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HQV Benchmark 2.0 Analysis – ATi, nVidia and Intel

This second chapter focuses on the video processors ability to reduce noise throughout the image in a variety of ways. This is critical to giving a good, clean image as the human eye is very susceptible to picking up noise within a video file.

We need to check noise reduction features for all the graphics solutions on test today, and measure the results while ensuring that fine detail is not compromised. Image quality can be reduced by blurring and smearing techniques which means a reduction in the overall scoring. Many HDTV’s have noise reduction features built in which can improve image quailty, but we have omitted this today to ensure we are correctly analysing the hardware and driver solution.

In Catalyst 10.6 ATI have several sliders for reducing unwanted noise. The De-Noise slider which we find worked best on our panel at around 75%. They also have new options called Mosquito Noise Reduction and Deblocking which we set to around 3/4 full. Mosquito Noise artifacts helps reduce artifacts that appear on the edges of structures and surfaces while Deblocking helps to remove those that can appear within a surface.

Intel’s G41 panel has an on/off switch for noise reduction with no fine detail over settings. On the i3 IGP, these controls are set in the Media panel/image enhancement section. This is set to AUTO, automatically.

nVidia have a noise reduction control is found in the ‘Adjust video image settings’ area of their control panel. We find setting it around one third to one half in gave best results.

To score these tests correctly we needed to adjust each panels options ‘on the fly’ to find the ideal area of noise reduction without losing detail on the image, it is a fine art which can take some time to get perfect. Removing all noise for instance can tend to make an image look slightly out of focus which we don’t want.

Random Noise: Sunrise (Score either 5, 2 or 0)
Noise well reduced and details not softened or smeared. – Scores 5
Noise lightly reduced and details not softened or smeared. – Scores 2
Noise not reduced or details softened or smeared. – Scores 0

Intel GMA X4500 (G41)
Intel HD Graphics
ATI HD4200 (IGP)
ATI HD5450 (Discrete)
ATI HD5550 (Discrete)
ATI HD5770 (Discrete)
ATI HD5850 (Discrete)
ATI HD5870 (Discrete)
NV G210 (Discrete)
NV G220 (Discrete)
NV GTX 465 (Discrete)
NV GTX 480 (Discrete)
Random Noise: Sunrise
0 2 5
5 5

Both nVidia and ATI solutions handle this test with relative ease, putting in an almost reference result.

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