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In "full-fixed mode" the entire computation is done by the fixed-function VCE unit. Full-fixed mode can be accessed through the OpenMAX IL API.
The entropy encoding block of the VCE ASIC is also separately accessible, enabling "hybrid mode". In "hybrid mode" most of the computation is done by the 3D engine of the GPU. Using AMD's Accelerated Parallel Programming SDK and OpenCL developers can create hybrid encoders that pair custom motion estimation, inverse discrete cosine transform and motion compensation with the hardware entropy encoding to achieve faster than real-time encoding.
AMD Video Code Engine (VCE) is a full hardware implementation of the video codec H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. The ASIC is capable of delivering 1080p at 60 frames/sec. Because its entropy encoding block is also a separately accessible Video Codec Engine, it can be operated in two modes: full-fixed mode and hybrid mode.
By employing AMD APP SDK, available for Linux and Microsoft Windows, developers can create hybrid encoders that pair custom motion estimation, inverse discrete cosine transform and motion compensation with the hardware entropy encoding to achieve faster than real-time encoding. In hybrid mode, only the entropy encoding block of the VCE unit is used, while the remaining computation is offloaded to the 3D engine (GCN) of the GPU, so the computing scales with the number of available compute units (CUs).
As of April 2014, there are two versions of VCE. Version 1.0 supports H.264 YUV420 (I & P frames), H.264 SVC Temporal Encode VCE, and Display Encode Mode (DEM).
^To play protected video content, it also requires card, operating system, driver, and application support. A compatible HDCP display is also needed for this. HDCP is mandatory for the output of certain audio formats, placing additional constraints on the multimedia setup.
^To feed more than two displays, the additional panels must have native DisplayPort support. Alternatively active DisplayPort-to-DVI/HDMI/VGA adapters can be employed.
^The Radeon 100 Series has programmable pixel shaders, but do not fully comply with DirectX 8 or Pixel Shader 1.0. See article on R100's pixel shaders.
^These series do not fully comply with OpenGL 2+ as the hardware does not support all types of non-power of two (NPOT) textures.
^OpenGL 4+ compliance requires supporting FP64 shaders and these are emulated on some TeraScale chips using 32-bit hardware.
^ abcThe UVD and VCE were replaced by the Video Core Next (VCN) ASIC in the Raven Ridge APU implementation of Vega.
^ abTo play protected video content, it also requires card, operating system, driver, and application support. A compatible HDCP display is also needed for this. HDCP is mandatory for the output of certain audio formats, placing additional constraints on the multimedia setup.
^More displays may be supported with native DisplayPort connections, or splitting the maximum resolution between multiple monitors with active converters.
The VCE SIP core needs to be supported by the device driver. The device driver provides one or multiple interfaces, e. g. OpenMAX IL. One of these interfaces is then used by end-user software, like GStreamer or HandBrake (HandBrake rejected VCE support in December 2016 , but added it in December 2018 ), to access the VCE hardware and make use of it.
AMD's proprietary device driver AMD Catalyst is available for multiple operating systems and support for VCE has been added to it. Additionally, a free device driver is available. This driver also supports the VCE hardware.