Thursday, May 26, 2005

Hardware Hi-Def H.264 decoding coming soon to an ATI GPU near you

As we noted in a previous article, decoding high definition H.264 QuickTime 7 video is extremely difficult, even for today's computers. The decode utilizes only the CPU, and it takes a dual G5 Power Mac to decode 1080p24 and 1080p30 video at full frame rates.

That will be changing soon, however. ATI has announced that their next generation Radeon GPU will be able to assist H.264 decoding in hardware. From their press release:
ATI Technologies Inc. solidifies its PC video and display leadership with the first public demonstration of high-definition H.264 video playback with hardware acceleration on the PC platform.
The official launch is next week at Computex Taipei 2005.

It is likely that this hardware assist will not reach their lower end GPUs until a few years from now (when today's high end becomes the low end). At that point, it will be time to upgrade to a new 23" dual core G5 iMac. :)