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Updated AMD AMF encoder almost rivals Nvidia NVENC

AMD's AMF is now within striking distance of its competitors thanks to the reintroduction of B-frames. (Image Source: EposVox on Youtube)
AMD's AMF is now within striking distance of its competitors thanks to the reintroduction of B-frames. (Image Source: EposVox on Youtube)
AMD's H.264 hardware encoder is finally almost on par with the Nvidia and Intel hardware video codecs. Sadly, none of the popular streaming suites supports the latest AMF version.

When it comes to hardware video encoding, the past few AMD Radeon GPU generations have not been able to keep up with Nvidia’s NVENC or Intel’s QSV. AMD promised to improve things with the RDNA2 launch, but the fix was quietly released just 4 months ago with version 1.4.24 of the Advanced Media Framework SDK.

For some reason, AMD thought it wise to drop the B-frame feature when it overhauled the VCN engine with the release of the Raven Ridge APUs and the RDNA1 GPUs. Thankfully, AMD reintroduced B-frames with the latest AMF version and, according to some tests performed by Chris Griffith from Code Calamity, AMD’s video quality is now almost on par with Nvidia’s NVENC.

B-frames have become a crucial technology for video compression, especially now that streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube allow for limited bitrates. Without the B-frames feature, AMD’s compressed videos look significantly more blocky and less detailed compared to competing solutions based on the H.264 codec. B-frames allow the H.264 compression algorithm to predict image data from both past frames and future frames in a video stream, significantly boosting the image quality particularly for lower bitrate streams.

Chris Griffith used a small section of the Big Buck Bunny video encoded at 5000 kbps with variable bitrate activated to test the efficiency of the latest AMF version, which scored 95.39 points out of 100 max in VMAF. This translates to less than 1 full point away from Nvidia’s NVENC 6.0 (96.13 points) and Intel’s QSV (96.37 points). Previous AMF versions were at least 2 points behind the competition.

Unfortunately, the test does not mention specific image quality improvements, so we are not sure if the issues concerning macro blocking and detail loss with washed out colors have been fixed. On top of this, streaming software suites like OBS currently do not support the latest AMF version, making it impossible to test on live streams.

 

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Considerable improvements seen with latest AMF version in yellow (Image Source: Code Calamity)
Considerable improvements seen with latest AMF version in yellow (Image Source: Code Calamity)
Latest AMF version versus Nvidia NVENC and Intel QVS (Image Source: Code Calamity)
Latest AMF version versus Nvidia NVENC and Intel QVS (Image Source: Code Calamity)
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2022 07 > Updated AMD AMF encoder almost rivals Nvidia NVENC
Bogdan Solca, 2022-07- 8 (Update: 2022-07- 8)