Dropping frames in .mkv files - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 09-12-2010, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got a Mac Mini (2 Ghz C2 Duo), after using Makemkv to rip a BD I've noticed some dropped frames during playback of scenes with high action. Anyone else having this problem? Is there a setting in Plex I can change? Would it help if I upgrade from 1GB to 2GB of memory? I don't have any other applications running during playback.
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post #2 of 49 Old 09-12-2010, 05:25 PM
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Anyone else having this problem?

It's not a problem, your Mac is too old/weak to handle it with CPU only--you need a newer Mac with a faster CPU and/or better graphics card that can handle some of the load.

A 2.0 C2D is right at the tipping point of successful blu-ray rip .mkv playback in Plex--challenging scenes will give you some trouble--drop frames, stutter--no matter what you do, even with 4GB RAM. So, after you increase your RAM, increase the cache and set the H.264 speed boost to high in Plex, if that doesn't give you 100% smooth playback of full-res MakeMKV BR rips--the only other thing you can do is try XBMC--some users report better success with it than Plex for MakeMKV BR rip playback. After that, get a more capable Mac--step up to something with at least the 9400 and a 2.26 CPU.
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post #3 of 49 Old 09-12-2010, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help Chef, I have the cache maxed out at 20s and I changed h.264 speed boost from off to high. However, will changing h.264 speed boost do anything for me since I have the GMA 950 graphics processor?
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post #4 of 49 Old 09-24-2010, 08:33 AM
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How are you guys ripping Blu-Rays on a Mac?

External Blu-Ray drives?
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post #5 of 49 Old 09-24-2010, 08:42 AM
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Yes, stick a blu-ray drive in a 5.25" USB enclosure, get MakeMKV, and away you go.
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post #6 of 49 Old 09-24-2010, 10:11 AM
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So that lets you mount Blu-Rays on Macs but obviously no playback support since the OS doesn't support it?
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post #7 of 49 Old 09-24-2010, 10:19 AM
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MakeMKV rips. You end up with the blu-ray audio and video in a different container, a .mkv, which can then be played back with Plex or whatever else you use. That's all the playback support you need assuming you have a 2.0 C2D or better. (Just fyi, this topic has been actively discussed around here for at least a year, ever since the MakeMKV beta for OS X came out. Just enter "MakeMKV" in the search this forum box.)
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post #8 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post

How are you guys ripping Blu-Rays on a Mac?

External Blu-Ray drives?

wco81, I've been a mac guy and a HT guy for many years but just recently started using my mac as a media center. I was way behind the learning curve and a bit intimidated by all the information out there but I narrowed it all down and made the leap. It is really very simple these days. Assuming you have a modern mac, you only need three things to rip and view blu ray on your mac.

1. I purchased a Plextor PX-B310U external blu ray and it works great, plug and play.
2. Download MakeMKV to rip your blu rays to your mac as a MKV file, save to your movie folder.
3. Download Plex to play back the high quality MKV files on your mac.

Warning, this is addictive! Since I started this hobby I have added two 2010 mac mini's and one very large external storage enclosure to my system. I have ripped several blurays in the last month and they do eat up space on the hard drive fast. I do all my bluray ripping and storing on my 27 i7 iMac and stream to the two mac mini's that are connected via HDMI to my 2 HT systems. PLEX will allow you to stream movie and music files via your internal network to all your mac's. It is all very simple, very cool, and high quality.

Good luck!
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post #9 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 07:01 AM
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that's a good synopsis by Wvick;
I'll just add a second alternative:
If you download Handbrake you can convert those MKVs to m4v;
That will:
1) Eliminate the need for Plex which in turn
2) Allows you to replace the Mac Mini with an Apple TV

Pros- saves disk space if you don't keep the MKVs (though most of us do on this forum from what I read)

Cons- Handbrake conversion produces video that some will argue is less than the MKV original (I use settings such that I can't discern any difference on a 60" screen); In addition the Apple TV is 720P max - so it may be just more downgrade than many can stand! :-)

Both are great ways to go - I actually implement both of these to compare periodically, but if the new Apple TV is worth it's salt I'll probably simplify to that for now. Might feel differently though if I had my old 10' screen again!

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post #10 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 09:45 AM
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So does the MakeMKV/Plex combo preserve the interactive content, the HD audio formats and play all of that back? What is the advantage of ripping Blu-Rays and playing back from the rips vs. playing the BD disc?

Can you burn the rips and get an exact copy of the original BD Disc that you can play on PS3 and other Blu-Ray players?

Main advantages I could see of ripping and playing back the rips would be that it would presumably be quieter than my PS3 (and does the playback start faster than typical Blu-Ray players, including the PS3?) and the convenience of playing back through a nice jukebox front-end (haven't played around much with Plex) vs. hunting for the media?

Disadvantage is the cost of storage and hardware to play back.
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post #11 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
What is the advantage of ripping Blu-Rays and playing back from the rips vs. playing the BD disc?

You can't actually play the original disc in OS X.

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So does the MakeMKV/Plex combo preserve the interactive content, the HD audio formats and play all of that back?

No, yes (if you choose to retain it) and no--the DD/DTS 5.1 audio cores are extracted and that's what is played back.

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Can you burn the rips and get an exact copy of the original BD Disc that you can play on PS3 and other Blu-Ray players?

No, not staying totally within OS X.

Quote:
Main advantages I could see of ripping and playing back the rips would be that it would presumably be quieter than my PS3

Not necessarily, a weak Mac has to struggle pretty hard to play a blu-ray rip back, which means its fans will rev as CPU pushes 180% and up.

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and does the playback start faster than typical Blu-Ray players, including the PS3?

It starts like any other file in Plex, less than a second.

Quote:
...and the convenience of playing back through a nice jukebox front-end (haven't played around much with Plex) vs. hunting for the media?

Most definitely convenience, having your entire media collection, be it a CD or DVD or Blu-ray, at the press of a button. Plus, you keep all your original discs safe and sound in storage.

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Disadvantage is the cost of storage and hardware to play back.

Not real disadvantages, though, storage space is very affordable and it helps to have a Mac at your HDTV to be a real player home theater-wise. So the only additional cost is around $125 or so for the drive and enclosure to rip.

You can always transcode like Ken suggested--when you start with such a high res original source Handbrake transcodes look marvelous. many folks around here rip the blu-ray, keep that .mkv AND also do a Handbrake transcode for streaming, syncing to iOS devices, etc.

Two main disadvantages:

1) you can't yet pass the HD audio formats, though software support for those is coming--which is why many here retain the HD audio in addition to the extracted DD/DTS audio core, and

2) support for PGS subtitles is lacking in most front end/playback software, though that is changing as well.
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post #12 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 11:42 AM
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OK so software playback isn't all there.

The OS would have to support use of GPUs and possibly other chips which might perform hardware accelerated decoding to lessen the CPU load.
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post #13 of 49 Old 09-25-2010, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wco81 View Post

OK so software playback isn't all there.

As has been explained here more than once, playback is there. What's the difference whether you are playing it from the original disc or your hard drive if the quality is the same?
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post #14 of 49 Old 09-26-2010, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Further View Post

As has been explained here more than once, playback is there. What's the difference whether you are playing it from the original disc or your hard drive if the quality is the same?

Exactly
I enjoy BD media every day exclusively from mac HTPC. Both play back of the original quality MKVs and the fully Apple TV streamable m4v

In fact due to these capabilitites, was able to avoid the purchase of a formal BD player while having the playback experience integrated with the same convenience as my other media.

ken
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post #15 of 49 Old 09-27-2010, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

Yes, stick a blu-ray drive in a 5.25" USB enclosure, get MakeMKV, and away you go.

What's a good enclosure that you guys are using?

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post #16 of 49 Old 09-27-2010, 12:07 PM
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I tried a Value Line enclosure from OWC that turned out to be incompatible (with makeMKV);

Returned it - did some research and got the Vantac NexStar DX that has worked well:
Vantec NexStar DX NST-530S2

ken
(the actual BD drive from OWC worked fine and I use it in the Vantec enclosure; just the enclosure was an issue- in general OWC is a good source with good service)
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post #17 of 49 Old 09-29-2010, 06:59 AM
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I'm hearing some information that using an external Blu-ray reader for the Mac will work. No need to invest in a bumer.

Does this jive with your understanding of how the ripping process works?

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post #18 of 49 Old 09-29-2010, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by [Irishman] View Post

I'm hearing some information that using an external Blu-ray reader for the Mac will work. No need to invest in a bumer.

Does this jive with your understanding of how the ripping process works?

yes - BD readers are fine in general; no burner required. For the price difference, most go ahead with a burner for BD archiving etc; but MakeMKV doesn't require it...

ken
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post #19 of 49 Old 09-29-2010, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kenliles View Post

yes - BD readers are fine in general; no burner required. For the price difference, most go ahead with a burner for BD archiving etc; but MakeMKV doesn't require it...

ken

When you say archiving, do you mean copying files to BD-R or BD-RE discs or mastering discs which can be played back on Blu-Ray players?

If the latter, what are the mastering software available, Toast?
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post #20 of 49 Old 09-29-2010, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by wco81 View Post

When you say archiving, do you mean copying files to BD-R or BD-RE discs or mastering discs which can be played back on Blu-Ray players?

If the latter, what are the mastering software available, Toast?

no I meant archiving general files via burner; not the latter; I just got Toast though haven't tried BD mastering as of yet; it's on my list...

ken
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post #21 of 49 Old 10-02-2010, 12:36 AM
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HTPC_Dude, Your setup is not fast enough to handle 1080p when decoding with out any hardware acceleration. Your setup will get worst with 1080i which movies are formated. Sure you can try to change the setting for h.264 boost to high, but all that does is skipping all the steps the codec uses to optimize the quality. At this time Plex does have h.264 hardware acceleration, but for Mac that have a certain graphic card. The following article has more information about the new feature.

http://elan.plexapp.com/2010/04/27/h...oding-on-plex/


You can try to trade in your old Mac Mini with the Mac Mini (2010).
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post #22 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 02:33 AM
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So will the 2010 MacMini play 1080p MakeMKV backups/rips flawlessly w/Plex? My MacBook Pro (Early 2009 2.26ghz, 4GB ram) stutters constantly, but my 3Ghz 8-core MacPro plays them fine. I don't want to use the MacPro as my HTPC, so I'm looking for another option. Just want to make sure the 2010 Mini will play high bit-rate encodes without problems.
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post #23 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 04:52 AM
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The new mini handles them flawlessly.

But, that 2.26 MBP w/ 4GB RAM should be handling those files much better than you're experiencing--I suspect you have something else going on--that model MBP should only be dropping the occasional frame in very challenging scenes and not stuttering "constantly." Which Plex version are you running and have you tried those rips in XBMC for a comparison? What display are you connecting to and is your Mac Pro connected to the same display the same way?
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post #24 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

The new mini handles them flawlessly.

But, that 2.26 MBP w/ 4GB RAM should be handling those files much better than you're experiencing--I suspect you have something else going on--that model MBP should only be dropping the occasional frame in very challenging scenes and not stuttering "constantly." Which Plex version are you running and have you tried those rips in XBMC for a comparison? What display are you connecting to and is your Mac Pro connected to the same display the same way?

I'm playing it on a 46" Samsung LCD with the latest version of Plex. Setup was identical between the two computers when testing. Just moved the DVI over to the other computer.

The MBP really is not even dropping frames (based on the info menu in Plex). It usually drops a handful at the beginning, then doesn't drop frames from that point on. But, if you're watching it, it looks like it drops a handful every few seconds when it's at it's worst. I've tried all of the possible solutions I've seen on the Plex forums. I've tried all Plex hot-fixes. Repaired disc permissions. Tried 60hz, 30hz, and 24hz refresh rates. Messed with all combinations of the video settings in Plex, and even fully uninstalled and re-installed Plex.

I haven't tried XBMC yet, but I will give it a try today.
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post #25 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 07:37 AM
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Right, what you're describing is something other than a CPU issue, as in not having enough oomph to play the files back. That's normally the issue around here--you have something else going on, something unique perhaps to that MBP (and its graphics card) connecting to your Samsung--a resolution or refresh rate issue, some type of scaling or processing that your set is applying, I don't know--because you're seeing it all the time. Normally, when someone asks whether x mac can handle MakeMKV rips it comes down to CPU--and normally your 2.26 MBP would be able to handle 99% of the scenes perfectly and every once in while with very fast motion you'll have some trouble. There's something much more inherent and not CPU-related going on with you.

Oh, just a thought, you're not trying to downres the HD audio in real time, are you?

Anyway, others have had the problems you're describing, so do try XBMC, because there have been some reports here of others in your position--powerful enough CPU, yet still a problem with Plex--that XBMC handled better.
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post #26 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 04:14 PM
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Thanks for the responses chefklc. Just tried XBMC and the results were comparable to worse.

For audio, I'm only ripping the Dolby Digital or DTS core to keep the file size in relative check, so it's just passing the stream through.

I will try a couple more things today. I don't recall the stuttering being as bad before installing my new ram a few days ago (I had only just installed Plex though). I will try going back to the factory 2GBs and see what happens. I'll also try hooking hooking it up to my Panasonic projector to see if it's something the TV doesn't like.
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post #27 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 05:14 PM
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Until I set the audio correctly in Plex, I had the same problem with my 2010 2.66 Ghz Mac Mini Server.

Dennis

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Check out HDTVOK.COM
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post #28 of 49 Old 10-03-2010, 06:14 PM
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Dennis-
What Plex audio setting did you make?

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post #29 of 49 Old 10-04-2010, 12:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chefklc View Post

Right, what you're describing is something other than a CPU issue, as in not having enough oomph to play the files back. That's normally the issue around here--you have something else going on, something unique perhaps to that MBP (and its graphics card) connecting to your Samsung--a resolution or refresh rate issue, some type of scaling or processing that your set is applying, I don't know--because you're seeing it all the time. Normally, when someone asks whether x mac can handle MakeMKV rips it comes down to CPU--and normally your 2.26 MBP would be able to handle 99% of the scenes perfectly and every once in while with very fast motion you'll have some trouble. There's something much more inherent and not CPU-related going on with you.

It seems you do not know how MakeMKV works. This is just a utility that extracts the audio and video tracks from a Blu-Ray or DVD disc into a MKV container. You are not bound to the CPU for perfect ripping. If you want perfect ripping, you are bound to the the optical disc and how well your optical drive reads the disc. If the factory placed in defects in the disc, you will not be able to do perfect ripping. In this case, you can use a G3 and still be able to do perfect rips of a Blu-Ray or DVD movie given that the disc does not have any defects.

The video codec h.264 requires a powerful processor to decode. To handle 1080p a Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz will barely play it assuming the media player is multi-threaded. If decoding 1080i content which movies are formated, a Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz will not play it all with out dropping frames.

I have tried decoding a 1080p on my system that has a Core 2 Duo 2 GHz in Linux using OpenGL as the video output. If I use VDPAU, it is able to handle the video with out any problems. I am not forcing any Mac user to use Linux. I am saying that Mac OS X has limited hardware acceleration.

At this time Mac OS X is limited with the graphics card ability to decode video. The following shows it only supports h.264 and it only supports some graphics card models. Hope it expands to MPEG-2 because it will benefit for ATSC or over the air content. Though some Blu-Ray movies are encoded into MPEG-2, so have to re-encode into h.264 to support the hardware decode with the video card.

http://developer.apple.com/library/m...10/tn2267.html

The TV has nothing to do with it for dropping frames. Dropped frames comes from where it first drew the frame which is the computer. If you are going to play games, then yes it could be the TV because of lag time comes into play. TV relies on the response times and how well it is calibrated for movie playback.
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post #30 of 49 Old 10-04-2010, 03:07 AM
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Quote:


It seems you do not know how MakeMKV works.

Thank you for that observation.

Quote:


You are not bound to the CPU for perfect ripping.

If I had said that, or if we were talking about a ripping problem, I'd appreciate the correction. We're talking solely about whether a 2009 MBP with a 2.26 CPU in Plex should be able to play back MakeMKV blu-ray rips--and it should be able to do a very decent job at playback. No one disputes that playback is still largely CPU-bound in OS X.

Please, electroju, we've been using MakeMKV in OS X since last summer--a full year before you joined AVS--and by now know full well how it works and exactly what it does. We've also been using all sorts of Macs, some old some new, to play those files back for the same length of time. Which Mac are you currently running OS X on?

Quote:


The video codec h.264 requires a powerful processor to decode.

Relatively powerful, relatively being the key word... many Mac users here, and in the other Mac forums where MakeMKV is actively discussed like in the Plex and the Macrumors home theater forum, report satisfying to excellent playback with machines that aren't as capable as a 2.26 with the 9400M.

The consensus--if I can risk such a thing after reading hundreds of threads with user reports going back 15 months: most users report MakeMKV blu-ray rips play back adequately with a 2.26 C2D or better w/ Plex in OS X without any hardware acceleration. Less than that, it still can be watchable, but satisfaction varies and you'll definitely drop frames in tough scenes. A 2.26 MBP with the 9400M should expect even better performance--especially since some of us using older MB and MBPs play them back with Plex just fine.

Quote:


To handle 1080p a Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz will barely play it assuming the media player is multi-threaded.

You're over-reaching on this--most users report their 2.66 mini plays 1080p MakeMKV rips back like butter--do you have some special home theater experience in OS X with this particular model or any other Mac that you aren't sharing with us?

Quote:


I have tried decoding a 1080p on my system that has a Core 2 Duo 2 GHz in Linux using OpenGL as the video output. If I use VDPAU, it is able to handle the video with out any problems. I am not forcing any Mac user to use Linux. I am saying that Mac OS X has limited hardware acceleration.

Right, a 2.0 C2D (unassisted) is pushing it in OS X, as many of us have reported, though even a 2.0 can do a decent job--I just watched a blu-ray on one in Plex last night. Linux is off-topic. A 2.26 with the 9400M is a much more capable machine.

So, to sum up, you seem like a nice knowledgeable guy electroju, so do please share your direct real world experience w/ particular Macs in OS X, not lecture in the abstract. We're all fully aware of the limitations hence why we discuss what's possible with existing hardware and software that run OS X.

SCLlama, back to you, make sure you try Plex in various flavors, 0.8.6 versus 9, with the GPU assist and without. Again, from what you're describing--regular stutter every few seconds rather than dropped frames only at the beginning of challenging scenes--I still suspect you're being held back by something other than that 2.26 CPU.
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