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Windows Subsystem for Linux has got hardware acceleration for video

Microsoft today announced that WSL now supports hardware video encoding and decoding. The implementation makes it possible to use hardware processing, encoding and decoding of video in any application that supports VAAPI. The above is supported for AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA graphics cards.

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Popular apps that support VAAPI are FFmpeg and GStreamer. With video hardware acceleration, the apps will not overload the CPU and delegate encoding and decoding operations to the GPU. This increases performance, reduces power consumption and noise from PC. Finally, more CPU resources will be available to WSL and regular Windows apps, increasing overall performance. Also, resolution of the video in WSL gets higher thanks to the new feature.

Video Acceleration In Wsl
Gstreamer in WSL performing GPU accelerated alpha blend composition and rendering into an X11 window

GPU video processing in a WSL-enabled Linux environment is provided through the D3D12 backend and VAAPI frontend in the Mesa package, interacting with the D3D12 API using the DxCore library. It allows the apps to get the same level of access to the GPU as native Windows applications.

Microsoft has mentioned the requirements to get everything works. You need a distro like Ubuntu 22.04.1 LTS with systemd enabled, and WSL 1.1 and newer.

The following hardware is supported.

VendorSupported platformsMinimum video driver version
AMDRadeon RX 5000 series or greater

Ryzen 4000 series or greater

Adrenalin 23.3.1

ETA March 2023

Intel11th Gen Intel® Core™ processor family (Codename Tiger Lake, Rocket Lake)

12th Gen Intel® Core™ processor family (Codename Alder Lake)

13th Gen Intel® Core™ processor family (Codename Raptor Lake)

Intel® Iris® Xe Dedicated Graphics family (Codename DG1)

Intel® Arc® Graphics family (Codename Alchemist)

31.0.101.4032
NVIDIAGeForce GTX 10 Series and newer

GeForce RTX 20 Series and newer

Quadro RTX

NVIDIA RTX

526.47

You will find more details and instructions in the official announcement linked here.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

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