Snow Leopard and MKV/HD lagging - any solution yet? (Macbook 2,1)

Discussion in 'macOS' started by krapidler, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. krapidler macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    I've been trying to find a solution to this since Summer, when I bought SL.

    First of all, my specs:

    OS X 10.6.2
    2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    3 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (3rd party)
    Macbook 2,1 (white) 13"

    I did a clean install of SL.

    Whenever I am trying to play 720p or 1080p .mkv files in the following player:

    VLC (all the recent versions, also older ones, in 32bit and 64bit)
    Mplayer Extended
    Quicktime X with Perian
    Quicktime 7 (Pro)

    playback is lagging like crazy. Sound is ok (but out of sync, obv.), but it's unwatchable due to the lags and artifacts.

    I have gone through mac-forums basic troubleshooting and I tried all of the tricks suggested on the VLC forums.

    Most recent thing I tried: converting to .mp4 with QT 7 Pro and HandBrake, but the conversion would have taken 1 hour, so that's not a solution.

    Oh, and the problem is even worse when playing it on the external 24" screen.

    Since I know that I'm far from being the only one, has anyone found a solution to this yet? Apart from going back to Leopard, of course.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    It might be the graphics card of the MacBook that is not working properly under 10.6.

    I have a 2007 Aluminium iMac with 2.0 GHz and have no problems playing back .mkv files in 720p, whether it was 10.5.8 or now 10.6.2.

    And besides, if the conversion of the file to an .mp4 does only take an hour, how long is the video then? Or do you just rewrap the .h264 video with the .mp4 container, and no re-encoding is involved?
  3. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Hmm, I guess there is no solution to that? Like driver updates or something (since this isn't Windows)?

    Uh, it might have taken longer, IDK, but IMHO, anything longer than 10 minutes of conversion is too long for instant watching.
  4. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
  5. Transporteur macrumors 68030

    Nov 30, 2008
    mkv in addition to VLC is the worst you can do on a Mac. It just sucks.

    I recommend you re-encode your mkvs to m4v using handbrake. You can then play them with QuickTime X, which uses much less power on your machine.
  6. sammich macrumors 601


    Sep 26, 2006
    When you're watching these movies, what is the CPU usage?

    Run XBench with just the hard drive tests. I don't think it's the problem, because there'd be a million other things that would be slower if the HDD was buggered.

    Also, wherever the movie is stored, it needs to be fast enough (again, not likely the problem).

    Other than that, I'm a little stumped.


    I'm with the OP, converting a movie is not an option. Even if it were the last viable option, I'd take first non viable one, and buy a new machine.
  7. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Yeah, as I said, that takes way too much time if you want to watch a movie instantly, no time to sit through a 2-hour-conversion.

    XBench test results:

    The movie is stored on my internal HDD (before: external HDD, thought that was the problem, turned out it wasn't).

    CPU usage with VLC or Quicktime X oscillates between 40 and 80% (couldn't test on my external screen, don't have it with me atm).
  8. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
  9. skottichan macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    Columbus, OH
    Disregard, someone's still learning how to read. -.-
  10. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
  11. G-Force macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2006
    720p mkv should work fine in at least VLC and Movist. QuickTime Player X will not play mkv's smoothly on my 2 GHz/GMA950 MacBook in Snow Leopard.

    Have you tried making a new user account and try it in there? That way you can see if it's something within your own account. Did you try reinstalling your MacBook again (without restoring anything from Time Machine etc.)?
  12. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Ok wow, the new account solution DOES actually work, at least for now and in VLC; I'll have to try with different, bigger and 1080p files. I hope it will stay this way. Thank you a thousand times.

    However, I'm still pissed that even 1080p worked like a charm in Leopard, and now this.
  13. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I'd have put those symptoms down to an upgrade from L to SL, but you said you did a clean install.. was it an actual clean install? Did you format your hard drive?
  14. davegregory macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2009
    Burlington, Ontario
    In my experience, VLC does not do a great job of playing back 1080p movies on the mac. On my 15" MBP (5,1), it still studders sometimes. However, if I play it back in Plex it plays smoothly. Which is kind of annoying, I don't really want to have to run Plex, which is designed for a media centre, to watch a movie on my laptop. Hopefully it gets smoothed out in newer versions of VLC.
  15. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
  16. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    You noticed the problems right away..? Or did it appear after a few days?
  17. durija macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    I've had good luck with Plex and mkv files. But, I had real choppiness and sound issues at first, until I figured out how to change the settings. I'm not in front of either Mac right now, but I think I had to up the allotted memory or the cache size in the Plex preferences. I can even play an mkv on my Dell Mini 9 hackintosh quite smoothly since I did the same there.
  18. krapidler thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 9, 2009
    Don't remember. But now that it seems to work, I'll just go with the "different user" solution until I buy a new computer in 1 or 2 years.

    What exactly did you change? With a new user, it runs more smoothly in Plex than in Quicktime X (Perian) for instance, but less so than in VLC (I also have Chroma, with which it was "the smoothest" with my original User (but still pretty unwatchable), but I don't know where my key is, so I can't try it with that new User).

    What exactly did you change in Plex? Because I've seen advice for changing settings in VLC, but that didn't work for me at all.
  19. G-Force macrumors 6502a

    Nov 25, 2006
    Perian 1.2 has just been released. 720p MKV's actually work great now in QuickTime Player X on my MacBook. :D
  20. AzureCloud macrumors member

    Jun 20, 2009
    I wouldn't think it would be the graphics card causing the issue since GPU accelerated h.264 decoding is only in more recent models, unless Apple has improved their support of older hardware. I would hazard a guess that since the new user trick worked, it must have been something that was installed or brought over from a backup.

    For what it's worth, I have been using the latest release of MPlayer OSX Extended (rev12) and I have no trouble playing 1080p .mkv files (even when streaming over wireless from a NAS). Just be sure to enable multithreaded ffmpeg, and I would set a cache value since it is disabled by default.

    G-Force, thanks for the heads up on Perian 1.2, I'll have to give it a go!

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