1) My final target is a specific i7 Sandy Bridge processor, i7-3612QE, running 64-bit Win 7 SP1. I have read that this cpu has specific instructions to help accelerate video processing. Does the -hw switch try to use these instructions, or is it using something else, like the graphics card (that I don't have, given that I'm sending the result out WiFi)?
2) For the time being, I'm developing on the desktop rather than the embedded i7 Sandy Bridge. Computer / Properties tells me I'm on an i7-2600 (3.40 GHz) running 64-bit Win 7 SP1. So, same OS but different processor. Does THIS cpu have the the accleration as well, and will the -hw switch cause it to be used?
3) If I develop (including debug and test) on my i7-2600 desktop and then install that on the i7-3612QE, will I be using the same DLL and have similar runtime configuration needs?
4) When I look for[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Intel\\MediaSDK\\Dispatch\\hw64-s1-1] the tree stops at[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SOFTWARE\\Intel\\MediaSDK]. There is no "Dispatch" node, and the only thing inside the MediaSDK node is (Default) and a 3.5.811.41085 folder, that in turn contain only (Default), APIVersion, and InstallDir.
Hardware acceleration support is provided on supported Intel platforms as part of the graphics driver software on the client/target machine, and is only available if the system is using the Intel graphics. While CPUs may have 'specific instructions', the graphics accelerator has Intel QuickSync Video dedicated to specific tasks, and this is made available when Intel Media SDK, graphics drivers and hardware are all available. (The HW library is part of the graphics driver).
Please note that some versions of graphics drivers for the same hardware is available form Microsoft that does not include the Media SDK HW support, so please make sure you are using a graphics driver from Intel (available at download.intel.com or from your platform provider).
Your target platform i7-3612QE (IvyBridge) includes "Intel HD Graphics 4000 Processor Graphics" and your development sytem i7-2600 (SandyBridge)includes "Intel HD Graphics 3000 Processor Graphics". In both cases the HW support would come from the graphics drivers software currently installed on the system. While there may be some minor differences in the hardware, the features your using at the Media SDK API level would look the same, allowing you to complete feature development on one system and then see better performance when installed on the target system.
Your registry values indicate that the graphics drivers that supports Media SDK is not installed. This can also the "mediasdk_sys_analyzer" tool available in the Media SDK /tools folder to see what APIs are currently available on a platform.
FYI, I see your IvyBridge and SandyBridge parentheticals. Somewhere in my surveys I identified an embedded target platform that was definitely SandyBridge, even though the numbers I gave you appear to have been IvyBridge. This tells me I may be missing some info from my records. I'll clear that up and thanks for subtly pointing that out.
I'll go try installing the correct drivers, at least on the target (and on the desktop only after backup).
And your analyzer tool recommendation sounds very useful.