[2009 15in MBP] Can't play 1080p/60fps, drivers are up-to-date

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Pandawaffle, Sep 3, 2015.

  1. Pandawaffle macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2015
    My MPB can't play 1080p/60fps videos on youtube. Even when pre-loaded and with everything but Firefox closed the video are extremely choppy, but the sound is totally clear and 720p/60fps plays just fine. There are no new drivers for the card available for mac, and I have recently upgraded to Yosemite in the hopes to fix this issue, but no luck there. The specs are...

    Processor 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory 4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3
    Graphics NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB

    Is there anything I can do to play 1080p/60fps videos? Or is this simply outside the hardware's ability? I'm very flexible in what I would be willing to do software-wise with my MBP, I basically use it only for MS Office, Firefox, and the Photos app (no editing, just slideshows).
    Firefox would also gobble up all of the active memory if left open while the macbook was lid-closed and sleeping (cold to the touch). I had to restart Firefox every time I reopened the macbook. It's not the largest inconvenience, but I thought it might be related if there was a video software problem.
    By the way, my only current login item is iTunes helper.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Have you tried:

    1) Using Safari rather than Firefox
    2) Ensuring Yosemite is fully up-to-date
    3) Checking HDD SMART data by downloading SMART Utility - anything other than passed means HDD is failing
    4) Verifying volume through Disk Utility - any corruptions?
    5) Restarting the computer with the option 'reopen windows when logging back in' disabled
  3. Pandawaffle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2015
    Thank you for the response Keys, but I'm afraid I've had no luck

    1) I've tried both Safari and Chrome, both experience the same issue
    2) The only updates are for printers when I check About this Mac>Software Update
    3) My MBP passed the SMART Utility app you linked
    4) The Disk Utility concluded "The volume Macintosh HD appears to be OK." and the permissions verification only had complaints about printer settings
    5) I tried this after you suggested it, it made no impact on playing 1080p/60fps videos, but I imagine it was advice for firefox not gobbling up RAM in-between sleeps. Thing is, I largely put my computer to sleep by closing the lid, which does not give me the option to not reopen windows.

    Some additional information:
    I still have ~200GB free on my HD
    When I try to run a 1080p/60fps video kernal_task bumps up to 550MB (I assume that's flash) and Activity Monitor lists me with
    4GB Physical Memory
    2.75GB Memory Used
    950MB Cached
    0 Swap Used
    1.8 App Memory
    710 Wired Memory
    0 Compressed
    I have similar numbers when playing 720p/60fps videos
    This (unfortunately) suggests to me that it's the graphics card that's limiting me, not the RAM.
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Older computers struggle with 1080p youtube. A few laptops around the house are older than yours and struggle with anythign higher than 720p, be it on Windows or OS X. It's just the nature of things...

    I don't think you're experiencing a software issue.
  5. Kissmyne macrumors 6502


    Apr 21, 2015
    Are you using Flash or HTML5 when on Youtube?
  6. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2013
    Yeah my 2009 mac cannot play 1080p 60 FPS either but 720p 60 FPS works well (using Safari or Chrome). My 2015 Mac plays 1080p 60 FPS very well though.
  7. cbautis2 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 17, 2013
    It's that CPU and GPU can't keep up with 1080p60. You need at least a 2011 MBP or 2012 MBA to run it fluidly.
  8. arzhang macrumors newbie

    Nov 24, 2009
    Was wondering if any other updates for that problem. Cause I have almost the same spec (3.06GHz, 4G ram, 9600M GT 512 M, 256 G SSD) and am having the same problem. Before El Capitan I don't recall having this problem though. Also when booted under Windows no problem as well.
  9. Pandawaffle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 3, 2015
    Bad news arzhanq, but no improvement thusfar. I'm on El Capitan now, as well, and 720p is my max. Interestingly, a few weeks ago I found out that the battery on the laptop was also failing. During that period I couldn't play anything but 480p videos in firefox/chrome--I would get that hiccup where the sound keeps going but the video starts lagging behind. Safari, however, could still do 720p, even when those two couldn't. This may mean that some of the issue is due to native power allocation rather than just hardware specs. I also remember being able to play 1080p videos when the machine was younger, but that may have been before 1080p/60fps was the standard.
    You may just want to throw some holiday money to got to 8gigs of ram. A pair is $60-80 on Amazon and easy to install. That's my plan for now.
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Yes that is what you are confusing, standard TV and DVD and bluray is only 24 FPS as are most downloaded files ripped from these sources, 1080p/60fps is not standard in any way it is an option for somethings online but it's not being used generally. Looking at your usage numbers RAM will make little to no difference to you but an SSD will be a great upgrade if you haven't already got one.

    At some point you have to decide wether you want to put more money into a computer that will not do what you want anymore or start saving for a new one, 5 years old is my limit for upgrades for a couple of reasons once the graphics and cpu get to a certain age more ram and a new HDD or SSD won't help at all and once a laptop gets to 5 years old it's on borrowed time of course any computer can fail at any time but as they get older this gets more and more likely especially in portables with the abuse they receive.
  11. RoboWarriorSr macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2013
    Alternatively, you can point Youtube to playback videos through IINA, while a bit inconvenient, the software takes a better advantage of the hardware then what the browser can. 1080p 60 FPS works but running additionally software causes heavy stutter. 1080p HEVC video do work using IINA but pings the CPU at 90% with the GPU at 25% so its very intensive.

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