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Tim Monnig

ATI FirePro V7900 SDI

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Hello all,

 

I recently received an ATI FirePro V7900 SDI for testing, and I haven't dug too deeply, save for some latency tests with Blackmagic Decklink cards (which actually showed marginal improvement around a half a frame). I was wondering if any of you had some time to play with this card, and perhaps found a pairing with a 3rd party SDI I/O that allows native SDI output? And if so, do you genlock the FirePro with the S400 sync module, or the 3rd party card, or both? The NVidia Quadro 6000 with SDI I/O supports this, but at $8000, it's not very cost effective (not to mention, the Watchout does not recognize the direct show drivers for capture, although I haven't tried it in a few months.). I'd also be curious to hear about anyone's overall experience with this card. Thanks!

 

Tim Monnig

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Hi Tim,

 

AMD FirePro V7900 SDI with SDI-Link (also the NVidia Quadro with SDI I/O equivalent) or similar solutions,

will not give any major difference to using the V7900, when used with applications as WATCHOUT.

 

AMD or NVidia does not claim any major speed improvement over the normal latency of WATCHOUT:s approx. 2.2 frames.

 

These solutions aim to get the captured SDI Live input data, directly to the graphics card, bypassing an application like WATCHOUT.

 

What one then will miss, is the possibility to apply WATCHOUT:s full range of tween tracks, on the Live input.

For these to be applied, the signal MUST go through WATCHOUT first, then rendered to the graphics card.

 

As I see it, it would be like using a Vista Spyder, Barco Encore or Analog Way hardware graphics/video switcher

after WATCHOUT, and applying the Live input window there. No control from within WATCHOUT at all.

In this case, the Live input latency depends on the chosen tool, can be a bit lower.

 

 

The AMD S400 sync module has three main capabilities:

 

- Frame-locking of multiple outputs from the same card (4 outputs - V7900/V7900SDI or 6 outputs - V9800)

Seems to work very well from user reports and some preliminary tests we've done.

 

- Frame-locking of multiple outputs from separate cards ie between computers.

Seems to work as good as using single output WATCHOUT machines over the network ie no big difference.

 

- Gen-lock from/to external video source, (does not necessarily mean outputs is gen-locked)

 

Hopes this helps somewhat,

 

/jonas

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Hello Jonas,

 

Thank you for your prompt response. I do have a couple more questions, if you don't mind.

 

- To the best of your knowledge, is the S400 Sync Module a requisite for multiple outputs in this card configuration?

 

- I presume that there is no known pairing between the FirePro V7900 SDI with a 3rd Party card that will allow SDI output directly from Watchout, as there is between the Quadro 6000 and it's SDI I/O card (though granted, progressive only, so not true SDI). Am I correct in saying this?

 

- I performed a latency test, an admittedly simple one, using two identical system setups, save for the graphics cards--Firepro V7900 vs Radeon 6770--, and identical signal flows and display devices, and filmed them running a timecode stream with a camera running a 60fps, and I can report an improvement of a half a frame (or slightly better) when running the Firepro with slight SDI acceleration (it plateaued quickly). It wasn't the game changer I was hoping for, but I'll take any improvements I can get (we primarily do live music, so our clients are highly sensitive to frame delay). I'm happy to share if you'd like to see a clip. Also, I had no issues applying tween to the live. It preformed admirably.

 

Thank you, Jonas.

 

Tim

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Hi Tim,

 

Please see my inline comments below.

 

/jonas

 

 

- To the best of your knowledge, is the S400 Sync Module a requisite for multiple outputs in this card configuration?

 

No, not really. V7900 will perform as a high-end consumer card more or less, without S400.

Their drivers are supposed to be more mature, though.

 

But it's the main reason for paying a lot more than a ordinary consumer graphic card cost,

in order for achieving Frame-lock between outputs, primarily needed for multi-output on LED-walls.

 

 

V7900 also has it's power connectors facing backwards, allowing for mounting in 3U rack cabinets.

All consumer cards have them facing upwards, ie 4U rack cabinets are a minimum.

 

 

- I presume that there is no known pairing between the FirePro V7900 SDI with a 3rd Party card that will allow SDI output directly from Watchout

 

No, mentioned before, we don't support SDI-Link at the moment.

It seems not to give you any big latency benefits from WATCHOUT:s approx 2.2 frames.

(from input of the capture card to output of the graphics card, on a properly configured system, assuming a progressive signal)

 

Also keep in mind that the capture card and the graphics card is only parts of the puzzle here, the specs of the system in question,

and how much load it's running simultaneously, will affect performance heavily.

As will what you place in the chain before and after WATCHOUT.

 

There is quite a difference between a hardware video/graphics switcher and a software multi-display playback system

based on standard PC hardware. It's also a major difference in price...

 

 

- as there is between the Quadro 6000 and it's SDI I/O card (though granted, progressive only, so not true SDI). Am I correct in saying this?

 

Well, yes and no. The NVidia solution does not work as intended with WATCHOUT either, it circumvents WATCHOUT.

AFAIK, they do not claim any major latency performance gains either, compared to the standard way in WATCHOUT.

 

SDI is a BOTH interlaced and progressive standard.

In a progressive based computer system, as WATCHOUT, progressive is preferred, if possible.

 

SDI

Interlaced

625/25 PAL and 525/29.97 NTSC.

 

HD-SDI

Progressive

720p50, 720p59.94 and 720p60.

1080p25, 1080p29.97 and 1080p30.

 

Interlaced

1080i50, 1080i59.94 and 1080i60.

 

3G-SDI (only supported by Decklink HD Extreme 3D or Datapath VisionSDI2)

Progressive

1080p50, 1080p59.94 and 1080p60.

 

 

- I performed a latency test, an admittedly simple one, using two identical system setups, save for the graphics cards--Firepro V7900 vs Radeon 6770--, and identical signal flows and display devices, and filmed them running a timecode stream with a camera running a 60fps, and I can report an improvement of a half a frame (or slightly better) when running the Firepro with slight SDI acceleration (it plateaued quickly).

 

This is normal I think, since you compare an entry-level consumer card with a high-end professional card.

Using a AMD HD6800/HD6900- or HD7800/HD7900-series high-end consumer card, I would expect the difference to be even smaller.

 

Since we are not supporting SDI-Link at the moment, the signal must go the standard way through WATCHOUT.

So any SDI acceleration performed by the V7900SDI, would be of no use, as far as I can understand it?

 

An interesting comparison would be V7900 vs V7900SDI. I doubt we would see any major differences in WATCHOUT, though.

 

 

It wasn't the game changer I was hoping for, but I'll take any improvements I can get (we primarily do live music, so our clients are highly sensitive to frame delay).

 

Of course they are.

Using SDI or HDSDI input?

What capture card?

 

 

I'm happy to share if you'd like to see a clip.

 

Please do.

 

 

Also, I had no issues applying tween to the live. It preformed admirably.

 

It should, as you go the normal way through WATCHOUT.

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If anyone cares here is my real world experience:

 

Frame delay in live music is... well... at this point in technology its just something we have to live with if you want to do more than just basic production IMAG (Image Magnification, putting someone's face up on screen real big). Minimizing is about the best we can do. Watch some live music TV shows... like The Voice or American Idol or MTV Video Music Awards performances or any equivalent (I live in USA so I can really only give USA examples, I apologize)... They avoid showing IMAG shots on the TV cameras because of the delay. Mostly you see eye-candy on TV while the live audience has large IMAG screens in the house.

 

Eminem played for the MTV Video music awards and during his performance he employed a fist pumping: swinging his fist up and down in a gavel like motion. In the background, on the IMAG, the delay was very noticeable. As Eminem's fist went up in real life it was going down on the IMAG. There was almost a full half second of delay between the live shot and when the IMAG actually got to the screen. The MTV set was also lots of very non-standard screens and were probably processed very heavily behind the scenes before it ever hit the screens and as someone who does this for a living it was very obvious to me. That performance was a few years ago but in 2012 it hasn't improved much.

 

The WatchOUT rack that I get to play with the most is very powerful. Four very nice servers, 4 head ATI FirePro cards with S400 sync modules, Datapath Vision RGBE2S capture cards... The ability to frame lock the graphics cards with the S400 modules has saved my hide a few times.

 

That said I don't see any noticeable difference with delay if I/when I can genlock. The advantage to the S400 modules is greatly improved sync between outputs. Its a noticeable difference in certain situations.

 

I went with the DVI inputs because I need full 60p at 1080 vs HDSDI which maxed at 1080 30p or 1080 60i. With an SDI native setup the delay that I am seeing will probably be reduced as I am using a BARCO ImageProHD to convert SDI to DVI and that adds delay. But even going in direct with a DVI there is still delay.

 

I have not done a test to see how much actual delay there is but I will after this show! Its less than half a second I know that, probably closer to under 10 frames.

 

The only devices I've worked with that have no noticeable delay are production camera switches. For instance the Kayak, BARCO FSN, Sony DFS700a, etc. These devices have almost NO delay... but they also tend to be very limited in what resolution you can feed them and how much you can tweak (scale, pip, etc) an input. 480i, 720p, and 1080i are typically your only choices. The amazing power of WatchOUT and hardware devices like Encore and Spyder have to do so much processing that delay is inevitable with the current speed of the silicone.

 

On May 15th and 19th I have the pleasure of attending (finally... a concert I'm going to watch and not work!!!! Yay!) The Wall presented by Roger Waters... Aside from the fact that Pink Floyd is my favorite band EVER I am going to watch the actual production and I am going to be keeping a very keen eye on how much delay I can see in any IMAG that is done. I am expecting a top notch performance from a technical aspect and I would assume the delay from live cameras will be at a bare minimum. If I remember I can/will report back here if you're curious how it looked!

 

Brian Lynn

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Hi there,

I'm putting a system together for a TV studio. It needs 3 display outputs to go into a broadcast mixer. Will this FirePro card give me SDI outputs?

I've had a look through the manual, but not too sure as it has DisplayPort connectors.

Any chance someone could run through the schematic / connection setup for me?

thanks

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No, AMD FirePro V7900SDI will not give you SDI outputs.

Since WATCHOUT relies on the DirectX/Direct3D hardware acceleration of the graphics card,

and there are, to my knowledge, NO graphics cards with SDI/HDSDI/3G-SDI-outputs, the options

are limited.

 

One can use a scaler, after the DVI output, like TVOne C2-2355A, Folsom ImagePro HD2 or similar (=expensive)

http://www.tvone.com/c2-2300a-bcast-main.shtml

http://www.barco.com/en/products-solutions/image-processing-presentation/presentation-switchers/all-in-one-video-scaler-scan-converter-and-switcher.aspx

 

Or one can use Blackmagic Designs DVI Extender (=cheaper)

http://www.blackmagic-design.com/products/dviextender/

 

Either way means one have to adapt to only video resolutions, 1280x720p or 1920x1080p (3G-SDI)

1920x1080i is not recommended.

 

/jonas

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V7900 is a good card but last week it has caused to collapse the server during the event. When I open the chassis I saw that the card is very very hot because the fan is not working. I kept the chasis open and used a big fan to cool down the graphics card and finished the job like this.

 

No I plan to make an investment to the new W8000 + S400 sets. for V7900 it is good that it consumes only 1 slot but may be it cause cooling problem on that card because when you run 4 full HD outputs at the same time it gets very very hot, and cause the server to turn of itself.

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I doubt this is a WATCHOUT issue, but a PC builder/hardware one. If a card gets warm/overheated it's either too little air/cooling supplied into that particular setup or a hardware failure.

These cards work very well in many other setups.

 

/jonas

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I disagree.

 

It has nothing to do with the card being one slot-based or not. This card runs fine in any properly configured Display computer.

But has everything to do with HOW one build the computer in question, and taking care of the airflow trough the machine.

One will fry ANY graphics card, if one puts another card in the adjacent slot, and block the vents, in full or partly.

 

/jonas

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