Modern HD content devours a plethora of performance. My CPU spikes at 100% whenever I watch 1080p content, leading to framedrops and stuttering audio on my Linux machine. I never really understood exactly why the same video would work on my much weaker notebook. Now the times of suffering are over, enter VDPAU.
VDPAU is nVidia’s answer to AMD’s XvBA, both representing APIs to succeed the XvMC fame of decoding video material directly on the GPU – but this time not limited to MPEG2.
For this very reason I had to switch my graphic cards. I previously used a EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS/640, one of the older models of the series. Now I’m flying on a brand new EVGA GeForce 9800 GT which is basically the very same card but with a newer chip.
The performance gain is tremendous, the CPU usage fell from 100% to 1.9%!
You can force mplayer to prefer vdpau’d codecs by adding the following lines to your ~/.mplayer/config:
This will use VDPAU and it’s codecs when possible and fall back on autodetect in all other cases.