Knowledge Base > F.A.Q.s > Hardware Encoding

Hardware encoders, as opposed to the included x264 software encoder, are generally recommended for best performance as they take the workload off the CPU and to a specialised component in the GPU that can perform video encoding more efficiently. Modern hardware encoders provide very good quality video with minimal performance impact.

However, earlier generation hardware encoders provide a lower-quality image. They offer minimal performance impact in exchange for a reduction in quality at the same bitrates as software encoding using the default preset of veryfast. As such, they can be a last resort if software encoding is not possible such as due to performance constraints.

Consumer-level hardware encoders are built into the following GPUs:


Compatibility Notes

NVIDIA's NVENC encoder is supported on Windows and Linux.

You will need a GeForce 600-series (Kepler) or higher. Check the list of NVIDIA GPUs with NVENC.

For best results, use a GPU with 6th generation NVENC (Turing). This includes the GTX 1650 rev 2 and higher.

Note: GTX 1650 rev 1 contains 5th generation NVENC.

⬇️ Make sure you have the latest drivers for your GPU.

AMD Advanced Media Framework (AMF)

Compatibility Notes

AMD's Advanced Media Framework encoder is supported on Windows and Linux.

Please read the AMF plugin documentation for compatible GPUs.

Read the troubleshooting guide for to resolve possible issues relating to AMF.

⬇️ Make sure you have the latest drivers.

Intel Quick Sync Video (QSV)

Compatibility Notes

Intel's Quick Sync Video encoder is supported on Windows and Linux.

You will need an Intel HD Graphics GPU on Intel Core-i-CPU 2xxx (Sandy Bridge) or newer.

Due to low quality of early iterations of QSV, Intel Core-i-CPU 4xxx (Haswell) or newer is recommended.

⚠️ Make sure to use your primary graphics adapter's hardware encoder. For example, if you have an NVIDIA or AMD GPU in your computer, you would generally use NVENC or AMF rather than QuickSync.

⬇️ Make sure you have the latest drivers. These are usually provided by your manufacturer but may also be found at the Intel Download Center.

Apple VideoToolbox (VT)

Compatibility Notes

Apple's VideoToolbox is supported on Apple Silicon and Intel Macs.

  • On Apple Silicon-based Macs:
    • Streaming is supported with H.264
    • Recording is supported to H.264, HEVC, and Apple ProRes
  • On Intel-based Macs:
    • Streaming is not supported due to lack of support for Constant Bit Rates required by most streaming services. You must use x264
    • Recording is supported to H.264 by following the instructions below

Recording on Intel Macs

  1. In OBS Settings → Output, set the Output Mode to Advanced
  2. Switch to the Recording tab
  3. Set the Encoder to Apple VT H264 Hardware Encoder
  4. Set the bit rate to match your video settings. Here are some suggested bit rates:
  • 1280x720 @ 30fps: 3000 Kb/s
  • 1280x720 @ 60fps: 6000 Kb/s
  • 1920x1080 @ 30fps: 8000 Kb/s
  • 1920x1080 @ 60fps: 16000 Kb/s