Broadcom’s Crystal HD Enhanced Media Accelerator is a PCI-E card that will let netbooks with low power processors like the Intel Atom handle HD video playback at resolutions up to 1080p. Normally the processors found in netbooks aren’t up to the task, but the Broadcom video accelerator takes most of the heavy lifting away from the CPU, freeing it up for other tasks.

The video accelerator can decode H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 video.  The first netbook that I know of that will use the processor is the HP Mini 110 which is due out next week.

The folks at got a closer look at the Broadcom card this week, and they’ve posted some close-up photos. Honestly, I hadn’t really realized that the accelerator was a PCIe card until now. This means it’s possible you might be able to pick up this card and install it in an existing netbook to enabled enhanced video performance. Keep in mind, Broadcom expects to add support for Flash video sometime next year.

via Portable Monkey

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16 replies on “Broadcom’s HD video accelerator smiles for its close-up”

  1. I’m reading that the HP Mini 1000, for users who purchased it without the built in 3g card, has a free pci-e slot under the palm rest on the right side.

    From Brad’s own pictures, which come up in a google image search for mini 1000 pci-e, you can see the slot. So maybe this could be popped in for a super sexy mod.

  2. [Discus put original message in wrong place (here) when I logged in] *<:o)

  3. It would be keen if manufacturers would sling an extra mini-PCIe slot or two into their netbooks. But since this is Broadcom, maybe they could at least provide a combo card with both the accelerator and wifi built on, so we could use the existing wifi slot.

    Does anybody know of a list of netbooks that come with an empty mini-PCIe slot?

    1. But since this is Broadcom, you can bet the driver is a closed source blob.

      1. I see. This probably explains why I couldn’t get my Lenovo 3000’s Broadcom wifi adapter to work when I installed Ubuntu on it. Being a closed source blob wouldn’t encourage people to work on Linux drivers for it.

    2. Everun note .. also one of the most powerful though..dual core 1.2Ghz AMD processor (ALU performance approx double atom 1.6Ghz single core in crystalmark) and it also has ATI x1200 .. 128MB .. I have one, and it runs 720p video easily using kmplayer and coreAVC codec.. can get away with 1080p if you use the correct settings (but it works simply because it is scaling down what it actually renders.. so it means you can play 1080p files on the 1024×600 screen.. but you wouldnt be able to output them at that even if VGA could carry the signal). You can however output perfect 720p via VGA, which is mighty impressive for a 7″ device. Runs vista and windows 7 with Aero on, even with dreamscene running – no issues, impressive performance. I dont know how atom has been such a success, when a tiny korean company can knock up a spec out of nowhere that pisses all over every netbook around for a resonable price. A true ‘UMPC’.

    1. Nah, it’s just “mpeg2 pci card” all over again. What is different this time is that, technically, those accelerators aren’t really needed now, but since Intel does so piss-poor job with its chipsets…

      PS. Amiga was more about tight integration between its many coprocessors, not simply their presence per se.

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