DAV1D vs. LIBGAV1 Performance - Benchmarking Google's New AV1 Video Decoder

Written by Michael Larabel in Multimedia on 5 October 2019 at 03:13 PM EDT. 46 Comments
With the surprise code drop of Google developing a new open-source AV1 video decoder as "libgav1", I set out this Saturday to run benchmarks on various systems for seeing how the performance is looking for this CPU-based decoder in relation to the more well known DAV1D decoder.

Libgav1 is now available alongside the many other video encoders/decoders for benchmarking via the Phoronix Test Suite with OpenBenchmarking.org. I fired up a number of different Linux systems so far in seeing how the performance compares with a wide array of AMD and Intel processors.

There are hardware/software differences between the platforms with this just being some quick weekend tests. The performance comparison is mainly looking at dav1d vs. libgav1 as opposed to comparing the different systems anyhow. Further libgav1 benchmarks will be coming as well.

The same input files were used with both dav1d and libgav1 with their PTS test profiles.

With dav1d using the Netflix "Chimera" 1080p AV1 file, the performance was sufficient on all systems with even the Core i7 5600U Broadwell laptop putting out a 115 FPS average. DAV1D scaled up to 714 FPS with the 128-core / 256-thread EPYC 7742 2P.

But with that same input file on the new libgav1, the performance is just a fraction. That's with the correct CPU thread count being set as well for its multi-threading, but it doesn't scale nearly as well as dav1d. Besides not scaling to many CPU cores/threads, libgav1 right now only supports SSE 4.1 and not any AVX tuning for better performance on newer systems.

With 10-bit content, the libgav1 performance remained less than half the speed of dav1d on the lower-end CPUs and even worse with the powerful EPYC/Xeon CPUs.

Granted, libgav1 is brand new, but Google will need to invest a lot to get it performing as well as dav1d.

None of the tested CPUs could deliver above a 30 FPS average for 4K AV1 content.

Those wanting to compare their own systems performance to these AV1 decode benchmarks can install the Phoronix Test Suite and run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1910058-PTS-GAV1982203. For those that enjoy the extensive and timely benchmarks, consider showing your support by joining Phoronix Premium or making a PayPal tip.
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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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