AV1 VA-API Acceleration Coming For AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series Linux Users

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 13 August 2021 at 12:00 AM EDT. 28 Comments
With AMD RDNA2 GPUs such as the Radeon RX 6000 series there is hardware support for AV1 decoding while the Linux support has been slow to materialize. Fortunately, that's now changing.

Going back to last year there has been kernel patches around AV1 video decoding for the AMDGPU kernel driver with Navi 2 / VCN 3.0 hardware. But to user-space it's been lacking for exposing the AV1 accelerated video decode.

Opened this week is now a merge request for introducing AV1 video decode support to the Video Acceleration API (VA-API).

This work exposes AV1 support in Gallium3D's VA-API state tracker (including 10-bit video content) and gets the necessary Radeon bits in place so the decoding can work with these latest generation AMD GPUs. Pre-RDNA2 GPUs lack the Video Core Next (VCN) hardware capabilities for accelerated AV1.

VA-API is one of the common Linux video acceleration APIs used by various media players and multimedia software on Linux. Intel with Tiger Lake also having AV1 decode has already been preparing AV1 VA-API for FFmpeg and other software.

This Radeon VA-API support for AV1 should be merged to Mesa 21.3-devel soon and in turn begin enjoying GPU-accelerated AV1 decode on RDNA2.

For those on older hardware, at least dav1d is very fast for CPU-based AV1 decoding.
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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 20,000 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, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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