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Intel Optimizes Open Source SVT-VP9 Encoder for AMD’s EPYC

Tech firms rarely draw the line between collaborator and competitor. Intel demonstrated that duality on September 4 when it up to date the open-source SVT-VP9 encoder with optimizations for AMD’s EPYC processors, including other AVX2 CPUs, which launched in 2011.

Those optimizations were made in an update driven by an Intel engineer, Jing Li, who called it “Fix the perf gap for Epyc CPU.” However, that did not tell the entire story. The update was “simply the largest speed-up ever to SVT-VP9 in its history, at least so far as AVX2 CPUs are concerned,” which suggests some Intel processors will benefit from the change, too.

VP9 launched in 2013 as a successor to the HEVC and h.265 video coding codecs. It is set to be replaced by the AV1 codec, for which Intel also released an encoder in February. However, for now, it is popular due to its use by YouTube. In February, Intel launched SVT-VP9 with the goal of “supporting real-time encoding of as much as two 4Kp60 streams on an Intel Xeon Gold 6140 processor.”

SVT-VP9 historically carried out best on AVX-512 processors. The update pushed last week improves efficiency on the older AVX2 processors, which could be a welcome update for anybody who publishes on YouTube; however, doesn’t have a top-of-the-line program. Intel’s joke about fixing the efficiency gap on EPYC reduced the update–it should make SVT-VP9 more viable for users on both platforms.

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