Intel Xe DG1 in Tiger Lake to feature native 12-bit HEVC and VP9 support, more laptops with HDR displays inbound?
The Intel Gen12 Xe DG1 graphics will debut with Tiger Lake later this year and we've been seeing some steady leaks about this new GPU. Recently, a GitHub entry for the Intel Media Driver for Video Acceleration API (VAAPI) has surfaced giving some insights into the multimedia capabilities of the Xe DG1.
According to the encode-decode matrix available on the GitHub page, Tiger Lake's Xe DG1 will drop support for VP8 but gains support for HEVC 12-bit encode-decode, HEVC 12-bit 4:2:2 decode, and HEVC 12-bit 4:4:4 decode. Also on the anvil is support for VP9 12-bit decode and VP9 12-bit 4:4:4 decode. Tiger Lake will also feature support for HDR10 tone mapping similar to what is available with Ice Lake.
It is interesting to note that the upcoming Tremont-based Elkhart Lake ultra-low power chips and the purported 10nm Jasper Lake will continue to sport Gen11 iGPUs and thus, are limited to HEVC 10-bit encode/decode.
Most video content is commonly encoded in 8-bit color depth while HDR content is usually 10-bit or higher (though it is not necessary that 10-bit is synonymous with HDR). 12-bit video with a chroma sub-sampling of 4:4:4 is only seen in higher-end professional workflows. It is not often we see an iGPU capable of encoding and decoding 12-bit HEVC streams. The Xe DG1's ability to natively decode 12-bit 4:4:4 HEVC and VP9 video is an interesting feature to have as well.
Being able to enjoy such content means that the laptop should also have a capable display. While there are several laptops with HDR-certified displays available currently, the numbers aren't that really high. However, the presence of advanced multimedia capabilities in the Tiger Lake Xe DG1 iGPU could mean that more laptops with HDR-certified displays will be a possibility. Of course, this is just speculation on our part and we will have to wait a few months to find out.