The NVENC AV1 video encoder from NVIDIA is now supported by FFmpeg, a commonly used command tool for video processing. Early reviews talked about the performance benefits of lower bit rates, but the surprise revelation is that it performs up to 100% better than the conventional HEVC encoding (H.265).
For users of OBS, this revelation is fantastic news. In order to compete with NVIDIA and their GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs, OBS Studio, one of the top free streaming software programmes, just added AMD to its Diamond Tier sponsors list. The relationship between AMD and OBS was disclosed last Friday during the AMD RDNA 3 unveiling. AMD is also expected to support Intel’s AV1, which has been gaining popularity month after month since its release.
The encoder seems to be trading blows with hevc_nvenc. In terms of quality at low bitrate cbr settings, it seems to outperform it even. It produces fewer artifacts and the ones it does produce are less jarring to my perception. At higher bitrates I had a hard time finding differences between the two encoders in terms of subjective visual quality. Using the ‘slow’ preset, av1_nvenc outperformed hevc_nvenc in terms of encoding speed by 75% to 100% while performing above tests. Needless to say, it always massively outperformed h264_nvenc in terms of quality for a given bitrate, while also being slightly faster. — Timo Rothenpieler, author of the recent avcodec/nvenc: add AV1 encoding support for FFmpeg
Almost all graphics cards, both old and new, have included AV1 decoding capabilities. The AV1 decoding was first made available by Intel in their most recent Arc series GPUs.
On the other hand, encoding has only lately been incorporated into widely used video codecs. On modern graphics cards, AV1 encoding allows for greater and more effective acceleration. It’s not the only option accessible to users with hardware that supports decoding for streaming services like Twitch, but with the AV1 video codec’s explosive growth, AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA are all working hard to make their gear the major reason why customers choose it over rivals.
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