Intel Quick Sync Video

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Intel Quick Sync Video is the name given to Intel's hardware video encoding and decoding technology integrated into some of its CPUs. The name "Quick Sync" refers to the use case of quickly transcoding ("syncing") a video from, for example, a DVD or Blu-ray Disc to a format appropriate to, for example, a smartphone. Quick Sync was introduced with the Sandy Bridge CPU microarchitecture on 9 January 2011.

Quick Sync has been praised for its speed.[1] The eighth annual MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codecs comparison showed that Quick Sync is comparable to x264 superfast preset in terms of speed, compression ratio and quality (SSIM);[2] tests were performed on an Intel Core i7 3770 (Ivy Bridge) processor. A benchmark from Tom's Hardware showed that Quick Sync could convert a 449 MB, four minute 1080p file to 1024×768 in 22 seconds. The same encoding using only software took 172 seconds but it is not clear what software encoder was used and how it was configured. The same encoding took 83 or 86 seconds GPU-assisted, using a Nvidia GeForce GTX 570 and a AMD Radeon HD 6870 respectively, both of which are contemporary high end GPUs.[3] Unlike video encoding on a general-purpose GPU, Quick Sync is a dedicated hardware core on the processor die. This allows for faster and more power efficient video processing.[4][5]

Quick Sync, like other hardware accelerated video encoding technologies, gives lower quality results than with CPU only encoders. Speed is prioritized over quality.[6]

Quick Sync development[edit]

Quick Sync was first unveiled at Intel Developer Forum 2010 (13 September) but, according to Tom's Hardware, Quick Sync had been conceptualized 5 years before that.[4] The older Clarkdale micro-architecture had hardware video decoding support, but no hardware encoding support.[1] known as Intel Clear Video.

Generation 1 (Sandy Bridge)
Quick Sync was initially built into some Sandy Bridge CPUs, but not into Sandy Bridge Pentiums or Celerons.[7]
Generation 2 (Ivy Bridge)
The Ivy Bridge micro-architecture included a "next generation" implementation of Quick Sync.[8]
Generation 3 (Haswell)
The Haswell micro-architecture implementation was focused on quality, with speed about the same as before (for any given clip length vs. encoding length).[citation needed] It has seven hard-coded quality/performance levels (called "target usages"), compared to the three in previous generations. The highest-quality TU1 setting is intended to be higher quality than Ivy Bridge's version, and the highest speed TU7 setting should be faster, higher-quality, and more battery-friendly for mobile devices.[citation needed]
This generation of Quick Sync supports the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, VC-1 and H.262/MPEG-2 Part 2 video standards.[4]
Generation 4 (Broadwell)
The Broadwell micro-architecture adds VP8 hardware decoding[9] and encoding[10] 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.[11]

Operating system support[edit]

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, VAAPI or DXVA for video decoding, and OpenMAX IL or VAAPI 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.

Linux[edit]

Quick Sync support by Intel Media SDK on Linux is available,[12] and as of November 2013 it is supported by Wowza Streaming Engine (formerly known as Wowza Media Server) for transcoding of media streams using their transcoder add-on.[13]

Microsoft Windows[edit]

Microsoft offers a wide support for Quick Sync in Windows based on supporting driver software from Intel and good support through both DirectShow/DirectX as well as WMF (Windows Media Foundation). A wide range of applications are based upon this base support for the technology in Windows. Windows Vista and later have support for Quick Sync Video.

OS X[edit]

Apple added Quick Sync support in OS X Mountain Lion for AirPlay Mirroring, FaceTime and QuickTime X.[14] iMovie 10 and Final Cut Pro X use Quick Sync when exporting videos.

Hardware decoding and encoding[edit]

Support for Quick Sync hardware accelerated decoding of H.264, MPEG2, and VC-1 video is widely available today. One common way to gain access to the technology on the Microsoft Windows platform is by use of ffdshow filter. However, many commercial applications also benefit from the technology today, including CyberLink PowerDVD, PowerDirector and MacroMotion Bogart (only 'Gold' Edition).

It has been claimed that in testing it keeps the CPU at its lowest possible frequency to reduce power consumption in order to maximize battery life for mobile devices while being about twice as fast as libavcodec.[15]

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 Badaboom Media Converter, Cyberlink PowerDirector, MediaEspresso, ArcSoft MediaConverter, XSplit Broadcaster,[16] XSplit Gamecaster[17] (all commercial) and projects like HandBrake (windows build only),[18] VidCoder[19] or Open Broadcaster Software.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Sandy Bridge Review: Intel Core i7-2600K, i5-2500K and Core i3-2100 Tested". Anandtech. Retrieved 2011-09-23. 
  2. ^ "Eighth MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Video Codecs Comparison.". MSU Graphics & Media Lab (Video Group). pp. 135–137 (6.4 Speed/Quality Trade–Off). 
  3. ^ "Intel's Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review - Quick Sync Vs. APP Vs. CUDA". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  4. ^ a b c "Intel's Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge Review - Sandy Bridge's Secret Weapon: Quick Sync". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  5. ^ "The Sandy Bridge Review: Intel Core i7-2600K, i5-2500K and Core i3-2100 Tested". AnandTech. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  6. ^ "H.264 encoding - CPU vs GPU: Nvidia CUDA, AMD Stream, Intel MediaSDK and x264". Hardware.fr SARL. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  7. ^ "Intel Pentium Processor G620". 
  8. ^ "Intel's Roadmap: Ivy Bridge, Panther Point, and SSDs". Anandtech. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  9. ^ "VA-API 1.3 Readies Broadwell Support, Adds VP8 Decoding". Phoronix.com. March 18, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ "VA-API Adds Support For VP8 Video Encoding". Phoronix.com. July 19, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Intel Broadwell GT3 Graphics Have Dual BSD Rings". Phoronix.com. Retrieved April 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Intel® Media SDK 2013 R3 for Linux Servers now available for download". 
  13. ^ "Wowza Delivers Accelerated Streaming Performance with Intel Media SDK 2013 for Servers". 
  14. ^ "Apple - OS X Mountain Lion". Apple. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  15. ^ "H.264/AVC". Codecs. ffdshow-tryout.sourceforge.net. 
  16. ^ "XSplit Broadcaster". 
  17. ^ "XSplit Gamecaster". 
  18. ^ "HandBrake 0.10.0 Released". handbrake.fr. Retrieved 2014-11-22. 
  19. ^ "VidCoder". 
  20. ^ "Open Broadcaster Software". 

External links[edit]