Intel Proposes Calibrated Timestamps As It Works Towards Vulkan Video

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 2 May 2021 at 01:33 PM EDT. 11 Comments
Since the publishing of the provisional Vulkan Video specification last month, the only driver on Linux to have exposed any early Vulkan Video support is NVIDIA's Vulkan beta Linux driver. But it would appear that Intel's open-source developers are working at least towards eventually handling this video acceleration API.

Given how well Intel has been maintaining their open-source "ANV" Mesa Vulkan driver for Linux systems, it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that they would likely be supporting Vulkan Video too. While they don't yet have any public implementation to showcase, a new Vulkan extension proposal this week seems to indicate they are working in that direction.

Longtime Intel ANV developer Jason Ekstrand this week proposed a VK_EXT_calibrated_timestamps extension.

He summed up the situation in the public Vulkan issue tracker and also made reference to Vulkan Video. Ekstrand noted, "Intel hardware doesn't necessarily guarantee a single time domain across the entire device for vkCmdWriteTimestamp(). This hasn't been a problem for us because we ran everything on the 3D queue. However, with things like Vulkan video up-and-coming as well as additional compute queues, this is turning into a real issue. This tiny little extension allows the client to get calibrated timestamps on a per-queue basis rather than just per-device."

The calibrated timestamps extension alone should be useful but also has us eager to see their Vulkan Video support. Hopefully Intel and the open-source Radeon Vulkan drivers will begin supporting the provisional extensions soon for helping to encourage application adoption of Vulkan Video for improving the Linux video acceleration ecosystem compared to the mess of existing video APIs.
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