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

Written on November 24, 2021 by Matt Bach
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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.

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

Hardware Decoding Support in Adobe Premiere Pro

H.264 AMD
Radeon 5000
AMD
Radeon 6000
NVIDIA
GTX 1000
NVIDIA
RTX 2000
NVIDIA
RTX 3000
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
12th 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
Intel Quick Sync
10th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
11th Gen
Intel Quick Sync
12th 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
*MXF-wrapped H.264/HEVC currently does not have hardware decoding support in Premiere Pro

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.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, hardware decoding, GPU decoding, Quick Sync
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