Intel Integrated Graphics

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Intel Graphic Media Accelerators (or GMA) are integrated GPUs commonly found on Intel-based motherboards. Their performance, and their driver support in x.org, have been improving at a steady pace for several years now; as of 2008, Intel's drivers are open-source, and are generally agreed upon to be excellent in quality and well maintained by Intel and Tungsten Graphics, who are now two of the most significant contributors to x.org.

Because of their well-maintained, open drivers, and presumably because of low power consumption (compared to discrete GPUs on PCIe cards) and adequate performance, Intel GMAs would seem to be an excellent choice for a mythtv frontend; unfortunately, little is known about how well they actually work.

If you have any experience with these GPUs and mythtv frontends, please post it here so others can benefit from your experience!

Performance

With the release of the GMA X4500, the 3d performance of Intel GPUs is now within reach of Nvidia's integrated offerings. (see Notebook Test News auf notebookjournal.de - Praxis - Exclusive: Intel Centrino 2 Performance Test) This would seem to indicate that an X4500 is more than enough for typical Myth front end duties.

Power Consumption

Users and reviewers often claim that their Intel GMAs have very low power consumption. There seems to be consensus, at least, that integrated GPUs in general (including the Intel GMA) are much more power efficient than discrete ones.

See:

Intel GMA setups known to work as a MythTV frontend

  • The Intel Mac Mini: see Installing MythTV on an Intel Mac Mini using Ubuntu
  • The Acer Aspire One netbook
  • Asus P5E-VM HDMI, Intel 82G35 Express Integrated Graphics Controller / Intel G35. (Judaz 14:57, 2 February 2009 (UTC), see User:Judaz#xorg.conf)
  • Asus P5QPL-AM, Intel G41 chipset (X4500 graphics), with Pentium Dual Core E6300. 1080i MPEG-2 content shows 45% CPU usage when using the "High Quality" playback profile with Kernel deinterlacer.
  • HP/Compaq DC7700 with Dual Core CPU, Intel 82Q963/Q965 integrate GMA with XvMC enabled in xorg.conf and XvMC options on TV playback options. Handles SDTV just fine using and it keeps up well with 720 streams. 1080 streams occasionally skip and audio drops in attempts to keep up with stream.
  • Asus Motherboard P7H55-M Pro with integrated Intel H55 Chipset and Intel i5 6 series (Clarkdale) 680 @ 3.6 GHz (the series 6 enables the onboard Video). This works well with standard def, but I had to turn composite OFF to get a jitter free x264 1080 playback. I cannot use openGl and also had to be very careful with which de-linterlace mode I use (linear blend). Wrong settings would lead to stutters in playback of HD. I did finally get to a working setup. Without disabling composite in X HD was not watchable no matter what playback settings I chose. I am using ffmpeg with blit and linear blend.
  • Acer Aspire Revo RL80 (Core i3 SandyBridge with Intel HD Graphics 2000). Getting graphics working correctly involved applying this patch to this kernel. Apart from the kernel, the rest of my rig is running Debian Squeeze, and MythTV v0.25.1. Result: working Intel integrated graphics with kernel modesetting. As a side-effect, this kernel seems to do Intel audio better than other kernels I tried (which all produced choppy audio); this may have been because trying to play video using the VESA driver was bogging down the CPU. Whatever. With this patched kernel, the RL80 makes a pretty good MythTV frontend (it's almost completely silent, and it looks quite cool). Built-in Wifi and SD card support is working. Basically, this kernel supports all the hardware in the RL80. Mucho kudos to Dan Vetter and the rest of the Intel Graphics team for sorting this out for me!
    Update: I now have this hardware working well with MythTV v0.26.1, Debian Wheezy and a stock (unpatched) 3.12 kernel.

Known Issues with MythTV

The release of the 2.7.0 intel-xorg drivers should resolve previous issues with tearing. Xv-blit should now function acceptably. These drivers should also fix the green hue previously experienced with the opengl video renderer.

See:

Intel GMA Feature Matrix

todo