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WSL gets video hardware acceleration on Windows 11

The Windows Subsystem for Linux now can transfer operations from the CPU to the GPU to improve video and system performance on Windows 11.

  • Windows Subsystem for Linux now provides acceleration for video.
  • The feature allows to offload operations from the CPU to GPU.
  • You will need Unbuntu 22.4.1 LTS and specific graphics cards to use the feature.

The Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) receives support for video hardware acceleration. According to Microsoft, the new technology allows the encoding and decoding of videos on Linux applications that support the Video Acceleration API (VAAPI).

The new video capabilities are available for graphics cards from Nvidia, AMD, and Intel and on applications such as GStreamer and FFmpeg.

The hardware acceleration feature allows the system to transfer the encoding and decoding tasks to the graphics card instead of using the main processor. As a result of this implementation, the Windows Subsystem for Linux will reduce energy usage and improve performance when performing tasks that require video acceleration while freeing up processor resources for other applications on Windows 11.

The company also explains that this new feature is an expansion of the work that the development team added back in 2020 with support for DXCore and D3D12 by adding a D2D12 backend to Mesa 3D, which allows 3D and compute workloads to be offloaded to the graphics card.

If your workload will benefit from video acceleration support, Microsoft notes that you will need to use the Unbuntu 22.4.1 LTS or newer and the Windows Subsystem for Linux version 1.1 or newer.

On Nvidia graphics, you can use the GeForce GTX 10 Series, RTX 20 Series, Quatro RTX, or Nvidia RTX or newer hardware.

On AMD, the video hardware acceleration is supported on Radeon RX 5000 Series or 4000 Series.

Finally, on Intel, the feature is available for Intel 11th, 12th, and 13th Gen processors as well as for  Intel Iris Xe discrete cards and Intel Arc Graphics series of GPUs.