Video Coding Engine
Get Video Coding Engine essential facts below. View Videos or join the Video Coding Engine discussion. Add Video Coding Engine to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Video Coding Engine

Video Code Engine (VCE, was earlier referred to as Video Coding Engine[1], Video Compression Engine[2] or Video Codec Engine[3] in official AMD documentation) is AMD's video encoding ASIC implementing the video codec H.264/MPEG-4 AVC. Since 2012 it is integrated into all of their GPUs and APUs except Oland.

Video Coding Engine was introduced with the Radeon HD 7900 on 22 December 2011.[4][5][6] VCE occupies a considerable amount of the die surface and is not to be confused with AMD's Unified Video Decoder (UVD).

As of Raven Ridge VCE has been succeeded by VCN.


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.

The handling of video data involves computation of data compression algorithms and possibly of video processing algorithms. As the template Compression methods shows, lossy video compression algorithms involve the steps: Motion estimation (ME), Discrete cosine transform (DCT), and entropy encoding (EC).

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.[7][8]

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).

VCE 1.0

As of April 2014, there are two versions of VCE.[1] Version 1.0 supports H.264 YUV420 (I & P frames), H.264 SVC Temporal Encode VCE, and Display Encode Mode (DEM).

It can be found on

  • Piledriver-based
    • Trinity APUs (Ax-5xxx, e.g. A10-5800K)
    • Richland APUs (Ax-6xxx, e.g. A10-6800K)
  • GPUs of the Southern Islands generation (GCN1: CAYMAN, ARUBA (Trinity/Richland), CAPE VERDE, PITCAIRN, TAHITI). These are
    • Radeon HD 7700 series (except HD 7790 with VCE 2.0)
    • Radeon HD 7800 series
    • Radeon HD 7900 series
    • Radeon HD 8570 to 8990 (except HD 8770 with VCE 2.0)
    • Radeon R7 250E, 250X, 265 / R9 270, 270X, 280, 280X
    • Radeon R7 360, 370, 455 / R9 370, 370X
    • Mobile Radeon HD 77x0M to HD 7970M
    • Mobile Radeon HD 8000-Series
    • Mobile Radeon Rx M2xx Series (except R9 M280X with VCE 2.0 and R9 M295X with VCE 3.0)
    • Mobile Radeon R5 M330 to R9 M390
    • FirePro cards with 1st Generation GCN (GCN1)

VCE 2.0

Compared to the first version, VCE 2.0 adds H.264 YUV444 (I-Frames), B-frames for H.264 YUV420, and improvements to the DEM (Display Encode Mode), which results in a better encoding quality.

It can be found on

  • Steamroller-based
    • Kaveri APUs (Ax-7xxx, e.g. A10-7850K)
    • Godavari APUs (Ax-7xxx, e.g. A10-7890K)
  • Jaguar-based
    • Kabini APUs (e.g. Athlon 5350, Sempron 2650)
    • Temash APUs (e.g. A6-1450, A4-1200)
  • Puma-based
    • Beema and Mullins
  • GPUs of the Sea Islands generation as well Bonaire or Hawaii GPUs (2nd Generation Graphics Core Next), such as
    • Radeon HD 7790, 8770
    • Radeon R7 260, 260X / R9 290, 290X, 295X2
    • Radeon R7 360 / R9 390, 390X
    • Mobile Radeon R9 M280X
    • Mobile Radeon R9 M385, M385X
    • Mobile Radeon R9 M470, M470X
    • FirePro cards with 2nd Generation GCN (GCN2)

VCE 3.0

Video Code Engine 3.0 (VCE 3.0) technology features a new high-quality video scaling and High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265).[9]

It, together with UVD 6.0, can be found on 3rd generation of Graphics Core Next (GCN3) with "Tonga", "Fiji", "Iceland", and "Carrizo" (VCE 3.1) based graphics controller hardware, which is now used AMD Radeon Rx 300 Series (Pirate Islands GPU family) and VCE 3.4 by actual AMD Radeon Rx 400 Series and AMD Radeon 500 Series (both Polaris GPU family).

  • Tonga: Radeon R9 285, 380, 380X; Mobile Radeon R9 M390X, M395, M395X, M485X
  • Tonga XT: FirePro W7100, S7100X, S7150, S7150 X2
  • Fiji: Radeon R9 Fury, Fury X, Nano; Radeon Pro Duo (2016); FirePro S9300, W7170M
  • Polaris: RX 460, 470, 480; RX 550, 560, 570, 580; Radeon Pro Duo (2017)

VCE 4.0

The Video Code Engine 4.0 encoder and UVD 7.0 decoder are included in the Vega based GPUs.[10][11]

VCE 4.1

AMD's Vega20 GPU, present in the Instinct Mi50, Instinct Mi60 and Radeon VII cards, include VCE 4.1 and two UVD 7.2 instances.[12][13]

Feature overview


The following table shows features of AMD's APUs (see also: List of AMD accelerated processing units).

Brand Llano Trinity Richland Kaveri Carrizo Bristol Ridge Raven Ridge Picasso Desna, Ontario, Zacate Kabini, Temash Beema, Mullins Carrizo-L Stoney Ridge
Platform Desktop, mobile Ultra-mobile
Released Aug 2011 Oct 2012 Jun 2013 Jan 2014 Jun 2015 Jun 2016 Oct 2017 Jan 2019 Jan 2011 May 2013 Q2 2014 May 2015 June 2016
CPU microarchitecture K10 Piledriver Steamroller Excavator Zen Zen+ Bobcat Jaguar Puma Puma+[14] Excavator
GPU microarchitecture TeraScale 2 (VLIW5) TeraScale 3 (VLIW4) GCN 2nd gen GCN 3rd gen GCN 5th gen[15] TeraScale 2 (VLIW5) GCN 2nd gen GCN 3rd gen[15]
Instruction set TeraScale instruction set GCN instruction set TeraScale instruction set GCN instruction set
Fab. (nm) GlobalFoundries 32 SOI GlobalFoundries 28 SHP GlobalFoundries 14LPP GlobalFoundries 12LP TSMC 40 28
die area (mm2) 228 246 245 245 250 210[16] 210 75 (+ 28 FCH) ~107 ? 125
Socket FM1, FS1 FM2, FS1+, FP2 FM2+, FP3 FM2+[a], FP4 AM4, FP4 AM4, FP5 FT1 AM1, FT3 FT3b FP4
Memory support DDR3 DDR4 DDR3L DDR4
3D engine[b] Up to 400:20:8 Up to 384:24:6 Up to 512:32:8 Up to 704:44:16[17] Up to 704:44:16 80:8:4 128:8:4 Up to 192:?:?
Video decoder UVD 3.0 UVD 4.2 UVD 6.0 VCN 1.0[18] UVD 3.0 UVD 4.0 UVD 4.2 UVD 6.0 UVD 6.3
Video encoder N/A VCE 1.0 VCE 2.0 VCE 3.1 N/A VCE 2.0 VCE 3.1
GPU power saving PowerPlay PowerTune N/A PowerTune[19]
TrueAudio N/A Yes[20] N/A ?
FreeSync N/A 1
N/A ?
HDCP[c] ? 1.4 1.4
? 1.4
Supported displays[d] 2-3 2-4 3 4 ? 2 ?
/drm/radeon[e][22][23] Yes N/A Yes N/A
/drm/amdgpu[e][24] N/A Yes[25] Yes N/A Yes[25] Yes
  1. ^ APU models: A8-7680, A6-7480. CPU only: Athlon X4 845.
  2. ^ Unified shaders : texture mapping units : render output units
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ To feed more than two displays, the additional panels must have native DisplayPort support.[21] Alternatively active DisplayPort-to-DVI/HDMI/VGA adapters can be employed.
  5. ^ a b DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) is a component of the Linux kernel. Support in this table refers to the most current version.


The following table shows features of AMD's Radeon-branded GPUs (see also: List of AMD graphics processing units).

Name of GPU series R100 R200 R300 R400 R500 R600 RV670 R700 Evergreen Northern
Vega Navi
Released Apr 2000 Aug 2001 Sep 2002 May 2004 Oct 2005 May 2007 Nov 2007 Jun 2008 Sep 2009 Oct 2010 Jan 2012 Sep 2013 Jun 2015 Jun 2016 Jun 2017 Jul 2019
AMD support Ended Current
Instruction set Not publicly known[] TeraScale instruction set GCN instruction set RDNA instruction set
Microarchitecture TeraScale 1 TeraScale 2 (VLIW5) TeraScale 3 (VLIW4) GCN 1st gen GCN 2nd gen GCN 3rd gen GCN 4th gen GCN 5th gen RDNA
Type Fixed pipeline[a] Programmable pixel & vertex pipelines Unified shader model ?
Direct3D 7.0 8.1 9.0
11 (9_2)
11 (9_2)
11 (9_3)
11 (10_0)
11 (10_1)
11 (11_0) 11 (11_1)
12 (11_1)
11 (12_0)
12 (12_0)
11 (12_1)
12 (12_1)
Shader model N/A 1.4 2.0+ 2.0b 3.0 4.0 4.1 5.0 5.1 5.1
OpenGL 1.3 2.0[b] 3.3 4.4[c] 4.6 (on Linux: 4.5+) ?
Vulkan N/A 1.0 (Win 7+ or Mesa 17+ 1.1
OpenCL N/A Close to Metal 1.1 1.2 2.0 (Adrenalin driver on Win7+), 1.2 (on Linux, 2.0 and 2.1 WIP mostly in Linux ROCm) ?
HSA N/A Yes ?
Video decoding ASIC N/A Avivo/UVD UVD+ UVD 2 UVD 2.2 UVD 3 UVD 4 UVD 4.2 UVD 5.0 or 6.0 UVD 6.3 UVD 7[10][d] VCN 1.0[10][d]
Video encoding ASIC N/A VCE 1.0 VCE 2.0 VCE 3.0 or 3.1 VCE 3.4 VCE 4.0[10][d]
Power saving ? PowerPlay PowerTune PowerTune & ZeroCore Power ?
TrueAudio N/A Via dedicated DSP Via shaders ?
FreeSync N/A 1
HDCP[e] ? 1.4 1.4
PlayReady[e] N/A 3.0 No 3.0
Supported displays[f] 1-2 2 2-6 ?
Max. resolution ? 2-6 × 2560×1600 2-6 × 4096×2160 @ 60 Hz 2-6 × 5120×2880 @ 60 Hz 3 × 7680×4320 @ 60 Hz[26] ?
/drm/radeon[g] Yes N/A
/drm/amdgpu[g] N/A Experimental[27] Yes ?
  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ These series do not fully comply with OpenGL 2+ as the hardware does not support all types of non-power of two (NPOT) textures.
  3. ^ OpenGL 4+ compliance requires supporting FP64 shaders and these are emulated on some TeraScale chips using 32-bit hardware.
  4. ^ a b c The UVD and VCE were replaced by the Video Core Next (VCN) ASIC in the Raven Ridge APU implementation of Vega.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ More displays may be supported with native DisplayPort connections, or splitting the maximum resolution between multiple monitors with active converters.
  7. ^ a b DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) is a component of the Linux kernel. Support in this table refers to the most current version.

Operating system support

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 [28], but added it in December 2018 [29]), 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.


Support for the VCE ASIC is contained in the Linux kernel device driver amdgpu.


The software "MediaShow Espresso Video Transcoding" seems to utilize VCE and UVD to the fullest extent possible.[34]

XSplit Broadcaster supports VCE from version 1.3.[35]

Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) supports VCE for recording and streaming. The original Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) requires a fork build in order to enable VCE.[36]

AMD Radeon Software supports VCE with built in game capture ("Radeon ReLive") and use AMD AMF/VCE on APU or Radeon Graphics card to reduce FPS drop when capturing game or video content. [37]


The VCE was succeeded by AMD Video Core Next in the Raven Ridge series of APUs released in October 2017. The VCN combines both encode (VCE) and decode (UVD).[38]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "White Paper AMD UnifiedVideoDecoder (UVD)" (PDF). 2012-06-15. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "AnandTech Portal | AMD Radeon HD 7970 Review: 28nm And Graphics Core Next, Together As One". Retrieved .
  6. ^ "AMD's Radeon HD 7970 graphics processor - The Tech Report - Page 5". The Tech Report. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Video & Movies: The Video Codec Engine, UVD3, & Steady Video 2.0". AnandTech. December 22, 2011. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Radeon HD 8900 Specs". AMD. Retrieved .
  9. ^ [pull] amdgpu drm-next-4.2
  10. ^ a b c d Killian, Zak (22 March 2017). "AMD publishes patches for Vega support on Linux". Tech Report. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ Larabel, Michael (20 March 2017). "AMD Sends Out 100 Patches, Enabling Vega Support In AMDGPU DRM". Phoronix. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ Deucher, Alex (15 May 2018). "[PATCH 50/57] drm/amdgpu/vg20:Enable the 2nd instance IRQ for uvd 7.2". Retrieved .
  13. ^ Deucher, Alex (15 May 2018). "[PATCH 42/57] drm/amd/include/vg20: adjust VCE_BASE to reuse vce 4.0 header files". Retrieved .
  14. ^ "AMD Mobile "Carrizo" Family of APUs Designed to Deliver Significant Leap in Performance, Energy Efficiency in 2015" (Press release). 20 November 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  15. ^ a b "AMD VEGA10 and VEGA11 GPUs spotted in OpenCL driver". Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ "The Mobile CPU Comparison Guide Rev. 13.0 Page 5 : AMD Mobile CPU Full List". Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ Cutress, Ian (1 February 2018). "Zen Cores and Vega: Ryzen APUs for AM4 - AMD Tech Day at CES: 2018 Roadmap Revealed, with Ryzen APUs, Zen+ on 12nm, Vega on 7nm". Anandtech. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ Larabel, Michael (17 November 2017). "Radeon VCN Encode Support Lands in Mesa 17.4 Git". Phoronix. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ Tony Chen; Jason Greaves, "AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) Architecture" (PDF), AMD, retrieved 2016
  20. ^ "A technical look at AMD's Kaveri architecture". Semi Accurate. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "How do I connect three or More Monitors to an AMD Radeon(TM) HD 5000, HD 6000, and HD 7000 Series Graphics Card?". AMD. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ Airlie, David (26 November 2009). "DisplayPort supported by KMS driver mainlined into Linux kernel 2.6.33". Retrieved 2016.
  23. ^ "Radeon feature matrix". Retrieved 2016.
  24. ^ Deucher, Alexander (16 September 2015). "XDC2015: AMDGPU" (PDF). Retrieved 2016.
  25. ^ a b Michel Dänzer (17 November 2016). "[ANNOUNCE] xf86-video-amdgpu 1.2.0".
  26. ^ "Radeon's next-generation Vega architecture" (PDF). Radeon Technologies Group (AMD). Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ Larabel, Michael (7 December 2016). "The Best Features of the Linux 4.9 Kernel". Phoronix. Retrieved 2016.
  28. ^ "HandBrake rejected VCE pull request". 2016-12-08. Retrieved .
  29. ^ "HandBrake added VCE support in v1.2.0". 2018-12-22. Retrieved .
  30. ^ König, Christian (4 February 2014). "initial VCE support". mesa-dev (Mailing list). Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ König, Christian (24 October 2013). "OpenMAX state tracker". mesa-dev (Mailing list). Retrieved 2015.
  32. ^ "AMD Open-Sources VCE Video Encode Engine Code". Phoronix. 2014-02-04. Retrieved .
  33. ^ "st/omx/enc: implement h264 level support". 2014-06-12. Retrieved .
  34. ^ "MediaShow Espresso Video Transcoding Benchmark". 2014-01-14. Retrieved .
  35. ^ "XSplit Broadcaster 1.3 maintenance update includes mainly performance enhancements and maintenance fixes including such noteworthy features such as support for AMD's VCE H.264 hardware encoder". Archived from the original on 2014-07-22.
  36. ^ "OBS branch with AMD VCE support". May 2, 2014. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 16.12.1 Release Notes". Retrieved .
  38. ^ Larabel, Michael (17 November 2017). "Radeon VCN Encode Support Lands In Mesa 17.4 Git". Phoronix. Retrieved 2017.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes