Radeon HD 2900 XT lacks UVD
Scott Wasson from the TechReport came across this 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. 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.”
After naturally contacting AMD about the issue, Wasson learned from AMD’s technical marketing manager, David Baumann, that the ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT lacks UVD hardware processing capabilities, but offers video decoding performance similar to AMD’s older X1000-series. Bauman contunued saying that the 2600 and 2400 cards will feature UVD.
The UVD logic handles the CPU-intensive bitstream processing and entropy decode acceleration portions of the HD video playback pipeline. These are the most notable video decode acceleration capabilities that would separate the Radeon HD 2900 series from its direct competition, the GeForce 8800 series, if the HD 2900 XT actually had them. Turns out it does not. As the email states, the video playback capabilities of the Radeon HD 2900 XT are essentially similar to those of the previous-gen Radeon X1950.