Real World System Performance – Media Playback
Blu-Ray Playback: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs is encoded in High Definition 1080p format using MPEG4 AVC compression and comes on a dual layer (50GB) disc. The aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is used with letterbox bars at the top and bottom of the 16:9 image. This portion of the movie has an average video bitrate of around 30MBPS and regularly peaks above this making it one of the most demanding Blu-Rays on the market. For comparison, a movie such as Casino Royale has a bitrate of 24MBPS.
Blu-Ray playback is a relatively simple affair on recent hardware, just install the latest drivers then tweak the display settings to the preferred level and run PowerDVD 12 which also features support for Blu-Ray 3D. If we want to pass some of the video processing to our GPU (including on-board support) we can do so by going into the software options and ticking the hardware acceleration box.
With GPU acceleration in place the CPU usage statistic for Blu-Ray playback never rises above 9%, leaving plenty of resources free for other tasks and it is worth keeping in mind we could output to a HDTV from the system for 1080p playback as a media device.
In our second playback test we look at 1080p video on YouTube and it is clear that viewing content at this resolution is a task which the i7 CPU within our system is more than capable of performing.