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ATI's HD 5800's Bitstream's TrueHD and DTS-HD MA

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Old 09-23-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default ATI's HD 5800's Bitstream's TrueHD and DTS-HD MA

This is great news. A one solution graphics card for HD gaming and HD movies.
Quote:
The Race is Over: 8-channel LPCM, TrueHD & DTS-HD MA Bitstreaming

It's now been over a year since I first explained the horrible state of Blu-ray audio on the PC. I'm not talking about music discs, but rather the audio component of any Blu-ray movie. It boils down to this: without an expensive sound card it's impossible to send compressed Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio streams from your HTPC to an AV receiver or pre-processor. Thankfully AMD, Intel and later NVIDIA gave us a stopgap solution that allowed HTPCs, when equipped with the right IGP/GPU, to decode those high-definition audio streams and send them uncompressed over HDMI. The feature is commonly known as 8-channel LPCM support and without it all high end HTPC users would be forced into spending another $150 - $250 on a sound card like the Auzentech HomeTheater HD I just recently reviewed.

For a while I'd heard that ATI was dropping 8-channel LPCM support from RV870 because of cost issues. Thankfully, those rumors turned out to be completely untrue. Not only does the Radeon HD 5870 support 8-channel LPCM output over HDMI like its predecessor, but it can now also bitstream Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. It is the first and only video card to be able to do this, but I expect others to follow over the next year.

The Radeon HD 5870 is first and foremost a card for gamers, so unless you're building a dual-purpose HTPC, this isn't the one you're going to want to use. If you can wait, the smaller derivatives of the RV870 core will also have bitstreaming support for TrueHD/DTS-HD MA. If you can't and have a deep enough HTPC case, the 5870 will work.

In addition to full bitstreaming support, the 5870 also features ATI's UVD2 (Universal Video Decoder). The engine allows for complete hardware offload of all H.264, MPEG-2 and VC1 decoding. There haven't been many changes to the UVD2 engine; you can still run all of the color adjusting post-processing effects and accelerate a maximum of two 1080p streams at the same time.

ATI claims that the GPU now supports Blu-ray playback/acceleration in Aero mode, but I found that in my testing the UI still defaulted to basic mode.

To take advantage of the 5870's bitstreaming support I had to use a pre-release version of Cyberlink's PowerDVD 9. The public version of the software should be out in another week or so. To enable TrueHD/DTS-HD MA bitstreaming you have to select the "Non-decoded high-definition audio to external device" option in the audio settings panel:
http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3643&p=10
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DVD's = 65+ = 115+ = 65+
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Old 10-21-2009, 12:16 PM   #2
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Hope this becomes standard across their entire future lineup. I always get the mid level cards(XX50)
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Old 10-22-2009, 07:38 PM   #3
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Good idea, cost effective, gamer worthy and a multi-media powerhouse. So far its standard for all 5000 series. And I am sure AMD will continue this trend because they seem to always add great features with new generation cards.

The 6000 series will be a complete build from the ground up.
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Toshiba REGZA 46" 1080p LCD HDTV (46RF350U) - (Living Room)
Toshiba REGZA 47" 1080p 240Hz LCD HDTV (47ZV650U) - (Theatre Room)
Toshiba HD-A35 / HD-A3
Patriot PBO CORE 1080p HD Media Player
Panasonic DMP-BDT210(3D) w/ Wifi
LG BD570C Blu-Ray Player w/ Wifi
Bell HD Satellite Receiver (6131) x 2
Onkyo TX-SR605 7.1 TrueHD/DTS HD MA
Precision Acoustics™ 8Ch. Hi Def Speakers
DVD's = 65+ = 115+ = 65+
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