VIA Nano at 1.3Ghz playing 1080p. Demo video from VIA.

Posted on 04 August 2008 by



nanovideoIt takes some courage for a small company like VIA to go head to head with Intel so you have to hand it to VIA for putting this video out. Apart from the fighting-talk in the first 30 seconds, it shows the 1.3Ghz Nano (I have this confirmed) against the 1.6Ghz Intel Atom (Diamondville.) in a 1080p HD video test. I recognized the video being used (Try it – Robotica) and checked it out on my Akoya/Wind. Sure enough, it doesn’t play perfectly. Not surprising as it’s about 9Mbps of 1440×1080 video.

 

If the Nano is doing this in CPU-alone then I’m really impressed because the 1.3Ghz Nano is perfect for 7" UMPCs.

Here’s the video. Meet you all outside for the fight later :-)

 
 

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26 Comments For This Post

  1. KevinR says:

    Do we know what resolution they were actually displaying at? I’m assuming they’d be sampling down resolution on a 7″ display. So they might be moving more bps from internet/storage than to screen. Whereas the poulsbo-codecs clearly struggled in the move to screen.

    Steve Reply:

    Just a comment regarding KevinR’s inclusion of the name Poulsbo (Intel’s internal name for the SCH controller Hub) – this is not used in the EeePC. You need to look for devices with “Intel Centrino Atom” to find Poulsbo HW acceleration.

    Steve

    chippy Reply:

    Sorry to be pedantic but there will be some devices that are not ‘Centrino’ but do carry the Poulsbu chipset. E.g. Kohjinsha SC3.

    But yes, the Eee PC uses the 945 chipset, not pulsbo.

    On a side, Poulsbo is theortically capable of 1020i (not p) so expect someone to say that it can be done under Intel Menlow (SIlverthrone Atom + Pulsbos) for less power than VIA!!! IN practice, no one has seen this for real yet as Pulsbo drivers seem to be immature. But I digress….point is here that the Nano looks fast and VIA are stirring up the market. Great to see a competitor with guts.

    Steve.

    Steve Reply:

    No need to apologise I was being pedantic in the first place, but I think the correction should be they are Centrino Atom products but the manufacture has put the wrong label on ;-)
    Agree that competition is good (for the price war if nothing else) but looking forward to seeing Via’s and others response to the Atom + Poulsbo package i.e. 3D and video hardware acceleration…

    Steve

    Faidon1976 Reply:

    VIA plays High Definition better than Intel Atom…
    yes…But who has the desire to play High Definition
    resolution on a 10 inch screen which is roughly 1024X600 ?
    This is silly.
    The comparison should be made in other fields, more practical
    and down to netbook usage: battery economy and Desktop performance for example

  2. NobbyNobbs says:

    Looks promising.
    But as long as there is no neutral comparison between _available_ netbooks with nano and atom, I`m not getting excited.
    Judging from past announcment to availabilty experience with via, it`s still gonna be some month till netbooks with nano pop up (afaik none are announced so far?). Intel might already have the dual atom ready by then…

    chippy Reply:

    No, there’s nothing announced yet. Watch this space!

  3. Hanzo says:

    I’m really impressed by the speed…..that Engadget reference the news here.

    As for this news, I still want to ask VIA:

    When will you ship Nano out of the labs?

  4. chippy says:

    Funny, I asked the same thing this morning!
    OF course, there’s never any answer from VIA. They don’t make the devices. We have to ask people like Everex and FIC. I’m doing my best to get the latest info so stay tuned.

    Oh, and hello to Engadget readers!

    Steve.

  5. Will says:

    Utter rubbish. What this video fails to mention is that it is the GRAPHICS chipset which enables the PROTOTYPE Via OpenBook to play the 1080p video. For all we know, Intel may also have a PROTOTYPE video driver which has WMV9 hardware acceleration on the GMA950.

  6. chippy says:

    I really doubt the C7 would be able to do that with a VX800 and new drivers, especially under XP and Windows Media player so it still shows Nano in a very good light.

    End users should really be looking at Atom and Nano as like-for-like in these netbook and UMPC scenarios because a lot depends on OS, disk speeds and measured battery life. For 99% of users it appears that Nano and Atom will be able to perform the home users daily tasks.

    Only us geeks will worry about the finer detail and to be honest, we probably worry too much about it!

    Steve.

  7. focus says:

    Via nano will drain batery fast,and we all know what it means that in our UMPC world :)

  8. JP says:

    Actually it doesn’t surprise me.

    The Intel Atom processor architecture is optimized to perform good at “usual tasks” with very low consumption, with the drawback of very deceptive performance in the other tasks, which are not expected to be commonly run on these devices. Such tasks typically includes packing/unpacking files, playing sophisticated games, doing scientific computing, media editing.

    Of course video playback also falls back in this category unless the display chipset handles all of the “hard part”.

    On the opposite, the VIA Nano sports performances much more similar to the processors we’re used on desktops and laptops. It means it won’t struggle playing a video or unpacking a set of files, like the Atom does in this demo.

    Of course, then, the comsumption of the VIA Nano processor is much higher than Atom…

    So the final question (for geeks or techies at least, that can understand such subtleties) will be about the expected tasks for the processor:
    – There should not be notable difference of performance between Nano and Atom doing “average tasks” like web surfing or text processing; but the Atom would lead to better battery life and the user may be happy to use it’s device longer.
    – On the other side, there should be quite a big difference of performance between Nano and Atom (Nano leading) doing the other tasks like it is showned in this video with the playback of a HD video; in such a case and depending on the actual task, this may be acceptable or not. For instance, you may be willing to wait longer for the device to unpack a set of files; but displaying HD video seems to be possible and OK on Nano but simply impossible on Atom because if the device can’t sustain the decoding at a reasonnable rate, the video simply doesn’t make any sense. In the end, you don’t care that your Atom device consumes less power if you simply CAN’T do what you ask it for.

    So, yes, it is just another concept that will be impossible to explain to end-users who doesn’t own a master in computer architecture… While it is easy to say “it will keep on longer”. Bad deal for VIA, I guess. :-(

    JP Reply:

    By the way, JKK seems to run flawlessly the video on its own 901.
    http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2008/08/via-nano-vs-intel-atom-hd-playback.html

    Does it mean that VIA simply cheats in its video? That would be a very bad idea, people aren’t fools and try it at home (like JKK just did).

    I hope VIA will elaborate on all that…

  9. Hanzo says:

    As far as I know, the 1.3Ghz Nano drains 6W which is not that much than Atom did. So I do agree with Chippy, if Nano 1.3Ghz can handle 1080P HD WMV clip on her own, that’s the perfect chip for the UMPC.

  10. jkkmobile says:

    test

  11. jkkmobile says:

    I tested this on my 901:

    video runs fine!

    http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2008/08/via-nano-vs-intel-atom-hd-playback.html

    Thanks VIA for BS…

  12. jkkmobile says:

    hmmm. links no worky on comments..

    chippy Reply:

    Only one link is allowed per comment.
    More than one and it gets held for approval.
    S.

  13. chippy says:

    I guess you wanted to mention that it works on the 901 JKK?

    http://jkkmobile.blogspot.com/2008/08/via-nano-vs-intel-atom-hd-playback.html

    Steve

    Hanzo Reply:

    I’m confused…Doesn’t EEEPC 901 use Celerom-M while this video is using Atom-base EEEPC 1000h for test?

    Celeron-M 90Mhz is able to play full HD 1080P video.
    Could somebody do the same test on your own Atom-based netbooks?

  14. That80sGuy says:

    . o O (What point is there in testing/comparing 1080p playback on a netbook, who on earth wants to play back 1080p on a 8.9″ screen anyways?)

    chippy Reply:

    Its a proof of CPU capability more than a useful test. Running CrystalMark isnt that useful either! At least people can see the results in a video playback test.

  15. ChristophD says:

    Admittedly I’m impressed by the performance the Nano seems to have.

    However if there’s one thing I couldn’t care less about on a 7″ ~ 10″ device than it’s high-def video playback performance. Honestly who would watch any videos on such a small screen?

    Plus at the end of the day 80% of all MIDs, UMD, UMPCs, netbooks, etc. will come with the Atom processor and most of the market will never know that such a thing as the Nano even exists.

    JP Reply:

    It is not because you and a lot of other people think that Intel will be the big winner of the game in the end that VIA should not try the fight.

    sims Reply:

    Christoph, the government wants to sell your spleen. So why not just commit suicide.

    It’s that attitude that enables domination. You want to be dominated. Some one else wants to dominate. So just bend over. What a perfect team!

  16. chippy says:

    I think to summarise from everything that was said about Nano and VIA today i’ll re0iterate what I said the other day.

    “At the end of the day, there’s not much in it between Atom and Nano. The two CPUs, for the average user, are going to yield similar results across the range with the Nano probably turning in slightly better test results. As we’ve talked about before, the interesting thing about the Nano is it’s pin-for-pin upgrade path, its open ecosystem and its price. For the consumers, it effectively means that there’s one less thing to worry about when choosing a UMPC as the theoretical results are just too close to be able to make any decisions on.”

    Nano brings competition which we will al benefit from. We don’t want anyone to get lazy!

    Steve

  17. Corrupted Mind says:

    Glad to see the snobs out in full force… but I bet the guy who is too posh to watch a 7″ UMPC screen would happily squint through a movie on an ipod touch. Anyway, the test is a valid test – if you have a kid sporting an Eee Pc and you fancy taking him/her on a road trip then the capability to roll through a pre-installed video might be on the agenda. For grown ups a UK to NY flight is still 6hrs or three movies if you wanted to do nothing but relax or two movies a nap and some work!

  18. ChristophD says:

    Corrupted Mind, since I’m the posh-kid-on-the-blog that you’re refering to please allow me to reply that I never intended to argue against watching “movies” on devices with 7″ or smaller screens (e.g. my iPod touch or OLPC XO) even though my original post unfortunately sounds like that. I was merely refering to *high-definition* videos as I honestly don’t see them being a use-case on these category of devices. Neither for myself not the kid on the road trip.

    Steve’s argument about this being a “proof of CPU capability” is flawed in that it shows CPU capability for a feature that people aren’t going to be using. The problem with those kind of “tests” and “comparisons” is that it’s very easy to bullshit people (see here and now).

    It’s funny to see history repeat itself, a couple of years back everyone starting decrying single-figure benchmarks (e.g. 3D Mark 200x) and 120fps vs. 125fps comparisons as being too simplified and these days HD-videos are all the rage when it comes to comparing the “capability” of platforms and whatnot. Whether any of these metrics actually matter seems totally irrelevant.

    And I’m the last one to say that VIA shouldn’t put up a fight but at the end of the day BS benchmarks aren’t helping customers. It just makes it easier for your competition to kick your ass. Even if VIA had a significantly superior technology/product (which they don’t) the overall impact on the market would be relatively insignificant. Back in the day when AMD’s CPUs were kicking Intel’s overheating ass the company managed to grab an extra 8~10% of the market. So go figure what the Nano’s impact will be…

  19. DavidC1 says:

    To Will:

    There will be no HD acceleration driver for the GMA 950. The hardware doesn’t support it. The only Intel IGP with full hardware acceleration is the GMA X4500.

    Anyways, CPU wise Intel Atom has lowest power, but Via chipset uses less power than the 945G. Intel doesn’t even use the mobile 945G in most casts, they use the desktop one.

    CPU-wise, its not fair. Platform wise, yes.

  20. Hanzo says:

    With some further info, it seems with Auto Performance mode without AC power plugged in, Atom 1.6G platform really could not handle 1080P HD WMV video(still not 100% confirmed).

    So there is another question, what is the frequency of both platform when playing video in VIA marketing’s clip??

    JP Reply:

    That’s the main problem of this video. VIA displays a test and doesn’t explain how the test is done. The problem is that people try it at home because they don’t take it as granted.

    Somebody else tried the same test on an Acer Aspire One without AC power plugged in and got the same result as in VIA’s video. So I guess that’s the point here and the différence with JKK’s video (and other ones) is that JKK plugged it on AC power.

    But, again, this is not enough. VIA doesn’t explain how the test is done and so the test doesn’t worth anything. :-(

  21. chippy says:

    Some feedback from an Open email that VIA sent to a few bloggers today in response to comments…
    ———————————————————-
    I saw the numerous comments on your sites… and other sites… about the recent video we released comparing VIA Nano and Intel Atom HD video performance.

    I’m the guy in the video and I thought maybe I could send you a response as opposed to try and go around commenting everywhere and maybe address some of the questions people may have had.

    First off I’d like to say… Wow! We had no idea how popular or inciting this video was going to be…. and I’d like to say we certainly weren’t trying to tell people how to watch video, or on what type of device to watch video on, or in what resolution. Also its great to see people so passionate about their mini-notes and the Asus EeePC! The relatively new mini-note category is important to VIA so we’re really surprised and very impressed by the passionate interest.

    In fact recently we had just done a round of independent 3rd party benchmarking tests which were really positive for the VIA Nano and we wanted to find a way for people who don’t read benchmarks or visit those kinds of site a way to visually see the performance difference between our CPU and our competitors CPU. Its very difficult to isolate CPU performance on products as you know although some independent 3rd party benchmark reviews can be found here:

    Intel Atom vs.VIA Nano -HardOCP
    http://enthusiast.hardocp.com/article.html?art=MTUzNSwxLCxoZW50aHVzaWFzdA==
    Low-end grudge match: Nano vs. Atom -ars technica
    http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/atom-nano-review.ars

    So video performance is a “visual” way to show off our performance. We chose a 1080p HD video to really stress the compared CPUs and we chose a VIA OpenBook prototype to plop a VIA Nano 1.3HGz processor into because its the closest thing we have to a comparable product at the moment that we are allowed to talk about (although that will change soon!). The prototype we used nicely demoed our pin for pin upgrade compatibility for our processors but is in no way was it optimized to run the VIA Nano processor the way our customers products will be when they are launched. So our customers VIA Nano based products in fact should have even better performance.

    Presently of course we have no way to do an exact apples for apples comparison (and to satisfy everyone I don’t think there ever will be since so many other platform factors come into play) but we thought we’d take another mini-note using our competitors highest CPU sku (Intel Atom 1.6GHz) and play them side by side so people could see the difference for themselves. In this case, because we had one on hand, we used the Asus EeePC 1000H. Both machines in the test ran with 1GHz of ram, and both use 2.5″ SATA hard drives.

    We purposely chose one of our lower sku VIA Nano 1.3GHz processor’s to compare against Intel’s highest sku to not only show its great performance but to help simplify people’s questions about power consumption. Power consumption is something experts seldom agree on and your average consumer has very little idea about in terms of what it means to them in terms of overall power consumption or battery life, or their power bill. I would be very willing to discuss in an interview with you this subject if you thought people would be interested in how VIA approaches these issues. We’re very convinced that our Nano power consumption is more than competitive to the Atom and we’d love to go into the lengthy discussion about how we see that.

    I saw some 901 test result videos added to your sites which use SSD drive and I believe also a Celeron CPU, it looks like the results may have been different. For this reason we tried to show in the graphics in the video and the title of our video that we were comparing CPUs. In fact this whole video controversy highlights the platform differences between VIA and Intel… on another day I would also love to do an interview with you regarding that very subject!

    We chose a 1080p HD video as I mentioned to stress the CPUs, but in fact depending on other factors such a bit rate for example, performance results can widely vary for HD videos. So the best we could do is have both machines run the same video. Yes 720p videos can be played by different CPUs, its just not the video we chose for our comparison, which people can download and run for themselves here:http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/b/41b10a4f-f4f4-4692-aa44-a458d0047e91/Robotica_1080.exe

    I think a lot of the comments you can see people talking about how to properly tune your 1000H so it can play HD video. Our thinking process was… lets do this while running on batteries. The beauty of these mini-note product category is their mobility and most of us internally at VIA were thinking.. If I’m in a place where I could be plugged in (maybe at home) I’ll probably watch 1080p HD video on a different device… like my HD TV. So to be fair in as much of a like for like comparison we ran both devices on batteries in “auto mode” that way the processors have the option to scale up their performance to meet the task if they need to. I don’t know why but the Atom didn’t when we ran our video.

    As to the video style… the music, the use of quotes from Intel. Well we did intend for the video to be a little dramatic and set a ” product for product challenge” type of tone and we did want to show our philosophy about our product. For VIA the VIA Nano is a very important product, our confidence in our product and marketing approach certainly needs to reflect that. Sadly we don’t have a 300 million dollar marketing budget or control over our customer/partners to drive our product into the hearts and minds of consumers. So this is one of the approaches we are taking.

    I don’t know Paul Otellini personally so I can only get Intel’s philosophy on their products from the public face they put on it. So to show our different corporate philosophies to both companies products I took those Intel quotes used in our video from a July 15th CNET article: “Intel CEO on Atom chip shortage, flash problems” -http://news.cnet.com/8301-13924_3-9992309-64.html

    Intel predicts its shortages will end around the same time VIA Nano based products hit the market so I think its relevant for VIA to show this kind of performance video now so consumers can make better educated when products are readily available. I realize some Atom based products are available now of course.

    …In the end what really matters is the consumer experience on devices and we’re getting really close to a point where people will be able experience VIA Nano based devices of all sorts and see for themselves. In the meantime I’m open for dialogue and speaking to the community, as well as educating about our products.

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

    Tim Brown
    International Marketing Manager
    ——————————

  22. ChristophD says:

    I still don’t get it, how does running 1080p videos (1920px*1080px) make any sense whatsoever on devices with a maximum resolution of 1024 or so pixels? In my opinion that’s about as useful as HardOCP’s Quake 3 benchmark…

    Steve Reply:

    I can think of one good reason – no need to transcode/resize my video collection.
    Say I have a TV series on my media server in HD, but want to watch one episode while traveling on my netbook/UMPC, much easier to copy the file without having to re-encode at SD resolution…

    Steve

    ChristophD Reply:

    That’s actually a good argument which I hadn’t considered before.

    (Incidently having to convert videos so I can watch them on my new iPod touch is a real pain in the rear!)

  23. Dalton says:

    I want to thank Tim Brown for his reply to all of the discussion here. I know it is his job, but it does show interest in what users are saying. Thanks

    There are people with specialized uses for which this seams to be an ideal product along with the NANO 2.0 board set.

    My interest is in building small computers to run the navigation displays on sailboats where power is a real problem. If you are sailing along the only power you may have on a sailboat is coming from solar panels that are trying to power the GPS devices, sailing instruments, and a power hog autopilot.

    A very power stingy processor capable of supporting 4 Gig of memory for increased performance which is processsing multiple (up to eight) real time USB data inputs and doing computations on that data to drive a real time charting application with a moving map, instrumentation read-outs is a very desirable product.

    The 1.3 processor shown in the video certainly seams fully capable of this task and draws only 7 watts of power.

    The Nano 2.0 boad prototype shown is also extremely interestiing in it’s memory capability and its expansiion capacity. The ability to boot and run the OS from CF memory is outstanding. The other very important thing is the video expansion as on a sailboat you will absolutely be driving multiple monitors at multiple resolutions. 600X800 on a cockpit display. 1024X768 on a navigation station display. And HD to the flat screen in the salon for watching movies.

    I am concerned that no one will actually build the prototype board VIA has shown. I most certainly hope so!

    Thanks allowing me to state my opinions.

    Dalton
    Sailboat Quietly

    sims Reply:

    I’m pretty sure Via will build/have built a nano-itx or mini-itx or pico-itx or whatever size board for this slick CPU with a great chipset. It’s whether or not this makes it into some high quality mobile hardware that is my concern.

    I think the thing that puts most of the non-Intel parts to shame is that they are cheap. Seems ironic. So manufactures on a tight budget use them. Since they are on a tight budget, they probably also don’t invest much into R&D. So the end product reflects that in performance and power consumption.

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