It seems you do not know how MakeMKV works.
Thank you for that observation.
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?
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.
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?
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.