Following last week’s Hands On Review of the VIA Artigo A1100, we got in touch with the company to discuss the issues we experienced with high definition video playback, or rather, lack of it. VIA’s engineers have been beavering away this week to investigate the issue, and today came back to us with a proposed solution.

artigo

The secret, it appears, is to download the latest display driver for the Artigo’s VX855 VIA Chrome9 GPU, increase the VGA Frame Buffer to 256MB in the BIOS, and then ensure you use Windows Media Player (or I assume, Windows Media Center as it sits on WMP) for playback. WMP is said to be fully compatible with the Artigo’s hardware accelerated graphics.

The WHQL-certified display driver (v. 24.12.01e, dated 13th April 2010) is only available in 32-bit form. A 64-bit driver is currently in test and may be available next week.

In the meantime, if you’d like to play along, here’s the full workaround.

  1. Update the VGA driver to the latest version (24.12.01e) which can be downloaded from here:  http://www.via.com.tw/en/support/drivers.jsp navigation: Microsoft Windows –> Window 7 32bit  –> Integrated Graphic –> VX855)
  2. In the BIOS settings, set the VGA frame buffer to 256MB
  3. Finally, we’re recommending the default Windows Media Player which is now fully compatible with our hardware acceleration. As an alternative, you can also try Power DVD 10 (trial version available here: http://www.cyberlink.com/downloads/trials/powerdvd/download_en_US.html?affid=2581_720_290_12410_0_ENU_powerdvd&utm_source=CLTR_PopularDownload&utm_medium=CLTR_PopularDownload_12410_powerdvd&utm_campaign=CL_Trial)

I’m rebuilding our review model as I type with a fresh 32-bit Windows 7 Professional build, and will report back later on whether the workaround is successful.

Update 1: A 1920 * 1080 MPEG-4 Quicktime AVC/AAC Video blue-screened the Artigo. Bah.
Update 2: A 1920 * 1056 MPEG-4 Quicktime AVC/AAC Video played reasonably well.
Update 3: A 1280 * 720 WMV (VC-1/WMA) Video crashed the display driver. Bah again.

We’ll report these findings (with the crash logs) back to VIA, but for now, the Artigo A1100 still isn’t ready for primetime.