Intel Quick Sync Video
Intel Quick Sync Video is Intel's brand for its dedicated video encoding and decoding hardware core. Quick Sync was introduced with the Sandy Bridge CPU microarchitecture on 9 January 2011 and has been found on the die of Intel CPUs ever since.
The name "Quick Sync" refers to the use case of quickly transcoding ("converting") a video from, for example, a DVD or Blu-ray Disc to a format appropriate to, for example, a smartphone. This becomes critically important in the professional video workplace, in which source material may have been shot in any number of video formats, all of which must be brought into a common format (commonly H.264) for inter-cutting.
Haswell-based Pentium-branded CPUs include Quick Sync Video, while Celeron-branded CPUs do not. Before Haswell, only Core i3/5/7 featured Quick Sync.
Performance and qualityEdit
Like most desktop hardware-accelerated encoders, Quick Sync has been praised for its speed. The eighth annual MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codecs comparison showed that Quick Sync was comparable to x264 superfast preset in terms of speed, compression ratio and quality (SSIM); tests were performed on an Intel Core i7 3770 (Ivy Bridge) processor. However, QuickSync could not be configured to spend more time to achieve higher quality, whereas x264 improved significantly when allowed to use more time using the recommended settings.
A 2012 evaluation by AnandTech showed that QuickSync on Intel's Ivy Bridge produced similar image quality compared to the NVENC encoder on Nvidia's GTX 680 while performing much better at resolutions lower than 1080p.
Quick Sync was first unveiled at Intel Developer Forum 2010 (September 13) but, according to Tom's Hardware, Quick Sync had been conceptualized five years before that. The older Clarkdale microarchitecture had hardware video decoding support, but no hardware encoding support; it was known as Intel Clear Video.
- Version 1 (Sandy Bridge)
- Quick Sync was initially built into some Sandy Bridge CPUs, but not into Sandy Bridge Pentiums or Celerons.
- Version 2 (Ivy Bridge, Bay Trail)
- The Ivy Bridge microarchitecture included a "next-generation" implementation of Quick Sync.
- Version 3 (Haswell)
- The Haswell microarchitecture implementation is focused on quality, with speed about the same as before (for any given clip length vs. encoding length).
- This generation of Quick Sync supports the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, VC-1 and H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2 video standards.
- Version 4 (Broadwell)
- The Broadwell microarchitecture adds VP8 hardware decoding support. Also, it has two independent bit stream decoder (BSD) rings to process video commands on GT3 GPUs; this allows one BSD ring to process decoding and the other BSD ring to process encoding at the same time.
- Version 5 (Skylake)
- The Skylake microarchitecture adds a full fixed-function H.265/HEVC main/8-bit encoding and decoding acceleration, hybrid and partial HEVC main10/10-bit decoding acceleration, JPEG encoding acceleration for resolutions up to 16,000×16,000 pixels, and partial VP9 encoding and decoding acceleration.
- Version 6 (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake, Comet Lake)
- The Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake and Comet Lake microarchitecture adds full fixed-function H.265/HEVC Main10/10-bit encoding and decoding acceleration and full fixed-function VP9 8-bit and 10-bit decoding acceleration and 8-bit encoding acceleration.
- Version 7 (Ice Lake)
- The Ice Lake (microprocessor) adds VP9 4:4:4 decoding, VP9 encoding (up to 10-bit and 4:4:4), HEVC 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 decoding and encoding, HDR10 Tone Mapping and Open Source Media Shaders. HEVC hardware encoding quality has also been improved.
- Version 8 (Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake)
- The Tiger Lake (microprocessor) & Rocket Lake adds VP9 12-bit & 12-bit 4:4:4 hardware decoding and HEVC 12-bit 4:2:0, 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 hardware decoding. Gen12 Xe will also support native AV1 decode, which includes 10-bit 4:2:0 16K stills and 10-bit 4:2:0 8K, 4K and 2K video. Hardware encoding for VP8 was dropped and hardware decoding is only available on Tiger Lake.
Operating system supportEdit
The Quick Sync Video SIP core needs to be supported by the device driver. The device driver provides one or more interfaces, for example VDPAU, Video Acceleration API (VA API) or DXVA for video decoding, and OpenMAX IL or VA API for video encoding. One of these interfaces is then used by end-user software, for example VLC media player or GStreamer, to access the Quick Sync Video hardware and make use of it.
Quick Sync support by Intel Media SDK on Linux is available, and as of November 2013[update] it is supported by Wowza Streaming Engine (formerly known as Wowza Media Server) for transcoding of media streams using their transcoder add-on. Quick Sync is also supported by the VA API, for both encoding and decoding with ffmpeg for example.
Microsoft offers support for Quick Sync in Windows (in Windows Vista and later) based on supporting driver software from Intel and support through both DirectX as well as WMF (Windows Media Foundation). A wide range of applications are based upon this base support for the technology in Windows.
Apple added Quick Sync support in OS X Mountain Lion for AirPlay, FaceTime, iTunes, Safari, QuickTime X, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Motion and Compressor. Third party software includes Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Media Encoder, DaVinci Resolve and others.
Hardware decoding and encodingEdit
Support for Quick Sync hardware accelerated decoding of H.264, MPEG-2, and VC-1 video is widely available. One common way to gain access to the technology on Microsoft Windows is by use of the free ffdshow filter. Some other free software like VLC media player (since version 2.1.0 "Rincewind") supports Quick Sync as well. Many commercial applications also benefit from the technology today, including CyberLink PowerDVD, CyberLink PowerDirector and MacroMotion Bogart "gold" edition.
Support for hardware-assisted media encoding tailored for Quick Sync is widely available. Examples of such software with Quick Sync support during encoding processes are Emby Media Server, Plex Media Server, Badaboom Media Converter, CyberLink MediaShow, CyberLink MediaEspresso, ArcSoft MediaConverter, MAGIX Video Pro X, Pinnacle Studio (since version 18), Roxio Toast, Roxio Creator, XSplit Broadcaster, XSplit Gamecaster (all commercial) and projects like HandBrake, Open Broadcaster Software or applications for operation with a video content entering in Adobe CC2018.
|Cantiga||Clarkdale / Arrandale||Sandy Bridge||Ivy Bridge / Haswell||Broadwell||Braswell / Cherry Trail||Skylake||Apollo Lake||Kaby Lake / Coffee Lake||Gemini Lake||Ice Lake / Comet Lake / Jasper Lake||Tiger Lake / Rocket Lake / Alder Lake|
|AVC||No||Decode only||Yes||Yes (L5.2/L5.1)||Yes (L5.1)||Yes (L5.2)||Yes (L5.1)||Yes (L5.2)||Yes (L5.2/L5.1)||Yes|
|VP8||No||Decode only||Yes||Decode (only on Tiger Lake)|
|HEVC||No||Decode only (L5)||Yes (L5.1)||Yes (L5.1/L5)||Yes (L5.1)||Yes (L5.1/L5)||Yes (L5.1)||Yes|
|HEVC 10-bit||No||Decode only (8K)||Yes|
|HEVC 12-bit||No||Decode and Encode
(only 4:2:0 encode)
|VP9||No||Decode only (4K)||Partial (Encoding on Linux only)||Yes|
|VP9 10-bit||No||Decode only||Yes|
|VP9 12-bit||No||Decode only|
|AV1 10-bit||No||Decode only|
Certain low-end and high-end parts (including multi-socket Xeons and some Extreme Edition CPUs expected to be used with a dedicated GPU) do not contain the hardware core to support Quick Sync.
Hardware video hardware technologiesEdit
- Video Core Next – AMD's current equivalent SIP core (since 2018)
- Unified Video Decoder – AMD's decoding SIP core (until 2017)
- Video Coding Engine – AMD's encoding SIP core (until 2017)
- Quick Sync Video
- Clear Video – video decoding using a general purpose Intel GPU
- Nvidia NVENC – Nvidia's current generation equivalent encoding SIP core
- Nvidia NVDEC and PureVideo – Nvidia's equivalent decoding SIP core
- "Intel's Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review - Sandy Bridge's Secret Weapon: Quick Sync". Tom's Hardware. 3 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-30.
- "The Sandy Bridge Review: Intel Core i7-2600K, i5-2500K and Core i3-2100 Tested". AnandTech. Retrieved 2014-04-05.
- "Release Notes Driver version: 220.127.116.1117" (PDF). 2020-01-10. Retrieved 2020-01-10.
- "The Sandy Bridge Review: Intel Core i7-2600K, i5-2500K and Core i3-2100 Tested". Anandtech. Retrieved 2011-09-23.
- "Eighth MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codecs Comparison". MSU Graphics & Media Lab (Video Group). pp. 135–137 (6.4 Speed/Quality Trade-Off).
- Anand Lal Shimpi; Ryan Smith. "The Intel Ivy Bridge (Core i7 3770K) Review". AnandTech. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
- "Intel Pentium Processor G620".
- "Intel's Roadmap: Ivy Bridge, Panther Point, and SSDs". Anandtech. Retrieved 2011-08-30.
- "VA-API 1.3 Readies Broadwell Support, Adds VP8 Decoding". Phoronix.com. March 18, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
- "Intel Broadwell GT3 Graphics Have Dual BSD Rings". Phoronix.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014.
- Cutress, Ian. "The Intel 6th Gen Skylake Review: Core i7-6700K and i5-6600K Tested". Retrieved 2015-08-06.
- Harsh Jain (2016-06-06). "What's New in Intel® Media SDK 2016 R2". Intel. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "Intel® Media Software Development Kit 2016, R2, Release Notes Version (18.104.22.1688)" (PDF). Intel. 2016-06-06. Retrieved 2016-07-27.
- "HW Media Features". 16 October 2021.
- "Default Driver Build Features". 16 October 2021.
- "Open Source Shader Media Features". 16 October 2021.
- "Evolution of Hardware HEVC Encode on 10th Generation Intel® Core™".
- "HW Media Features". 16 October 2021.
- "Release Intel Media Driver Q3'2020 Release · intel/Media-driver".
- "Intel Media Driver - HW Media Features". 24 December 2020.
- "Intel® Media SDK 2013 R3 for Linux Servers now available for download".
- "Wowza Delivers Accelerated Streaming Performance with Intel Media SDK 2013 for Servers".
- "GStreamer VA-API README".
- "H.264/AVC". Codecs. ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net.
- "Hardware Acceleration Overview". MediaBrowserWiki. Retrieved March 6, 2019.
- "Using Hardware-Accelerated Streaming". Plex Support. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
- "XSplit Broadcaster". Archived from the original on 2014-03-14.
- "XSplit Gamecaster". Archived from the original on 2014-03-14.
- "HandBrake Documentation - Intel QuickSync Video". handbrake.fr. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
- "HandBrake 1.2.0 Released". handbrake.fr. 2018-12-22. Retrieved 2019-10-07.
- "Open Broadcaster Software".
- "Intel VA-API driver readme". 12 October 2021.
- "Intel Quicksync generations by FFMPEG".
- Zak Killian (2017-12-05). "Intel takes the lid off the full specs of its Apollo Lake NUCs". The Tech Report. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- Koen Crijns (2017-10-06). "Intel Core i7 8700K / i5 8600K / i5 8400 'Coffee Lake' review: affordable six cores!". Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- "New Features of Intel Gemini Lake Processors – HDMI 2.0, 10-bit VP9 Codec, 4-Wide Pipeline, and More". CNXSoft. 2017-08-13. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- "Intel Media Driver - HW Media Features". 25 January 2019.
- "Encode and Decode Capabilities for 7th Generation Intel® Core™ Processors and Newer". 6 August 2021.
- "VA-API 1.7.3 changelog". 12 October 2021.
- "except 4:2:2 and 4:4:4".
- "Intel Media driver features". 16 October 2021.
- "Known Issues and Limitations #5". 16 October 2021.
- "Intel Details Gen11 Graphics & Sunny Cove For Icelake".
- Intel Quick Sync Video, intel.com