While adapting the H264 standard encoder x264 for RISC-V, we've identified several operations that are challenging to implement efficiently with existing RVV instructions. In some cases, implementations require too many instructions, potentially impacting encoder performance.

We're proposing new instructions for video encoding and decoding to boost RISC-V's performance in this domain. Our current focus on encoding for limited format standards may introduce some bias, so we're gathering instruction requirements here.

If you have new relevant needs, please share them. We may not have found the best RVV implementations, so if you have better solutions, we're open to discussion.

This is an open collaboration. All ideas and contributions are valuable as we work together to enhance RISC-V's video codec capabilities.

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Vector transpose instructions


In x264, matrix transpose instructions are primarily used in two aspects: one is to achieve matrix transposition, and the other is to achieve permutation between vectors. Both uses are quite frequent.

In scenarios within x264 where matrix transposition is required, each row of the matrix is individually placed into a register. After the transposition operation, each row of the transposed matrix is placed into a separate register. The matrix transposition discussed in this wiki is carried out in this context.

Implementation in other ISAs

In other ISAs, matrix transposition is usually implemented in two ways. Below, we will introduce these methods using aarch64 and loongarch as examples. The implementation in x86 is similar to loongarch, while the implementation in ARM is similar to aarch64.


In aarch64, there are trn1 and trn2 instructions. By combining one trn1 and one trn2, multiple 2x2 matrix transpositions can be completed between two vector registers. Larger matrix transpositions can be achieved by repeatedly calling 2x2 matrix transpositions of different scales. The aarch64's transpose macro implementation in x264 is as follows:

.macro transpose t1, t2, s1, s2
    trn1        \t1,  \s1,  \s2
    trn2        \t2,  \s1,  \s2

.macro transpose4x4.h v0, v1, v2, v3, t0, t1, t2, t3
    transpose   \t0\().2s,  \t2\().2s,  \v0\().2s,  \v2\().2s
    transpose   \t1\().2s,  \t3\().2s,  \v1\().2s,  \v3\().2s
    transpose   \v0\().4h,  \v1\().4h,  \t0\().4h,  \t1\().4h
    transpose   \v2\().4h,  \v3\().4h,  \t2\().4h,  \t3\().4h

.macro transpose4x8.h v0, v1, v2, v3, t0, t1, t2, t3
    transpose   \t0\().4s,  \t2\().4s,  \v0\().4s,  \v2\().4s
    transpose   \t1\().4s,  \t3\().4s,  \v1\().4s,  \v3\().4s
    transpose   \v0\().8h,  \v1\().8h,  \t0\().8h,  \t1\().8h
    transpose   \v2\().8h,  \v3\().8h,  \t2\().8h,  \t3\().8h

.macro transpose8x8.h r0, r1, r2, r3, r4, r5, r6, r7, r8, r9
    trn1        \r8\().8h,  \r0\().8h,  \r1\().8h
    trn2        \r9\().8h,  \r0\().8h,  \r1\().8h
    trn1        \r1\().8h,  \r2\().8h,  \r3\().8h
    trn2        \r3\().8h,  \r2\().8h,  \r3\().8h
    trn1        \r0\().8h,  \r4\().8h,  \r5\().8h
    trn2        \r5\().8h,  \r4\().8h,  \r5\().8h
    trn1        \r2\().8h,  \r6\().8h,  \r7\().8h
    trn2        \r7\().8h,  \r6\().8h,  \r7\().8h

    trn1        \r4\().4s,  \r0\().4s,  \r2\().4s
    trn2        \r2\().4s,  \r0\().4s,  \r2\().4s
    trn1        \r6\().4s,  \r5\().4s,  \r7\().4s
    trn2        \r7\().4s,  \r5\().4s,  \r7\().4s
    trn1        \r5\().4s,  \r9\().4s,  \r3\().4s
    trn2        \r9\().4s,  \r9\().4s,  \r3\().4s
    trn1        \r3\().4s,  \r8\().4s,  \r1\().4s
    trn2        \r8\().4s,  \r8\().4s,  \r1\().4s

    trn1        \r0\().2d,  \r3\().2d,  \r4\().2d
    trn2        \r4\().2d,  \r3\().2d,  \r4\().2d

    trn1        \r1\().2d,  \r5\().2d,  \r6\().2d
    trn2        \r5\().2d,  \r5\().2d,  \r6\().2d

    trn2        \r6\().2d,  \r8\().2d,  \r2\().2d
    trn1        \r2\().2d,  \r8\().2d,  \r2\().2d

    trn1        \r3\().2d,  \r9\().2d,  \r7\().2d
    trn2        \r7\().2d,  \r9\().2d,  \r7\().2d

Here, transpose4x4.h and transpose4x8.h achieve fast transpositions of 4x4 and 4x8 (2x4x4) matrices by repeatedly calling the transpose macro.


In loongarch, matrix transposition is implemented using the Interleave method.

  • vilvl (Vector Interleave Low)
  • vilvh (Vector Interleave High)

The Loongarch's 4x4 transpose macro implementation in x264 is as follows:

 * Description : Transpose 4x4 block with word elements in vectors
 * Arguments   : Inputs  - in0, in1, in2, in3
 *               Outputs - out0, out1, out2, out3
 * Details     :
 * Example     :
 *               1, 2, 3, 4            1, 5, 9,13
 *               5, 6, 7, 8    to      2, 6,10,14
 *               9,10,11,12  =====>    3, 7,11,15
 *              13,14,15,16            4, 8,12,16
.macro LSX_TRANSPOSE4x4_W in0, in1, in2, in3, out0, out1, out2, out3, \
                          tmp0, tmp1

    vilvl.w    \tmp0,   \in1,    \in0
    vilvh.w    \out1,   \in1,    \in0
    vilvl.w    \tmp1,   \in3,    \in2
    vilvh.w    \out3,   \in3,    \in2

    vilvl.d    \out0,   \tmp1,   \tmp0
    vilvl.d    \out2,   \out3,   \out1
    vilvh.d    \out3,   \out3,   \out1
    vilvh.d    \out1,   \tmp1,   \tmp0

By performing multiple interleaved instrutions, matrix transposition can be achieved. Here is the value change of each register during the process of 4x4 matrix transposition using the Interleave method:

# input
in0: [a0 a1 a2 a3]
in1: [b0 b1 b2 b3]
in2: [c0 c1 c2 c3]
in3: [d0 d1 d2 d3] 

    vilvl.w    \tmp0,   \in1,    \in0
// tmp0: [a0 b0 a1 b1]
    vilvh.w    \out1,   \in1,    \in0
// out1: [a2 b2 a3 b3]
    vilvl.w    \tmp1,   \in3,    \in2
// tmp1: [c0 d0 c1 d1]
    vilvh.w    \out3,   \in3,    \in2
// out3: [c2 d2 c3 d3]
    vilvl.d    \out0,   \tmp1,   \tmp0
// out0: [a0 b0 c0 d0]
    vilvl.d    \out2,   \out3,   \out1
// out2: [a2 b2 c2 d2]
    vilvh.d    \out3,   \out3,   \out1
// out3: [a3 b3 c3 d3]
    vilvh.d    \out1,   \tmp1,   \tmp0
// out1: [a1 b1 c1 d1]

# output
out0: [a0 b0 c0 d0]
out1: [a1 b1 c1 d1]
out2: [a2 b2 c2 d2]
out3: [a3 b3 c3 d3]

These two instructions in LoongArch are essentially the same as zip1 and zip2 in AArch64. Similarly, the punpckl / h instructions in x86 exhibit the same behavior. In x264, x86 also uses punpckl / h for matrix transposition.

Implementation in RISCV64

Using RISC-V RVV, we have discovered two methods to perform matrix transposition(thanks camel-cdr for the assistance provided):

  • Using segmented load or store
  • Using vrgather
  • Using vnsrl

Here, we use the example of transposing a 4x8 (2x4x4) matrix (transposing the left 4x4 and the right 4x4 separately) to illustrate these two methods.

Segmented load or store

In this way, we can use the `vssseg4e16.v` instruction to store each row of the original matrix into memory by columns, and then read them back by rows. Since we are transposing a 4x8 matrix, we also need to use `vslide` to combine the contents of the two registers together.

// Using extra loads and stores, and use vslide to combine them
.macro TRANSPOSE4x8_16 buf, bstride, v0, v1, v2, v3, t0, t1, t2, t3
    vssseg4e16.v \v0, (\buf), \bstride
    vsetivli zero, 4, e16, mf2, ta, ma
    vle16.v \v0, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \v1, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \v2, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \v3, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \t0, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \t1, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \t2, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vle16.v \t3, (\buf)
    add \buf, \buf, \bstride
    vsetivli zero, 2, e64, m1, tu, ma
    vslideup.vi \v0, \t0, 1
    vslideup.vi \v1, \t1, 1
    vslideup.vi \v2, \t2, 1
    vslideup.vi \v3, \t3, 1

// under VLEN=128
function transpose4x8_16_one
    vsetivli zero, 8, e16, m1, ta, ma
    mv          t0, a0
    vl4re16.v   v0, (a0)
    li          t1, 8
    TRANSPOSE4x8_16 t0, t1, v0, v1, v2, v3, v8, v9, v10, v11
    vs4r.v   v0, (a0)

The drawback of this method is that we need to access memory, which certainly does not have the upper limit of pure register operations. Additionally, we always need to have a buffer space, and sometimes we need to protect its contents from being corrupted (as in dav1d, which would require more instructions).


`vrgather` can reorganize the elements in a register group based on an index. There are two ways to create the index: one is to create it manually, and the other is to read it from memory.

For creating index by hand, the idea is to set the index for gathering vector N to (i&3)*vl+(i&~3u)+N, where i is the element index obtained by vid.v.

// Using vrgather with index created by hand
.macro TRANSPOSE4x8_16_vrgather v0, v1, v2, v3, t0, t1, t2, t3, t4, t5, t6, t7, s0
    vsetivli    zero, 8, e16, m1, ta, ma
    vid.v       \t0
    li          \s0, 8
    vand.vi     \t1, \t0, 3
    vmul.vx     \t1, \t1, \s0
    vand.vi     \t0, \t0, -4

    vadd.vv     \t4, \t1, \t0
    vadd.vi     \t5, \t4, 1
    vadd.vi     \t6, \t4, 2
    vadd.vi     \t7, \t4, 3
    li          \s0, 32
    vsetvli    zero, \s0, e16, m4, ta, ma
    vrgatherei16.vv \t0, \v0, \t4
    vmv.v.v     \v0, \t0

// under VLEN=128
function transpose4x8_16_two
    vl4re16.v   v0, (a0)
    TRANSPOSE4x8_16_vrgather v0, v1, v2, v3, v8, v9, v10, v11, v12, v13, v14, v15, t0
    vs4r.v   v0, (a0)

Alternatively, we can read the index from memory.

const   scan4x8_frame, align=8
    .half   0, 8, 16, 24, 4, 12, 20, 28
    .half   1, 9, 17, 25, 5, 13, 21, 29
    .half   2, 10, 18, 26, 6, 14, 22, 30
    .half   3, 11, 19, 27, 7, 15, 23, 31

// under VLEN=128
function transpose4x8_16_three
    vl4re16.v   v0, (a0) 
    movrel      t0, scan4x8_frame
    vl4re16.v   v4, (t0)

    li          t1, 32
    vsetvli 	zero, t1, e16, m4, ta, ma
    vrgatherei16.vv v8, v0, v4

    vs4r.v      v8, (a0)

Based on our current results, `vrgather` is much slower than segmented load/store (vsseg: 0.277785 seconds, vrgather.vv: 1.545038 seconds). However, we believe that segmented load/store has significant potential for improvement, as it is not a pure in-register operation.

Another issue is that in the hot functions of x264, specifically the SATD series of functions, the AArch64 implementation extensively uses `trn1` and `trn2` operations. These operations can simplify calculations and improve SIMD performance. However, currently performing such operations in RVV is quite expensive.

// Each vtrn macro simulate two instructions in aarch64: trn1 and trn2

.macro vtrn_8h d0, d1, s0, s1, t0, t1, t3
    vsetivli        zero, 4, e32, m1, ta, ma
    vsll.vi         \t3, \s0, 16
    vsrl.vi         \t1, \s1, 16
    vsrl.vi         \t0, \s0, 16
    vsll.vi         \d0, \s1, 16
    vsll.vi         \d1, \t1, 16
    vsrl.vi         \t3, \t3, 16
    vsetivli        zero, 8, e16, m1, ta, ma
    vor.vv          \d0, \d0, \t3
    vor.vv          \d1, \d1, \t0

.macro vtrn_4s d0, d1, s0, s1, t0, t1, t3
    vsetivli        zero, 2, e64, m1, ta, ma
    li              t5, 32
    vsll.vx         \t3, \s0, t5
    vsrl.vx         \t1, \s1, t5
    vsrl.vx         \t0, \s0, t5
    vsll.vx         \d0, \s1, t5
    vsll.vx         \d1, \t1, t5
    vsrl.vx         \t3, \t3, t5
    vsetivli        zero, 4, e32, m1, ta, ma
    vor.vv          \d0, \d0, \t3
    vor.vv          \d1, \d1, \t0

This is also one of the main reasons why we want to add instructions similar to `trn1` and `trn2` in RVV.


Olaf pointed out a new method to achieve matrix transposition, using the vnsrl instruction in RVV along with vslide instructions to achieve the effect of zip1 and zip2 in AArch64. Olaf provided detailed information for this method, and we are very grateful for his work. Below is an approach that works with VLEN=128:

# VLEN=128 transpose one 4x4 matrix of 16-bit elements stored in 4 vreg:
#   a b c d          a e i m
#   e f g h  -----\  b f j n
#   i j k l  -----/  c g k o
#   m n o p          d h l p
## setup code:
# li t1, 32

vsetvli t0, x0, e32, m1, ta, ma
vslideup.vi v0, v1, 2
vslideup.vi v2, v3, 2
vmv1r.v v1, v2

# v0: a b c d e f g h
# v1: i j k l m n o p

vnsrl.wi v4, v0, 0
vnsrl.wx v6, v0, t1

# v4: a b e f i j m n
# v6: c d g h k l o p

vsetvli t0, x0, e16, mf2, ta, ma
vnsrl.wi v0, v4, 0
vnsrl.wi v1, v4, 16
vnsrl.wi v2, v6, 0
vnsrl.wi v3, v6, 16

# v0: a e i m
# v1: b f j n
# v2: c g k o
# v3: d h l p

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