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Videologic Vivid!XS Kyro II Review

The Kyro 2 is the latest in PowerVR’s Series 3 Graphics Cards & will be the most successful for the PC so far, or so the Manufacturers of these cards are hoping at least. In the past PowerVR were probably most well known for their relationship with Sega, e.g. powering Sega Arcade machines & the ill-fated Dreamcast.

Perhaps one reason for the some of the in interest in this Chipset was the infamous leaked nVidia presentation (Or “sales tool” as they called it) on the Kyro 2, available here, which cast nVidia in an undesired light & cast the Kyro 2 as being the valiant underdog. Thanks to Videologic/Imagination Technologies David Harold for answering some Questions regarding the Kyro 2.

Given the costs of this card I was expecting very little, if anything, in the way of bundled software with the Vivid! XS, perhaps a few Technology demos, nothing more. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it came bundled with WinDVD 2000 2.2, along with the Driver CD for the Graphics card itself of course.

The Manual was a fairly standard issue containing how to install the Vivid! XS along with some more on TV-Out & resolution/refresh rates. Nothing too special here really. The Driver installation also allows you to install an Online Manual as well. The Help files for the Vivid! XS were nice though & explain all the settings rather well.

Installation

Installation of the Videologic Vivid! XS went rather smoothly as one could expect. I uninstalled 3dfx Tools, shut down my system & removed the Voodoo 5 5500AGP. Then I gently slid the Vivid! XS into the empty AGP slot. After screwing the card into place & plugging in the Monitor cable I booted up the system up once again. The card was detected via Plug & Play & the latest Drivers were installed without issue.

Hardware Features

The Vivid! XS has a few extra hardware features built into it that make it a nicer overall package. They are as follows:

Motion Compensation

DVD playback on the PC has become rather popular, what with DVD drives being fairly standard in new systems along with Multi-Channel Soundcards/PC Speaker systems & AC3/DTS Decoders.

In most instances very little changes between each frame of DVD (MPEG2) during playback. Using predictive coding it is possible to calculate/measure the motion of moving objects between frames. This data can then be used to predict their position in future frames.

This process will, as you can guess, reduce the CPU resources needed for DVD/MPEG2 playback (In supported Software Decoders that is). Although, given the speed of current CPU’s is it really all that necessary? To test this out I tried PowerDVD 3.0 & WinDVD to see what difference Motion Compensation could make (It's worth noting that Motion Compensation is only 1 form of On-board MPEG2 decoding, the other being iDCT - Inverse Discrete Cosine Transformation, as supported by most ATI Graphics cards in addition to Motion Compensation).

The Kyro 2 Chipset supports & uses DXVA (DirectX Video Acceleration) for providing Motion Compensation so assuming your Software DVD decoder supports this then Motion Compensation with the Vivid! XS should work just fine.

The tables beneath display the CPU & Memory utilization with Motion Compensation Enabled/Disabled. For testing this I used Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon playing 10 minutes of the film on System 1. First up Power DVD 3:

Power DVD 3.0  

On  
Off

Now for WinDVD 2000 2.2:  

WinDVD 2000 2.2  
On  
Off  

The results for CPU/Memory usage weren’t exactly overwhelming (To put it mildly) & in fact it seems the main benefit I noticed was that of reduced slightly reduced Memory usage with Motion compensation enabled (1 or 2MB only though). Testing DVD playback while playing a high quality MP3 back resulted in similar results, albeit it with higher CPU usage in both results.

Overall it seems Motion Compensation had no real beneficial effect on CPU usage in the tests taken in Windows 2000, although memory usage was slightly reduced. Perhaps on a slower CPU can the reduced CPU usage be seen, although for newer system it would seem that Motion Compensation has no noticeable effect.

 



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