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What H.264 and H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in DaVinci Resolve Studio?

Written on November 24, 2021 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

The Studio version of DaVinci Resolve has long been able to utilize hardware decoding of H.264 and H.256 (HEVC) media to greatly improve performance, but unfortunately, not all types of H.264 and H.265 media are supported. 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 will be able to utilize hardware decoding.

We were unable to find complete documentation on which H.264/5 variants have hardware decoding support in DaVinci Resolve Studio, 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.

If you are looking for similar information for Premiere Pro, check out our What H.264/H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in Premiere Pro? article.

Hardware Decoding Support in DaVinci Resolve Studio

H.264 AMD
Radeon 5000
AMD
Radeon 6000
NVIDIA
GTX 1000
NVIDIA
RTX 2000
NVIDIA
RTX 3000
NVIDIA
RTX 4000
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
12th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
13th 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
AMD
Radeon 6000
NVIDIA
GTX 1000
NVIDIA
RTX 2000
NVIDIA
RTX 3000
NVIDIA
RTX 4000
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
12th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
13th 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 "Transcode.bat" to generate the various flavors of H.264 and H.265
  3. Launch DaVinci Resolve and create a temporary new project
  4. Ensure hardware decoding is enabled in the preferences through "DaVinci Resolve->Preferences->Decode Options". If you change this setting, be sure to restart DaVinci Resolve
  5. Import the test clips into DaVinci Resolve
  6. Open Task Manager by right-clicking on the Windows task bar and selecting "Task Manager"
  7. Expand Task Manager by clicking "More Details", then switch to the "Performance Tab"
  8. Open a clip on the "Media" Tab for preview and hit play. You will want to have looping enabled as the clips are relatively short
  9. Check Task Manager to see if the GPU/Quick Sync is being used for decoding. Note that AMD GPUs do not report this data directly, so you have to infer whether it is being used based on the CPU load

  • Hardware Decoding option in DaVinci Resolve Studio
  • Screenshot showing Task Manager GPU Video Decoding Usage

Update Log

9/22/2022
Added NVIDIA RTX 40 series. NVIDIA has confirmed that the NVDEC is the same 5th generation found on the RTX 30 series.

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Tags: hardware decoding, GPU decoding, Quick Sync, DaVinci Resolve
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