Choppy 1080p playback on external monitor

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by yousifabdullah, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011

    I currently have the MBP 15" (Late 2008) with 2.8Ghz CPU. I have the 'Higher Performance' option turned on, meaning the GeForce 9600M GT is active, and the MBP runs in closed clamshell mode. Whenever I open a 1080p file (QuickTime MOV, like the ones that iMovie spits out), I have choppy playback. I tried quitting all other applications and made sure nothing else is using the CPU, but no dice.

    1080p YouTube works perfect, but here's the catch: my previous MBP 13" (Mid 2010) had none of these problems with its integrated GeForce 320M and 2.4Ghz CPU. Both computers are Intel Core 2 Duo, and my current MBP by all means should outdo the 13" in every aspect, but 1080p playback is a b**ch.

    OS X Lion installed with latest updates and all, but this occurred in Snow Leopard, too.

    Tips? Ideas? Thanks!
  2. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Try it when it's not in clamshell mode?

    Try using VLC Player. What is the 1080p file? Where is it sourced from?
  3. yousifabdullah thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    When not in clamshell mode, everything is fine. My problem is that my previous, less powerful MBP could handle a 1080p file on my external monitor without hiccups. With my current MBP, playback is choppy.

    1080p file is a video render out of Final Cut Pro X using H.264 export option. Same problems arise when I try to playback a 1080p file rendered out of iMovie, so it's MPEG-4 AVC H.264 in QuickTime MOV that's causing problems.

    Same result with VLC.
  4. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    What is the temperature when you're in clamshell mode and getting choppy playback? GPU and CPU temps.
  5. yousifabdullah thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    55° C for CPU and 60° for GPU (9600M GT).

    Heat is not the problem, there's no throttling going on. I was able to cut a video last night in Final Cut Pro X with a lot of heavy color grading and effects, the CPU reached 90° C and GPU was hovering at around 70° C. I can playback 1080p YouTube on my external monitor perfectly fine, nothing is causing me any problems–only 1080p MOVs, that is.
  6. neenja macrumors 6502

    Jul 17, 2008
    do you have anything else running in the background? i notice a lot of choppiness when i have torrents running.

    close everything out. how much ram do you have?

    also, try Perian or Movist, both of which I believe are a lot less resource hoggy.
  7. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    Back to the clamshell point you made - when I said: "when not in clamshell mode does it work fine?" I think you thought I meant just using the MBP without your external display. Or did you mean the MacBook Pro open and not in clamshell mode but with the external display hooked up?

    Also, what is the type of external display and how is it hooked up?
  8. ppone macrumors regular

    Sep 1, 2011
    What is the performance when you switch off the "Higher Performance".

    When I upgraded to Lion, my integrated graphics performance is better than the GeForce 9600M GT.

    I think it might be a driver issue with Lion.

  9. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    He said it happened in Snow Leopard too.
  10. yousifabdullah thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 19, 2011
    Perian I have installed, and I have 8GB RAM of which currently 4.47GB is free. I have nothing in the background, the only process running is Finder and I still encounter this problem.

    Let's say that even Launchpad is clumsy with the integrated graphics card, so I definitely am not experiencing better performance with it. 9600M GT is much better in overall responsiveness and of course more demanding tasks, are you sure your problem is not a hardware related one? Also, as noted the problem also occurred in Snow Leopard.

    Just the external display is active, not an extended desktop. The display is NEC EA231WMi, hooked up via a Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter and then a VGA cable (planning to buy a Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort cable for this display).

    I can't explain it any better than that my older MBP 13" under the exact same conditions was able to play a 1080p file on my external monitor perfectly fine, but my Late 2008 MBP 15" is struggling even with the powerful graphics card enabled. It can't be a Logic Board issue, it was replaced a month ago under AppleCare as I had other problems so it's basically a new board and so far has run perfectly, but even so I had the same problem before the Logic Board swap so it doesn't matter. Also, I've double checked all necessary options and there is nothing suspicious or anything...

    The only thing I'm suspecting is the HDD. Of all things it's the only thing I didn't consider before and now I'm starting to consider upgrading to another one or perhaps go straight with an SSD. It's not the stock HDD that came with the MBP, but a Western Digital 750GB HDD. Not 100% sure what model but I can check that out as well. But RPM shouldn't matter because my previous MBP 13" had a 5400rpm drive and it didn't have this problem. I'm just thinking the HDD could be the culprit because sometimes it can take long to open a folder or file and it's the only thing on the hardware side that isn't stock Apple.


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