Video decoding on a MacBook

captan

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2005
34
0
Those who wish to skim - read the bold text.

This is a MacBook topic - I hope this is orginal enough to warrant a new topic. If not, I apologize. I didn't see any topics which addressed my angle to the "should I buy a macbook-question".

My current mac, which I bought brand spanking new back in 2001, is a Power Mac G4 867Mhz (quicksilver), with 1GB ram and a 128MB Radeon 9800pro, which runs 2 screens @ 1600x1200. I use it mainly for the following tasks:

* Photoshop (painting 50Mpixel images with lots of layers)
* Software development (fifth year at college)
* Watching div-X encoded porn
+ other everyday tasks not woth mentioning

And it has served me well indeed for 5 years now. However lately, I'm starting to see more and more video on the net that I download starting to feature much larger sizes (HD as they call it) and new encoding shemes such as x264, and my mac is starting to have difficulties playing these videos full screen so I have to fall-back on my pc (!) to play them.

I assembled my pc last summer as a "cheap-ass computer to hold down the fort until the new intel macs arrive next year". (and because I needed a WinXP environment for my school work)

PC main specs:
AMD Sempron3000+ running at 1.8Ghz
1GB DDR RAM
128MB Radeon 9800pro
400Mhz FSB

So now I'm finally looking at getting a new mac - and this time I want a portable. I want it to perform at least equally well at the 3 main tasks I use my desktops today and I want it to be able to playback HD-resolution video repectably aswell.

And so I'm looking at my options: the MacBook - my only option - since I think the MacBookPros are too expensive and too big to be portable. So my question is:

Assuming maxed out ram. Is the MacBook able to playback HD-video (720p or 1080p or simply 1600x1200) in full screen mode on an external monitor (such as a tv or LCD) respectably (ie - no lag) when decoding something like x264? Or in other words: how does it compare to my pc in terms of raw video-decoding power?

Also: if you answer the question, I want to know how you know, ie - have you seen a macbook in action doing what I ask for or have you seen an older mac with poorer specs do it or are you just speculating based on the specs of the machine? As my mac is 5 years old I'm very out-of-date as to how much macs these days can perform.

Sorry that I got a little lenghty. Thanx in advance for your help! :D
 

realityisterror

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2003
1,354
0
Snellville, GA
I stopped reading after
captan said:
* Watching div-X encoded porn
I mean come on man... :rolleyes:
Just tell us you watch lots of videos with your computer.

I did skim the rest of your post, and I imagine the MB should be able to play 720p fairly easily, but I can't say about 1080p. That's definitely a grueling task.

edit: Here's Apple's recommendations, thought it doesn't specifically mention anything about Integrated Video. Either way, you'll be able to play 720p fairly cleanly...
 

captan

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2005
34
0
realityisterror said:
I stopped reading after


I mean come on man... :rolleyes:
Just tell us you watch lots of videos with your computer.
Humor doesn't come acress to well over the internet... :rolleyes:

Thanx for the link very informative
 

afornander

macrumors 6502
Apr 5, 2006
286
0
OMG!!

For 1920x1080 (1080p) video at 24 frames per second:

QuickTime 7 for Mac OS X:
Dual 2.0 GHz PowerMac G5 or faster Macintosh computer; 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo or faster
At least 512MB of RAM
128MB or greater video card

QuickTime 7 for Windows:
3.0 Ghz Intel Pentium D (dual-core) or faster processor
At least 1GB of RAM
64MB or greater video card
Windows 2000 or XP

i new that macs could run a lot better than pc's but...WOW
 

FleurDuMal

macrumors 68000
May 31, 2006
1,802
0
London Town
afornander said:
OMG!!

For 1920x1080 (1080p) video at 24 frames per second:

QuickTime 7 for Mac OS X:
Dual 2.0 GHz PowerMac G5 or faster Macintosh computer; 2.0 GHz Intel Core Duo or faster
At least 512MB of RAM
128MB or greater video card
I'm also quite interested in this topic (and no, I didn't find it by searching for 'porn' in the forum search tool :p ).

Where it says "128MB or greater video card", does that mean that if I souped up a Macbook to 2gb RAM, it would satisfy this requirement as the Macbook GM940 (or whatever its called) shares with the system memory? Or have I got this sharing of system memory all wrong?!
 

captan

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2005
34
0
FleurDuMal said:
Where it says "128MB or greater video card", does that mean that if I souped up a Macbook to 2gb RAM, it would satisfy this requirement as the Macbook GM940 (or whatever its called) shares with the system memory? Or have I got this sharing of system memory all wrong?!
Yeah that's what the topic is about allright. My own research comes up with this:

http://www.intel.com/products/chipsets/gma950/ said:
Optimization of System Resources: Dynamic Video Memory Technology (DVMT) 3.0 supports up to 224MB of video memory; system memory is allocated where it is needed dynamically.
and

Apple said:
Memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 80MB, resulting in 432MB of system memory available.
So the GMA950 uses up to 224MB of memory? The real question then is: How does that compare to 128MB on-board dedicated memory on a "real" graphics card?

Wierd that it says minimum is 80MB and not 64MB...
 

DarkFlame

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2007
204
0
So, what is the conclusion to this? Has anyone tried it? I am in the same boat and the only reason I would pay more money (and give up me my 2nd most important feature (portability)) would be to watch x264 hi definition downloads on a an HDTV with adequate sound. Does the 128mb video card make or break this? I def plan on maxing out my macbooks ram regardless, and it would be a brand new black 2.2ghz with leopard.
 

MrXiro

macrumors 68040
Nov 2, 2007
3,845
597
Los Angeles
I've Downloaded 1080 Quicktime files on trailers.apple.com They output to my HDTV just fine it's a Samsung 1080i/720p CRT from a few years back. Hope that helps. I set the resolution as high as I could as well.

Oh and yeah I maxed out my RAM
 

jasonliu

macrumors newbie
Dec 18, 2007
3
0
i've regularly piped h.264 encoded, 720p content from my black macbook to my 1366x768 hdtv at 30 fps with no problems. the fans do spin up when i do this though.

i think i've also done 1080p content but can't be sure. I don't imagine it'll be a problem, especially since my macbook is the last revision. One way for you to know for sure, put some 1080p stuff on a thumb drive, go to an apple store and play it in quicktime and watch the movie info window.
 

DarkFlame

macrumors regular
Dec 21, 2007
204
0
Thanks, I guess 720p will work. If anyone has played 1080p content thru dvi-hdmi with no skipping please let me know, and I am concerned with sound but I am sure that is dependant on the x264 file.

Anyway I guess its better to wait until macworld anyway, I dream everyday about a macbook pro thats 13 inches and thin. I hope they don't cut a lot of its horsepower. I don't care if it costs 2 and half gs, if they can put a powerbook in a macbooks (or smaller) body I would LOVE IT.