Intel Quick Sync Video describes a bit of hardware built into modern Intel processors that’s specifically designs to encode and decode video. Quick Sync has big advantages over software encoding and decoding, but program support for Quick Sync has been limited. In a big win for Intel and Ultrabook users, two major programs, VLC and Twitch.TV, have added support for the technology.
Intel Quick Sync is present on every 2nd gen Intel Core processor and beyond. That means that every Ultrabook out there includes the technology. The Ultrabook is a particularly good place for Quick Sync as it gives users access to high performance video processing without the need for a bulky/expensive/hot/power-hungry GPU.
Quick Sync is a video editor’s best friend. I recently rendered a 26 minute 720p video. With standard CPU encoding, it took about 43 minutes. Same video, same computer, same editing software (Vegas Movie Studio Platinum) but tapping into Quick Sync, brought the render time down to around 17 minutes.
Tom’s Hardware has shown that Intel Quick Sync Video beats out high-end GPU-assisted encoding by a large margin.
…the Quick Sync optimizations put Sandy Bridge in another league entirely. Converting an almost-500 MB source to 1024×768 for playback on an iPad takes a scant 22 seconds. [compared to 1:23 with Nvidia GTX 570, 1:26 with AMD HD 6870, and 2:52 with software encoding]
Since Sandy Bridge (2nd gen Intel Core), Intel has gone on to improve Quick Sync with each new processor series.
This might give you an idea of why we’re exciting to hear that two major programs have added Quick Sync support!
VLC Media Player
VLC Media Player is a free, open-source video player with a huge range of options and support for a massive swath of video and audio codecs. It’s also capable of complex encoding operations for converting media from one format to another.With the latest release of version 2.1 ‘Rincewind’, VLC on Windows now has support for Intel Quick Sync encoding. For those with an Ultrabook who are also using VLC for media conversion, make sure you have the latest version to take advantage of substantially faster encoding!
Twitch is a streaming video network and gaming community. On it you’ll find live streams of people playing games, including many big names in the burgeoning pro-gamer arena. Twitch says that they see more than 44 million visitors per month.
Earlier this month, Twitch announced that it was partnering with Intel to bring Quick Sync support to their streaming software. The company says that with Quick Sync, players can see CPU utilization drop by up to 60% when compared to software encoding. This is significant as gaming already taxes computers hard — adding streaming on top of that can greatly reduce game performance. With Intel Quick Sync support in Twitch, streaming should have a much lower impact on gameplay.