decoder) hardware processing of HD video formats.

UVD is a dedicated video decode processing unit on ATI Radeon HD 2000 series graphics processors that offloads both CPU and GPU rendering pipelines. UVD technology reduces power use, decreases system noise and increases notebook battery life during HD video playback.

Wasson was not the only journalist fooled by AMD’s presentations and guides, Marco Chiapetta of HotHardware and Ryan Shrout of PC Perspective have become victims as well.

AMD public relations, speaking off the record, tells DailyTech that all trade publications should have known UVD was not present on the 2900 XT.  One representative cites the Radeon 2900 family introduction (PDF), claiming, "ATI Avivo HD is a technology platform that includes a broad set of capabilities offered by certain ATI Radeon HD 2000 GPUs. Not all products have all features and full enablement of some ATI AvivoHD capabilities may require complementary products."

Geo Rule from Beyond3D points out that other AMD guidance did indicate UVD was not present on R600.  More specifically, he adds that the UVD feature slide never explicitly states UVD is present on Radeon HD 2900, while the same slide states UVD is present on Radeon HD 2400 and Radeon HD 2600.

When asked why AMD never contacted any trade publications to correct the misconception that UVD was included in Radeon 2900, our contact declined to comment.  He did add that full HD acceleration is present on the R600 ASIC, and it will eventually be enabled via driver updates.

“Unfortunately, try as we might, we could not get UVD to work with the current drivers provided by AMD and the PowerDVD release that is supposed to enable the hardware acceleration on HD 2000 series parts,” states AnandTech Senior CPU and Graphics Editor Derek Wilson. “We will have to take a second look at hardware decode when AMD and CyberLink or Intervideo get their software in order.”

AMD has not released a driver that takes advantage of the ATI Radeon HD 2000-series multimedia features nor has a software company released a player that takes advantage of the hardware.

Last year ATI made false claims of HDCP compatibility with its Radeon X1900-series graphics cards, despite the lack of HDCP keys.  Eventually ATI was sued over these claims under false advertising pretenses.

ATI board partners potentially face the same false advertising claims.  Today, no less than four AIB partners claim UVD support on their Radeon HD 2900 XT boxart.  Surprisingly absent from that list: Built-by-ATI boards.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: That Hurts
By defter on 5/26/2007 3:57:35 AM , Rating: 2
You are missing the point here. NVidia never claimed that 8800 series has purevideo 2. AMD/ATI is still saying on their 2900 pages that: "ATI Avivo™ HD Video and Display Platform" is supported:

On other page they clearly state that Avivo HD contains UVD: "Smooth HD Video Playback with UVD
ATI Avivo HD technology is designed for high-end, high definition video playback in home theater systems. Free your CPU to power other applications with new UVD (Unified Video Decoder) hardware processing of HD video formats.":
Thus, they still continue lying about UVD in HD 2900XT.

Let's look at NVidia site: "NVIDIA® GeForce® 8600 and 8500 series GPUs feature NVIDIA® PureVideo™ HD under Windows Vista™ with a revolutionary new video processing engine."
There is no confusion, since NVidia doesn't claim that 8800 series has the same capabilities.

RE: That Hurts
By Aikouka on 5/29/2007 8:48:34 AM , Rating: 1
Maybe nVidia and the vendors should get in touch then?

eVGA e-GeForce 8800GTX
"The NVIDIA PureVideo HD Technology offers high-definition video decoding and delivers videos with unprecedented clarity to convert your PC into a high-end home-theater system."

RE: That Hurts
By Deekity on 5/29/2007 12:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
Why? It doesn't claim Purevideo 2's claims are in accordance with the featureset of the board

RE: That Hurts
By Aikouka on 5/29/2007 2:20:08 PM , Rating: 5
The 8600's feature page doesn't list PureVideo 2 either, what's your point? Oh wait, if you look, nVidia's link for the 8600's features and benefits redirects you to the 8800's features and benefits page.

Then they so conveniently say that hardware acceleration delivering lower CPU use is "model dependent." So since both the 8800 and 8600 reference the same page, both count under models referred to by the statement. Since the 8600 has it and the 8800 does not, this becomes valid, but annoyingly sneaky.

Personally, I own an 8800GTX and it does peeve me a bit that a cheaper card in a lower designation has features that nVidia was too cheap to put on my card. But now they're being sued for setting prices... ?

RE: That Hurts
By carage on 5/30/2007 9:50:51 AM , Rating: 2
It's not the first time nVidia pulled off something like this.
I was also pretty peeved when I learned that my 6800 GT lacks features available on the lower end models.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Related Articles

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki