Microsoft confirms AMD Radeon RX 6000 supports AV1 video codec acceleration
AMD RDNA2 graphics cards will provide hardware acceleration for AV1 (AOMedia Video 1) video codec. This codec has 34% higher data compression (according to AOMedia) or 20% improved compression efficiency than VP9 codec according to Netflix, who already deployed it for select Android users.
Microsoft confirmed in its official blog that this fall broad hardware support will roll out from its partners for the AV1 codec. It will require Windows 10 1909 or later and an AV1 video extension plugin.
According to Microsoft, Intel, NVIDIA, and AMD have or will have products that will support the AV1 acceleration this fall. Intel has already unveiled it’s 11th Gen Tiger Lake processors featuring Xe-LP graphics and so did NVIDIA with its ‘Ampere’ GeForce RTX 30 series.
The only remaining manufacturer to launch its new products is AMD with Radeon RX 6000 series based on RDNA2 architecture.
NVIDIA announced its GeForce RTX 30 series support AV1 deciding:
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 AV1 decoding
Intel’s Xe-LP graphics (present in DG1 or Tiger Lake CPUs) support AV1 decode acceleration:
Intel Xe-LP AV1 decode acceleration
The AV1 video decoding was missing from Xbox Series X (based on AMD RDNA2 hardware) specifications:
Microsoft Xbox Series x Video decoding
Here are the components required to experience hardware accelerated AV1 video on Windows 10:
- One of these new GPUs or CPUs:
- 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs
- AMD Radeon™ RX 6000 Series Graphics (coming soon)
- Windows 10 build 1909 or later
- The AV1 Video Extension
- A web browser or other application with hardware acceleration support for AV1, including apps built on top of Media Foundation
- As is common with new features like this, you may need to update your graphics driver from time to time to get the latest features and improvements.
When it comes to video encoding and decoding, sometimes the most important factor is not the bandwidth saved from using a newer codec, but how much processing time is needed to stream the content. There are already better coding algorithms in development, but without hardware acceleration, they are visibly slower and more demanding than AV1. A good example is the VVC (Versatile Video Coding), which is 28% (HD) to 34% (UHD) better than AV1, but it requires 70% more encoding time and 54% more decoding than AV1.