Testing HD DVD movie playback on the 690G and 780G chipsets might seem a bit strange since HD DVD is as good as dead, but that is what we have been using here for testing for more than a year now. We are currently looking into Blu-Ray players for the test bench for upcoming articles. HD DVD movie playback is still a great way to check the CPU Utilization on both the test platforms though, so it was included for the article.
To test the 690G and 780G platforms we ran a pair of HD DVD movies and recorded five minutes of CPU Usage by using the Reliability and Performance Monitor that is built into Microsoft Vista.
When watching The Bourne Ultimatum, a VC-1 encoded title, both of the test systems were able to play the movie just fine. The AMD 690G platform with the Radeon Xpress 1250 IGP ran with between 87% to 98% CPU usage and would stutter and lock up if another application launched. The AMD 780G platform with the Radeon Xpress 3200 IGP ran with between 30% to 66% CPU usage.
The movie TRANSFORMERS is presented in 1080p and is encoded in MPEG4 as opposed to the now almost defacto HD DVD choice of VC1. The 690G platform had a tough time with the MPEG4 encoding format and was losing sound and locking up during playback. The AMD 690G platform used between 94.5% to 100% of the CPU during playback and obviously failed this test. The AMD 780G platform had no problems playing back MPEG4 titles and averaged just 55.2% CPU usage for playback of the same scene.
When playing VC1 and MPEG4 HD titles the AMD 780G chipset is hands down the winner as it makes the year old 690G chipset look dated already. What this means for consumers is that a video card is not needed for HD media playback for the first time. Even with tough 1080P/MPEG4 titles like TRANSFORMERS the 780G chipset with integrated graphics was enough for HD content.