Notes on H.265 Hardware Encoding

I’m starting to run low on disk space on , with Time Machine and VM snapshots taking up almost half of it. So I decided to do some cleanups, and after moving some non-critical stuff to my (which I use as offline storage) I started looking at my video folder.

As it turns out, I have a fair chunk of old movie rips with H.264 encoding and 5.1 DTS audio. Those audio tracks slim down nicely into E-AC3 224KHz with minimal CPU encoding and video pass-through, but I decided to break out on both and my and check out the status quo of H.265 hardware encoding.

Some highly unscientific testing ensued, which involved setting up inside a Fedora LXC container that I use for ML tinkering, which has NVIDIA hardware access.

  • Inside that, I used the GNOME UI and set the encoding to H.265 NVENC
  • On the M2 Pro, I used the H.265 VideoToolbox encoder.

The first fun thing is that both transcoded 720p and 1080p over the network at rates that exceeded 200fps. The Mac even reached 300fps in sections, although to be fair I didn’t keep the Fedora session open all the time and just let it do its thing, and the difference in encoding speed might well be due to network throughput (although all machines are on gigabit Ethernet).

I didn’t have the time or patience to do some systematic benchmarking, but on either hardware this is a massive improvement over the time I last ripped a few DVDs, and drove me to poke at every original movie file I had and transcode it into sub-10GB files, complete with 5.1 audio and more than decent enough playback quality–which took only a fraction of an afternoon.

Tackling 4K content is something I didn’t really try (mostly because I had already ripped those in H.265, and I don’t own that many Blu-Rays), but running 4K iPhone footage through either NVENC or VideoToolbox without any quality tuning (and from the NAS, over gigabit Ethernet) clocked in at 70-90 fps transcoding, which is pretty good.

The second fun thing, though, is that the M2 Pro never warmed up significantly, throttled or went past 20W, whereas on borg the RTX3060 GPU alone reported 45W while transcoding (and the i7 CPU adds at least 65W on top of that).

So all in all, this was a pretty neat experiment, and I don’t think I’ll be bothered with using NVENC that much unless I buy another TV series on disc (which is what I wrote this container to handle).

This was the fun part, but in between this and other cleanups I am well on my way to get almost a full terabyte of storage back, which is a good enough outcome–although I will be budgeting for some capacity upgrades in a year or so, once 16TB drives are at a saner price point.

Excessive, Again

For my birthday this year, I got three things: A corneal abrasion (definitely not fun), a new iPhone, and a new Watch. I’m going to spare you the details on the first (which is nearly healed) and focus on the other two since they’ve been quite significant upgrades, but all of them were… excessive in one way or another.


Light and Dark

Traipsing about Lisbon, again

On The Brink of Hype

I caught a pretty nasty flu this week, which meant a round of feverish cough-ridden, snot-dribbling nights followed by drowsy mornings nursing a splitting headache, with occasional glimpses of clear sinuses mid-afternoon before it all began anew, like a tape loop of a bad rhythm section.


My Video Conferencing Setup

Over the past four years I have been progressively upgrading my video conferencing setup, and I now believe it to be finally stable enough to write a short set of notes on what has been working well for me for the past two years or so.


Eight Years at Microsoft

As of today, I’ve been at Microsoft for , which is a sizable chunk of time. But unlike , I am much less guardedly optimistic.


The Radxa Zero

After a summer spent pursuing minimalist computing, I got a few questions about and a bunch of suggestions as to what else I could use instead of a Zero 2W.


Notes on macOS Sonoma

Unlike , I upgraded to Sonoma’s “point zero” release–and did that because it felt like a Snow Leopard-style clean-up release rather than a bunch of ground-breaking (and app-breaking) “improvements”. And so far, nothing (unforeseen) is broken, which actually kind of sums it up nicely.


Notes for September 2023

This is sort of a catch-up, since although I have decided to I am still writing them, and there are a few things worth… well, noting.


TIL - Filing Mail in Sonoma with Keyboard Shortcuts 

Here I was pining over of my favorite plugin (MsgFiler) after having upgraded to Sonoma when I come across this blog post on their site that points out that you can actually do a similar (but far less polished thing) by invoking the Help menu with Command-Shift-/ and typing the target folder name.

It’s pretty snappy since it’s baked in to the OS, but since I have multiple activity name/2023 folders (over 20 years of them) it’s not as slick as MsgFiler to do partial matches or typeahead find (plus it causes the application menu to bounce around all over the place).

But it works, and that’s what matters.

A Distraction-Free, Minimalist Writing Device

Coming back from Summer break, I started musing about what I could do regarding preserving some of the ascetic minimalism I applied to my computing activities during that season, since I found it quite enjoyable to use .


Some Thoughts on iOS/iPadOS 17 and WatchOS 10

By now most people have read MacStories’ extensive review, so here are a few things that have come to mind over the past few days running the new releases on my devices (most of which are at the very bottom of the supported hardware range).


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