H.264 Hardware Decode - Possible on 8600M GT?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ptyger, Jan 29, 2009.

  1. Ptyger macrumors member

    Ptyger

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    Knoxville, TN
    #1
    I was wondering this because the specs for the graphics chip on NVIDIA's site (http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_8600M_fbs.html) state that this chip is capable of hardware decode of H.264 video, among others.

    I also know the Unibody MBPs that came out late last year have a different build of Leopard that accomplishes this. If the GPU is capable of it, is it possible to enable, or is it already doing so?

    I guess I'm not really concerned if it isn't, but I've been watching a lot of Hi Def TV shows in iTunes, and it made me curious. Thanks!
     
  2. jfriedman8 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    From what I have gathered, currently leopard cannot offload h 264 encoding to the GPU. At the present, it heavily relies on the CPU to do all of the encoding, and the GPU plays a small role if any. However, the development of Snow Leopard is said to be able to have the OS offload to the GPU and not rely solely on the CPU. I'm not sure, but I would think if the software is written a certain way to use the GPU, it can? From my use with programs like Handbrake and DVD Fab on the windows side, its all CPU intensive. Are you speaking about encoding certain videos or playback though? Hope that helps.
     
  3. Ptyger thread starter macrumors member

    Ptyger

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    #3
    Hmm. I had thought I read somewhere that the new Unibodies (running Leopard, of course) were capable of GPU decode of H.264 files.

    Playback, yes. My MBP runs just as hot watching HD TV shows in iTunes as it does playing World of Warcraft or Spore. It just seems that if the hardware built in is capable of taking some of the burden off of the CPU, then it would make sense to take advantage of this.
     
  4. makowb macrumors member

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    Jan 27, 2008
    #4
    I don't know if the 8600 was given drivers to allow hardware decode, but what jfriedman8 says is incorrect. It has already been established that the unibody macs have hardware decoding. I am using a unibody macbook and my CPU is running 30-50% right now running an HD movie in the background as I type this on Firefox and other apps are running (itunes, colloquoy, etc.)

    I'm pretty sure that hardware decoding is possible with any of the video cards with intel processors if you are using an app that supports it such as VLC or Plex. Quicktime i don't think takes advantage of it in the older macbooks. Also, if you boot into windows Media Player Classic Home Cinema as well as VLC will definitely take advantage of the hardware decoding.
     
  5. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #5
    If it's CUDA, OpenCL compatible, it might have more uses in the future for GPGPU - though thte newer and more powerful the compatible graphics card, the more you'lll see from it with Snow Leopard.
     
  6. Ptyger thread starter macrumors member

    Ptyger

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    #6
    Thanks for the replies. I guess I'll just have to wait for Snow Leopard to see if it takes advantage of this. And it's nice to know that VLC will do hardware decode, I'll have to check it out.
     
  7. jfriedman8 macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I know it matters for playback. Of course your GPU is used when playing HD content. I was just unsure if he meant encoding video as well. Currently, that is a CPU only process unless you have a hardware piece like the elgato h.264 encoder.
     
  8. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

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    #8
    Does VLC really use GPU acceleration in OS X?
     
  9. darwinian macrumors 6502a

    darwinian

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    #9
    My understanding was "no," since the OSS libraries used by VLC don't yet support GPGPU.

    Regarding the 8600, from the info at NVIDIA, I would think that there is no really good technical reason why SL shouldn't support it, Apple has a mixed history on supporting new features on older hardware. While Apple allowed for the people with 802.11n capable chips to upgrade (albeit for that small fee), they did not support new trackpad gestures on 4,1 MBPs, despite their ability to handle them. Snow Leopard *should* support nearly all recent hardware with GPGPU and 8 GB RAM support on many older MBPs, but what Apple will do remains to be seen.

    I'm watching this closely to see whether or not I start considering Linux seriously again; I completely understand the critics of my position that say that Apple only gave what they advertised, and users shouldn't expect more later, but let's be real -- if the hardware is being artificially limited, then a small fee to upgrade the firmware is much more reasonable than just ditching the support altogether.
     
  10. defenestrate211 macrumors newbie

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