MB Air + VLC

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by rakumar, May 10, 2008.

  1. rakumar macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
    #1
    I've been thinking about buying an Air as a travelling/coffee shop
    computer for a while. My main hesitation is that I like to use
    my Powerbook to watch TV programs, and some of what I've
    read suggest that the Macbook isn't great with video. Anyone
    have any thoughts on their experience watching video using
    VLC on a Macbook Air?
     
  2. psychofreak Retired

    psychofreak

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #2
    The Air is perfectly capable of playing videos. And you don't need to press return when you want a new line to start :)
     
  3. aveda6 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2008
    #3
    I actually used VLC to watch a movie on my Air last night. I'm relatively new to the VLC program but I installed it a month ago on my mac mini which is connected to my TV. After trying it out on the mini I decided to load it onto the Air. It worked perfectly well. I had originally been using a DIVX player but it was halting periodically. I tried VLC and the same problem was present. It turned out to be the fact that I was streaming over my wireless hard drive connected to my Air Extreme. Once I copied the movie over to the Air's hard drive the halting completely went away. I use the backup drive to store all of my movies due to their size but it's obvious that it may not always be the best to watch straight from that drive. I like the fact that I can sit in bed and watch a movie on a nice screen, albeit with a relatively weak speaker.

    As for the VLC program itself, everything worked as expected.
     
  4. wordy macrumors regular

    wordy

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #4
    VLC is the best program for playing videos on a Mac or PC. It probably supports more formats out of the box than any other app on either platform. VLC also runs great on the Air, since as of 0.9d they added Leopard specific fixes (including a purely superfluous - but really nice - transition effect to and from full screen mode.)

    You should also grab the free Perian plugin for QT, but IMO, VLC is far superior at what it does.

    If you want more than just video/audio playback, check out Miro. I use Miro for it's wonderful subscriptions, but use VLC as my main video app.

    All these apps work great on the Air, and I think the video probs you mentioned are more to do with Flash video than other CODECs.
     
  5. rakumar thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2008
  6. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #6
    "Isnt great with video" means it cant run Motion and Color.

    Video playback is purely CPU-intensive in Mac OS X so Core 2 Duo in Air should have no problems even with H.264 1080p
     
  7. hildegueden macrumors member

    hildegueden

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    #7
    I watched an entire 2h movie with VLC while going in car trip, sitting in the back seat. I started to watch another one, but I fell sleep. Hopefully I close my MBA before that. Great notebook for coffee hours in places like starbucks. By the way, one employee from starbucks came close to me offering me this .. padlocks with a chain, to protect laptops from stealing... Poor girl, she felt very embarrassed since she couldn't find any place in the MBA that allows her to attach the padlock. Useless padlocks for the MBA!!!
     
  8. wordy macrumors regular

    wordy

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #8
    I'd have to disagree. I found 720p to play fine, but there is noticeable stutter when playing most 1080p content I've found. The resolution of 720p is very close to the native resolution on the Air though, so really anything above it is unnecessary.
     
  9. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #9
    Hmm this is strange. I tested a few 1080p h.264 videos from Apple.com on 1.66 ghz Core Duo mini and they played fine. I thought Core 2 duo in MBA would be even faster...

    And what if you occasionaly come across 1080p and you want to watch it on MBA's screen?
     
  10. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #10
    The problem is that the Air will never run at 1.6 or 1.8 GHz for more than a couple of seconds, until it will begin throttling the speed to between 0.8 to 1.2 GHz to conserve battery and run cooler. Basically think of the Air as a 1.2 Ghz computer.

    This can be disabled by running CoolBook that disables this throttling, but on the other hand you need to let the temperature run up to 100 degree Celsius to be able run at 1.8 GHz for extended periods of time. Eventually it will put itself to sleep when it get too warm.
     
  11. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #11
    Well if this is true then its very bad. Why do they say its 1.6 or 1.8 ghz then?

    What about running from AC power?
     
  12. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #12
    Well technically it's still able to run at 1.8 Ghz for short periods of time. Enough to load a webpage for example. Not sure if it's false advertising though. I'm not sure if this or the fact that the SSD is only 60 GB in stead of 64 GB is worse.

    Running on AC power doesn't change anything.
     
  13. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #13
    At least they have a remark on the specs page about actual formatted hard drive capacity being less...
     
  14. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #14
    It's moot, since unformatted capacity is still 60 GB.
     
  15. silverblack macrumors 68030

    silverblack

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    #15
    I think there is some misunderstanding about throttling. Yes, your cpu does try to operate at a lower frequency to conserve power whenever possible; i.e., when cpu-intense tasks are not performed. However, it will jump back to 1.6 or 1.8 GHz whenever it's needed. Try running Handbrake to rip a movie, it'll stay at the max freq for the entire ripping.
     
  16. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #16
    Believe me, I have researched this thoroughly, even written a kernel driver that monitors the dividers: Throttling
     
  17. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #17
    In Windows XP I had no problem running at 1.6 Ghz for longer periods with 100% CPU usage. Yes it does get hot, but not so hot that it caused problems.

    I don't believe it would not run for longer periods at 1.6 Ghz in OS X.
     
  18. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #18
    How did you check that it was running at 1.6 GHz?
     
  19. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #19
    Rmclock. http://cpu.rightmark.org/products/rmclock.shtml It alllows undeclocking and undervolting in Windows.

    Ps. In OS X I would assume when I run Air of the powersupply and set to operate at ' better performance' it would run at 1.6 Ghz. But I have never checked it.
     
  20. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #20
    I used rmclock originally to find this problem, so maybe your Air is better. I will boot into XP later and do a screenshot of the problem so we can confirm that you are looking at the same place in rmclock.
     
  21. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #21
    Yeah cool.

    CPU clock is also displayed in my taskbar. By tweaking Rmclock I would run at 1.2Ghz when on battery and 1.6Ghz when on main power.
     
  22. wordy macrumors regular

    wordy

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto
    #22
    Sure you can. What I meant was that 1080p's dimensions are 1920x1080, whereas the Air's native resolution is 1280x800, which is much closer to the resolution of 720p (1280x720).

    I found that 1080p isn't that smooth on the Air (both models) after trying it at the apple store. 720p is just fine though.
     
  23. Beliyaal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2008
    #23
    Check out this screenshot in XP that shows Prime95 running on both cores resulting in a small bump of speed to 1.8 GHz promptly being lowered to 1.2 GHz. Could you provide a comparable screenshot?

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Philflow macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    #24
    It seems like you have not set your management and profiles to run at maximum performance. Did you?
    If you did not, you need to do this manually in 'profiles' and 'management'.

    72 degrees is not that hot I believe, it's not necessary that it turns down the clock speed at that moment afaik.

    How do I maike a creenshot without a printscreen button?

    Edit: I've been playing around with Prime95 and you are right, it throttles down to 1,2Ghz many times, wether I want it or not . It seems like previously I was not causing enough load to notice it.
     

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