LogicSupply's BCM970012 PCIe mini card for HD on Intel Atom

Want to talk about one of the articles in SPCR? Here's the forum for you.
MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

LogicSupply's BCM970012 PCIe mini card for HD on Intel Atom

Post by MikeC » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:05 pm

Last edited by MikeC on Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

frostedflakes
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: United States

Post by frostedflakes » Thu Feb 04, 2010 6:52 pm

LogicSupply probably wouldn't appreciate this, but I feel obligated to mention that you can get system pulls for like $20 on eBay.

I just recently picked up one of these cards and plan to install it in my netbook. The only complaint I've really had with my netbook is no ability to play back high def video, so this will be a nice little upgrade. Another cool thing is that software and driver support seems to be great. There are open-source Linux drivers available for the card, and application support is also good (supposedly Flash and Media Player Classic support this card). It's nice to see that it doesn't add much power consumption, that was one thing I was kind of worried about.

edit: And I see this was addressed in the final paragraph. That's what I get for replying before reading the entire review.
Corsair Obsidian 650D | Seasonic X-650 | Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 | Phenom II X4 955 | Noctua NH-D14 | 2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 | ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 2GB | OCZ Vertex 2 120GB | 2x WD Green 1TB

obarthelemy
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:07 pm
Location: Paris, france

so-so

Post by obarthelemy » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:11 pm

as an upgrade to an existing system, or if you must need a totally silent PC, this card might make sense.

for a new system, it doesn't: $60 goes a long way towards upgrading to any number of real CPUs that will not only decode HD, but do everything else much quicker.

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7444
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: Monterey Bay, CA

Post by CA_Steve » Thu Feb 04, 2010 9:48 pm

So, now we know it only takes a watt or two to decode 1080p. Atom plus this Broadcom chip could make a compelling low power HTPC. I wonder how many appliances* this Broadcom chip is in?

* DVD players and TVs that stream hulu, netflix, etc...
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Thu Feb 04, 2010 10:06 pm

CA_Steve wrote:So, now we know it only takes a watt or two to decode 1080p. Atom plus this Broadcom chip could make a compelling low power HTPC. I wonder how many appliances* this Broadcom chip is in?

* DVD players and TVs that stream hulu, netflix, etc...
It's quite possible that those elcheapo eBay items are overruns, rejects, back-of-truck losses, etc from OEMs for big brands.
Last edited by MikeC on Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

Bakkone
*Lifetime Patron*
Posts: 52
Joined: Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:59 am
Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Post by Bakkone » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:19 am

I think its a great product. I like how many corporations build niche products like this nowadays instead of just going the "safe" way...

The only sad part is probably that many of these workaround products shouldnt have been needed in the first place.

porkchop
Posts: 496
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 1:19 am
Location: Australia

Post by porkchop » Fri Feb 05, 2010 4:43 am

impressive stuff.

it goes to show how truly efficient chips can be when designed specifically for a single purpose. the rrp is kinda steep, but the ebay deals look solid.

andymcca
Posts: 404
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2010 8:19 am
Location: Boston, MA, USA

Post by andymcca » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:00 am

Anyone actually tried the Broadcom Linux drivers on this or similar products? I'm wondering if there is Linux support, or "Linux support".

Greg F.
Posts: 372
Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:51 am
Location: Seattle

Post by Greg F. » Fri Feb 05, 2010 5:23 am

andymcca wrote:Anyone actually tried the Broadcom Linux drivers on this or similar products? I'm wondering if there is Linux support, or "Linux support".
+1
Biostar 785GE
Intel D510
Asus EeePC N450 netbook
Evo HTC 4G
SAPPHIRE PURE Fusion Mini E350 AMD E-350 APU
Acer Aspire AS5250-BZ641 Notebook AMD Dual-Core Processor C-50
HifiMan REO, Sansa Clip+, JDS cMoy
click on an ad link each time you visit SPCR and help pay the bills.

frostedflakes
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: United States

Post by frostedflakes » Fri Feb 05, 2010 6:44 am

Well the drivers and libraries are open source, so it should be trivial for devs to add support to GNU applications. Getting the card working in Linux isn't something I've really experimented with, though.

http://www.broadcom.com/support/crystal_hd/
Corsair Obsidian 650D | Seasonic X-650 | Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 | Phenom II X4 955 | Noctua NH-D14 | 2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 | ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 2GB | OCZ Vertex 2 120GB | 2x WD Green 1TB

AlexNC
Posts: 37
Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2009 6:01 am
Location: Raleigh, NC, USA

Post by AlexNC » Fri Feb 05, 2010 11:37 am

Has anyone tried it with Hulu, fullscreen High setting?

angelkiller
Posts: 871
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:37 am
Location: North Carolina

Post by angelkiller » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:28 pm

Great review! I've been wondering about this since I saw it in Pine Trail's chipset diagram. IMO, this is a major move made by Intel.

1) This allows Atom to play HD content. One of the biggest cons to an Atom computer is its inability to play HD content. With this, now any Atom machine, whether it be nettop or netbook, can do HD. Before the only way to make Atom HTPC-capable was to get better graphics for it, ie Nvidia's ION, which brings me to my second point.

2) Nvidia's ION is now purposeless. ION was created to give Atom 'modern' integrated graphics instead of integrated graphics from three years ago. ION's main pupose was to offload video processing because the Atom chip can't do it. ION has no other purposes, since it's a terrible graphcs card. (in terms of gaming) So now, this Broadcom chip replaces ION completely and elegantly. The Broadcom chip can do everything that Nvidia's ION solution was set out to do. Not only that, but the Broadcom chip uses a fraction of the 9400m GPU that ION uses. Intel has effectively shut out Nvidia from the Atom platform!

derekva
Posts: 477
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 11:00 am
Location: Puget Sound, WA
Contact:

Post by derekva » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:37 pm

I'm assuming this would have virtually the same benefit on an older laptop (C2D) that uses the i945 chipset + IGP. Is this correct?

-D
[size=75]Desktop: Antec P150|Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3R|Intel Xeon E3110|2x2048MB PC8500|HR-01|eVGA 8800GT SC|HR-03 GT|Scythe PWM 120mm|Scythe PWM 92mm|WD5000AAKS|Seasonic SS400-HT
HTPC: OrigenAE X11|Intel DG45ID|Intel E8400|2x2048MB PC6400|Scythe Big Shuriken|ATI HD4550|2xATI DCT|80mm Nexus|2TB WD 3.5" SATA + 100GB Seagate 2.5" SATA|NeoHE 430[/size]

frostedflakes
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: United States

Post by frostedflakes » Fri Feb 05, 2010 12:58 pm

Yup, should work great for HD playback on any system with a mini PCI-e slot. You could even get a mPCI-e to PCI-e adapter and use it in a desktop, but it would probably make more sense to get a cheap graphics card instead. Even the low-end $30 ones these days support H264/VC-1 decoding.
Corsair Obsidian 650D | Seasonic X-650 | Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 | Phenom II X4 955 | Noctua NH-D14 | 2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 | ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 2GB | OCZ Vertex 2 120GB | 2x WD Green 1TB

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:05 pm

angelkiller wrote:...... Intel has effectively shut out Nvidia from the Atom platform!
Not sure whether Intel was involved. Broadcom makes a bunch of other HD chips for Bluray players; it may have been a relatively simple sidestep to do the 70012. Unless.... Broadcom is owned by Intel?
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

angelkiller
Posts: 871
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:37 am
Location: North Carolina

Post by angelkiller » Fri Feb 05, 2010 1:36 pm

MikeC wrote:
angelkiller wrote:...... Intel has effectively shut out Nvidia from the Atom platform!
Not sure whether Intel was involved. Broadcom makes a bunch of other HD chips for Bluray players; it may have been a relatively simple sidestep to do the 70012. Unless.... Broadcom is owned by Intel?
Intel didn't like ION. Pine Trail uses a DMI to connect the CPU to the chipset instead of a FSB. (Which the 9400m uses) Nvidia doesn't have a license from Intel to use DMI. (scroll down) Intel also specified a "Third Party Low-Cost HD Video Decoder" that can optionally be used on the Pine Trail platform. So Intel specifically added support for this Broadcom chip on this platform.

I think Intel purposely shut Nvidia out. I mean, I don't think Intel's only goal was to shut Nvidia out. Pine trail uses 2 chips instead of three, so some changes had to be made. (eg DMI instead of FSB) But they realized two things. A) ION was no longer compatible with Pine Trail and B) ION is popular because it adds HD decoding to Atom. Users wanted to be able to play HD content on Atom, so Intel responded with the inclusion of this Broadcom chip.

I think this was a good move by Intel though. (the inclusion of the Broadcom chip) Ion's graphics are pretty overkill for just decoding video. As a result, Ion's power consumption is high. It would be much more power efficient to have chip dedicated to HD decoding than have a whole IGP dedicated to HD decoding. So now, Atom can decode HD content at Atom power levels, instead of ION power levels. Same thing, lower power consumption, higher power efficiency.

I don't think Broadcom is owned by Intel. They do compete for wireless chipsets. Both companies make wireless chipsets and it wouldn't make sense to own a company that would manufacture a competing product.

autoboy
Posts: 1008
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2004 8:10 pm
Location: San Jose, California

Post by autoboy » Fri Feb 05, 2010 2:02 pm

Don't most netbooks have their mpci-e slots taken by their wireless cards? I just pulled my G965 notebook apart and I would lose my network card if I wanted one of these. I DO have a express card slot that would work on this machine, but most netbooks don't have those.

I could be totally wrong here, and I'd have to go check out my netbook at home to verify this.

cloneman
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat May 21, 2005 9:48 am

Post by cloneman » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:19 pm

Canadian Shipping --- 36USD$ ..... *clenches fists*


Can't they stuff this in an envelope?
[size=75]P4 2.8 w/ Ninja - HIS Radeon 9800 Pro - Fortron Zen 300W fanless - BQE Case Fan @ 12V, Sflex @ 5V[/size]

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Fri Feb 05, 2010 3:25 pm

cloneman wrote:Canadian Shipping --- 36USD$ ..... *clenches fists*
Yeah, that's ridiculous! The thing's smaller than a standard book of stamps!
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

CA_Steve
Moderator
Posts: 7444
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2005 4:36 am
Location: Monterey Bay, CA

Post by CA_Steve » Fri Feb 05, 2010 9:36 pm

MikeC wrote:Unless.... Broadcom is owned by Intel?
Absolutely not.
1080p Gaming build: i5-4670K, Mugen 4, Asrock Z97 Anniversary, MSI GTX 1660 Gaming X, 8GB 1866 RAM, Samsung 860 Evo 500GB, Crucial MX100 256GB, WD Red 2TB, Samsung DVD burner, Fractal Define R4, Antec True Quiet 140 (2 front + rear) case fans, Seasonic SSR-550FX. 35W idle, 45-55W video streaming, 170-200W WoW, 318W stress test (Prime95 + Furmark)

DAve_M
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:58 am
Location: UK

Post by DAve_M » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:23 pm

Hi, I didn't read the whole article... but did you know that intel atom chipset artificially limits the output display resolution? So it is impossible to output 1080p through a DVI connection on an Atom system unless it is either a nvidia ION platform, or has a discrete graphics card.

I know this is true for pine trail, I assume it is true for atom + 945GM as well. What monitor did you test with? I scanned through the last page and couldn't see it.



EDIT: found source...
Max output resolution is also limited. The best you can get over a digital connection (HDMI/DVI) is 1366 x 768
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/sh ... i=3692&p=2
Last edited by DAve_M on Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

frostedflakes
Posts: 1608
Joined: Tue Jan 04, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: United States

Post by frostedflakes » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:31 pm

Atom + 945GSE doesn't have that limitation, max resolution is 1900x1200 @ 60Hz.
Corsair Obsidian 650D | Seasonic X-650 | Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 | Phenom II X4 955 | Noctua NH-D14 | 2x4GB Corsair DDR3-1600 | ASUS HD6950 DirectCU II 2GB | OCZ Vertex 2 120GB | 2x WD Green 1TB

DAve_M
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:58 am
Location: UK

Post by DAve_M » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:41 pm

frostedflakes wrote:Atom + 945GSE doesn't have that limitation, max resolution is 1900x1200 @ 60Hz.
That really sucks that intel have done this for pine trail for no reason other than to segment the market (they want your money to go into a core i3 system or at least CULV system for notebooks), rather than getting a low power, silent, HD media centre based on atom :x

dCrypt
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2003 4:09 pm
Location: Madrid, Spain

Post by dCrypt » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:00 am

DAve_M wrote:
Max output resolution is also limited. The best you can get over a digital connection (HDMI/DVI) is 1366 x 768
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/sh ... i=3692&p=2
If this is true, Pinetrail is useless for HTPC, in my opinion. Could someone confirm this limitation?

MikeC
Site Admin
Posts: 12283
Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2002 3:26 pm
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Contact:

Post by MikeC » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:09 am

dCrypt wrote:
DAve_M wrote:
Max output resolution is also limited. The best you can get over a digital connection (HDMI/DVI) is 1366 x 768
http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/sh ... i=3692&p=2
If this is true, Pinetrail is useless for HTPC, in my opinion. Could someone confirm this limitation?
Not really. From the same article: "Max output resolution is also limited. The best you can get over a digital connection (HDMI/DVI) is 1366 x 768, over analog VGA you can do 2048 x 1536 (only 1400 x 1050 on the N450)." I've used VGA at 1920x1200 on a big screen TV; the video quality difference vs. HDMI is too small to be perceived clearly by me. Still, it's a PITA not to have HD resolution through HDMI.
Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through this link: Amazon

ace_uk
Posts: 18
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2009 10:37 am
Location: United Kingdom

Post by ace_uk » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:00 am

Has anyone seen the ExpressCard/34 version for sale anywhere (a.k.a. BCM970012IC)?

While I could replace the mini-PCIe wireless card in my netbook, it's near impossible to find a decent ExpressCard wireless adapter, so the ExpressCard version of this Broadcom chip looks like a better alternative.

maalitehdas
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 12:04 am
Location: Finland

Post by maalitehdas » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:33 am

Does this card provide all modern sound formats as well?
(DTS HD, Dolby TrueHD, THX)

DAve_M
Posts: 198
Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:58 am
Location: UK

Post by DAve_M » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:35 am

dCrypt wrote:If this is true, Pinetrail is useless for HTPC, in my opinion. Could someone confirm this limitation?
It's pretty disappointing. As long as Intel D945GSEJT is about, it should be still possible. At least then you get mobile parts, lower power consumption (desktop versions of atom do not throttle back for no reason other than market segmentation again). You get a DVI output as well which is not too common.

I suppose ION2 will deliver whenever that arrives. nvidia should team up with VIA for the CPU. That could be a good combo. Steal some of Intel's sales.

Cistron
Posts: 617
Joined: Fri Mar 14, 2008 5:18 am
Location: London, UK

Post by Cistron » Sun Feb 07, 2010 11:37 am

MikeC wrote:
dCrypt wrote:
If this is true, Pinetrail is useless for HTPC, in my opinion. Could someone confirm this limitation?
Not really. From the same article: "Max output resolution is also limited. The best you can get over a digital connection (HDMI/DVI) is 1366 x 768, over analog VGA you can do 2048 x 1536 (only 1400 x 1050 on the N450)." I've used VGA at 1920x1200 on a big screen TV; the video quality difference vs. HDMI is too small to be perceived clearly by me. Still, it's a PITA not to have HD resolution through HDMI.
The big problem is though, that the HDCP handshake doesn't work via VGA. My computer magazine confirms the limited output capabilities as well.

fmah
Friend of SPCR
Posts: 399
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:32 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Post by fmah » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:26 pm

angelkiller wrote:Great review! I've been wondering about this since I saw it in Pine Trail's chipset diagram. IMO, this is a major move made by Intel.
What they are doing is allowing systems to be upgraded to HD features, but leaving the base model as low cost as possible without this feature. They purposely left out this feature to differentiate it from upper level products.
angelkiller wrote: 2) Nvidia's ION is now purposeless. ION was created to give Atom 'modern' integrated graphics instead of integrated graphics from three years ago.
Not really, since the ION has 16 "processors" it can be used for other functions like transcoding video. Windows 7 is going to use OpenCL, so GPU cores can be utilized by future software. It may take a little while before more software uses OpenCL, but at that point the ION will have processors to support it, while the Broadcom device is a hardware specific decoder.

In any case, here is on PCIex1 adapter card for standard motherboards.
http://www.hwtools.net/Adapter/MP1.html

One question I have is whether it supports Windows Media Center for HDTV.

Post Reply