A Quantitative Analysis of Content Creation and Content Rendering in Media Applications

Video games represent a class of media applications for which creating video content is as important as displaying it. In this work, we compare modern, 3D video games running on an Apple Macintosh G5 to the traditional multimedia content rendering applications of DVD playback and the Quick-Time media player. We use performance monitor counters to find several metrics of the workload performance, including the IPC, the L1 data cache miss rate and both the AGP and processor memory bandwidth. We find the frame-oriented nature of these applications reflected in many of the metrics used in this study. Video game applications exhibit significantly less idle time between updates to the screen than either the DVD playback or QuickTime applications. The results also show that adding computer controlled characters to a video game, increasing the work per frame in the game application, further reduces the idle time, and also causes a decrease in the L2 cache pressure by spreading the access misses over a longer time period. This illustrates the impact of the content-creation task on the overall execution of the programs, where this content-creation is present in the game workloads and absent in the recorded-media playback applications.

By: Brett Matthews; John David Wellman; Michael Gschwind

Published in: RC23630 in 2005


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