Puget Systems print logo
https://www.pugetsystems.com
Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/2120
Article Thumbnail

What H.264/H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in Premiere Pro?

Written on April 15, 2021 by Matt Bach
Share:

Introduction

Premiere Pro has had supported for hardware decoding of H.264 and H.265 (HEVC) media for quite a while, but until recently, it was only available if you had an Intel CPU that supported Quick Sync. In Premiere Pro 14.5, however, Adobe added GPU-based decoding which made hardware decoding a possibility for the majority of Premiere Pro users.

Unfortunately, not all H.264 and H.265 media will be able to utilize hardware decoding. On top of the codec itself, both the bit depth (8-bit, 10-bit, etc.) and chroma subsampling (4:2:0, 4:2:2, 4:4:4), as well as the hardware capabilities of your system, impacts whether you can utilize hardware decoding.

We were unable to find complete documentation on which H.264/5 variants have hardware decoding support in Premiere Pro, so we decided to do our own testing to find out. If you want to test your own system, we also have instructions and media download in the Run this Test on your System (Windows) section.

Hardware Decoding Support in Premiere Pro 15.x

H.264 AMD
Radeon 5000
NVIDIA
GTX 1000
NVIDIA
RTX 2000
NVIDIA
RTX 3000
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
8-bit 4:2:0
8-bit 4:2:2
8-bit 4:4:4
10-bit 4:2:0
10-bit 4:2:2
10-bit 4:4:4
H.265
(HEVC)
AMD
Radeon 5000
NVIDIA
GTX 1000
NVIDIA
RTX 2000
NVIDIA
RTX 3000
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
8-bit 4:2:0
8-bit 4:2:2
8-bit 4:4:4
10-bit 4:2:0
10-bit 4:2:2
10-bit 4:4:4
12-bit 4:2:0
12-bit 4:2:2
12-bit 4:4:4

Determining Your H.264/5 Media Type

If you are not sure what bit depth or chroma subsampling your media is, the easiest and most accurate way is to install a program called MediaInfo. Note: you will typically need to switch to the "Tree" or another detailed view to see this information.

MediaInfo bit depth and chroma subsampling

Run this Test on your System (Windows)

If you want to test your own system to see what flavors of H.264/H.265 your system is able to use hardware decoding for, you can download our test assets:

Instructions:

  1. Download and unzip the test assets using the link above
  2. Run "Trancode.bat" to generate the various flavors of H.264 and H.265
  3. Open the HardwareDecodeTest.prproj file in Premiere Pro
  4. Ensure hardware decoding is enabled in the preferences through "Edit->Preferences->Media". If you change this setting, be sure to restart Premiere Pro
  5. Use the hotkey Alt+Ctrl+F12 to open the Debug Monitor
  6. Find and expand "Importer.MPEG" - This will tell you if the system is using software or hardware decoding
  7. Double-click on a clip in the Project panel to open it in the Source panel. Clips labeled with Green are those that we have confirmed support hardware decoding with the proper hardware.
  8. When you open a clip in the Source or Program panels, Premiere Pro will automatically cache a number of frames. Watch the "Importer.MPEG" entry in the Debug Monitor to see if the frame count goes up for "SW Frames Decompressed" or "Hardware Decompressed" to determine whether your system can use Hardware Decoding for that flavor or H.264/5.

Looking for a Premiere Pro Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: Premiere Pro, hardware decoding, GPU decoding, Quick Sync
jonathan

Thanks for this article. Do you know if there's QuickSync performs better than GPU NVIDIA decoding on timeline scrubbing? I believe you said H264 is slighter better on QuickSync than GPU hardware.

Posted on 2021-04-19 17:50:15

It is generally pretty darn close. Depending on the codec, sometimes QS is a bit better, other times GPU is a bit better. Probably not enough to really notice or care about to be honest, and likely subject to change as Adobe makes updates to Premiere Pro.

In general, if you have Quick Sync, I would set Premiere Pro to use it for decoding instead of the GPU. Playback won't be much different, but if you use hardware accelerated encoding when exporting, that defaults to using the GPU - so you will use QS for decoding and the GPU for encoding which will speed up the export a bit.

Posted on 2021-04-19 17:58:51
Nick

Ya, I really want to know how much I am missing for getting an Intel F processor.

Based on your last setence, it sounds like to export, the app needs to decode and encode.

So if a user had an Intel w/ an iGPU and a NVIDIA GPU, and knowing that QS and GPU decoding on a timeline is equivalent, there is a net benefit to use QS over GPI for decoding at the end of the day.

This is very unfortunately for AMD and Intel F users if QS is clearly superior for exporting. It'd be great to see what the margin is.

Posted on 2021-04-19 19:38:01

Yep. From the testing I've done, you can get about 10-15% faster exports using QS and GPU compared to using either alone. Not a huge deal considering how much faster hardware accelerated encoding is compared to software, but if you do a ton of exporting it can add up.

Posted on 2021-04-19 19:45:50
Jason Johnson

Man, I just got my first Intel system with an iGPU (always had HEDT) and was curious if I could use QuickSync and my 3090 FE at the same time for decoding and encoding and which one would be suited best for what...I remember reading from your Rocket Lake vs Zen 3 Premiere article you mentioned you could use them both. One for decode and one for encoding...And I really wanted more details..and Bam...here it is. Super rare to get your specific questions answered indirectly on the internet.

Thanks, love you guys.

Posted on 2021-04-20 04:29:06
Jason Tyler

So when you have both Intel (Quicksync) and Nvidia enabled, how does Premiere decide what GPU does what?

Posted on 2021-05-08 00:11:22

If both QS and the GPU could be used, I believe it defaults to using the GPU. You can manually set in the preferences which to use for decoding, however. You can actually get a bit of a performance bump when exporting H.264/5 media to H.264/5 if you have the decoding set to Quick Sync, and use the GPU for the encoding portion.

Posted on 2021-05-08 01:29:38
Jason Tyler

Awesome, this is the exact information I've been looking for, thanks Matt!

Posted on 2021-05-08 06:12:52

I've recently bought two new laptops to try for editing, an intel based MSI laptop with a 2070 super and an AMD based ASUS G15 with a 3070.

Even though the AMD wins all the benchmarks buy a margin, has higher FPS when gaming, faster ram, faster drive, Premiere Pro still feels slightly more sloppy when using it to edit, especially when there's transparency over a hard to read codec like DJI.

I want to keep the AMD based system as it's the better laptop, but I'm starting to think I should keep the Intel. I can only assume this is the quick sync advantage, as the laptop seems to use both the iGpu and 2070 for various tasks when editing.

Posted on 2021-05-10 02:24:42
Tomasz Dermin

Hello , how about QuickSync 9th generation ? Same as 10th ?

Posted on 2021-05-23 19:34:49
Joshua Hnosko

So it looks like Premiere Pro still doesn't support the Canon R5's 10 bit 4:2:2 HEVC :(

Posted on 2021-06-07 23:31:55

Unfortunately not. 4:2:2 HEVC in generally is tough because the only hardware that has decoding support is Quick Sync on the Intel 11th Gen processors. Hopefully future GPUs will add support for 4:2:2, but for now you would need to be locked into an 11th Gen CPU and use software like DaVinci Resolve that has decoding support (https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Still better than 4:2:2 H.264 which has zero hardware support and likely won't get any in the future since it seems like Intel/NVIDIA/AMD are planning for the future with HEVC rather than H.264.

Posted on 2021-06-08 00:22:02
Rich Allen

For laptops, would an Intel Laptop with 11980HK do better than an AMD 5900HX, both with the same GPU?

Posted on 2021-06-12 01:04:06