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HQV Benchmark 2.0 Analysis – ATi, nVidia and Intel

HQV Benchmark has always been a very useful application to ascertain the quality of video output from the hardware, through the driver into the panel. V 2.0 literally doubles the amount of tests on offer, giving the end user more options to fine tune and enhance their viewing experience.

The suite is designed to detail and report any weaknesses with video output and to educate and inform the user with possible driver adjustments. After many many hours of testing, our final results are shown below.

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)
Dial
0
4
0
4
4
4
4
4
0
2
4
4
Dial with static pattern 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Gray Bars 0 3 0 3 5 5 5 5 0 2 5 5
Violin 0 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 0 3 5 5
Stadium 2:2 0 0 3 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
Stadium 3:2 0 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 0 3 5 5
Horizontal Text Scroll 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 3 3 3
Vertical Text Scroll 3 5 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 3
Transistion to 3:2 Lock 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
Transition to 2:2 Lock 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 5
2:2:2:4 24 FPS DVCAM Video
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
2:3:3:2 24 FPS DVCam Video
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
3:2:3:2:2 24 FOS Vari-Speed
0 3 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 3 5 5
5:5 FPS Animation
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
6:4 12 FPS Animation
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
8:7 8 FPS Animation
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 5 5
Interlace Chroma Problem (ICP)
2 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 2 5 5
Chroma Upsampling Error (CUE)
2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 0 5 5 5
Random Noise: Sailboat
0 0 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Random Noise: Flower
0 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Random Noise: Sunrise
0 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Random Noise: Harbour Night
0 2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Scrolling Text
0 0 3 3 3 3 5 5 0 0 0 3
Roller Coaster
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 0 3 3 3
Ferris Wheel
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 0 3 3 3
Bridge Traffic
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 0 3 3 3
Text Pattern/ Scrolling Text
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 3 3 3 3
Roller Coaster
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 3 3 3 3
Ferris Wheel
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 3 3 3 3
Bridge Traffic
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 3 3 3 3
Luminance Frequency Bands
2 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2 5 5
Chrominance Frequency Bands
5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 2 2 5 5
Vanishing Text 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5
Resolution Enhancement
15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15 15
Theme Park
2 0 2 5 5 5 5 5 2 5 5 5
Driftwood 5 5 2 2 2 2 2 2 5 5 5 5
Ferris Wheel
0 3 3 3 3 3 5 5 3 3 3 3
Skin Tones
0 0 7 7 7 7 7 7 3 3 3 3
Total 49 111 152 173 175 175 193 193 82 114 172 175

It is worth pointing out again that HQV Benchmark 2.0 is not an exact science, the testing is subjective. While many people will be using a panel or television with heavy processing, we have attempted to negate this by using one of the most expensive panels on the market with a very wide gamut and colour depth. This ensures that the output from the hardware, via the driver to the panel is clean and pure. We also studied reference documentation from the creators of the benchmark to educate ourselves on all the tests beforehand. Knowing exactly what you are looking for is tantamount to ensuring you can accurately measure the results.

Here are the various performance figures stacked for each solution.

Once you've evaluated all the HD processing options with HQV, the various levels of quality are obvious

So what can we say about the 3 companies who compete for your hard earned bucks in this market?
.
Intel: Even though the original programme for discrete Larrabee was cancelled, it’s obvious that Intel’s engineers have already learned a lot about high quality video processing and each generation is definitely getting better. Comparing an integrated graphics processor against a state-of-the-art GPU from someone like ATI is never going to look good for Intel. Dedicated hardware solutions are always going to rock. But you must to take your hat off to Intel when you consider that its latest chips score more than 125% higher than its previous generation. Intel may not be a leader right now, but it is very definitely moving in the right direction – and it’s doing so faster than anyone else.

nVidia: Again, progress has been made. The jump from nVidia’s G210/220 scores to the present generation of Fermi processor is substantial. Also, once nVidia’s engineers have had a chance to look through KitGuru’s test results, it will be straightforward for them to target issues the issueswe’ve flagged  and eliminate them.  It’s unlikely that the lower scores are anything to do with hardware, so we’d expect the scores to pick up within a few driver iterations. Likewise on the functionality side of things, we expect to see some of ATI’s new functions mirrored in the nVidia driver panels soon enough, for example mosquito noise reduction and deblocking.

ATI: It seems that ATI’s background with the production of processing chips for digital TVs still gives it some kind of advantage. Even budget cards like the passively cooled Sapphire HD 5550 generate similar video quality when compared with nVidia’s flagship GTX480. Obviously a lot of this is down to driver development and advancements. For now, KitGuru can state clearly that ATI’s Radeon HD 5000 series cards offer the best HD video reproduction quality available in the market.

Our findings have also shown that Catalyst 10.6 is without a doubt the best ATI driver yet, specifically in regards to the quality of video rendering. The new features incorporated into Catalyst 10.6, such as Mosquito Noise Reduction and DeBlocking, really to help to enhance picture quality output, with our reference monitor it was easy to ascertain quality differences. Just as we’re sure that ATI’s discrete solutions are leading the HD video quality pack right now, we’re also positive that nVidia will be working hard to catch up with subsequent driver releases over the coming months.

KitGuru says: We hope that this article today has not only informed you on slight variances with hardware and driver configurations but has educated you on how to run and analyse these tests for yourself … we would like to hear your own reports in our forums.

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