Google Develops Video-Transcoding Chip For YouTube To Improve Computing Efficiency

Tajammul Pangarkar
Tajammul Pangarkar

Updated · May 4, 2021

SHARE: is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Advertiser Disclosure

At Scoop, we strive to bring you the most accurate and up-to-date information by utilizing a variety of resources, including paid and free sources, primary research, and phone interviews. Our data is available to the public free of charge, and we encourage you to use it to inform your personal or business decisions. If you choose to republish our data on your own website, we simply ask that you provide a proper citation or link back to the respective page on Scoop. We appreciate your support and look forward to continuing to provide valuable insights for our audience.

Popular video-sharing platform YouTube wants to make processing videos on its website much more efficient. The company has developed a custom chip for video transcoding. The chip is called Argos. YouTube is a Google subsidiary. The search engine giant bought the platform in 2006. Argos will make processing videos easy and deliver good results. The Argos chip will improve in computing efficiency. The new chip for video-transcoding is a part of efforts in doubling down in custom compute. It will bring up to 20-33x improvement than the previous optimized system. The system used software on conventional servers. Google had earlier roped in a former Intel top executive to head server chip design.

Google has experience in developing a similar chip in the past. The video coding unit package is a full-length PCI-E card. It simply looks like a graphics card. A board comprises two chips. The chips are buried under a cooled aluminum heat sink. There is an 8-pin power connector. The connector will ensure a power supply to PCI-E. According to Google, each encoder core in real-time will encode 2160p. This will make videos look sharper as there will be less compression. Google said that the cards are designed specifically to slot into the warehouse-scale computing system. YouTube’s each compute cluster will have a section of VCU machines. The machines will be loaded with new cards.

Notably, videos are compressed before being sent to users. This is done so that YouTube sends the smallest amount of data with the highest quality. This transcoding is slow and costly. Besides, the system is inefficient on existing CPUs. The new chip comes in the backdrop of growing demand for higher quality video. Google said that YouTube’s new chip project began in 2015. Meanwhile, YouTube has started offering more control to its app users over video resolution. Google has added options to allow users to prioritize higher quality. The option will change the video quality depending on the network and data connection.

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar

Tajammul Pangarkar is a CMO at Prudour Pvt Ltd. Tajammul longstanding experience in the fields of mobile technology and industry research is often reflected in his insightful body of work. His interest lies in understanding tech trends, dissecting mobile applications, and raising general awareness of technical know-how. He frequently contributes to numerous industry-specific magazines and forums. When he’s not ruminating about various happenings in the tech world, he can usually be found indulging in his next favorite interest - table tennis.