G4 Cant play Quicktime Movie Correcty

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Retrosonic, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. Retrosonic macrumors regular

    May 13, 2009
    Guys, hopefully someone can help me here:

    Just bought a new Canon Digital Camera, and took some Photos, and High Def videos (720p) with it.

    Came home, plugged the camera in, and my G4 found all the photos and movies, and I downloaded them to the proper folders.

    Problem: When Quicktime plays the movies, the sound is fine, but the video is completely slow, stuttering and hardly moves. Its unwatchable.

    My G4 is 1.4 gb Processor, and 2 Gb of Sdram. Fast, SATA Hard drives.
    It has the original AGP Video card that came with the Mac.

    Is my problem the Video card, or the G4 system itself?

    Many thanks for ANY help you can provide me!!
  2. gibbo132 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    Im not a video card expert but I would say that its the video card. I think your mac has an AIT Radeon 9000 in it. I would go on eBay and buy a 9800 from applemanix for arround $120 or £75 or you flash a PC card yourself. :)
  3. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    I vote for the G4. As I understand it, OS X doesn't really use a video card's built-in acceleration features for video playback. Your 720p video simply has too many pixels for the G4 to push around. If you decide to begin editing your videos in iMovie or Final Cut, forget it. I usually don't agree with the "just get a new computer" crowd here, but in this case you're better off with a new machine. The $120 spent on a new card of doubtful benefit would be better put towards a used or refurbished Mini.
  4. Retrosonic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2009

    Guys, thank you both for taking the time to respond.

    It doesnt make sense to me that OSX "decides" how to process video, I would think that the processing power on the video card would be the critical factor here.

    As I said, the video card in the G4 is the original, crappy 128 AGP Graphics card. My thoughts are that is the bottleneck.

    Does anyone out there use a G4 for processing 720p video? If so, what video card are you using.

    Many thanks to all for your input here.
  5. Dave H macrumors 6502

    Dave H

    Mar 2, 2008
    If it helps, when I play 720P movie trailers with Quicktime, they play at 12fps.
  6. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    I would also say it is the G4 processor. I have had several G4 systems(Powermacs, iBooks, and my current Xserve) and I can tell you they struggle with HD video. I've run different video cards(an original 128 like yours and faster Radeon models) and found they really don't make much difference.

    For example, my Xserve is a 1.33Ghz with a PCI Radeon card. I use it with a Elgato tuner as a dvr(among other things). It records SD and HD fine due to the tuner doing the encoding and can play SD video fine. With HD video(recorded or live stream), the processor tops out and the video stutters. It doesn't bother me since I playback all my recordings on my PS3.
  7. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    It's your CPU. It doesn't have enough processing power to play those movies. A better video card won't do you anything other than making your desktop visually prettier.

    I can play 720/1080p on my G5 and I can see that it uses more than 50% of my CPU cycles.
  8. Retrosonic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2009

    Ok, the consensus seems to be that its the 1.4 G4 Processor.

    The way I understand it, the fastest 3rd party Processor for the G4 is 2.0, which isnt much faster than my 1.4

    The question is......is there a 3rd party video card that I can install that WILL handle the brunt of the HD playback on its own processor?

    I know there are for PCs but I dont know enough about Macs.

    Many thanks!
  9. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    Apple official requirements for 720p video: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/guide/hd/recommendations.html
    I doubt that any G4 compatible video card (genuine or flashable) can help you with CPU bottleneck while playing HD.
    Most limits here are CPU frequency and FSB (1.8 G5 uses FSB 900 MHz). You can't beat it with any G4 CPU.
    My PB G4 1.67 with 1.5 GB RAM and ATI 9700 128 MB also is not comfortable to play 720p.
  10. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    TBH, any money you might spend on upgrading your G4 in an attempt to play 720p video is better spent on a Mac Mini which will more than handle 720p video (even 1080p I believe) and run circles around your G4 in just about every aspect.
  11. Retrosonic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2009

    Yes, I am starting to believe you may be right, a Mac Mini is the way to go.

    Not a big deal, I bought the G4 at a very, very cheap price just to learn about Macs inside and out. This I have done.

    Question: Will even the most modest Mac Mini be able to handle Hi Def Video files, even the 1.4 gb processor model??
  12. phairphan macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2005
    Reject Beach
    Current Minis come in 2.26 and 2.53 GHz flavors. If you're looking at a 1.4 GHz Mini, then it's a G4 and will be subject to the limitations you're currently experiencing. The 2.26 GHz model will be able to handle 720p files.
  13. Retrosonic thread starter macrumors regular

    May 13, 2009
    Thank You!

    Thank you for the Mac Mini info.

    I have decided to go the whole way and buy the best Mini available, and add as much ram as possible. That should allow HD video editing with no problems.

    Many thanks to all who posted and helped me out!


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