Intel Integrated Graphics
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 seem to be an excellent choice for a MythTV frontend.
If you have any experience with these GPUs and mythtv frontends, please post it here so others can benefit from your experience!
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.
It is also known that the Intel Haswell Pentium (G3240) is able to deinterlace a 1080i MPEG-2 recording with approximately 20% CPU usage across both cores using the YADIF deinterlacer.
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.
- Google search: intel (gma OR integrated OR x4500 OR x3500) watts idle "power consumption"
The Haswell series processors have low power consumption and are able to reach approximately 20W on idle (G3240 with basic mini-ITX motherboard).
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
- 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.
Intel GMA Experience Matrix
Below is the experience matrix for the Intel CPU with integrated graphics when using MythFrontend. Please report your findings (playback profiles etc) in the table and list any problems. Note that some entries refer to chipsets before GPUs were placed on the die.
|Model Name||Model Number||Onboard video||1080i playback||Bluray playback||Extras||Power consumption / TDP||Released|
|Pentium||G3240||Intel HD||Yes (YADIF/Greedy)||Yes||-||20W idle / 54W||2014|
|G35 Express||82G35||82G35||Unknown||Unknown||-||? / 28W||2007|
|Pentium||X4500 / G41||X4500||Yes (Kernel)||Unknown||P5QPL-AM mobo||? / 65W||2006|
|Q965 Express||82Q965||82Q965||Limited Skips||Unknown||-||? / 28W||2006|
|Core i5||680||Intel HD||Limited (linear blend) gittery||Limited||H55 Chipset||? / 73W||2010|