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AirPlay Mirroring on Mac Pro GPU's

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by bedifferent, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. macrumors 603


    I understand that some systems are not supported for AirPlay based on the hardware (apparently GPU limitations, etc). However, I am very surprised that 2010 Mac Pro's with ATI Radeon 5770+ GPU's do not qualify. More over, reading further it is not CPU intensive or dependent as much as GPU. So why wouldn't changing the GPU on a Mac Pro allow for AirPlay support?
  2. macrumors 65816


    On-Chip decoding is lacking on the MP CPUs. It's not gonna happen.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Well you are missing the point, the GPU's on a mac pro are more than capable of 1080p encoding. These are desktop class GPUs. Not the puny things on pre-2011 notebooks.
  4. macrumors 603



    That's interesting as app's such as "AirParrot" demonstrate otherwise. Works perfectly on my Mac Pro 5,1 12-Core running 10.8.

    So again, why not natively? Oh, planned obsolesce perhaps?


    Exactly. Also interesting to note that native Blu-Ray support in OS X is lacking, yet now there are a plethora of Blu-Ray playing and ripping app's in OS X. Now I can watch Blu-Ray's in my LG BD in OS X with no issues.

    This is a decision in not supporting hardware in some instances in order to force people to upgrade. Very similar to why Apple has not written an EFI64 for 64-bit Mac Pro's that were sold as FULL 64-bit, but Apple simply decided on later changing that fact. Thankfully people have been able to get around Apple's "restrictions".

    After 10+ years using OS X for work, this is not the Apple I grew to know and love.
  5. macrumors 65816

    Are you kidding me? It doesnt work on a 24 core machine yet it works on a 1.6ghz 11 inch air? and an iPad!!! Come on. It's apple wanting you to upgrade your products.

    Unfortunately, apple has grown to something that we as people have been using their products for the last 15 years have come to expect. No mac pro update for 3+ years. Taking the matte screen out of their product line (30", retinaMBP) and focusing all their attention to these dam ipads and iphones. Don't get me wrong but I love my iphone and ipad. I use them a few times a day. They wouldn't be anything without the mac and the pros...
  6. macrumors 65816


    Lets face it. The air has hardware specifically built for this purpose. Your 12 core will handle airparrot fine.
  7. macrumors 603


    What is this "super secret amazing" hardware? What is the difference in coding between AirPlay and AirParrot? I'm seriously asking. We know that 10.8 runs perfectly on "unsupported" systems with simple install tweaks, and that AirParrot allows for the same (and better) functionality of AirPlay on supported systems through simple tweaks.

    Again, what is this special hardware that $2500+ systems don't have? (and these systems are "current" offerings)

    Suppose my questions are rhetorical, we know the answer :)
  8. macrumors 65816


    It is called quicksync video decoding built into the sandy bridge processors(or newer) that allows for some ridiculous speeds when it comes down to transcoding.

    More info here.
    Benchmarks here, here, and this is a more in-depth explanation of how it is possible.

    EDIT: Did not read the last line of your post. Ill leave this up for others. Yes your machine can support it. Im not denying that. But you are in the extreme majority. If apple had added CPU based acceleration for your model then they would have needed to make it available for machines like the 2010 imac or mbp. It would run like crap on those machines. I think they are just trying to keep the quality high.
  9. macrumors 603


    Yes, I'm familiar. I simply believe speed is unnecessary requirement in transcoding for desktop systems. Notebooks/portables, that's a different story. It doesn't add up when it comes to the Mac Pro systems.
  10. macrumors 65816


    The GPU doesn't matter in this case at all. It's all about the CPU and the hardware built into the CPU.

    Run AirParrot and watch your CPU usage. Now find a computer that can do Airplay natively, and watch it's CPU usage. It is ALL CPU.

    Yes, because the Air and iPad have the NECESSARY HARDWARE.

    You people seem to think that there is some magical piece of software blocking you from doing it. No. It's hardware. Apple is all about everyone having the same experience across the board when using certain features, and when you get computers either using their built-in hardware (on-chip encoding/decoding that use no extra CPU power), or using a lot of their CPU power to get the job done, then it's not a unified experience.

    Learn the difference between software features and hardware features everyone.
  11. bedifferent, Jul 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012

    macrumors 603


    Ok AirParrot on my 12-Core Pro, iStat shows little CPU usage. Using AirPort to mirror my Mac Pro to my aTV 3 on my Samsung 50" LED 3D or my aTV 2 on my Pioneer 50" Elite Plasma. My Mac Pro simply shrugs.

    So again, this does boil down to OS X simply disengaging this for systems in which the hardware is more than capable.

    As I do a lot of HD rendering in FCP7/X for work, I believe the argument that CPU usage is an issue on capable systems is rather erroneous. On notebook's, certainly I may understand, but in this instance, not a chance. :)

    Oh, and on my 2011 iMac which does allow AirPlay natively, iStat shows the four cores as being more "taxed" than AirParrot on my 12-Core Mac Pro. Interesting, eh?

    Fixed that for you :)

    You might want to educate yourself on the recent decision by Apple in not supporting full 64-bit systems with a EFI64 for 10.8. That is an example of Apple not supporting systems that are hardware capable with software. Interesting that 64-bit Windows Vista, 7 and 8 run on those systems, yet 10.8 will not.
  12. macrumors 65816


    Remember the days of running Tiger on 6 year old machines and getting features like Core Image if you upgraded the graphics cards. Yep, good times.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    Intel Quick Sync is a hardware encoder built into the CPU, it is not a GPU feature, and Mountain Lion does not use CUDA/OpenCL for AirPlay video encoding.

    It is considerably faster than GPU-powered video encoding:

    AirParrot is doing the video encoding in software, it is not hardware accelerated, and uses up a lot of CPU power for this task. This won't be an issue with your 12-core Mac Pro, but is on most other Macs.
  14. macrumors 603


    Agreed, see my posts. This is in regards to hardware that is fully capable of AirPlay, meaning desktop systems, meaning Mac Pro's. Certainly the ultra/notebook lines would need the onboard encoder, however as I stated this doesn't make sense for Mac Pro's. This is in line with Apple's decision in not supporting Mac Pro's that are fully 64-bit capable with EFI64 for 10.8. Some of these systems are still under AppleCare, so they aren't "old" or outdated hardware.

    When a professional using OS X on a Mac Pro can run competitive OS's such as Windows in full 64-bit mode but not the native OS, there's an issue. When a third party developer can produce an app that provides a service not natively given by Apple for their system, there's an issue.

    I didn't spend thousands of dollars on my Mac Pro in 2010, the most recent available system to date, in order to not be given simple features offered on their consumer products. AirPlay could be great for use as a wireless external monitor, especially for displaying my FCP work in lieu of a wired setup. I have 2 24" LED LCD's and an external monitor plus a Samsung 50" LED 3D plasma and a Pioneer Elite 50" Kuro, all with aTV's attached. It would be nice to have the ability to natively use those devices and my system is more than capable.

    I do not like Apple's obvious approach in many area's in neglecting systems that are 2-3 years in age. The EFI64 for 64-bit systems is one major example, AirPlay is another. Again, for CAPABLE systems. :)
  15. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Encode one, two or more 1080p movies in parallel with a H.264-encoder like x264 (in HandBrake for example), and use a software-based AirPlay encoder like AirParrot at the same time. You will see that even your 12-core Mac Pro is not able to encode the AirPlay H.264 stream in realtime, if you use other CPU-intensive programs. With Quick Sync, CPU-intensive programs are not a problem.
  16. macrumors 6502

    I think the point everyone is trying to make is that AirPlay is written to use the built in hardware encoder, period. If your machine has QuickSync than you have AirPlay. Apple is not interested in writing a second software based encoder separately from their already existing AirPlay w/ hardware for machines that have the necessary processing power to do the encoding via software. I'm not taking a side on whether I agree with Apple's decision on this matter one way or another but I think it's pretty clear that they just weren't interested in developing or supporting essentially 2 entirely different versions of AirPlay.

    As to your statement about using AirPlay on your video production machine I'll say you're not missing much. The AirPlay playback has a nice frame rate but it has some fairly considerable lag. I would never want to wait for it for something like video editing when a cabled monitor would perform so much better and with no added compression to the image. Further more since your MacPro would require a software based solution it's a waste of processor cycles. I'm sure your processor has better things to be doing than rendering for a wireless monitor.
  17. bedifferent, Jul 30, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2012

    macrumors 603


    Why would I ever need to do that? You're stating I should max out my system just to prove it will fail? Of course it will. There would never be an instance in which I would do such a thing. Even HD rendering taxes all my virtual cores. Any time I would use AirPlay/Parrot I wouldn't be placing such strain on my system. This same scenario would absolutely impact Sandy Bridge systems with QuickSync.

    True, but I'm referring to simple playback of my work on more options than my connected monitor. AirParrot handles 1080P output just fine to my aTV 3rd gen. It's nice having more options.

    As for Apple not needing to write a second software based encoder to support a thousand dollar system they still sell, I don't agree. Yes, it's their decision just as it was to market 64-bit Mac Pro's as FULL 64-bit only to decide on not supplying an EFI64 for 10.8 support (Mac Pro 2,1 is just an example and is not outdated).

    Apple is choosing to make these decisions, so I'll chose to make my own :)

    I just noticed another reply appear in my inbox as I'm writing this, we could go back and forth all day, weeks even, on this matter. I suppose I'm just not interested. I have a third party solution that works, I'll manage. Until Apple releases their next Mac Pro, which is well over due, I'll have to settle. That's a sad statement for a 10+ year Mac user who makes part of their living on their system.

    Have a great Monday everyone! :)
  18. macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Apple produces the CPUs with Quick Sync support? I thought Intel is the manufacturer of these CPUs.


    Professionals use the Mac Pros for video encoding or other CPU-intensive tasks. That is the reason why they buy the Mac Pros.

    I think this discussion is over, because your CPU does not have a Quick Sync unit. It is not Apples fault.
  19. macrumors 603


    Now you're playing with my words, I never stated such. Of course it's Intel. However, Apple has had Intel Xeon processors they could place in their Mac Pro's for a while now, and soon I'm sure QuickSync available processors would be available. Apple still have to use the available hardware, in this case the Intel server chips, and are [for whatever reason] deciding to wait until next year, leaving the Mac Pro with a three year product cycle update.

    Ok guys, I'm done here, I don't have time to nitpick on silly points. We all have genuine points of contention, I simply expect more from a company I support and have for many, many years and through thousands of dollars. :)

    Have a great Monday and week :)

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