[Cin] Prepping HW upgrade options for AV1 de-/encoding

Terje J. Hanssen terjejhanssen at gmail.com
Fri Dec 8 11:37:39 CET 2023

Den 03.12.2023 22:29, skrev Terje J. Hanssen:
> Already touched this topic barely in another thread
> https://lists.cinelerra-gg.org/pipermail/cin/2023-December/007346.html
> But so many SW and HW pieces are mentioned around, it is almost a 
> full-time reading and study:
> VAAPI, MESA, VULKAN, Intel Quick Sync Video etc......
> I realize my aging hardware which is fast enough for other tasks, 
> needs some "AV1 upgrade", if possible.
> But first I wonder, what is expected possible to do (obtain) with AV1 
> de-/encoding on my existing 64bit hardware:
>     1) laptop 2018: Dell XPS 13-9370: quad core i7-8550U CPU (8. gen
>     Kabylake) and Intel UHD Graphics
>     2) WS infinity:  MSI Z170A mobo:  quad core i7-6700K CPU (6. gen
>     Skylake), NVIDIA GeForce GT-730 graphics
> A budget friendly first "AV1 HW upgrade" of the workstation 2) if 
> possible, would be to add a new GPU as Intel Arc A380.
> But the question is if this will work at all on that much older (2015) 
> Skylake platform with i7-6700K CPU?
> I've seen CPU bottlenecks has been mentioned and that Arc A380 is 
> targeted at newer generations CPU ...

Extracted from the first wikipedia reference below about Intel Alchemist 

  * Featuring 8 Xe-cores, the*A380 supports PCI Express 4.0* and has a
    total board power (TBP) of 75W. The graphics card is equipped with
    6GB GDDR6 memory and a graphics memory interface of 96 bits,
    providing a memory bandwidth of 186GB/s.
  * Bus interface A380:         PCIe 4.0 x8 and for >=A580: PCIe 4.0 x16

That is, the keyword here seems to be PCIe 4.0 bus speed as a 
requirement to utilize the Arc A380 GPU for HWA AV1 encoding (maybe also 
for other GPUs?)
My existing Skylake WS 2) above has PCie 3.0 only.

PCIe 4.0

Motherboards Support PCIe 4.0

Maybe also information of interest for WS building will be clarified 
within a week, when Intel release their new "Meteor Lake, Core Ultra 
mobile processors(?)

> References:
> AV1 Encoding on a Budget: The Intel Arc A380 Approach
> https://medium.com/@contact_45426/av1-encoding-on-a-budget-the-intel-arc-a380-approach-d72367f2f349
> https://history-computer.com/intel-arc-a380-full-review-of-intels-entry-level-gpu/
> AV1 fixed-function hardware encoder is included in Alchemist GPUs as 
> part of the Intel Quick Sync Video core.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Arc#Alchemist
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AV1#Hardware
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Quick_Sync_Video#Hardware_decoding_and_encoding

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