Mac Mini i3 2018 frame drop

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
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Connected to a 2016 Samsung TV via HDMI. I get frame drop (1 every 10 second or so) Happens via lan and WiFi and playing local files. Anyone who can help? Just want to know if the Mac is broken or not. Or is a tv screen for a Mac still not the best option?
 

Spectrum

macrumors 65816
Mar 23, 2005
1,469
783
Never quite sure
I reckon increasing the RAM to 16 GB+ will help due to the shared video RAM on the iGPU.

Also, how large is the SSD? 128 GB?

If possible open activity monitor (showing RAM use) whilst playing the video. With 8GB RAM some macOS UI animations cause a transient swapping from RAM>SSD and this causes dropped frames.
Since I moved to 32 GB i didn't see this any more.

The size of the SSD may also be relevant because larger capacity SSD have a faster read/write speed (and may also have more free space to cope with the swapping if it is happening).

Here is a screen grab of the my RAM usage at steady state:
1578562647885.png


Now after initiating Launchpad>folder within Launchpad. The hump in RAM use is when I started entering/exiting Launchpad multiple times (key F4):
1578562730159.png

I don't have any swaps because I have plenty of free RAM (now), but you can see that wired RAM usage went up by more ~5 GB. Before the RAM upgrade this task led to UI of around 1 frame per second doing the same animation due to swaps to the SSD. So I suspect the same problem may be happening during video playback.
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
18
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It uses about 4GB ram, so about 4GB left. And about 20% CPU when playning a video. Should'nt that be sufficiant? My Apple TV 4K can run movies smoothly from my mac mini plex server via WiFi.
- - Post merged: - -

I reckon increasing the RAM to 16 GB+ will help due to the shared video RAM on the iGPU.

Also, how large is the SSD? 128 GB?

If possible open activity monitor (showing RAM use) whilst playing the video. With 8GB RAM some macOS UI animations cause a transient swapping from RAM>SSD and this causes dropped frames.
Since I moved to 32 GB i didn't see this any more.

The size of the SSD may also be relevant because larger capacity SSD have a faster read/write speed (and may also have more free space to cope with the swapping if it is happening).

Here is a screen grab of the my RAM usage at steady state:
View attachment 887635

Now after initiating Launchpad>folder within Launchpad. The hump in RAM use is when I started entering/exiting Launchpad multiple times (key F4):
View attachment 887636
I don't have any swaps because I have plenty of free RAM (now), but you can see that wired RAM usage went up by more ~5 GB. Before the RAM upgrade this task led to UI of around 1 frame per second doing the same animation due to swaps to the SSD. So I suspect the same problem may be happening during video playback.
It uses about 4GB ram, so about 4GB left. And about 20% CPU when playning a video. Should'nt that be sufficiant? My Apple TV 4K can run movies smoothly from my mac mini plex server via WiFi.

Memory is welded, so can't upgrade RAM.
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
404
194
Connected to a 2016 Samsung TV via HDMI. I get frame drop (1 every 10 second or so) Happens via lan and WiFi and playing local files. Anyone who can help? Just want to know if the Mac is broken or not. Or is a tv screen for a Mac still not the best option?
How are you playing the files from? VLC or from Plex?!? Are you playing 4K HEVC (h.265) 10bit or 4K h.264? If you are playing 4K HEVC, then you need to activate hardware acceleration. This will utilize your iGPU and the Apple T2 chip (both are designed to decode interframe 4K files without lag). If you are getting frame drop, I am suspecting that you are playing via the CPU. Check also to make sure FileVault isn't on and the T2 chip is set to medium security. Your 8Gb ram is sufficient for this as well as your i3 CPU, because you already have the iGPU and T2 chip which do HEVC decoding on the fly. It is the same principle as a Synology DS118 which can also do on the fly 4K transcoding with much less RAM than your Mac with 0 frame drop!
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,221
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OP:
"Memory is welded, so can't upgrade RAM."

Huh?

If you have a 2018 Mini, the RAM is removable.
However, you have to pull the motherboard out to get at it.
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
18
0
OP:
"Memory is welded, so can't upgrade RAM."

Huh?

If you have a 2018 Mini, the RAM is removable.
However, you have to pull the motherboard out to get at it.
You're right. Sorry thought it was welded on the motherboard
- - Post merged: - -

How are you playing the files from? VLC or from Plex?!? Are you playing 4K HEVC (h.265) 10bit or 4K h.264? If you are playing 4K HEVC, then you need to activate hardware acceleration. This will utilize your iGPU and the Apple T2 chip (both are designed to decode interframe 4K files without lag). If you are getting frame drop, I am suspecting that you are playing via the CPU. Check also to make sure FileVault isn't on and the T2 chip is set to medium security. Your 8Gb ram is sufficient for this as well as your i3 CPU, because you already have the iGPU and T2 chip which do HEVC decoding on the fly. It is the same principle as a Synology DS118 which can also do on the fly 4K transcoding with much less RAM than your Mac with 0 frame drop!
Thank you so much!
I'm playing MKV 1080p and 4K and streaming Apple TV+. Tried a lot VLC and so on with the same result.
How do I activate iGPU?
My firevault is diabled.
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
18
0
How are you playing the files from? VLC or from Plex?!? Are you playing 4K HEVC (h.265) 10bit or 4K h.264? If you are playing 4K HEVC, then you need to activate hardware acceleration. This will utilize your iGPU and the Apple T2 chip (both are designed to decode interframe 4K files without lag). If you are getting frame drop, I am suspecting that you are playing via the CPU. Check also to make sure FileVault isn't on and the T2 chip is set to medium security. Your 8Gb ram is sufficient for this as well as your i3 CPU, because you already have the iGPU and T2 chip which do HEVC decoding on the fly. It is the same principle as a Synology DS118 which can also do on the fly 4K transcoding with much less RAM than your Mac with 0 frame drop!
And why set the T2 to medium settings?
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
18
0
@iluvmacs99 likely has the correct answers, but I'm still interested in whether with 8GB RAM and 4GB usage you have any swaps to disk recorded in activity monitor?
what would you like me to do?
Please explain
- - Post merged: - -

How are you playing the files from? VLC or from Plex?!? Are you playing 4K HEVC (h.265) 10bit or 4K h.264? If you are playing 4K HEVC, then you need to activate hardware acceleration. This will utilize your iGPU and the Apple T2 chip (both are designed to decode interframe 4K files without lag). If you are getting frame drop, I am suspecting that you are playing via the CPU. Check also to make sure FileVault isn't on and the T2 chip is set to medium security. Your 8Gb ram is sufficient for this as well as your i3 CPU, because you already have the iGPU and T2 chip which do HEVC decoding on the fly. It is the same principle as a Synology DS118 which can also do on the fly 4K transcoding with much less RAM than your Mac with 0 frame drop!
Really appreciate your help.


How do I activate iGPU?
My firevault is diabled.
And why set T2 to medium?
 
Last edited:

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
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194
And why set the T2 to medium settings?
MacOS limits Hardware Accelerated encoding/decoding limits to just one stream at the time through the T2 security chip. It is a MacOS limitation. So you have to ensure that ONLY 1 stream is active. Basically you can't run anything else that could use the T2 chip as a hardware accelerator for HEVC when you're playing 4k/60 or the software playback itself does not support T2 HW playback. The T2 chip also doubles as a security gate as well. Or else, the Core i3's CPU by itself isn't capable of decoding 4k/60 fluidly, so you need something like the Core i5 6 core or i7 to playback 4K/60 fluidly if the T2 HEVC decoder isn't used.
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
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MacOS limits Hardware Accelerated encoding/decoding limits to just one stream at the time through the T2 security chip. It is a MacOS limitation. So you have to ensure that ONLY 1 stream is active. Basically you can't run anything else that could use the T2 chip as a hardware accelerator for HEVC when you're playing 4k/60 or the software playback itself does not support T2 HW playback. The T2 chip also doubles as a security gate as well. Or else, the Core i3's CPU by itself isn't capable of decoding 4k/60 fluidly, so you need something like the Core i5 6 core or i7 to playback 4K/60 fluidly if the T2 HEVC decoder isn't used.
I only having one stream at a time :/
- - Post merged: - -

In activity monitor, RAM: what does it say next to Swap Used?
I'll take a screenshot this weekend, and send it to you :)
 

iluvmacs99

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2019
404
194
I only having one stream at a time :/
- - Post merged: - -



I'll take a screenshot this weekend, and send it to you :)
Whichever player you use (VLC does support hardware decoding), it needs to be able to use the T2 chip for deccoding. If it's unavailable, the decoding will then revert back to your CPU. You should see the CPU monitor and see if the cores max out. If they do, then you are not utilizing the HWAccel decoding of your Mini 2018 for some reason. You do not need a lot of memory to play 4K/60 as a Windows 10 machine with the proper hardware accelerated GPU can play 4K with ONLY 4Gb of memory, so I highly doubt a Mac will need a minimum of 16Gb of ram to play something a Windows PC can do with only 4Gb or 8Gb.
 
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Reflej0

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2020
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Whichever player you use (VLC does support hardware decoding), it needs to be able to use the T2 chip for deccoding. If it's unavailable, the decoding will then revert back to your CPU. You should see the CPU monitor and see if the cores max out. If they do, then you are not utilizing the HWAccel decoding of your Mini 2018 for some reason. You do not need a lot of memory to play 4K/60 as a Windows 10 machine with the proper hardware accelerated GPU can play 4K with ONLY 4Gb of memory, so I highly doubt a Mac will need a minimum of 16Gb of ram to play something a Windows PC can do with only 4Gb or 8Gb.
I think this technical explanation leaves it solved.
I have a Sentey 2K 144HZ monitor connected by HDMI 2.0 and I don't notice loss of frames at least in 2K 60hz playback from YouTube (Safari)
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
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I think this technical explanation leaves it solved.
I have a Sentey 2K 144HZ monitor connected by HDMI 2.0 and I don't notice loss of frames at least in 2K 60hz playback from YouTube (Safari)
do you have a Mac Mini i3 from 2018 connected to your computer monitor? Do you think it’s just because a tv is not the best solution or?
 

Reflej0

macrumors member
Jan 3, 2020
75
24
do you have a Mac Mini i3 from 2018 connected to your computer monitor? Do you think it’s just because a tv is not the best solution or?
I have the model with I5 but I still don't think the i3 processor is the problem.
I also didn't try the native video playback, that is, I only used YouTube through Safari.
I would try to change the resolution if possible, that is, test with 720p, then with 1080p and higher if possible.
I use a monitor (that's why the 2K and 144Hz resolution) but it's not a great monitor. In fact, it's the most economical with those features.
The least expensive solutions you would have to change the HDMI cable or buy a USB C (Thunderbolt 3) to HDMI adapter.
 
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runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
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@iluvmacs99 likely has the correct answers, but I'm still interested in whether with 8GB RAM and 4GB usage you have any swaps to disk recorded in activity monitor?
This is when I play a 1080p MKV file with VLC having hardware accelerator enabled in VLC player.
 

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timidpimpin

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Nov 10, 2018
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In my experiences VLC can sometimes cause stuttering that will not appear in other players. I would give mpv a try. It's based on an mplayer foundation, and is MUCH better at caching than VLC. Pretty much any player based on mplayer will have great caching, and it turn also be a beast at scrubbing through video.

I recommend version 0.29.1
 

runedalsgaard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2017
18
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In my experiences VLC can sometimes cause stuttering that will not appear in other players. I would give mpv a try. It's based on an mplayer foundation, and is MUCH better at caching than VLC. Pretty much any player based on mplayer will have great caching, and it turn also be a beast at scrubbing through video.

I recommend version 0.29.1
tried mplayer also. Same result.
This still doesn’t explain why it also happens in Apple TV+ for MacOS. Have you guys enable HDMI UHD Color on your Samsung TV? Just want to make sure my Mac is ok. Maybe it’s just not optimal with a 4K TV hooked up to the Mac