What is NVIDIA NVENC: Features and How to Use it

As the name suggests, NVENC is a proprietary NVIDIA technology, as its name comes from the abbreviation NVIDIA. Video ENCoding, nothing more, nothing less. So one of the requirements for using it is that you have a graphics card of this brand, but as we explain below, not all will work.

NVIDIA NVENC: features and uses

What is NVENC?

This is a feature of the brand’s video cards, which is used for video encoding, offloading this task, which requires a rather high computational load on the processor and what makes it a GPU / GRAPHIC PROCESSOR , with a lot more cores in charge of it. It was first introduced with Kepler The architecture of the GeForce GTX 600 Series graphics cards, and therefore one of the requirements for its use is the presence of one of these GPUs or more modern.

The NVENC encoder is natively compatible with many streaming and recording software such as Wirecast, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), and Bandicam, and also works with the Share game capture feature that is included with GeForce Experience software.

GeForce graphics cards in the consumer market (non-professional) only support 2 video encoding streams at a time, regardless of the number of graphics cards installed, so even in Quad-SLI configurations, you can only encode two videos at a time. For its part, professional graphics support up to 21 simultaneous transfers per graphics card, depending on the model and the selected compression quality.

NVENC is accompanied by NVDEC (NVIDIA Video DECoder) to do the opposite, complementing each other. In the following diagram, you can find all the related information.

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NVENC and NVDEC

The first generation of this technology came with the Kepler architecture, and since then it has increased by almost one version per generation. Thus, the second generation came with Maxwell GM107 GPUs, the third with the Maxwell GM20X, the fourth with the Pascal GP10X, the fifth with the Volta GV10X and Turing TU117, and the sixth generation with the Turing TU10X / TU116. The seventh generation NVENC is expected to arrive with the Ampere, including further improvements and more performance.

What are the benefits of this?

As we just explained, NVENC allows hardware encoding and decoding to be performed directly on the GPU, freeing the CPU from this resource-intensive task. With many more cores at your disposal, which are also optimized for video processing, you not only get significantly better performance, but you are also more efficient in terms of performance per watt.

NVENC chart

The good part about this system is that most video encoding programs support it natively, so as users we only need to select it in the options of this program. For example, in Open Broadcaster Software, we can select video processing via NVENC in options.

Cambiar de encoder en OBS

For users who have an NVIDIA graphics card, the ability to use this feature will free up a lot of processor resources, which will improve its performance, but it must be borne in mind that this task falls to the GPU, and for this reason, the graphics performance may be reduced if the graphics card is not powerful enough …

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