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x264 benchmark installation guide for ReactOS

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System prerequisites

Other than most alternative operating systems, ReactOS plays a special role, because it is not a Unix-style OS. It actually tries to model the Windows NT5 kernel and the corresponding Win32 APIs, making partial use of Wine. Optimally, you can just install and run regular Windows programs on ReactOS without any modifications. So it is a Windows compatible open source operating system.

However, not all that glitters is gold, ReactOS has a ton of bugs that can trigger bluescreens. At the moment of writing, there is only one version known to run the x264 benchmark without severe system crashes, and that is v0.4-SVN r57481, so you should download and use this version:

To ensure the proper operation, you need to pay attention to a few settings you need to configure during installation. Make sure you choose the following:

Since we do not need to compile any source code ourselves like we would have to on Linux/Unix/BeOS, we can just use the regular Windows version of the benchmark and the input video file of course. Download mirrors for both are available at the bottom of the x264 benchmark results list. Additionally you will need a free packer like 7zip to be able to unpack the benchmark tools. From now on we shall assume that you have unpacked/put all the necessary files in C:\x264benchmark\:

Now there is just one small bug we need to fix. On ReactOS, the time measurement system used by the benchmark will not work correctly, which results in completely bogus runtime measurements, which are then written to the file RESULTS.txt. To correct that, we need to edit the file launchbenchmark.bat, e.g. with the text editor notepad.exe, and look for the following line in that file:

.\timethis.exe .\encode.bat | .\grep.exe "Elapsed Time" >.\RESULTS.txt

Please replace that with:

.\timethis.exe .\encode.bat

After that's done, we can run the benchmark, if every file is in place in the folder I was talking about previously:

Now you won't get the result from the file RESULTS.txt as usual, but you need to read it directly from the terminal window. Please ignore the "Elapsed" part though, as that part of the result will be entirely wrong. Instead, look at the "TimeThis : Start Time" and "TimeThis : End Time" values that are output near the end of the benchmark. You need to compute the difference between the two manually. The "Approximate" timestamps can be ignored entirely. Doing it like that we will lose the millisecond accuracy we usually get from the result, so the measurements precision on ReactOS is limited to seconds. When reporting the result, just report the milliseconds as "000", or leave them out completely.

Additionally, please note that at the moment ReactOS does not feature a working multiprocessor kernel, so you'll settle with just one processor(-core/-thread). That means that you'll always have to report CPUs/cores/threads as "1/1/1" for ReactOS at the moment.

When running the test on ReactOS, it will look like this (click to enlarge):

ReactOS screenshot

Depending on the machine you're running this on this may take several hours, maybe even days, weeks or in extreme cases months. If you have any problems with this guide, or if you have questions about the x264 benchmark on ReactOS, please don't hesitate to ask in the [corresponding forum thread]! It's in german, but you can just ask in english, and you will get a reply, at least by me. ;)

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