Intel Sandy Bridge Video Encode For Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 9 April 2011 at 09:29 AM EDT. Add A Comment
Since Intel began shipping Intel Core i3/i5/i7 "Sandy Bridge" CPUs back in January, H.264 VA-API video (decode) playback acceleration has been available if using all of the proper open-source Linux packages needed for support. The video encode support though wasn't there on time nor was there much in the way of official communication in what to expect or when it would come, but the word received at Phoronix was that it would be a Q1 target. It looks like the code for VA-API video encode on Sandy Bridge is nearly ready.

In what turns out to have been a mistake, an "Q1 RC2 test report for SNB H264 encoding driver" email was issued to the intel-gfx mailing list. The email was written by Hai Lan at Intel. When he realized he sent it to the public list, he immediately recalled it, but it's now out there for the public to see anyways thanks to the open-source mailing list archives.

This email is regarding the H.264 video encoding support for Sandy Bridge on Linux. Unfortunately it looks like the results show the performance missing its target, which is perhaps why the code is not yet published and out there. Their "RC1" performance was at six frames per second, with "RC2" there are up to 104 FPS, which is a huge improvement. However, these internal results show the Windows encode driver at 516 frames per second. That's a huge difference.

Sadly, no other details were leaked out. Hopefully the necessary code will be published soon. It will require at least patches to the VA-API "libva" library, but it's not been officially said whether any DRM updates will be needed for supporting the SNB encode functionality. Hopefully it won't otherwise they won't be merged until the Linux 2.6.40 kernel.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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