AMD Fusion based hardware for a HTPC? - Printable Version
+- XBMC Community Forum (http://forum.xbmc.org)
+-- Forum: Off-Topic (/forumdisplay.php?fid=34)
+--- Forum: Hardware for XBMC (/forumdisplay.php?fid=112)
+--- Thread: AMD Fusion based hardware for a HTPC? (/showthread.php?tid=81286)
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-17 02:16
First of all Robotica I want to say thank you for a high level Xorg conversation. I love Xorg stuff. Let kick it up a notch.
My personal opinion is that Intel is gumming up the works, and Nvidia keeps setting a faster pace.
You are right that VAAPI support has existed in FFMPEG for a while, and that there are some people in the Mplayer community working on it. It has also been worked on by the XBMC devs, I know you have seen the big thread. Me too. And from reading that thread it seems it isn't quite there yet.
From my understanding the basic holdup with VAAPI is that its not stable enough yet. I mean the actual VAAPI API is stable, there is no problem there. What instead is the problem is that it has been hard to make it so that the many different types of hardware covered work well.
And I really blame Intel for that.
It was their GPU group that could never make a decent GPU so that they had to license that PowerVR tech. The first video platform to make the best use of VAAPI was the GMA500 from Intel powered by the PowerVR, and it was full of proprietary tech that made the driver very closed off. Which it had to be, because Intel's GPU arm failed at its mission in life.
That was a big problem because up until that point (and still really) Intel was doing a LOT of heavy Xorg lifting. I mean whoever employes Mr. Keith Packard owns the majority share of Xorg as far as I am concerned. And for a while the synergy was great- until the big AMD source dump open source GPU hardware meant Intel.
But then they release this closed off monstrosity that has the features we need behind a gilded gate. And so suddenly VAAPI ran into the NVidia problem- the only drivers that worked for it for a while were closed!
The Nvidia problem of course is that if you have closed drivers then its impossible to figure out if a Xorg problem is in Xorg or if its in the driver.
Nvidia gets around this problem by hiring Xorg wizards to fix all the problems: When VDPAU was released Nvidia didn't just wait for the community to work it in, they released a patched Mplayer with it. That is how Nvidia rolls.
But this problem was new for the open source side of the Xorg driver community. And it wasn't the only problem.
There was a lot of infighting over whether XvMC should be extended or a new thing rewritten. Also the open source drivers have pretty much redone memory management in the last few years (plus all the composite work) so even without VAAPI there is tons of more basic things to work on.
In that environment, Nvidia didn't stand still. VDPAU based color correction, sharpening, and de-interlacing was added. In newer Nvidia GPUs, divx upscaling was added. They kept cranking out hit after HTPC hit to a very receptive audience. We can't get enough ION!
The good news for VAAPI is that:
-The infighting has stopped and its been full steam ahead by all camps (even Via amazingly). XvMC is dead.
-Thanks to some wonderful work by some amazing folks in this community and others, the Broadcom card exists as a complete open source option.
-And as you stated the large popularity of AMD fusion devices in the future will drive the development.
-Intel Ironlake has real VAAPI support now
-We saw the same slow and steady process for composite on Xorg (while Nvidia had it nailed early) and today a non-Nvidia option is actually easier when it comes to composite support (since it works right after install). The result was excellent.
With that said, Nvidia VDPAU delivers more today that it seems that VAAPI will deliver for a while, which makes it a tempting option for practicalists. Also you can bet that Nvidia will keep rolling out the good stuff (Maybe HD Audio bitstreaming in the 4xx series?) which makes them a safe bet for the future....
- Robotica - 2010-09-17 02:49
Poofyhairguy... Your answers saves me nights of researching. On the other hand it will cost me nights since it's interesting. ;-)
I'll go reading for a while...
ps. From a individual user perspective I can imagine you advise to stick with ION (Intel) but from a open source community perspective I can not understand that attitude: why don't open source communities like XBMC, ffmpeg, Xorg, etc. aren't sticking their neck out to make Intel less dominant and thus have lower prices for all consumer within a few years...
But on topic: Hardware acceleration for AMD Fusion.
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-17 04:31
Robotica Wrote:why don't open source communities like XBMC, ffmpeg, Xorg, etc. aren't sticking their neck out to make Intel less dominant and thus have lower prices for all consumer within a few years
The XBMC community did stick its neck out (especially a few) and that is why open source Broadcom Crystal HD support exists.
I think the reason it hasn't shown up with the open source AMD driver is simply because those who are developing that have barely gotten the basic 3D down- x264 decoding is icing on the GPU cake. They do great work and will probably get there one day, but for now getting an accelerator to work is easier than getting a whole GPU to work.
I honestly don't think Fusion will be the next big step for HTPCs. I think set-top boxes with decoder cards will be. Think Popcorn Hour + XBMC. That is the future because Apple has already shown the price point on that stuff can be sub-$100. At those entry prices, the community will explode.
- Robotica - 2010-09-17 11:56
...Assuming that you want a
*passive (at least silent) mITX-motherboard (thus SoC) and*
Functionwize I would love to:
Then possibility's are very limited:
1> Netgen ION
2> ATOM + CrystalHD (or a cheap NVidia G2xx card).
So instead of waiting for AMD Fusion I will investigate on focus an those options. Is there good info. on option 2?
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-17 18:15
Honestly you can get everything you want with a first gen ION box. Your main problem in your list is that Linux based Flash is not accelerated completely yet.
ION + Windows 7 gets around that because of the superior Flash 10.1 for Windows has proper GPU decoding.
My ION box is pretty much exactly what you want as far as a build. I started with this mobo:
I get HD Audio support though PCM, I get full x264 acceleration even with huge files. With an SSD inside the interface is faster than on my quad core.
ION does it all but Flash, and that isn't ION's fault- its Adobe's. Flash remains one of the worst programed platforms out there, and non-Windows versions are really second class citizens.
So a few options:
1. Forget about Flash (its what I did)
2. Get something with an i3 to overpower Flash with CPU
3. Run Windows 7
4. See how the new Broadcom Flash support shapes out, maybe get Atom + Broadcom. This might be the best option.....
- Robotica - 2010-09-27 16:19
It seems running VAAPI on AMD / ATI is possible after all:
HD3200 / HD4200: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=81857&highlight=vaapi
Intel seems still trouble in Linux. On Win, on the other hand, hardware accelaration seems to work.
- poofyhairguy - 2010-09-27 20:29
Robotica Wrote:It seems running VAAPI on AMD / ATI is possible after all:
It has been possible for a while. What is is NOT is rock solid like VDPAU is....
- Robotica - 2010-10-13 23:58
I am getting more and more enthusiastic about AMD Fusion and even the current Neo + NVIDIA nForce 9200 makes my enthusiastic.
- Robotica - 2010-10-31 02:04
AMD Fusion is capable of some amazing stuff: http://www.youtube.com/amdunprocessed
- Hannes The Hun - 2010-10-31 12:11
poofyhairguy Wrote:I honestly don't think Fusion will be the next big step for HTPCs. I think set-top boxes with decoder cards will be. Think Popcorn Hour + XBMC. That is the future because Apple has already shown the price point on that stuff can be sub-$100. At those entry prices, the community will explode.
poofy, you know usually I'm 100% with you on HTPC stuff, but here I beg to differ. I don't see any value in these broadcom-like dedicated decoding cards as they are nothing more than a compromise for very weak systems and are becoming obsolete right as we speak.
1) the future for *cheap* consumer-ready set-top boxes lies in the fully integrated ARM-based chipsets as demonstrated by the new Apple TV or by nvidia's tegra2 platform. granted, neither of these solutions at present is fully capable of advanced 1080p decoding right now which is why apple set the limit to 720p (of course also to save streaming bandwidth) or why boxee switched to intel's CE4100 at the last minute (well, money might also have played a role there).
but nonetheless, these integrated ARM chips are evolving at breakneck speed right now in the development labs driven by the smartphone market's demand for more powerful performance. this is also why I try everything that's in my humble power to get the ARM port of XBMC ahead, I just really want to see this thing running on android. while we'll see fully integrated, 1080p and 3D capable, highly integrated and cheap ARM smart phones and set-top boxes as soon as next year, the likes of syabas/sigma and realtek will start to become obsolete in the media player market and vanish (that's why I didn't like your popcorn hour example). HDX did something very interesting this year with their "Bone" and while software and hardware are still not quite ready, they were just a little ahead of their time.
2) for HTPC enthusiasts like us that want to have fully customized, bleeding edge hardware for diverse requirements, the FUSION stuff (I like how they hid the "ION" part in there...) or the integrated intel GPU stuff are a very good starting point also if the dedicated graphics cards will still be ahead technologically as we see this right now with 3D, HD audio and HDMI 1.4.
whew, that was more than I initially intended to write I just don't see any future value in these dedicated decoding cards, that's the main point I guess.