My Dual G4's Showing It's Age, Issues Playing HD Quality Video

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Impreza, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. Impreza macrumors member

    Impreza

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #1
    So, recently the anime shows I've been watching are being shown in HD intended for 720p (1280x720). XViD encodes are available in avi format and play okay, but a lot of uploaders are encoding them in mkv with subtitles. Now the issue is that the video slows down, so the audio doesn't even sync. I came to a conclusion that my dual G4 is showing it's age. So, after 4+ years of service, I'm thinking about upgrading. At least I got my money's worth instead of having to build a new computer every 1 1/2 years with a PC.

    Anyhoo, would a Mac Mini be sufficient to play HD videos? Or would I have to get a QuadCore tower? I'm a graphic designer and I already get by with my 17" Powerbook and my dual G4. I don't really do any video editing on Final Cut Pro or do anything crazy, but I also wouldn't mind having the power to do so if it's cost effective to plump down $2500 for a new tower. I'm just doing my once in every 5-years computer upgrade, I suppose. Any suggestions or insight would be great! Thanks!
     
  2. motomac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #2
    It sounds to me like an iMac would better suit you. Sure you could get a $2500 Mac Pro, but if your not doing some really really heavy HDV editing while running multiple huge apps at once and playing wow at the same time, then the Mac Pro may be overkill.

    There are many iMac users on here that edit video, even quite a few that do HD video, and they are having great sucess in doing it also.

    You could get a nice 24" 2.4Ghz iMac with the stock 1 gig ram and 320 HD for about $1700. Then, take $220 and get you a 500gig FW800 external HDD from OWC. Then take $172 and go get a 4 gig ram kit from OWC as well.

    So, for roughly about $2100, you can get a fully loaded gorgeous 24" iMac with 750gigs of HD space (500 of it for storing the HD content) and 4 gigs of ram! Plus you can hookup your existing monitor that you have from your G4 so you will have dual monitors!

    The above setup is exactly what I will be doing within the next 2 weeks.

    Sure you could spend $2500 on a MacPro, but it will still only come with 1 or 2 gigs of ram in the stock configuration, and only 1 250gig HD. You would still have to chunk down another couple hundred for more ram and another internal HD. You would be limited by how much HD vid editing you could do with the stock 250gig drive, and its not recommended that you use the startup drive for saving vids anyway, so you would have to get another drive. Thats why it makes more sense to get the iMac with a small HD and small ram cause the money saved can buy you what you need to be able to edit hours and hours of HD video without issue.
     
  3. motomac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #3
    Forgot to add:

    The newest C2D mac mini will play HD fine, but only if you have installed the max 2 gigs of ram in the machine and you pretty much have nothing else running at the same time. You could still have problems however because of the pathetic GMA950 64MB video card thats in there. What a joke.
     
  4. Super Macho Man macrumors 6502a

    Super Macho Man

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    #4
    motomac, why would you recommend a video editing setup when the poster specifically said he/she was not planning on doing video editing?

    This is not true. No computer needs 2GB of RAM to play HD video in any format. Why would it? All it has to do is stream it off the disk (<2MB/sec at most - easy) and decode it. Not only will it play HD fine, but it will do so with plenty of CPU to spare. Even a C1D Mac Mini will play HD fine. Hell, even a 1.42GHz G4 Mini will play 720p/1080i MPEG-2, although at around 90% CPU utilization.

    All of this is without any GPU acceleration. The video card is not even a factor. The GMA950 will work fine. The Radeon 9200 in the G4 Mac Mini will work fine.
     
  5. Impreza thread starter macrumors member

    Impreza

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm leaning towards a 24" iMac in the future and saving up my pennies. I was just wondering if a C2D Mac Mini would suffice for playing HD videos. I'll probably do video editing, but most likely on Final Cut, but it won't be often. However, it'd be nice to be able to do some stuff whenever my friends and I get in our creative zones and come up with a fun project. I just don't want a machine that bounces and skips frames on HD video and eats up more processing power than I'd like.
     
  6. Genghis Khan macrumors 65816

    Genghis Khan

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2007
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #6
    I agree with motomac except i'd upgrade to 2.8 GHz processor as well for $250

    but if your problem is that your dual g4 mac is getting slow, any iMac will do:)


    EDIT: If you want to get MacPro...
    2.0GHz Quad Core
    1GB RAM (upgrade to whatever from 3rd party supplier whenever you want)
    750GB HDD
    2x256MB Graphics
    Bluetooth and airport

    i think that comes in at a few hundred under $3k before RAM
     
  7. Impreza thread starter macrumors member

    Impreza

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #7
    Are the slot DVD-drives still quirky? At one of my old jobs where I used a previous gen iMac G5, sometimes the disc would get stuck in the drive and it'd take eternity and many tries hitting eject to get the disc out. That's my main concern. I suppose with the two IDE hard drives I have on this machine can be daisy chained onto multiple firewire hard drive enclosures.

    My dual G4 was my very first Mac I've ever owned and it's outlasted any PC I've ever built prior to that. Best $2500 I've ever spent, well, next to my 17" Powerbook that I bought 2 years later.
     
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #8
    Avoid .mkv like the plague.

    Even on an Intel Mac playback of h.264 in VLC or Quicktime via Perian is flaky.
     
  9. Impreza thread starter macrumors member

    Impreza

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #9
    It's hard when the fansubbers keep encoding Gundam 00 on HD with soft subbed mkv files. =/
     
  10. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    It is but I haven't found a solution in OS X.

    Using .mkv for encapsulation in addition to the h.264 overhead is choking in playback in OS X.

    I haven't found a solution myself. I remember VLC having problems back in the 0.82 era but some of those were resolved until you hit HD resolutions.

    I'm glad I stumbled upon this thread. You'd probably end up with a new Mac and no gain in playback.
     
  11. misfit356tsw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #11
    I currently own a CD 1.66 GHZ Mini. Trust me it plays 1080P video using only 30% of CPU. I love my baby Mini and would never trade it for and I-Mac. The only thing that holds it back is when I play LOTR online at 1680/1050, and even then it just studders a bit. It is also the only time I hear the fan.
     
  12. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #12
    Do you have experience with h.264 in .mkv?
     
  13. misfit356tsw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    #13
    No but I'm dying to try a new encoding format for fun. I'll try it and report back.
     
  14. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #14
    I'm playing Gundam 00 (720p h.264 in .mkv) from Conclave & Mendoi in VLC 0.86c just fine on my MacBook.

    I've only lost a few frames when seeking.
     
  15. lampdeskchair macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    #15
    Here's a suggestion, get one of the current refurbished Mac Pro's when Penryn is released. Refurbished a 2.66ghz Mac Pro in a few months will drop to around 1800 once new tech replaces it I'd bet. I assume you already have a monitor keyboard/mouse right?

    I think that would be the best choice for you, would last longer then an imac yet cost about the same. Has expandability, and you're not locked down to your integrated monitor. Mac Mini is limited to 2gb of ram and STILL has the GMA950 and would be about 5-800 dollars cheaper then the next mac pro yet still be total overkill for you.

    You would get a lot of life out of it.
     

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