Intel is the first GPU manufacturer to offer AV1 encoding capabilities within its Arc graphics lineup. Thanks to YouTuber EposVox, who tested the technology on an Arc A380 graphics card, we were lucky enough to see the encoding in action. The YouTuber found that AV1 is highly efficient for video streams that produce a low bitrate. It outperformed all H.264 hardware encoders, such as rival NVIDIA’s NVENC encoder.
Intel AV1 Encoder outperforms NVIDIA’s NVENC H.264 video codec
Many videos on YouTube that are viewed daily have adopted the new AV1 encoding, especially during the last few years of development. Intel’s AV1 video encoding was initially developed by the Alliance for Open Media as a royalty-free, open source video encoding format in 2015. The format is revolutionary in theory and free of charge, making it more accessible to users. users use it over the Internet. AV1 produces smaller file sizes than the H.264 format, offering much higher compression capabilities.
In recent years, AV1 has been increasingly adopted in video streaming platforms and has seen more extensive use in graphics card architectures, such as the NVIDIA RTX 30 series, AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, and recently in gaming. Intel iGPU. Sony has also integrated the technology into the gaming system of the PlayStation 4 Pro console.
In content creation, especially streaming, AV1 has not been fully utilized, even with video encoding available. Current graphics engines do not offer support for AV1 encoder engines. With software assistance, a system’s processor can use the AV1 codec. However, hardware that can properly accelerate AV1 encoding has never been developed, with the exception of recent Arc graphics cards from Intel.
In the video above, EposVox placed Intel’s AV1 encoder and tested the technology with various H.264 encoders. Testing included AMD’s AMF, Intel’s Quick Sync, NVIDIA NVENC, and software options available in streaming packages, such as OBS streaming software.
The YouTuber used Netflix’s VMAF benchmark tool which allows the user to analyze video quality with a score from 0 (which would be considered unwatchable) to 100 (the best video quality imaginable). The benchmark tool compares video quality to uncompressed video and is tested at 3.5 MBps, 6 MBps, and 8 MBps.
The video used was footage from the Battlefield 2042 game. At 3.5 MBps, Intel’s AV1 video encoder scored 83 points, while at 6 MBps, it scored 90 out of 100 points available. On the other hand, NVIDIA NVENC scored 71 at 3.5 MBps, but 8 MBps scored 85 points. AMD and its AMF encoder were similar to NVIDIA, with Intel’s Quick Sync encoder reaching 76 and 87, respectively. Intel uses the Quick Sync encoder on the Alder Lake platform currently.
The benchmark produced by EposVox shows that the Intel AV1 video codec has a performance increase of sixteen percent better than NVIDIA and AMD.
OBS delivered amazing results with its H.264 software-based encoder preset, x264 VerySlow. The embedded software offered 78 points at 3.5 MBps and 88 at 6 MBps. However, for streaming, it’s not a usable format, so streamers are better off avoiding the setup altogether.
As EposVox has educated users about streaming in general, it is worth noting that 3.5 MBps is more accessible to viewers and sweet settings when using Intel and AV1 encoding. It produces more available streaming quality while using fewer resources than rival companies.
News sources: Tom’s Hardware
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