about those 2nd-gen Intel Core restrictions for AirPlay

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by sebseb81, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. sebseb81 macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    I read somewhere (lost track where) that to use AirPlay on ML, you need a second-generation Intel Core CPU (i.e. i3, i5, i7). First question, I assume that a late 2010 MBA would thus not be able to do AirPlay?

    Secondly, could anyone explain to me why an Intel Core 2 Duo chip (like the one found in 2010 MBA) would not be capable of doing AirPlay? Especially since an iPad 2 with its A5 chip can do so? I'm not trying to be facetious or sarcastic or anything, I just don't understand what the great technical difficulty is with this. Does it have to do with the higher resolution of a Mac? Something else?

    Thanks in advance for any answers to this question.
  2. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    Apple trying to get you to spend money on a new hardware.
  3. nick7138 macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2010
    Apple has pointed out that it is not a fully implemented feature. I'd say look forward to future compatibility on more devices. This will likely show up in Developer Preview 2.
  4. sebseb81 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    This has occurred to me but I'm looking for non-cynical interpretations! Something that would give me hope.

    Like this! Hope you are right.
  5. pdjudd macrumors 601

    Jun 19, 2007
    Plymouth, MN
    I think that is the case. DP1 is an early release and it’s almost certainly based on the beta version of the ATV software. I’m sure that for now, Apple is targeting the latest and greatest hardware and they will roll out support to all the machines that can support the feature.
  6. JohnDoe98, Feb 19, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012

    JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    I do hope so but that isn't always Apple's MO. When Apple released HW acceleration they left out the 8600M GT cards from getting the update. It wouldn't surprise me if this mirroring would rely on such ability. So I'm worried the 8600M GT cards, while sufficient to run ML, won't be enough to get airplay mirroring.
  7. Maniamac macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2007
    I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

    It is true that the feature is not fully implemented in DP1, as Apple has not yet provided this functionality to all Macs with second-generation Intel Core CPUs.

    However, Airplay Mirroring WILL require a second-generation Intel Core CPU upon 10.8's release.

    Something similar happened with Airdrop in Lion. In Lion DP1, Apple noted that the feature was not yet fully implemented. Those missing the functionality were hopeful that "not fully implemented" meant that Apple would extend Airdrop to all Macs compatible with Lion in subsequent previews. It turns out that "not fully implemented" meant that Lion DP1 did not provide Airdrop to all Macs capable of simultaneous infrastructure and personal area ad-hoc networking, which is the requirement for Airdrop. Apple did bring Airdrop to THOSE Macs in subsequent previews, but Macs without the required wireless chip did not gain that ability.

    Apple's implementation of Airplay Mirroring relies upon Intel Quick Sync, which includes hardware H. 264 encoding. Second-generation Intel Core CPUs have it onboard; Intel Core 2 Duos do not. In a future DP, Apple will bring Airplay Mirroring to those Macs with second-generation Intel Core CPUs that did not have it in DP1. Those with Core 2 Duos won't be getting the feature.

    In my opinion, Apple has at times over-engineered a feature to exclude Macs that should in theory be perfectly capable of it. Honestly, I'm not thinking that this is one of those times, though (and while I'm a huge Apple fan, I'm certainly no Apple apologist). I feel really badly for someone that bought a $2800 MacBook Pro at the end of 2009 who, not even three years later, is finding him- or herself "left out." But I think that in the case of Airplay Mirroring, The Powers That Be asked themselves, "Do we pick greater compatibility or the best user experience?" No stranger to trade-offs (*cough* iPhone 4 antenna *cough*), Apple picked the best user experience. And as anyone who has used 10.8's Airplay Mirroring will tell you, it is WICKED fast.

    If anyone is wondering how I know about Airplay Mirroring's requirement--this is what Apple told the journos and devs invited to see 10.8 the week prior to seeding. That I know of, among the journalists invited, only Jason Snell bothered to note this requirement in his write-up: http://www.macworld.com/article/165407/2012/02/hands_on_with_apples_new_os_x_mountain_lion.html.

    Hope this clears everything up.
  8. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    It does!

    Wouldn't surprise me if 1080p mirroring will require Apple TV 3 and Ivy Bridge CPUs.
  9. sebseb81 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Thanks for your lengthy reply Maniamac. It's probably better to know this now then to get my hopes up. I was wondering if you had an answer to the second part of my question: why the A5 can handle AirPlay Mirroring but not an Intel Core 2 Duo on a late 2010 MBA? Does that also have to do with Intel Quick Sync or some similar feature that is missing in C2D?
  10. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    As others have pointed out, the most logical explanation is that it will use QuickSync, which is exclusive to the newer Intel processors. While I'm sure Apple wants to promote hardware sales, for the most part, there has been some logic to the dropping of support for older models in previous versions of OS X. Snow Leopard dropped Power PC, Lion dropped 32-bit CPUs, and Mountain Lion is completing the switch to the 64-bit kernel and taking greater advantage of the Sandy Bridge chips. I wouldn't be surprised if 10.9 requires Core i-series processors, but we'll find out in 2013.
  11. Maniamac macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2007
    The Core 2 Duo is powerful enough. If you check out the AirParrot app (which doesn't yet stream sound but soon will), you'll see that the Core 2 Duo, with a 320M like your MBA has, is able to do something like Airplay Mirroring "fine." Does it run without making the CPU break a sweat and with near zero latency, as does 10.8's implementation? No. So, it's not that the Core 2 Duo isn't powerful enough to sling your Mac's video and audio over to your Apple TV. It's that Apple is leveraging hardware that the C2D doesn't have in its implementation to make it work well; it's all in the way Apple is coding it.

    Apple is left either with something like AirParrot, which would work for everyone that can run 10.8 but provide a comparatively subpar user experience, or an implementation with less compatibility but an ideal UX. They chose the latter, obviously.

    Now, you could argue that Apple should use hardware H. 264 encoding for those machines capable of it, but at least code a fall-back path for C2D's with Nvidia GPUs that effectively does in software what Sandy Bridge CPUs do in hardware. But that's another argument...Apple's legacy support (at least on the Mac side) has never been exceptional. They'd rather spend their time optimizing their software for newer hardware. But 1) Apple has made it clear in the past that they would rather omit a feature than include one that works less than ideally, like Airplay Mirroring would on a C2D. 2) That's the price paid for iterating and innovating as aggressively as Apple. Now that OS X is on an annual cycle, Mac users are gonna have to get used to the idea of losing compatibility with new tech sooner than they'd like.
  12. JohnDoe98 macrumors 68020

    May 1, 2009
    To answer why the A5 can do it but C2D can't, I'm only guessing, but the size of the screen that the A5 has to encode is much smaller than the size of the screen a C2D would have to?
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Anand was hoping for low CPU usage via QuickSync...

    ...but then you get this.

    I would wait for the final release.
  14. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Everything since nVidia 8 series or AMD HD 2000 Series has integrated h.264 decoding hardware along with CUDA/OpenCL support. VCE is making a show on HD 7000. You will need Quicksync otherwise.
  16. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

    Jun 2, 2008
    Correct, but I was specifically talking about hardware encoding, not decoding.
  17. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Of course, I did not read the article at all...

    Not to mention Quicktime encoding speeds have a history of being miserably slow to the point that Elgato found it worthwhile to release such a product. Have they stepped up lately or are leveraging GPGPU?
  18. marc11, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    marc11 macrumors 68000

    Mar 30, 2011
    NY USA
    According to Intel, if Apple is really using the built in h.264 encoder for screen sharing then at least the i7 used in the 2010 MBP have this tech included. However what is not clear are the graphics requirements. Intel lists HD graphics required but I wonder if any superior card would suffice or if you need HD graphics?

    I suppose it doesn't matter since Intel is not listing HD3000 but just HD graphics I cannot see why the 2010 i7 machines should not have AirPlay as they meet Intels listed specs. Now what will Apple do???? I am hoping they give it to us "old" MBP owners from way back as Feb 2011!!!
  19. sebseb81 thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2010
    Did not know about this app, thanks for the reference.

    Yes, I know about Apple's approach to legacy support. Still, the late 2010 MBA was selling as late as July 2011, and now it won't be able to run the latest version of OS X just a year later? Could be a record. Though I have to admit that the C2D on that model MBA was rather an anomaly, and you combine that with this new pace Apple is on target for OS X releases, and it shouldn't come as that much of a surprise.

    The good (and possibly bad) thing is that Apple also seems to be changing somewhat in the other direction when it comes to legacy support for iOS devices. Letting iOS 5 run on the 3GS was kind of a stretch considering the usual Apple policy.
  20. TheGdog macrumors 6502


    Sep 4, 2010
    North Carolina, USA
    Thats what I was thinking, but here is my opinion on that. I bought my computer to serve my current needs and I will get a new one when it no longer does. Airplay mirroring is really cool, but I did not have it before and I don't need it. There is nothing wrong with not using the newest OS and developers will be supporting several versions at a time. Heck, there are still applications that run on tiger. As long as iCloud continues to work with older Mac OS versions (which it will) you aren't losing anything by not using the current OS. You just will not have the newest goodies from apple.
  21. jayhawk11 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2007
    It's only an anomaly if you don't pay attention to chipsets. The 3G never should have been on iOS 4; for all intents and purposes, it was an original iPhone with a 3G baseband. The 3GS was a legitimate jump forward and continues to show that by running iOS 5 well, nearly 3 years after it was announced.
  22. Capeman macrumors newbie

    Jun 30, 2007
    Yes, it will. It just won't do AirPlay Mirroring.
  23. Fofer macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2002
    Just found this little tidbit on Apple's own pages, detailing Mountain Lion:

    "AirPlay Mirroring requires a second-generation Apple TV or later. Supports the following Mac models:

    iMac (Mid 2011 or newer)
    Mac mini (Mid 2011 or newer)
    MacBook Air (Mid 2011 or newer)
    MacBook Pro (Early 2011 or newer)"


    Grrrr. I have 2.66 Ghz Intel Core i7 MacBook Pro, but it is mid-2010. I wonder what the technical difference, if any, there is between these models?

    There better be a terminal hack to enable it for me, it's the only ML feature I was looking forward to... yeesh.

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