What just happened? It’s been over a month since AMD revealed its Epyc Rome server CPUs, and we’re still learning what “the world’s fastest x86 processors” are capable of. Video and image tech firm Beamr says it has achieved real-time 8K HEVC encoding—a world’s first—using a single Epyc 7742.
The Epyc 7742 is the flagship processor in AMD’s 7-nanometer Epyc Rome CPU line, which use the same Zen 2 architecture found in the Ryzen 3000 processors. With 64 cores/128 threads, it has a base frequency of 2.25 GHz, a boost of 3.40 GHz, and costs $6,950.
Not only was the chip able to encode the 8K footage in real-time at 79 frames per second, but it also did so with 10-bit color for HDR. Beamr’s encoding software takes full advantage of the Epyc 7742 by utilizing all of its 64 cores.
AMD writes that the quality level of the encoding makes it suitable for live linear broadcast-level streaming, premium VOD entertainment services such as Netflix, and cloud gaming content streaming (Google Stadia, Microsoft’s xCloud, etc.).
“For real-time live streaming services and cloud gaming platforms that require high resolution and high frame rates, this performance envelope has obvious advantages to help lower operating costs and raise margins,” writes AMD. “Shorter wall-clock times can allow more titles to be encoded in the same period of time, and up to full adaptive bitrate (ABR) ladders to be created on a single machine.”
With 4K only now becoming mainstream, we’ve still got a while before 8K starts making its way into homes. The format is progressing, though: 8K livestreaming will be part of the 2020 Olympics, more 8K TVs are going up for sale, and an industry group recently defined its specifications.