Entry level iMac good enough for mkv(h264 playback)?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by steveotron, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. steveotron macrumors member

    Nov 22, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I currently have a 3-year-old MacBook Pro (2.16 C2D with RAM upgraded to 3GB) that I received for free back then, and I've been very happy with it; however, there are some occasional hiccups when I play some large, 8GB+ files, but it's still pretty smooth 95% of the time when I use Plex or Quicktime+Perian. It was time to get a new computer, and I bought the entry-level iMac on Thanksgiving during Amazon's Lightning Deals, and I should be receiving the unit tomorrow.

    I don't do much other than browse the internet, use iTunes, run torrent programs, do some statistical analysis on SPSS, and watch 1080p .mkv(h264) files (NO gaming or any photo/video editing at all). Obviously, this iMac, which is a desktop as opposed to my 3-year-old MacBook Pro, is going to be faster than what I have right now. However, I'm not the biggest fan of the graphics card that is in the model (i.e., the nVidia 9400m). From what I've read, some (h264) playback is unloaded onto the GPU instead of being completely taken care of by the CPU. As an integrated card, and essentially a laptop graphics card, will I notice any difference between this CPU and GPU as opposed to a desktop that is running, say, a 2.66 quad-core with a nVidia GTX 220?

    I'm guessing it's just a little nervousness about a somewhat large purchase and investment for the next 2 or so years on my part, but your input would be appreciated.

    Also, I have a 46" Sony Bravia that I'd like to hook up my iMac to. My current MBP simply used a DVI to HDMI cable to connect, and I've been using regular 3.5mm RCA cables for audio. Just to clarify, I should be getting a Mini Display to DVI cable to connect to my current DVI to HDMI cable, right? And could you guys point me to what kind of toslink cable I could use for the audio?
  2. thefaceless macrumors member

    Oct 20, 2009
    England, UK
    Well if you've bought it already you'll soon see, but plenty of people with 9400m minis are able to run 1080p mkvs no problem using even 2gb of ram with Plex. Can't see the iMac struggling with them at all.
  3. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Right now, only QuickTime is able to leverage the gpu's h.264 decoding abilities. However, most h.264-encoded videos should be readily handled by your iMac. Only those with very high bit rates and in 1080p may give problems, even with Plex.

    This one should work.
  4. HommePomme macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2009

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