Mac Mini Late '09 - Degraded performance with firewire audio

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by TennisandMusic, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. TennisandMusic

    Aug 26, 2008
    Hey all-

    I am using an Apogee Duet with a late 09 Mac Mini, and have suffered through crappy graphics/general performance for some time. I really kinda shrugged this off until getting quite tired of it and did some searching around. After looking around I have discovered that I am not the only one who experiences this problem, and it has been pegged to core audio drivers. Which is odd.

    Disabling core audio through plists does indeed alleviate the issue it seems. Unplugging the Duet also alleviates this issue. When it is plugged in I see higher temperatures, slower overall performance and very choppy graphics performance, especially in expose and spaces. However this also affects the standard graphics in OSX.

    So basically certain core audio functions completely degrade the performance of the Mac Mini and generate higher temps.

    I wrote Apogee in the off chance it would be related to their driver, but considering the duet is core audio compliant, I can't see how it wouldn't be Apple's core audio drivers that are doing this. Especially since the symptoms seem to be a "sequel" to what was seen on the Mac Pro side of things.

    Does anyone else experience this? If you use a Duet, try plugging it in, and unplugging it and comparing performance. I would very much like this to be resolved somehow, as using the computer WITHOUT the Duet plugged in is how I would expect the machine to feel in general. Running it with it plugged in, is terrible. But I need both units to work properly...

    Anyone? Apple? Apogee?
  2. TennisandMusic thread starter Guest


    Aug 26, 2008
    I ran geekbench, with the Duet plugged in, and unplugged, with no other differences. Scores were 3200 and 3500 respectively. So...a 10% hit with the thing just plugged in and sitting there without running any tasks.

    Performance hits, much higher temps, graphics choppiness...this sounds exactly like the Mac Pro issue. Is there anything that can be done about this aside from "don't use the Duet or Mac Mini"?
  3. chevman macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2010
    I have a early 2009 mac mini.

    I go:

    USB out > Hifiman EF2 DAC/tube amp > headphones

    I get a slight stuttering of graphics sometimes when using the USB out for audio.

    Ran geekbench with no appreciable differences between using the outboard DAC versus not using it.
  4. vth macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2010
    I came across this thread while googling for Mac Mini graphics performance issues, and realized that I indeed have the very same issue on my late '09, but with a MOTU Ultralite FW interface. With it turned off, everything works fine, but immediately after powering it on, Exposé becomes choppy. This is of course not limited to Exposé: for example an OpenGL application I'm currently developing suffers from the same issue.

    Do you have any links to your discoveries about this? I couldn't find anything but your posts concerning it.

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