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MacRumors had previously reported that the new NVIDIA-based MacBooks and MacBook Pros showed dramatically less CPU usage when playing back H.264 content. The conclusion was that Apple had enabled the use of hardware acceleration for H.264 video playback. H.264 is the video format that Apple encodes all iTunes video content and movie trailers in, so any improvements in playback would benefit a large segment of customers.



Click to enlarge, Left: 1st Gen, Right: 2nd Gen

Based on early testing, it appears that the 2nd generation MacBook Air also delivers performance improvements during playback of H.264 video. One important additional advantage, however, is that this also appears to dramatically decrease heat production in the thin laptop. One of the early complaints about the original MacBook Air was related to overheating during video playback.

Forum member NC MacGuy performed side-by-side H.264 playback testing of a 1st generation 1.6GHz MacBook Air and a 2nd generation 1.86GHz MacBook Air and found a 10 degree difference in temperature between the two models. The lower temperature reflects the fact that the 2nd generation MacBook Air's processor was running at a lower clock speed (800Mhz) than that of the 1st generation (1.4GHz). The new MacBook Air was presumably able to further throttle the CPU speed down since the GPU was now handling much of the H.264 playback.

Article Link: New MacBook Air Improves H.264 Playback, Reduces Heat
 

jahsavi

macrumors member
Oct 3, 2007
92
6
Great to hear, I've noticed my new macbook v2 is cooler as well. Drastic heat difference from my old macbook.
 
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O. Frabjous-Dey

macrumors regular
Dec 6, 2006
131
0
I've been following the MBA forums pretty closely, and from the reports of various owners of the new MBA it sounds like the heat issues have been solved entirely. No more core shutdowns, either, although that might be a side effect of the higher rate of Flash 10 adoption recently.

Information about the battery life/recharge time issues has been scant, though; anyone want to chime in?

Some owners are also reporting a screen issue where tiny, distracting lines are visible from some viewing angles. See the forum for more details.
 
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ghileman

macrumors regular
Feb 4, 2008
148
0
it sounds like the heat issues have been solved entirely

i've had my version MBA 2.0 for four days now. no core shutdowns or any of that stuff. the only heat issue is if you like to lay the MBA directly on your lap and you're sensitive to heat.

i'm sensitive to heat and would prefer that the MBA be cooler on my lap. but it's not a big enough issue for me to make me consider something else. i leave the MBA on my lap for extended times without a problem.
 
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dizastor

macrumors 6502a
Dec 27, 2001
617
10
Los Angeles
Probably a small peek of the direction we should expect Apple to take whe whole OS (kernel up) in Snow Leopard.

I'm pretty excited.

This is great news.
 
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the vj

macrumors 6502a
Nov 23, 2006
654
0
MMmmm.... I do not like that

I mean, the H.264 is a codec basically unknow yet in the mainstream. People use mpg4 or flv actually.

Having hardware acceleration on a Mac will give people the false sense of speed when actually it will run at its real speed on any PC or any other Mac.

So the reality is very different, is basically cheating by helping your own codec via hardware in your own system.

Good it works faster in the Mac Book Air but that is it.
 
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redbird457

macrumors newbie
Feb 24, 2008
4
0
Air v2 vs v1

I replaced my v1 Air with v2. Heat is less, video performance much better and overall performance is noticeably better. Charging time is the same and battery life may be slightly better.

Perfect for me with lots of travel and movies. Rest of time email, Microsoft Office and light Photoshop.
 
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SleepyHead157

macrumors regular
Jun 10, 2008
166
2
thats good news. I sold my first gen macbook air. I loved that thing. I used it everyday, but needed a little more power
 
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zachsilvey

macrumors 6502
Feb 5, 2008
444
3
Battle Ground
could someone point me in the direction of the tool being used to to processor information in the image. It looks like it is called "MSR Tools".
 
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lowbatteries

macrumors regular
Mar 21, 2008
220
3
I mean, the H.264 is a codec basically unknow yet in the mainstream. People use mpg4 or flv actually.

Having hardware acceleration on a Mac will give people the false sense of speed when actually it will run at its real speed on any PC or any other Mac.

So the reality is very different, is basically cheating by helping your own codec via hardware in your own system.

Good it works faster in the Mac Book Air but that is it.

H.264 is MPEG4. H.264 is not Apple's codec. Flash itself supports H.264 so FLV is also not going to be a factor for much longer.

Hardware acceleration for h.264 definitely will creep into a lot more machines than just Apple's - ever hear of Blu-Ray? It's H.264, and if you want your device to be able to play Blu-Ray video discs, hardware acceleration is a must on all but the most powerful machines.
 
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BrianMojo

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2006
185
0
Boston, MA
I mean, the H.264 is a codec basically unknow yet in the mainstream. People use mpg4 or flv actually.

Having hardware acceleration on a Mac will give people the false sense of speed when actually it will run at its real speed on any PC or any other Mac.

So the reality is very different, is basically cheating by helping your own codec via hardware in your own system.

Good it works faster in the Mac Book Air but that is it.

H.264 is a form of MPEG-4...

H.264 is MPEG4. H.264 is not Apple's codec. Flash itself supports H.264 so FLV is also not going to be a factor for much longer.

Hardware acceleration for h.264 definitely will creep into a lot more machines than just Apple's - ever hear of Blu-Ray? It's H.264, and if you want your device to be able to play Blu-Ray video discs, hardware acceleration is a must on all but the most powerful machines.

Just saw this reply. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up. Also, I'm still not quite sure how making a certain codec use less processor power is "cheating" if Apple hasn't even advertised the feature... it's just better use of computing power.
 
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mmccaskill

macrumors 6502
Jan 3, 2007
349
0
I'd love to see H.264 hardware acceleration in my Mac Pro w/ 8800GT. Wonder if this is something hardware specific to the NVIDIA chipsets or something that can be integrated into existing hardware through driver updates.
 
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twoodcc

macrumors P6
Feb 3, 2005
15,307
26
Right side of wrong
wow, seems like the new graphics chip is better than i thought. but i am stuck with the first gen macbook air. but still glad to see the air coming along nicely
 
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beestigbeestje

macrumors regular
May 17, 2007
166
6
Belgium
hardware acceleration

Is hardware acceleration something that only the newer macs will have, or is it something that every mac will have eventually after a software update?
 
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Attilla

macrumors newbie
May 16, 2006
9
0
Does this mean that x264.mkv files are also decoded with the gpu? Because this would solve finally the 1080p playing issues of x264.mkv video's.
 
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Twenty5

macrumors regular
Mar 6, 2008
157
1
Can someone tell me what is the name of the program they use here to record the temperatures and all that?
 
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iphonematt

Guest
Jul 10, 2007
190
0
It looks like they are using MSR Tools. But I'm not sure where to get it. Anyone wanna point us in the right direction?
 
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mosx

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2007
1,465
0
Those of us with PCs that have had this functionality for years finally welcome Apple to the party ;)

I'd love to see H.264 hardware acceleration in my Mac Pro w/ 8800GT. Wonder if this is something hardware specific to the NVIDIA chipsets or something that can be integrated into existing hardware through driver updates.

It's something that all modern GPUs (non-Intel) have had for many years now. It's just a matter of Apple building the support into OS X. Windows has had this kind of functionality since the 90s.
 
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horvatic

macrumors newbie
Nov 29, 2007
16
0
10 degrees difference is not that significant.

I don't see 10 degrees difference is that significant as far as heat is concerned. You certainly wouldn't be able to tell by touch. It's great that they have added hardware acceleration for H.264 though.
 
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prism

macrumors 6502a
Dec 6, 2006
928
209
Those of us with PCs that have had this functionality for years finally welcome Apple to the party ;)



It's something that all modern GPUs (non-Intel) have had for many years now. It's just a matter of Apple building the support into OS X. Windows has had this kind of functionality since the 90s.

If that is true then why dont the earlier macbook pros with the modern GPUs have this functionality? Did Apple make it exclusive to the latest models for marketing purposes? If so, shame on them!
 
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