The x264 codec tested on the previous page is solid, established, and reliable. But that’s not exciting, is it? The future is all about x265, the open source version of the relatively new H.265/HEVC codec. With x265, content creators and consumers can achieve quality levels equivalent to x264, but at a fraction of the bit rate and, thereby, file size. The x265 codec and its commercial counterparts are going to be key in future online delivery of 4K video content, and encoders like Handbrake are already offering basic support. The only problem? x265 encoding and decoding is extremely CPU-intensive, and can bring even the highest-performing CPUs to their knees.
Still, we wanted to see how Parallels 11 could handle such an intense workload, so we turned to the pre-configured x265 Benchmark. Each encoding test runs five passes and, like the x264 benchmark, reports the average frames per second. You should expect the numbers to be much lower than with x264.
Sure enough, we see frame rates plummet to barely double-digits. Native Boot Camp still wins here, but both Parallels 10 and Parallels 11 offer surprisingly decent relative performance. That one- or two-frame-per-second difference will add up over time, so we don’t recommend running x265 encoding tasks in your virtual machines, but it’s good to know that both recent versions of Parallels can certainly keep up under demanding multi-threaded CPU loads.