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In a move that could significantly boost video encoding capabilities, Nvidia has quietly updated the support page for its GeForce GPUs to allow for the simultaneous encoding of up to five video streams. This is a boost from the previous limit of three video streams that the NVENC encoder in GeForce GPUs could handle.

Although it is unclear exactly when Nvidia made this change, recent archival snapshots on the Internet Wayback Machine indicate that the old limit of three video streams was still in place as recently as March 18.

Therefore, users may need to install the latest Nvidia drivers to unlock this feature. Notably, video quality settings may limit the number of video streams encoded simultaneously.

GeForce GPUs from 2014 onwards

Most GeForce GPUs going back to the 2014-era Maxwell architecture now support this feature. Most users don’t necessarily need a new or powerful video card to benefit from the upgrade. However, some models, particularly those with MX-series GPUs designed for budget laptops, may still not have video encoding capabilities due to hardware limitations.

Users should consult the Nvidia support document to determine the specific video codecs, color depths, and other specifications supported by their GPU’s hardware encoder.

While many of the list’s GPUs can encode even more video streams simultaneously, Nvidia has imposed software limits on them to encourage users to purchase its more expensive workstation-grade Quadro and RTX-branded GPUs instead.

A good outcome for users

Software patches can remove these limits for GeForce GPUs, but users should exercise caution and rely only on reputable third-party sources for these patches.

It is also vital to ensure that they are regularly updated and that users are comfortable installing them on their systems.

Overall, this update has the potential to significantly boost the video encoding capabilities of Nvidia’s GeForce GPUs, making them more accessible to a broader range of users.

Also read: Nvidia’s new chips to power generative AI platform in Google Cloud