720p video playback on 2008 UMBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mossme89, Dec 13, 2009.

  1. mossme89 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    #1
    I have a 2008 15" 2.4GHz unibody macbook pro with the Nvidia 9400 & 9600 GPU's. It works great, but i notice when playing 720p HD video in Quicktime X, the video is often kind of stuttery at first when i skip through the video, and sometimes beachballs. I am disappointed, because i often like to skip to certain parts in videos (especially TV Shows/Movies). It doesn't do this with smaller videos.

    I only have 2GB of RAM. Do you think upgrading the RAM to atleast 4GB would help with this problem? I am on the 9600 with the "Higher Performance" option. Do you notice this at all?
     
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #2
    I'm on a 2007 MBP, and i have no problems with 720p or 1080p video on mine.
    I do have 4GB RAM tho. Anyways, I think every intel mac should be handling 720p, even with 2GB RAM.
     
  3. mossme89 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 2, 2009
    #3
    i mean, it plays it, but when seeking through the video in Quicktime X in Snow Leopard, it seems like there is a little lag and slowness, with the occasional beachball.

    Compare seeking through a 720p video with a smaller one. The smaller one is almost instantaneous, while the 720p video takes longer and stutters at first.

    IDK, could it just be a Quicktime X problem? Should i try it in a different player? I also notice that iTunes is a crap video player, it's extremely slow also
     
  4. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #4
    there are a number of reasons for this i guess

    1. HDD speed, do you have a 5400rpm or 7200rpm drive?

    2. QTX, quicktime is a bung piece of software. its coded poorly. try Plex :D

    the list goes on..
     
  5. mossme89 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 2, 2009
    #5
    1. 5400. I looked at the 7200, but saw that some people were having issues, so went with the 5400 250GB. But once the file is loaded up in the program, shouldn't the HDD speed not be an issue?

    2. I'm on 10.6.2 BTW. I tried VLC and it was slightly better, but not by much. I'll have to try Plex. Any other suggestions of programs?

    So, just to make sure, you don't think this issue is because my computer isn't powerful enough? I mean, i would hope that a high-end computer that's only a year old design-wise would still be able to handle this, but I've seen otherwise, having worked in a computer shop
     
  6. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #6
    with quicktime, the file will only buffer a certain amount into RAM. im not sure of the exact numbers. you wouldnt want a 1GB file taking up all your RAM! :0

    have you tried playing the file with QT7? in QT7 you can choose to load the file into RAM, meaning that playback (especially WRT seeking) is MUCH faster. you should try that - it will give the biggest indicator of the problem here.

    VLC is a bit better, but still poorly coded overall. my original CD MBP @2.16GHz cannot play a 1080P downloaded movie in VLC, but can play it very well in Plex (QT is completely out of the question). there arent really any other programs out there :(

    oh n.b. plex is quite hard to get used to!

    i am 100% sure that this is not a CPU problem. its more a combination of HDD speed + poor coding of applications.
     
  7. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

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    Aug 2, 2008
    #7
    My current 13" MBP (2.2 Ghz), my old 13" unibody MB (2.0 Ghz) and my old 2.16(?) Ghz whitebook all ran 720p and 1080p perfectly. I use VLC for anything 720p or under, and then Plex for 1080p, no stutters or anything.
     
  8. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    To get a stuttering free 720/1080p playback even on the smallest processor, I highly recommend NOT using .mkv files with VLC.
    I recently re-encoded my previous mkv ripped BluRays to .m4v.
    Even VLC can now play 1080p on my MacBook with less than 70% CPU usage.
     
  9. AzureCloud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #9
    I had a similar stuttering problem on 1080p videos on my 2007 MBP. I can't speak for Plex, but I used (and still use) VLC a lot on Windows, so that is what I have been using to play most files that Quicktime X will not. While I have found that VLC seems faster and better on Windows, it is sufficient for the files I play.

    If you are having issues with stuttering, you can try increasing the amount of buffered video in VLC. The default is 300 ms, but setting it to 800 ms greatly improved playback for me.

    If you are interested, the steps to do this are here:
    VLC: Choppy Audo/Video

    Also, you may want to enable "memory mapping" if it isn't already on:
    VLC: Stuttering playback on the Mac? Try this!
     
  10. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

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    Aug 2, 2008
    #10
    VLC can play 720p without a problem even in .mkv format.
     
  11. reallynotnick macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2005
    #11
    VLC uses only 1 core for video decoding, Plex uses both.
    QTX on the other hand can off load video decoding to the GPU which works great when you have the right video format like Apple Trailers.
     
  12. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    Nov 30, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    Of course it can, I never said it could not. It can even play 1080p in case you've got a powerful computer.
    Nevertheless, .mkv is a absolut crap of a container. It takes lots and lots of CPU power to play that things.
    The same video with the same bitrate as MPEG4 (.m4v, .mp4, .mov) requires just a fraction of what mkv consumes.

    The CPU usage of such files is roughly the same with all three mentioned players (VLC, PLEX, QT X).
     
  13. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    #13


    Well, good thing the MBPs got lots and lots of CPU power. Only thing I notice is that the comp might go to 60 degrees celcius if I play 1080p for a few hours, other then that its fine. And I don't think having to convert all your mkv files to another format is an option. That's like fixing a broken finger by breaking another one.
     
  14. Technologist macrumors member

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    Apr 26, 2009
    #14
    My 17" 5.2 2.8 MBP plays 1080P at about 35-40% CPU with no stuttering at all. My 15" had some stuttering on 1080P
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #15
    What were the ram/hdd differences if you don't mind me asking?
     

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