Vulkan Video Support Progressing For Open-Source Intel, AMD Radeon Hardware

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 15 November 2021 at 05:28 AM EST. 14 Comments
The open-source Vulkan driver support for the video decode (and presumably after that, encode) extensions continues moving along for the Radeon "RADV" and Intel "ANV" Mesa drivers.

Earlier this month well known open-source Linux graphics driver expert David Airlie (Red Hat) began experimenting with RADV Vulkan Video support and after that was toying around with Vulkan Video for Intel's Mesa driver too. Those efforts have continued with the latest milestones being hit.

Initially Airlie was working on Vulkan Video H.264 decoding for the AMD VCN "Video Core Next" engine used by the newer Radeon graphics processors. Today he merged support for being able to use the older UVD "Unified Video Decoder" engine. In turn this now allows the H.264 decoding to work for older AMD GPUs from Vega all the way back to the original GCN 1.0 "Southern Islands" GPUs.

GPUs going back to the Radeon HD 7000 series will see at least some Vulkan Video support with RADV when using the AMDGPU kernel driver... Meanwhile on the Windows side, AMD doesn't support in mainline any pre-Polaris GPU support.

However, your experience using the experimental Vulkan Video support on the older GPUs may vary with Airlie so far having only confirmed the UVD support working on Vega.

Airlie mentioned this UVD support for Vulkan Video in this blog post. Over on the Intel side, he has now published his initial Intel ANV Vulkan Video changes via this Gitlab branch for those interested.

Airlie is continuing to work on the code and figure out how to best share/leveraging the Vulkan Video support among drivers and ultimately figure out the path for getting this support upstreamed into mainline Mesa. For now his focus has also been on H.264 with H.265 still to be tackled as well as Vulkan Video encode extensions. Hopefully it won't be too much longer before seeing the likes of VP9 and AV1 having Vulkan Video extensions upstream.

The Vulkan Video extensions have been out in provisional form since earlier in the year. Hopefully they will be firmed up soon and in turn see broader driver support and finding cross-platform multimedia software beginning to make use of these extensions as an industry standard for GPU-based video encode/decode.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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