Intel NUC 13 Pro running Ubuntu 23.10 Desktop

Intel NUC 13 Pro Mini PC Running Linux: Configuring Ubuntu 23.10


The NUC 13 Pro’s i7-1360P processor is a very powerful processor. While it offers flawless playback for many videos, software decoding has limits even for the 13th gen processor. For example, it needs to use hardware acceleration to decode very high resolution video files (such as 4K and 8k videos).

On Ubuntu 23.10 the intel-media-va-driver package is already installed. That’s a much better choice than Manjaro (a different distro) makes which installs the old xf86-video-intel driver by default.

However, with the limited testing time available since the launch of Ubuntu 23.10, I haven’t been able to coax hardware acceleration for AV1 encoded videos with the intel-media-va-driver package. Instead, I needed to install its proprietary counterpart. The command below installs the proprietary driver and automatically uninstalls the existing driver.

$ sudo apt install intel-media-va-driver-non-free

With the non-free driver, hardware acceleration works flawlessly. This means the NUC’s hardware resources (GPU) are used when playing videos.

What’s a good way to tell if hardware acceleration is working? First let’s install a couple of packages, intel-gpu-tools and vainfo. In Ubuntu, they can be installed with the command:

$ sudo apt install intel-gpu-tools vainfo

When I captured the output of intel_gpu_top below, I was playing a video using mpv with the non-free driver. The video has dimensions 7680 x 4320 encoded at 60 frames per second using the AV1 video codec. The playback is silky smooth using the NUC’s hardware acceleration. This is courtesy that processing is performed by the Video engine i.e. the NUC’s Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 (and not the i7-1360P CPU).

Hardware acceleration playing videos

Let’s take a brief inspection of vainfo with both drivers.

Supported profile and entrypoints for intel-media-va-driver

The vainfo command shows that the open source driver does support hardware decoding of videos using the AV1 codec. So it’s not clear why the open source driver isn’t using hardware acceleration for the AV1 videos I tried.

Have you got this driver working with hardware acceleration for AV1 videos?
Please leave a feedback on thisx


Supported profile and entrypoints for intel-media-va-driver-non-free

The proprietary driver offers wider support but doesn’t shed any light on the problem with the open source version.


As I mentioned earlier, GNOME 45 is meant to offer more efficient video playback. It’s Videos app played videos encoded with H.264 with hardware acceleration, but this wasn’t the case with AV1’s videos. That’s something else that needs further investigation.

Next page: Page 5 – Steam and Heroic Games Launcher

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – System Update and Firmware
Page 2 – Installing Software
Page 3 – Ubuntu Desktop with GNOME 45
Page 4 – Graphics
Page 5 – Steam and Heroic Games Launcher
Page 6 – Flatpak
Page 7 – Swap File and Summary

Complete list of articles in this series:

Intel NUC 13 Pro Mini PC
Part 1Introduction to the series with interrogation of system
Part 2Benchmarking the Mini PC
Part 3Installing Ubuntu 23.10 Desktop
Part 4Configuring Ubuntu 23.10 Desktop
Part 5Power Consumption
Part 6P-Cores and E-Cores
Part 7Gaming
Part 8Installing and Configuring Manjaro
Part 9BIOS options
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