H264 Hardware Decoding on Lion/Plex

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Lion (10.7)' started by Scorpio12345, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Scorpio12345 macrumors member

    May 3, 2008
    Dear all,

    I was thinking of springing for one of those new Macbook Airs, but I'm a little worried about the Intel HD 3000 graphics. I don't care at all about gaming on it, but what I do care about are 1080p videos in a variety of H264 containers. The previous generation nVidia 320M was compatible with the VDA decoder h264 hardware acceleration framework which when enabled in apps such as PLEX, would bring down CPU usage for even high-bitrate 1080p videos significantly for nVidia graphics cards.

    According to the official framework page for the VDAdecoder:
    http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#technotes/tn2267/_index.html Intel HD graphics are on the list. Does anybody with a Macbook Pro/New Macbook Air with Intel HD graphics know if hardware acceleration is in use in Plex and other apps in Lion?

    Thanks for your help!
  2. MonkeyCookie macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2008
    From what I understand from reading through the Plex documentation, Plex will use GPU hardware acceleration for decoding h.264 video when playing it on the TV, but the Plex media server does not use it when transcoding. That means a computer with a Plex client would benefit from the hardware acceleration (and I suspect the Intel graphics would be sufficient), but computer that was only serving as a Plex media server wouldn't have any significant benefit from the GPU, as all the work is done by the CPU.

    Also, Plex is not all that memory-intensive, so a media server with 2 GB of RAM is probably sufficient.
  3. Jimmdean macrumors 6502

    Mar 21, 2007
    The platform reviews for Sandy Bridge & 3000 graphics indicate it is particularly suited for 1080P/H.264 use - even more so than some dedicated graphics cards. The Anandtech review of Sandy Bridge in particular pushed it in that area to see what it could do. I have no doubt at all in its ability to be an excellent Plex box.
  4. gentlefury macrumors 68030

    Jul 21, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Recent benchmarks for the 13" MBA are showing performance gains over last gen MBP....shouldn't be a problem!

    Nvidia 320 is a crap gpu anyway!

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