AMD AMF encoder gets crucial update, now even rivals NVIDIA’s NVENC
The AMD AMF encoder has received a substantial improvement in image quality after a decade of quality issues. This new update introduces B-Frames in the new AMF version 1.4.24. While AMD released this update several months prior, Chris Griffith of the Code Calamity website tested the recent update to give readers an idea of the quality of life changes to the AMF encoder.
AMD AMF Encoder Catches Nvidia NVENC in Recent Tests Thanks to B-Frames
According to the report, Griffith was able to push the AMD AMF encoder to extremely comparable levels compared to NVIDIA and their new NVENC encoder seen in RTX 20 and 30 series graphics cards. AMD Radeon graphics cards will now be as accessible as NVIDIA products for streaming games using lower bitrates.
The struggle for AMD encoding technology has plagued the company for many years, dating back to Polaris GPUs (AMD 400 series) if not further. Encoding has never quite matched Intel’s QuickSync encoder and NVIDIA’s NVENC encoder.
Meanwhile, NVIDIA introduced the sixth generation of the NVENC encoder with the RTX 20-series GPUs which used x264 encoding and put them far ahead of AMD at the moment.
The video below by EposVox, a leading YouTube streaming expert, shows how AMD suffered from low bitrate streaming performance, especially when using the H.264 codec which is still present in video games. the company’s recent Radeon RX 6000 GPUs.
AMD shines in HVEC encoding, but with the lack of real-world use, all video players require H.264 support.
So how did AMD finally solve a decade-old problem? The company brought back B-frame technology to the AMF encoder, which had been missing since the company’s original VCE encoding and decoding engine. AMD ditched the technology after releasing the VCN engine with its Raven Ridge APUs and RDNA 1 GPUs.
“B-frames allow the H.264 compression algorithm to predict image data of past and future frames in a video stream. This is an optional feature that has been shown to significantly increase video quality. image streams at lower bitrates,” says Tom’s Hardware.
Code Calamity used VMAF to measure the image quality differentiation between AMF, NVENC, and Intel QuickSync, with Big Buck Bunny as the benchmark video. In this benchmark, the highest possible score of 100 points. For reference, NVENC scores 96.13 points and Intel QuickSync scored 96.37 in this test. According to Code Calamity, AMD’s AMF encoder is only half a point behind these two encoders, whereas before (without B-Frames), AMD’s AMF was two points behind.
Benchmark tests revealed that the image quality of the AMD AMF is closer to rivaling NVIDIA’s current NVENC encoder. However, no streaming platform has offered current support, even though it has been readily available for months. It’s assumed that AMD’s developer support history in implementing its encoder SDKs has been troublesome, which might explain why it’s not as integrated.
Sources of information: Tom’, s Hardware, EposVox