GMA 950 good enough for HD movies? H.264?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iBunny, May 15, 2007.

  1. iBunny macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #1
    Just curious becuase i like to encode Movies etc with Handbrake into H.264 movies, and they play great on my iMac w/ x1600 256MB. Will the Macbook run this well?

    Is it all processor anyway? or does the GPU work here?
     
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #2
    Since it's h.264 you'll be using your CPU. A Core Duo can handle outputting 1080p at full frames at least 90% of the time for playback.

    You'll be CPU and disc drive bound for Handbrake. The best investment you can make is getting a fast external DVD drive.
     
  3. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #3
    1080p trailers from Apple take under 50% of CPU on my 2ghz Core 2 Duo MacBook and play at full 24 fps, which puts my iMac G5 to shame because it only play these trailers at 10-12 fps average :eek:

    Its CPU-bound.
     
  4. ..........? macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    #4
    eXan, the question is about outputting(encoding) in H.246.

    You are talking about playback(decoding).

    So you did not answer the question.

    The macbook is quite capable machine to do this. Since encoding H.246 is very cpu intensive so it still will take some time to encoding to H.246.
     
  5. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #5
    The OP said "they play great on [iMac]", so it logical to assume he is interested in the playback performance.

    I could be wrong though. Eng. is not my native language.
     
  6. iBunny thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2004
    #6
    I want to know about Playback of H.264 Files.

    I Encode Full DVDs with Handbrake into High quality, H.264 Files, sometimes Multiple GB's in size. The Playback is flawless on my iMac Core Duo 2Ghz 2MB with Radeon x1600. I want to know what the playback is like on the mackbooks with the GMA950. Or does it not matter because it is totaly CPU dependant. That is my question.
     
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
  8. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    #8
    That is not true. Most of the video cards out recently by nvidia and ATI have video decoding support built in on the hardware. Esp for the newer H.264 and other popular ones. This is both for Mac and PC. So if your video card doesn't support the hardware decoding, everything is thrown onto the CPU. Which is what is happening on the Macbooks it looks like.
     
  9. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #9
    Are those the GMA 950 though?

    Has Apple enabled hardware acceleration on ATi and nVidia cards?
     
  10. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    #10
    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/video/display/video-playback_7.html

    Video cards today have this video decoding built in on the hardware. Good video cards aren't just for games, contrary to what most people think. See the above link, or ask anyone who does video work. By using the correct driver, everything is 'enabled' as you say. In Mac or Windows. So yes!

    GMA 950 is a pretty crappy chip. It does not support H.264 decoding in the hardware. You can search for it all over google for specs and benchmarks.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=gma+950&btnG=Google+Search

    The video chip in the Apple TV would make an excellent graphics card for the MacBook. I hope they put it in soon...
     
  11. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #11
    That is a good question. I have heard Apple disables those features in it's drivers.

    Could someone with a 7300 play a movies and check CPU usage? It shouldn't go over 20% (In windows it doesn't of course that is when using Purevideo). 50% means you are pegging one of your cores.
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #12
    The ATi X1000 series (R500) and nVidia 7 Series (G7x) had some acceleration for h.264. The ATi HD 2xxx (R600) and nVidia 8 Series (G8x) have even greater capabilities.

    Anandtech has a good review of the CPU usage between the lines as well.

    Anything else you think that I didn't know? :rolleyes:
     
  13. Dustman macrumors 65816

    Dustman

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    #13
    i think people make integrated graphics look worse than it is. probly atleast 75% of the people using laptops and sub $1000 are using intergrated graphics and most of them dont even know the difference. unless you're doing something like playing a hd game or something, then you'll be fine.
     
  14. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #14
    This all doesnt matter because Apple does not enable h.264 decoding in Macs' video cards.

    Anyway, MacBook is more than capable to playback 1080p h.264 with no fps drop. Mine plays 1080's with only 50% CPU usage.
     
  15. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #15
    Why doesn't Apple enable h.264 decoding? It would drop cpu usage down a ton, which is great for battery life.
     
  16. SpaceMagic macrumors 68000

    SpaceMagic

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2003
    Location:
    Cardiff, Wales
    #16
    I just checked CPU usage while playing 1080p on my MacBook 2Ghz

    56% of just one processor :D
     
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    #17
    Well, it wouldn't drop down a ton. There is some very limited support for some stuff that is needed for H.264 decoding, but most of the work is still done in software. And graphics cards don't work exactly without consuming power either.

    If you look at the H.264 standard, and you look at the way that graphics cards are designed to work, you could get the impression that H.264 makes it intentionally hard to use the capabilities of any graphics card.

    (Basically, high end graphics cards do calculations for dozens of pixels in parallel through replicated hardware. These calculations are independent of each other. H.264 has very strong connections between neighbouring pixels. Similar, the texture units in a typical high end graphics card do absolutely the wrong thing for H.264 motion prediction).
     
  18. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    #18
    EEek! You are right!

    There is hardware decoding in the apple tv:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_TV

    Apple could easily put this chip in a Macbook.

    And the ATI chip in the Macbook Pros has lots of nifty hardware decoding built in. Come on, apple! :(
     
  19. sycho macrumors 6502a

    sycho

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    #19
    I don't think it would make a difference on battery life. It will just move the decoding to the GPU, which will then require the power that the processor would have used.
     
  20. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #20

    Purevideo & AVIVO both support Hardware Accelerated h.264 decoding. Yes there are varing levels based on the age of your GPU, but it is there and it does help. Maybe the word ton was too strong. But anything that can help reduce dropped frames is a good thing.
     
  21. diamond.g macrumors 603

    diamond.g

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #21
    But if the power draw of the VPU/GPU is lower than that of the CPU and the CPU's cycles are low due to the offloading then there should be some difference. If the offloading is only partial then it could be worse for battery life. That could be the reason why Apple hasn't enabled it.

    When you guys play H.264 content what is the bitrate you are playing it at? I hear that most systems couldn't handle blueray quality H.264 and am wondering why the response here is different.
     

Share This Page