When did this happen? 1080p full playback on old intel mac minis?! w/950 video cards

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by idunnokyd, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. idunnokyd, Aug 18, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012

    idunnokyd macrumors newbie

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    #1
    I have a 2007 1.83 core duo mac mini 2GB ram 5400rpm 500gb hard drive running Snow Leopard. It was laying around unused for a few months so i decided to run software updates on it and found impressive performance results!

    As a benchmark, I try to go on youtube to see if HD playback had gotten any better. To my surprise, it played back a 1080p music video "almost" flawlessly. There might have been a few dropped frames, but as far as I could tell it wasn't much.

    I then downloaded a 1080p trailer for "the dark knight" and Holy *****, that played back flawlessly too.

    Next I played some 1080p full bluray .mkv rips using VLC... which worked too! Next came full bluray .mp4 rips using quicktime and same results... flawless playback!

    WTF... when did this update happen?

    I have an older 2006 mini with an SSD installed and it too has almost flawless playback.

    Can anyone else confirm? ...update your apple, vlc, and flash software before you test and let me know. :confused:
     
  2. Omnius macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    the older minis have had 1080p support for ages. They just used analog output.
     
  3. yekim macrumors newbie

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    #3
    That sounds pretty cool.

    I have two mini's, the most current and the one before that but I cant get either of them to reach the right resolution on any lcd tv that I plug them into. I used HDMI for connection and no matter what tv I checked, I couldnt get 1920x1080 as they are supposed to get.

    I even took a mini to best buy and tried it a bunch of tv's, different brands, sizes, etc. but all with 1080p but no luck. It did work fine hooked up to a monitor but the reason I have mini's is to hook it up to tv's in various rooms without tying it to a monitor!

    It is really annoying! Is this a common mini issue? Any ideas?
     
  4. idunnokyd, Aug 18, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012

    idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Um... yes, older Mac Mini's have always had support for 1080p display resolutions and up to 1920 x 1200 (analog or digital), BUT they could never fluidly playback 1080p content.

    Um... no, Intel Mac Mini's output only digital video signals through their DVI port. The DVI to VGA adaptor converts the digital signal to analog for VGA capable peripherals.

    2006-2008 Mac Mini's, until recently, never had the capability of successfully decoding 1080p video streams effectively without extra decoding hardware (such as Broadcom's Crystal HD mini-pcie using Plex or XBMC.)

    The ability to flawlessly stream 1080p youtube videos, playback full 1080p .mkv bluray rips, playback 1080p .m4v apple trailers, etc... without stutters or frame loss is totally something new.

    WINDOWS 7 CAN'T even do this running on the same hardware. THIS is something NEW... maybe... I have a 2006 and 2007 mac mini which now does this. They weren't capable of flawless 1080p playback even a few weeks ago but something has changed recently. I'm trying to figure out what.
     
  5. idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    No it's not... especially for either the 2010 or 2011 mini's. Are you going directly from Mini to TV? ...using a HDMI cable? ...because either mini should be able to detect your TV/Monitor's default display resolution and ... well work.

    I'd be happy to help but I need more details.
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    2006-2007 Mac Mini's have a DVI-I port that can output analog S-Video, VGA, and digital DVI signals. The DVI-VGA adapter is only a physical adapter that changes the port to a VGA port.

    My 2006 Mac Mini has been able to decode 1080p video for the past five years. Even on 10.4.7, it worked just fine. Even streaming media has always worked without a problem.

    When I did run Windows XP Media Centre edition and Windows 7 Media Centre it could decode 1080p video just as well as any version of Mac OS X. Nothing has changed with the software on the Mini. No magic Apple fairy dropped by and put in a new chip. They have always been able to do this. Not a new thing at all.

    Don't believe me? Put Tiger back on it with its restore discs and play a 1080p video with VLC or Quicktime.
     
  7. idunnokyd, Aug 18, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012

    idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    Yes, ...in the original discussion I meant the Mini ONLY sends the display signal digitally. It is up to the end peripheral (display, tv, whatever, etc...) to decode the signal. Although the port is changed through the type of adaptor connected (thus changes the the type of signal), the mini does not do any of the conversion. It is up to the display, tv, etc... to decipher the signal being received. For instance, a monitor has several different types of input. It is expected to receive digital/analog signals dependent on the type connection being used. That is why we have HDMI, DVI, VGA, DisplayPort, S-Video, etc... connections on Monitors/TV's. The hardware in the displays always do the conversion so that the Mini's don't have too.

    I may have used the word "decode" incorrectly. Yes, decode means that you can read and decipher the video correctly and could re-encode video to suite your needs... but in this context I was conveying the term to mean the ability to flawlessly playback a 1080p decoded video file.

    Yes, I agree. Please see my understanding with "decode" above. Again, my issue is with video playback.

    Nope. 1080p video playback, until recently, has never really worked on 2006-2008 mac mini's. Please see the following on why people have been going with Broadcom's Crystal HD (High Definition Decoder Chip) & Plex or XBMC for that reason:

    http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/32948-broadcom-crystal-hd-plex-laika-it-works/

    http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=120952

    As an aside, references to the poor quality of 1080p playback issues with the older Mac Mini's have been scrubbed off of search engines... (I'll try later to gather more references, but the 2 links above further detail the issues I have been dealing with the past few years on trying to smoothly playback 1080p videos from older Macs/Windows machines with the Intel GMA 950 video cards)
     
  8. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #8
    VGA signal is a composed of separate RGB signals. Each of those signals is composed of a wire that has a variance of voltages to tell the receiving device where on the scree to place a pixel of the colour. The RGB signal is like an FM radio wave. Going up and down to transmit the information. This is analog. DVI does a similar thing with voltage variations, but the voltage is either off or on. Never half way or one third the way. Because it is a digital signal composed of ones and zeros. The 2006-2007 Mac Mini's video out port is able to output in both the radio wave kind and the ones/zeros kind. The adapter itself has no chip in it that translates from one to another. Only converters have those. If you were to manually put a VGA cable's wires into the corresponding holes on a 2006-2007 Mac Mini's video port, it'd work because it is putting out an analog signal.

    I've been playing back 1080p media on my 2007 Blackbook (same internals as 2007 Mac Mini) since I got it and my 2006 Mini. Both came with Tiger and did it just fine. Even streaming media worked without a problem. The only instance where it wouldn't work is possibly on the 1.5Ghz Core Solo Mini. Playback, decode, use which ever word you like. All I know is I can double click on a Blu-ray rip and my Mini will play it in QuickTime 7 without a problem and I have been since the day I got both of them. So will my Blackbook, except its screen isn't 1080p. Apple has issued no updates for Snow Leopard in the past few months. Nothing in the operating system has changed.
     
  9. idunnokyd, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012

    idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    I'll (UGH...) concede... because it's too over my head BUT where is the "converter" in your explanation? I always thought the converter in this scenario was in the display. Also, there are no "VGA corresponding holes" on the Mini... only DVI (which is one way output)

    Okay... I'm not trying to call anyone out on the issue at all... For this topic, I was just pleasantly surprised that every 1080p video file I through at my Mini's played really well whereas it didn't before... even as resent as a few months ago.

    You've mentioned you had a Blackbook. I guessing that is a regular black colored Macbook with an Intel x3100 integrated graphics card. If so, it is superior than the 2006-2008 Mac Mini's integrated graphics. The Intel x3100 is 1 generation ahead of the Intel GMA 950 which was plagued with issues (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_GMA#GMA_950_on_Windows

    Anyways... Intel Mac Minis never had the x3100 integrated graphics you've owned, and the Intel GMA 950's are known to NEVER playback 1080p videos smoothly. Also, playing an 1080p video on anything less than a 1080p capable display cannot validate your stance further.
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #10
    The first few generations of Macbooks (some of which had black bodies) had Intell GMA 950 graphics. Mine is one of them. I've used it connected to an external 1080p TV over HDMI before to watch 1080p content. In fact, I'm watching something on it now and its own screen is showing me iTunes things.

    Even my Dell Mini 9 with a 1.66Ghz Intell Atom and the GMA 950 can play a 1080p video over VGA without a problem. It can do this when running Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu 12.04, and Mac OS X 10.6.8. It's GMA 950 doesn't even run at the stock speed of 400Mhz, it runs at 250Mhz due to the fanless design of the machine.
     
  11. idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    First, you can't connect VGA to HDMI without a costly converter. 1080p content/video has not been playable with the Intel 950 chipset since ever (until recently anyway)!

    Dude... I'm just asking a question because of prior experience... that the intel 950 chipset was never able to display 1080p video smoothly until recently. I've owned lots of apple products with various configurations and I KNOW that THIS CHANGE IS RECENT.

    Screw it!... if you can tell me that the original MacBook Air (with an X3100 and SSD) played back 1080p content smoothly I'd believe you:rolleyes:
     
  12. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #12
    Macbooks have a mini-DVI connection. I've used a mini-DVI to HDMI adapter to play 1080p content on my TV. My Dell Mini 9 has played 1080p over VGA to a 1080p projector whilst running it at a resolution of 1920x1080. I've worked on, setup, and owned many computers with Intell GMA 950 graphics from netbooks to desktops. Most of them could play 1080p content without a problem. The few that couldn't had an extremely slow CPU that inhibited it.

    I know what you are asking. And I'm answering you by stating that nothing has changed. Apple hasn't updated the GMA 950 kexts since 10.6.2. Even Lion uses the same GMA 950 kexts. There is no logical explanation why it would just start working without an update, other than its always worked. As I've seen my machines do since the say I go them.
     
  13. idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Okay... Again it's just an exploratory question of mine since full 1080p content has never worked for me until recently, can you explain the need for a Broadcom Crystal HD Decoder for use in Mac Mini's as described in this forum (To solve the stuttering issues with 1080p playback.)
    http://forums.plexapp.com/index.php/topic/32948-broadcom-crystal-hd-plex-laika-it-works/ :(
     
  14. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #14
    Every video player it different. An example is VLC and QuickTime on a PowerMac G4 playing h264 content. While it's the same machine, VLC plays the video well, while QuickTime struggles.

    Plex/XBMC may not have has a good video decoder at the time that thread was created and the result was seen when playing more heavy media. Maybe it has a better one now. Was there an update to it recently? VLC and QuickTime/iTunes are what I have always used to play my 1080p content with VLC using ever slightly less CPU cycles than QuickTime or iTunes.
     
  15. idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #15
    I agree that every video player is different and renders video in different ways/times, however, I'd just want to go back to the baseline I used for my "test" with youtube's 1080p streaming content and the full .mkv, .m4v "rips" I've done with bluray.

    I have never seen Snow Leopard play flawless 1080p like it does today. I again double checked this with full bluray rips of mine. In all cases, they played flawlessly. What do you use?

    What did you use to establish your "baseline" both in the past and very recent?
     
  16. idunnokyd, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012

    idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Okay.... we've both presented 2 subjective claims regarding the early Intel mac mini's ability to playback 1080p videos, however, I've provided 2 links that state otherwise. Can you supply any resources to backup your claims? I want to believe you, however, you haven't given me any other alternatives to do so otherwise.

    ...
     
  17. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #17
    YouTube's 1080p streaming is actually 720p regardless of what the player states it as being. To play the actual 1080p video, you have to download it from the YouTube site. In the past I've used Blu-ray rips done on a Windows machine. I still have some of those rips and use them as a baseline for most things. I've also started using videos my 4S takes. Playing the iPhone 4S videos in Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, and Lion on my Macbook via a 1080p TV all preform the same with no problems.

    These users of Boxee are able to play 1080p media well on early Intell Mini's: http://forums.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=2154&
    Users in this Apple thread have had both good and bad experiences playing 1080p media, with the majority have good: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/565893?start=0&tstart=0
    This Macworld review of the first generation Intell Mac Mini's states that the 1.66Ghz CoreDuo can play 1080p media well, while the 1.5Ghz CoreSolo drops a few frames: https://www.macworld.com/article/1049772/macmini.html
     
  18. idunnokyd, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012

    idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #18
    Do you have your Black Macbook? or an era 2006-2008 Intel Mac Mini with the Intel 950 chipset? If so, please see if you can view 1080p youtube vids w/out loss of frames.

    ...in the meantime, I'll check you resources.
     
  19. idunnokyd thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #19
    Did you even read what you linked too? Or how it even compares to today's streaming or 1080p playback needs?

    Can you just try Youtube with 1080p content on your machine and let us know how it is?

    I have "discovered" something, and just wanted to confirm the findings. Can anyone with a mac w/intel GMA 950 confirm/deny otherwise?

    I don't need anyone knee-jerking... just because.
     
  20. yekim macrumors newbie

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    #20
    I am using HDMI to HDMI on TV. Each mini has HDMI so just using that!

    I will appreciate the help for sure! Thanks!
     
  21. Omnius macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Thank you for providing a better detailed version of what I said. I could not have explained it that well.

    ----------

    I've run high def content flawlessly on my 2007 mac mini. Aside from the fact that it gets hot when ripping some hd movies, it has always been capable of handling 1080p content.
     
  22. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #22
    I have both and both have a GMA 950. YouTube 1080p streaming videos are not good baseline media. They stream at 720p and are very dependent on the internet connection.

    The 2006-2009 Mini's did not have a HDMI port. This thread is about the 2006-2007 Mac Mini's.
     
  23. yekim macrumors newbie

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    #23
    Sorry, wrong thread then! I will see if I can find another thread that talks about the same issues. On that note, I do have a mini dvi to hdmi connector coming so I can try that to see if it will give me 1080p.
     
  24. Omnius macrumors 6502a

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    It absolutely will. Regardless of whether you mean actual mini dvi or if you mean thunderbolt. Both will produce full 1080p hd.
     
  25. bAdNitro macrumors member

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    #25
    Not taking sides here, but has anyone in this thread even entertained the idea of a media player having a server side upgrade? (or something similar where they upgrade their stuff and the end user doesn't have to)

    You've both already agreed that different players perform differently on the same machine. Maybe it was the player that got updated.


    Just saying, seems pointless to argue on a forum about something as insignificant as this. Congratulations, your video playback is better than before. Absolutely NO reason to try and prove otherwise.


    Glad you can playback 1080p without a hitch now. Just enjoy it lmao and stop arguing on the interwebs :p:rolleyes:
     

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