How Good is YOUR Mac?

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    Posted: 26 June 2009 11:11 AM

    Yesterday John Martellaro had an article about a demo of the power of his Mac Pro

    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/an_incredible_mac_pro_demo_takes_breath_away/

    He was able to run 21 standard resolution videos with no stuttering. This was a fully loaded Mac Pro, the Gold Standard as it were.

    How many can you run? My fully patched 2Ghz, November 2008 MacBook (NVIDIA GeForce 9400M) with 4Gb RAM and OS 10.5.7 can run 6 standard resolution videos at the same time. Seven caused stuttering but 6 was smooth. These were not trailers but full 24 minute episodes of a series.

    So how many videos can your Mac run at the same time without stuttering?

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  • Posted: 26 June 2009 04:29 PM #1

    OK, I’d like to play along, but how can I download the trailers? Do I have to dig them out of the cache? (I just went to Apple’s quicktime trailer site which play right in the browser).

    A quickie here’s where I go would be helpful…

    Thanks

         
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    Posted: 26 June 2009 06:27 PM #2

    I had the same problem With Quicktime Pro you can right click on the trailer and download it, but I don’t have that. That’s why I just used a bunch of videos I downloaded form the web. 24 minute ones work well because you have enough time to get them running without doing the ‘plate spinner act’ thing. I got mine through here.

    http://galanime.com/anime

    But they aren’t the quickest downloads

    [ Edited: 26 June 2009 06:30 PM by geoduck ]

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    Courage is not the absence of fear, that’s insanity.
    Courage is knowing the risks and dangers.
    And doing what needs to be done anyway.

         
  • Posted: 27 June 2009 02:19 AM #3

    Early 2008 Black MacBook, 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB Seagate Momentus 7200.4 drive.

    7 SD movies ripped from DVD ran well.  8 would rarely cause one to stutter.  The 9th would cause several videos to stutter pretty severely.

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  • Posted: 29 June 2009 02:29 AM #4

    I re-read the article, and tried again.  This time, rather than using my own videos, I downloaded a bunch of small-sized trailers.

    These degraded much more gracefully, and rather than stuttering, the frame rates would just slow.  I actually had 15 open at one point, but the frame rates were probably less than 10fps.

    Practically, though, I had a dozen going on my MacBook, and all were watchable, probably better than 15fps.  Add one more, and the frame rate dropped noticably.

    Pretty cool.

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    Posted: 29 June 2009 07:00 AM #5

    I was thinking the same thing.  So, I uploaded my results on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgAeqbRR7SM

    Anyway, I have a late 2006 24” iMac 2.16 Core2 w/ 3Gigs of RAM & the 256Meg ATI card.

    I was able to comfortably run 9 instances. (Large trailers - Ponyo, a new disney anime film)  Both cores were at 90-95% and pegged there.

    [ Edited: 29 June 2009 07:03 AM by UpQuark ]
         
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    Posted: 29 June 2009 08:11 AM #6

    I managed 22,  with the CPU still not maxed out. The GPU was running fairly hard though - stuttering a bit, but the audio of the front-most still perfect. (For the stats collectors: 2.93GHz 54cm iMac)

    It’ll be interesting to see what Snow Leopard makes of it?

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    Posted: 29 June 2009 09:19 AM #7

    I wonder if the length of the video makes a difference? I was running 24 minute programs, I have to find some 3-5 minute trailers and see. Also mine were .mkv files, which QuickTime can play but I suspect there’s a bit more overhead than real QT videos

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    Courage is not the absence of fear, that’s insanity.
    Courage is knowing the risks and dangers.
    And doing what needs to be done anyway.

         
  • Posted: 28 July 2009 03:39 PM #8

    It’s going to be hard to get an accurate reading unless everyone plays the exact same files.

    Even if all videos are the same resolution, differences in codecs will have a big impact. For example, a more primitive codec would be easier on the processor but take more I/O bandwidth, while a more advanced codec may create smaller files that take more processor horsepower to decode.

    Now consider that we may test a fast processor with a relatively slow hard disk (a new MacBook Pro for example) against a slower processor with more I/O (an older Mac Pro with a fibre-attached, striped, RAID, for example) and the results will be all over the place depending on who plays which videos.

    You also have to account for bit rates and the overall complexity of the videos used. Are they simple animation vs. complex animation vs. photo-quality video? These differences will make files larger or smaller, and more or less processor-intensive to decode.

    [ Edited: 28 July 2009 03:54 PM by David Nelson ]
         
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    Posted: 10 September 2009 11:24 AM #9

    OK here is the heart of why I did this. I could run 6 videos simultaneously on 10.5. Now that I’ve updated to 10.6 here’s what I get. Using 10.6, Quicktime 7,  I can run 8 videos. 7 was a slight slowdown, 8 gave me the same stuttering I got with 6 on 10.5. Load times were also a bit quicker for the later videos I opened. So there is a bit of a speed increase with 10.6 when you push things really hard.

    [ Edited: 10 September 2009 11:27 AM by geoduck ]

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    Courage is not the absence of fear, that’s insanity.
    Courage is knowing the risks and dangers.
    And doing what needs to be done anyway.

         
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    Posted: 10 September 2009 04:20 PM #10

    2 Ghz G5 iMac running 10.4.11 with a 128 mb ATI Radeon 9600 video card:
    able to run 5 videos simultaneously, 6 had the slightest stutter every minute or so, and 7 videos was unwatchable. Not bad for an obsolete computer LOL.