GeForce 8600 speeds up new PowerDVD software

Cyberlink has released a new Blu-ray and HD DVD video playback application dubbed PowerDVD Ultra, and Gizmodo reports that the app brings support for the PureVideo HD VP2 video processing engine in Nvidia's GeForce 8500 and GeForce 8600 graphics cards. As we noted in our review of the GeForce 8600 series, Nvidia claims that the VP2 unit has "full acceleration for the entire H.264 decode chain." Gizmodo has posted some benchmarks that show the GeForce 8600 cards doing a rather good job of slashing processor utilization. In the four test movies, a lone Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 processor's CPU utlization ranges from 80% to 100%. Throw in a GeForce 7600 GT, and CPU utilization dips to 62-75%. However, with a GeForce 8600 GT, the charts say CPU utilization drops to a cool 20-21%.

Of course, playing high-definition media doesn't come cheap. Blu-ray drives cost around $500, the Xbox 360's PC-compatible HD-DVD drive runs up to $200, and Cyberlink's new PowerDVD Ultra software is $99.95. Add a GeForce 8600 GT and an HDCP/HDMI-compliant monitor, and it all adds up.

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