Testing HD DVD movie playback on the NVIDIA 780a SLI and AMD 690G/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. HD DVD movie playback is still a great way to check the CPU Utilization on both the test platforms, so it was included for the article.
To test the NVIDIA 780a SLI and AMD 690G/780G chipsets 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, all 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 NVIDIA 780a SLI platform had a really low CPU utilization and the peak CPU usage never broke over 55%. NVIDIA has done a great job with PureVideo on the 780a SLI.
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 and 780G platforms had a tough time with the MPEG4 encoding format and CPU usage was higher than our previous test. The NVIDIA 780a SLI platform did better on the MPEG4 conent and CPU usage was lower during playback as a result.