Help - new 2010 Mac Mini failed on first night..

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by MichaelKent, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. MichaelKent macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #1
    Is my Mac Mini dead on arrival, or is it something I did?

    After getting my shiny new unibody Mini yesterday, I immediately/excitedly set it up and used migration assistant to port my files/apps/settings from my macbook (2006). I used an ethernet cable for this since I didn't have a 6-9 pin firewire. After a couple of hours, it was 1am but I was ready to go.

    I log in and the desktop appears, everything looks good so far. Then I start by opening firefox and pages... and the best way I can describe the actual resulting performance is "Choppy." There was a lot of lag with any attempt to scroll down or move the windows. There was no smooth fluid motion like my Macbook has always had, instead the windows seemed to stiffly teleport (after a delay) to where the mouse was.

    I restarted the computer in case that would make a difference. Moving windows was a little better but still choppy, loading programs was slower than I expected, and the performance wasn't even on the level of my 2006 macbook...

    Disappointed, I decided to at least try World of Warcraft (yeah yeah, I know :p ) to see how the graphics card worked. My macbook's 64mb integrated card can only just handle it on the lowest settings, so for the Mac Mini I changed the settings to medium to high. This worked decently at first, I was amazed that there are actually detailed textures and real shadows in the game, but then weird colors started flashing on the screen and the game actually froze!

    After some time I was able to command+M to get it out of full screen, but the dock and other windows weren't responding to anything. Eventually I could cancel out of the game, but the computer seemed to be suffering a lot from the ordeal. The dock actually disappeared, leaving a sort of color echo to the side of where it should've been. I had open a simple text document with some passwords on it (so I don't have to remember them), and I tried moving that and my computer simply became scrambled. It basically crashed and froze.

    This is what it looked like (sensitive information blacked out). The only program open at the time was textedit. Picture was taken of the monitor by digital camera.

    [​IMG]

    And so weeks of anticipating a mini update was turned into bitter disappointment in the span of 20 minutes. I have never seen anything like this on a Mac before.. my macbook has never frozen, died, or even really slowed down. Maybe I was lucky with the macbook, but I've never seen the sort of lag, and nothing's ever been scrambled... The Mac Mini's performance was pretty weak even before the crash. This seems like a catastrophic failure.

    So what do you guys think the problem is... maybe the USPS dropped the box and damaged the internals? Did transferring data from the Macbook screw it up somehow? I was using a VGA monitor with the minidisplay port, did that contribute? Is the Mini just a lemon that I should send back? What should I do?
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    If you take it to an Apple Store and show them the picture, they'll replace it on the spot.
     
  3. iGrant macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Location:
    Ridgeway
    #3
    Where did you order it from? If its Apple, they will defiantly fix it. I would say something happened in transit.

    They only other thing I would recommend doing is a fresh install of the OS from the CD and see if the same thing is happening. MAYBE and this is a major long shot, something screw happened to the display drivers on the OS.

    Regardless, the Mac Mini is within the warranty from Apple so it will be fixed.

    Sorry you are experiencing this. I have bought several Apple products in the last 4 years (5 Desktops, 4 laptops, several iPods, and more) and all of them have worked great.

    It sucks that this has happened to you, but I'm sure it will be resolved!!!

    -iGrant
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #4
    It's an issue with the GPU. Probably triggered by heat or a static shock it got at one point. It will get worse and become total unusable with time.
     
  5. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #5
    quartz extreme disabled on the macbook and carried over to the mac mini? i've seen this happen before. it explains the lag when dragging windows.
     
  6. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    WOW! I haven't heard of that.

    I would defiantly try doing a fresh install of the OS and see if you still have the same window issues!

    -iGrant
     
  7. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #7
    download this zipped file of "Quartz Debug.app":
    http://bit.ly/bfBJRv

    unzip and run the app, then quit the app. don't need to do anything else with the app because when it quits, it automatically enables QE. if your windows still lag when dragging, then you can rule out QE not being enabled.
     
  8. MichaelKent thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2010
    #8
    Cheers, I'll try this first thing when I get home. If that doesn't work I'll try to do a fresh install. If that doesn't work, then I guess the GPU is toast.

    There's an Apple store about 40-50 miles away I can go to. I ordered it from Amazon (cheaper, no tax, I had gift cards, etc.), so hopefully I can deal with Apple directly and not have to go through Amazon.

    I appreciate the help guys.
     
  9. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Thats what we are here for :). I hope you get your new Mac Mini working tonight!!!

    -iGrant
     
  10. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #10
    couple other things to try:
    boot into safe mode (hold shift key after startup tone).
    look in the console to see if there are any odd error messages, possibly related to nvidia.

    it's always good to figure out why your system is doing something or behaving erratically first before taking drastic measures.
     
  11. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #11
    The gpu on the mac mini overheats. I had a similar thing happen when I was running handbrake to encode some dvds. I used the 64 bit version of handbrake and it maxed out the cpu on the new mini sever, which caused a kernel panic and an automatic shutdown. When I logged back in, the resolution was set to the wrong resolution so I changed it and the result was the same choppiness. I let the computer cool down, and rebooted and the image was fine again.

    in your case, I think it is the world of warcraft gui settings which overtaxed the gpu.

    There are utilities out there that will allow you to set the internal fan settings a bit higher. I am going to do some research for myself on that and I will post my findings in this thread.
     
  12. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I don't know if this will work on the Unibody Mac Mini, but I run smcFanControl on all my laptops and my Mac Mini.

    I up from the default of like 1500rpm and set it to 2000rpm and when I know I'm going to do some video intensive tasks such as video encoding, I bump that sucker up to 3500rpm and its stays in the 150s Fahrenheit which is fine for that cpu, it starts over heating in the 180s I believe.

    -iGrant
     
  13. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #13
    Thanks iGrant! :) I just installed smcFanControl and it really keeps the cpu and gpu much cooler. I just started encoding another movie (i am 45 mins into the process) and I am able to keep the temperature at the high 130's by keeping the fan set to 2400rpm.

    Great piece of software.
     
  14. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Is that celsius or fahrenheit? But yeah when I discovered it I was like "WOW". It honestly keeps all my Macs running MUCH cooler!

    -iGrant
     
  15. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #15
    That's fahrenheit. I think if it were celsius I would have a nice piece of mac mini melted sculpture by now. :cool::D
     
  16. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Yeah no kidding, I'm glad to here its working. Yeah I use my 2006 Mac Mini to encode videos in both SD and HD and I have to have smcFanControl, great product.

    -iGrant
     
  17. indg macrumors 6502

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    Feb 7, 2007
    #17
    just so you know, handbrake does not utilize the gpu for encoding. the gpu is used a bit when encoding/decoding h264 in quicktime 10. but unless you're using an encoder that is specifically programmed to utilize OpenCL, it is the cpu that is doing all the work. handbrake is multithreaded so it does use both cpu cores to the max, but x264 does not take advantage of the 320m (or any other CUDA enabled gpu).

    the fact that you had to set the resolution upon starting up after a kernel pacnic shutdown just means your resolution settings weren't saved since the last boot and os x just reverted to the default settings. most likely has nothing to do with the gpu.

    also, sometimes after a hard reboot, spotlight (mds process) may start reindexing, which users may perceive as a slowdown to the system since the hdd is churning away and cpu is being utilized. check activity monitor to see what's happening.

    i'm still curious to hear of any updates to the OP's original issue.
     
  18. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #18
    He never said it maxed or even used the GPU. He was talking about how the internal temp built up from a high CPU load and crashed his Mini. It's happened to me before.
     
  19. indg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2007
    #19
    my quoting a2applegirl's text should've tipped you off that my reply was directed at a2applegirl. still waiting to hear back from the OP re some suggestions i made yesterday.
     
  20. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #20
    Thanks for the clarification. Your reply makes a lot of sense to me and is very helpful. :) I did some research (after I posted) to figure out the best way to use 64 bit handbrake on the mini and I found out at that point that it doesn't use the gpu.

    The fan adjustment is really helping to keep me from having a kernel panic re the overheating issue though. I have been able to encode 6 movies to h264 with handbrake successfully (all in a row overnight) without the mini having another kernel panic, just by upping my fan setting to around 3000 while handbrake was on. This kept the temp at around 145 degrees farenheit.
     
  21. iGrant macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Glad to hear that the fan control software is working for you. I use it all the time.

    Has anyone heard from the thread starter on if his computer was fixed or not?

    -iGrant
     
  22. Ham699 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    #22
    Hello all,

    Sadly, I'm having the exact same issues as the thread starter, tried SMC fan control and it has lowered the temperature heaps (At least 20 degrees Celsius)
    But, the issue is still there and it has crashed at least 3 times tonight, the same way the OP describes.

    I also did try quartz debug to no avail.

    Would greatly appreciate any help guys :)
     
  23. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #23
    Things to check for:

    1. What is the tempurature at? (you checked this I know, but the mac mini really should not be over 170 degrees farenheit for any length of time if you want to avoid kernel panics.

    2. Are you switching back and forth quickly and frequently between your television display and another display? What type of display is the mac mini hooked up to. Sometimes the video card does not switch easily between hdmi and dvi video sources without video display issues, and a reboot is required.

    3. Are you using handbrake, watching streaming video and using any sort of ripping software simultaneously? What are you running (list all the programs running) when you get the kernel panic? You may be running out of cpu.
     
  24. archipellago macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    #24
    so to clarify...

    1/ an expensive Mac computer cannot run at reachable temps for a long period of time without failing over?

    2/ macs just work surely..? Why would hot swapping displays make any difference?

    3/ Run out of CPU? geez is this 1999??


    if any one of these is actually true and you do need a 3rd party app to control fans/temps then surely the mini is faulty by design?
     
  25. a2applegirl macrumors regular

    a2applegirl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2010
    #25
    What's your point? The mac mini is in a very enclosed space, and there are documented memory overheating issues when encoding.

    ANY computer runs out of cpu when using handbrake because handbrake is designed to take all available cpu.

    The hmdi connector does not work with all televisions correctly. This is also a documented issue. Some televisions are not releasing the display on the switch over, causing the gpu to get confused.

    Btw, why are you posting on a mac forum if you think macs are so horrible?:)
     

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