Mac Pro as 4K mediacenter

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Fesan, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. Fesan, Jun 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

    Fesan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #1
    Greetings,

    I just got a 4K TV and thought Id throw a decent graphics card (gtx 980, overkill i know, had one laying around) in my old 3.1 Mac Pro and use it as a mediacenter.

    I downloaded a few 4K videos and fired them up in VLC.

    To my surprise the playback was pretty choppy.

    Have anyone any experience with playing 4K videos from a 3.1?

    Is the machine just too slow or are there fixes I can do?

    If 3.1 is too slow would getting a 5.1 instead work? Sole purpose is to stream and view 4K MKV files.

    Running os x from an ssd and got plenty of ram (32gb).

    *edit* 8 core 2,8ghz
     
  2. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
    #2
    I've never tried playing 4K on a 3,1, but on my 5,1, 4K plays fine with VLC.
     
  3. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
  4. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    New York City, NY
  5. Fesan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
  6. vasuvasu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    #6
    I can playback 4k fine in VLC on a 3,1 2.8ghz 8-core. If anything's choppy, you can mess with VLC's advanced video decoding options and trade some decode precision for speed. I think there's also some experimental hardware decoding settings to can enable (if they aren't already)

    Another option is, as long as these files are in an MP4/M4V container, you can play the back in Quicktime with full hardware decoding.
     
  7. scott.n macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2010
    #7
    I meant the OP.

    I've read in these forums before (think it was in posts from MVC) where different 2009-10 processor configurations gave very different 4K playback results. Could be the case with your 2.8 speed and older CPU generation.

    Also, isn't there an issue with running certain GPUs in slot 1 of the 2008 MP? Maybe you could install in slot 2 and see if there is any improvement.
     
  8. Fesan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #8
    Thanks a bunch, ill try this aswell as vlc settings:)
     
  9. CapnDavey macrumors 6502

    CapnDavey

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    #9
    I downloaded a few from youtube they played fine in quicktime on my 06 mac pro ati 4870 512 meg go figure.
     
  10. Fesan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #10
    Moved graphics card but didnt help.

    Only setting i found in vlc that seemed to help was post-processing quality under input/codecs, changed from default 6 to 2 helped some but still choppy. The larger files (full length movies of around 22gigs) are still totally unplayable.

    If you did change settings yourself mind letting me know the excact name of the option you changed?

    Ill try a few other 4k players later and see if there is any difference.
     
  11. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #11
    Sell older Mac pro on eBay and buy a Nuc enjoy a little extra money in the pocket now and little more every month after in power savings? :oops:
     
  12. nigelbb macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    #12
    I know if all you have is a hammer then everything looks like a nail but a Mac Pro 3,1 really isn't the right tool to be using for a Media Centre playing 4K video. By all means keep the 4K video files on the Mac Pro somewhere on the home network but please use a dedicated box like a Roku 4 or Amazon Fire TV 4K to actually play the files. Either of these will cost a fraction of the price of that GTX980 & will play the files smoothly & perfectly & have a nice remote to control playback.
     
  13. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #13
    It is almost inconceivable to me that a 3,1 Mac Pro can't do a simple playback of a 4k video file. And the fact that @vasuvasu can indicates to me that something is wrong with OP's setup.

    If you have a spare hard drive, I'd install another OS clean and try it there, just to eliminate software issues.

    What OS are you using? If OSX, are you using the web drivers?
     
  14. Fesan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #14
    Its a clean install of El Capitan with latest nvidia web drivers. I agree it seems very weird.

    The reason i am using this setup is that its what i had of spare parts and thought there is no way this isnt good enough:p
     
  15. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #15
    Try MplayerX, Not sure which codec you try to play, but if that's H265, MplayerX usually can do better on my 4,1.
     
  16. Fesan, Jun 15, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016

    Fesan thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2010
    #16

    Thanks, mplayerx played it flawlessly. Even the big 22 gig ones that were one big laggy mess in vlc.

    Something dead wrong with the vlc codec apparently! Its like night and day. Thanks to everyone who replied. Hopefully this thread can be helpfull to others planning on using old mac pro's for media center purposes:)

    *edit*

    Turning on "image enhancement" in mplayerx makes it pretty choppy so probably some setting in vlc that could remove the problem, but i never found said setting.
     
  17. dmylrea macrumors 68000

    dmylrea

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    #17
    Count on your electric bill skyrocketing leaving the Mac Pro 3,1 on 24 hours a day (if you plan on leaving it running). My 4,1 easily consumes >200W just idle.

    In comparison, my new Dell Optiplex 7040 Quad Core Skylake i7 with tons of storage uses 25W. Something more modern might pay for itself in energy savings.

    Just sayin'... :)
     
  18. Surrat macrumors 6502

    Surrat

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    United States
    #18
    What sizes of ram is in your 3,1 and where are they arranged in the risers.

    If you have the memory fbdimms mixed up in the wrong grouping, they will cripple ram speed on the 3,1.

    The first group of 4 fbdimms is the inner slots of the 2 risers, top two, then bottom two. They all need to match for max speed. Second group is the same using outer sockets. Having a full set of 8 matching fbdimms give max possible ram speed on the 1,1-3,1.
     
  19. benjaprud, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016

    benjaprud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2015
    #19
    One other issue I ran into while playing videos on a 4kTV is that most of these TVs will run at 30Hz maximum on OSX. The difference between the video framerate (24Hz most of the time for HD sources) and the screen's refresh rate creates judder as some frames are displayed twice to match the screen's refresh rate. While this is less noticeable on a 60Hz screen (or more), it definitely becomes annoying (once you've noticed it) as the screen's frequency gets closer to the video framerate.

    One solution is to set your TV to run at 24Hz, but this becomes quite slow for smooth mouse cursor movement or web scrolling, unless you like having a cinematic web experience. One other solution (the one I use) is to run your TV at 30Hz and watch your videos with Plex Home Theater which has an option to automatically match your screen's resolution and refresh rate with the video source. However in your case I'm not sure how CPU hungry is Plex compared to other players.

    It's a bit off topic but I guess anyone willing to watch videos on a 4kTV would want to have the best possible experience.
     
  20. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2014
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    #20
    My TV can only do 4K 30Hz due to only has HDMI 1.4 input. Didn't have any issue on video playback. My be because I am not that picky, and my brain just can't see it.
     

Share This Page