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.
To supplement our Fusion 8 benchmarks, we wanted to see how the latest version could handle such an intense workload, so we turned to the pre-configured x265 Benchmark test. 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.
While overall much slower than x264 encoding, the trend for x265 is the same. Both Fusion 7 and Fusion 8 offer virtually identical performance when it comes to video encoding, as compared to native speeds. This is encouraging news for Mac owners who need to use specialized encoding or production software that isn’t available for OS X. Other aspects of such apps may be slower while virtualized, but you’ll likely get near-native performance during encoding tasks.