1080p video too much for Mac Pro 1,1?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by itswoodylondon, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. itswoodylondon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2013
    #1
    Hi,

    Long standing Mac user in need of some advice.

    Some background:

    Machine: Mac Pro 1,1 (2006) 2 x 2.66 Ghz Dual Core, ATI Radeon 4870 512MB, 3GB RAM, Lion installed.

    The Mac is permanently connected to a Samsung 40 inch screen at 1920x1080 resolution.

    The problem:

    I've been trying to play various 1080p mkv files and have been unable to do so without obvious stuttering due to lost frames.

    Apps I've tried:

    • VLC, adjusted various options as per some searches on the subject in Google. No noticeable improvement.
    • Plex, tried turning on hardware acceleration. No noticeable improvement.
    • XMBC, again tried turning on hardware acceleration, no change.

    What's frustrating is that when playing the files the CPU is barely doing anything so it's not like the machine is visibly struggling to keep up.

    So I'm throwing this out to you guys for some advice, has anyone experienced this before on a machine of similar spec? If it's not CPU that's the bottleneck what else could it be, would more RAM or a different Graphics card help?

    As a last resort would Mountain Lion bring anything to the table here? Kind of looking forward to the 'challenge' of upgrading if so.. or perhaps I'm just asking too much for a 7 year old Mac to be able to play 1080p?

    All advice and feedback appreciated!!
     
  2. GraniteTheWolf, Apr 9, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2013

    GraniteTheWolf macrumors 6502

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    Mar 31, 2013
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    Wisconsin
    #2
    I have a mac pro 1,1 just as you do, specs can be seen in my signature.

    You should have ZERO issues playing anything in HD. I do it on my 23" apple cinema display and it handles HD absolutely perfectly on youtube or any downloaded video files also play perfectly in HD using VLC or Quicktime.

    If I were to guess, it sounds like a graphics card problem... but thats purely a guess. I could play 1080P video on the old card that came in this and that was a low end ATi $50 4650 (I think?) card that sucked badly.
    Could also be a codec problem. 3GB ram is a bit low, but it shouldn't effect the ability to play back HD video at all being that low.
     
  3. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #3
    Try playing apple.com/trailers at 1080p and youtube 1080p video. If that works fine, then something is wrong with your MKV files.

    Your computer is fast enough for HD. Even to edit it too.
     
  4. GraniteTheWolf macrumors 6502

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    #4
    +1

    I use final cut pro X on mine and it works very very well. Even rendering times arnt that bad.
     
  5. Redneck1089 macrumors 65816

    Redneck1089

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    Jan 18, 2004
    #5
    Actually, I have had a similar problem.

    Watching the new season of Mad Men Monday on 1080P downloaded from iTunes I occasionally got stuttering. I was baffled by it. I'm using a 5,1 Mac Pro 6-core with a GTX670 and ATI 5870.

    I am running three mornings, with two connect the GTX670. The monitor I was watching on was the sole monitor attached to the 5870.
     
  6. SDAVE macrumors 68040

    SDAVE

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    #6
    Curious as to from what you guys are playing these files from.

    I mean compressed H264 HD files are not that heavy in terms of datarate...but it might matter.

    Try copying to your desktop to see if that helps if it's not on your main drive.
     
  7. chirpie macrumors 6502a

    chirpie

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    Jul 23, 2010
    #7
    If you open activity monitor what kind of memory usage are you seeing as well as processor taxing?
     
  8. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    Jan 9, 2008
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    #8
    :D

    Although the 4870 is barely able, the 3GB RAM in conjunction will kill it.

    Upgrade both. Minimum healthy about of RAM these days is 16GB. Absolute minimum for semi-smooth operation is 12GB. Recommended is 24GB or more. And nice price performance DA upgrade right now is the GTX 570 often found for under or about $100.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    Yes, I would check that too. If your memory is maxed out just running the OS and VNC, then you definitely need more RAM.

    3GB of RAM might indeed be crippling him, but I think for his purposes (playing a 1080p MKV file), 24GB is exceedingly expensive for a 1,1 and way, way more than needed unless he is doing some other memory hungry task that he didn't state in his post.
     
  10. Tesselator, Apr 10, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #10
    The way Apple's OS works it won't be maxed out. The various paging systems in OS X dynamically adjust to accommodate for small memory environments. But this introduces contention stresses that can cause video to play back jittery - even thought the monitors will show one or over one gigabyte free.


    Sure, if that's all he's doing and nothing more the minimum requirement is 8GB (in Lion). He didn't say that was all he's doing tho. ;) Who uses a MacPro just to play back 1080p mkv files? :p
     
  11. itswoodylondon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 9, 2013
    #11
    Ok tried watching a couple of Apple trailers at 1080p, Planes (WTF?!) and Carrrie (Scary!) and both exhibited the same stutter every couple of seconds, this time when using Quicktime. Please note this is with all other apps closed.

    I monitored memory usage and there's always been at least 1GB free when watching anything in VLC, Quicktime or Plex so it doesn't feel like that's the problem either.

    Gut instinct is that maybe my graphics card is just not up to the job... so on that note can anyone recommend a card for my machine that won't break the bank but will give me a noticeable performance boost?

    Also - is there any way to observe GPU utilisation to verify that it is the card that's responsible?

    Thanks all for you help on this.
     
  12. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #12
    I already did, yes. You're welcome. :)

    There is but the lags likely won't show up there as the monitoring isn't fast enough and the usage includes more than just the GPU activity.
     
  13. itswoodylondon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 9, 2013
    #13
    Ok, as a test I've ordered some cheap RAM (4GB) to see if that solves the problem, if it does then I won't have had to shell out for a new card unnecessarily, if it doesn't will at least I now have a reasonable amount of RAM and can then have an excuse to upgrade the card :)
     
  14. chirpie macrumors 6502a

    chirpie

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    Jul 23, 2010
    #14
    Worst case scenario, you'll see fewer spinning beach balls when switching apps constantly. ^_^
     
  15. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2013
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    Delaware
    #15
    I have the same machine, and until recently had 4GB of RAM, and no studdering at 1080p. With a 7300GT!!
    I have a question though.
    Is the Samsung the only monitor connected?
    More than one monitor could tax the video card enough to slow things too.
     
  16. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #16
    My MP1,1 with x5355, 7300GT, and 12GB could not playback actual 1080P streams without shuttering terribly. It could scale streams to 1080p with no trouble. And some highly compressible streams played OK - but as soon as it got heavy at all, boom - shutters and long delays. Youtubes were almost never a go at 1080p. The best it could do in most formats was 720p and even then there were occasional but somewhat rare, shutters and delays.

    I wonder what the difference between our systems was?
     
  17. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Me too! I have been very impressed with all the stats you have shown on here too. So much so, I have paid close attention to your set up in hopes of getting similar results. My monitor is at 1920x1080 and it rarely studders at all with utube, or video play back from disc or file. I have a mac mini 2,1 on my 46in tv too, and it does fine as well, maybe the difference is the speed of the internet connection. IDK there it is again:eek:
     
  18. ElderBrE macrumors regular

    ElderBrE

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2004
    #18
    I remember those issues with MKV files at some point with mine, 3 or 4 years ago...

    Back then, it was puzzling, but I think I fixed it simply by trashing the newest VLC version and getting an old one. Obviously, have updated it a lot since then, so it should be fine, but *shrug*.
     
  19. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

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    Jan 22, 2013
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    Delaware
    #19
    What I was thinking was it may have to do with the compression of the files not being handled efficiently enough. I have to admit MKV files I do not use, and have not worked with at all.
     
  20. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #20
    Yeah, I have VLC set to auto-inform and I mostly always update. You guys are probably right about the software being the main culprit tho. It got considerably better with 10.7.5 over 10.6.8 But still it stuttered so I just threw a card at it. I paid some ridiculous price for a reference 8800GT and now everything is smooth. My internet is 120Mb/s so that's all good.

    The 8800GT may end up costing me tho. I mean to test it I got a bunch of games and now I'm somewhat hooked on pretty CG games. So now I'm thinking of something with some real speed behind it... like the GTX680 :p Dang it! :D

    Although with my current monitor being 1920x1080 native, the 8800GT plays just about all games fast enough.
     
  21. MacPoulet macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2012
    #21
    Hmm. Just for reference, before I upgraded my 1,1 to a dual quad-core 2.66, I was running a pretty close to stock base model (2.0Ghz and GT7300 video card) with 5GB of ram and had no problems creating or playing back MKV files.

    I'm pretty sure it's software. Or the hardware might be dying...
     
  22. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #22
    I've had issues with mkv files on my Mac Pro 1,1. But in terms of 1080p video in general, you should be able to play at least four 1080p quicktime files simultaneously on that machine.
     

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