Intel Quick Sync

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Intel Quick Sync Video is Intel's brand for its dedicated video encoding and decoding hardware core. Quick Sync was introduced with the Sandy Bridge CPU microarchitecture on 9 January 2011 and has been found on the die of Intel CPUs ever since.

The name "Quick Sync" refers to the use case of quickly transcoding ("converting") a video from, for example, a DVD or Blu-ray Disc to a format appropriate to, for example, a smartphone. This becomes critically important in the professional video workplace, in which source material may have been shot in any number of video formats, all of which must be brought into a common format (commonly H.264) for inter-cutting.

Unlike video encoding on a CPU or a general-purpose GPU, Quick Sync is a dedicated hardware core on the processor die. This allows much more power-efficient video processing.

Like most desktop hardware-accelerated encoders, Quick Sync has been praised for its speed. The eighth annual MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video codecs comparison showed that Quick Sync was comparable to x264 superfast preset in terms of speed, compression ratio and quality (SSIM); tests were performed on an Intel Core i7 3770 (Ivy Bridge) processor. However, QuickSync could not be configured for lower speeds, whereas x264 improved significantly when allowed to use more time for encoding using the recommended settings.

A 2012 evaluation by AnandTech showed that QuickSync on Intel's Ivy Bridge produced similar image quality compared to the NVENC encoder on Nvidia's GTX 680 while performing much better at resolutions lower than 1080p.