Powerbook powerful enough for H.264

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by snackcakeofd00m, May 2, 2005.

  1. snackcakeofd00m macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    Well today i was listening to the "This Week In Tech" Podcasts and Leo Laporte mentioned that he downloaded a HD H.264 movie trailer off of Apple's Website and he said that his Powerbook could hardly handle the trailer. I was looking into getting a Powerbook and I need to know from you guys if vids in HD H.264 video format will play on a Powerbook without killing the system or not playing at all?
  2. miloblithe macrumors 68020


    Nov 14, 2003
    Washington, DC
    A brand new 1.5Ghz 12" Powebook cannot run a 720 vertical pixel H264 video without skipping. As for a 1.67Ghz with a Mobility 9700, I'd imagine it'll be a closer, but still skip.

    My 1.0Ghz eMac, on the other hand, wasn't even close. Some skips were like two second long. The powerbook at least would only skip for fractions of a second.
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    People keep posting this...
  4. ColoJohnBoy macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2003
    Denver, Colorado
    The G5 must make a huge difference. I have a pimped out 15" PowerBook and even then it skips. Kind of disappointing :( It looks great nonetheless.
  5. snackcakeofd00m thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    o well i think it is still worth it to buy a powerbook.
    it is not the worst thing in the world if i can not run the vids perfectly. Just for the hell of it i will check the performance out at my local mac store by playying Hd video and see how it looks.
  6. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    It might not be a processing power issue, it could very well be a bandwidth issue.

    The G4 does not go much faster than 1GB/s sustained -- no telling how much this codec is passing back and forth.
  7. evilpenguin21 macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2002
    No apple laptop has any chance of playing those videos, I tried it on a top of the line TiBook. You need some serious processing power to decode video of that high quality. I'll be surprised what PC's can play it when the windows version comes out. I'm hoping my P4 3 ghz can handle it, but you never know.
  8. wheezy macrumors 65816


    Apr 7, 2005
    Alpine, UT
    Skipping along...

    Much to my sadness, but along with my understanding, my 1Ghz 12" with 1.25 GB RAM couldn't handle a full HD clip, it skipped quite a bit. the Video Capture option in H.264 in QT Pro worked like a champ, taking a hands down better quality clip than MPEG 4...but, the HD stuff is just too much, which is understandable...my PB wasn't built for HD. Just makes me want to get a G5 tower all the more!
  9. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    No offense but unless you mean AlBook it would be laughable to try HD video on a TiBook.

    I'm curious to see how mine performs now...
  10. evilbert420 macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002

    It's not so much that the Powerbook can't handle HD. It's that the Powerbook can't handle this particular codec. The H.264 codec is pretty amazing in that it can create high-quality HD with small file size. However, to properly encode/decode it takes a whopper of a CPU.

    Think about it.. you can get HD video over normal cable, streaming on demand to your cable box. Certainly your HD cable box isn't a $2000+ piece of equipment.

    Other HD codecs give you much better performance, but at the cost of rather large file sizes.
  11. blackpeter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2001
    Exactly. Took the words right out of my mouth. Somehow, this fact hasn't worn any of the luster off of my 2.5 month old 1.67 AlBook. But, then again, I frequently use my buddy's 1Ghz 17" and it won't even ripple Dashboard widgets.
  12. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    I just watched the Kingdom of Heaven trailer in full, actual-size, HD glory. It ran fine by my standards, quite beautifully in fact. Only a few scenes seemed to skip frames, and you'd really have to be looking for it. This was with no other apps open, a fresh restart and highest performance on.

    For the top setup I wouldn't expect much less, but HD seems totally doable on the current PBs.

    This looks like an amazing movie, btw...
  13. groovebuster macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2002
    3rd rock from the sun...
    Now we know why a HD PowerBook didn't see the light so far... the G4 just can't handle the decoding part well enough.

    So no HD PowerBook before a major architecture change for the PowerBooks... the rumors about it were just wishful thinking so far.

  14. snackcakeofd00m thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 30, 2005
    so if i get the 12 inch powerbook 1.5 G4 i will get only some skipped frames if i play the vids with no other apps open. If this is the case i dont mind. i do not mind losing a couple frames for the portability powerbook
  15. freddy11 macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2003
    Twin Cities, Minnesota
    I would give them a try no matter what system you have, the 720p versions played without skipping on my 1ghz 17" imac. The 1080i ones were not even close to playing. Remember the specs say for best performance you need a G5.
  16. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Like others have said. the Powerbook can handle HD, just not THAT codec verry well. It has to do with the compression, and the type of processing required to decode the data stream.
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Here is a table of some people replies on their ability to handle the trailers
  18. dvdiva macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2005
    Looks like the limit really is the CPU more than any thing else. Guess the only computer I have that can handle it is my Xeon pc. Feel bad for those with brand new pimped out powerbooks though.

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