Resolved Mini Stopped Handling 47" TV After Update to Mavericks

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by Vandal., Jul 23, 2014.

  1. Vandal., Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014

    Vandal. macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2013
    Hey guys,

    to speed up my old Mac mini 3,1 (l̶a̶t̶e̶ early 2009) I installed an additional 40GB SSD (replaced the SuperDrive) and upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mavericks. I now run OSX from the SSD and moved Desktop, Downloads, Documents, Movies, Pictures and Music to the mini's original hard drive via symlinks. While boot and application launch time improved a lot, the Mac mini seems to have problems with the screen resolution and my 47" LG LH3010 TV:

    In Snow Leopard the resolution was set to 1080p, I could play 1080p Matroska files without any issues whatsoever, the Mini ran all apps just fine.

    In Mavericks I can only set the resolution to 1080i (after alt-clicking 'scaled'), 1080p video stutters and the whole system is getting really slow and sluggish.

    I did read about people's problems setting their proper resolution in Mavericks, possible due to aftermarket VGA/Displayport adapters, but this can't be the reason for an almost identical hardware to stop being able to handle the same display as before, can it?

    Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

  2. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    That is a really small SSD, so it probably doesn't have great write/read speeds. On top of that, you may have RAM issues if it worked in SL but not Mavericks. You can get a 256GB SSD for about $110 on Amazon, which would reduce issues with paging. If you have 2GB RAM or less, in combination with what is most likely a pretty slow SSD, your programs are going to really bottleneck. Upgrading either the SSD or the RAM will help.

  3. Vandal. thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2013
    Thanks for your reply.

    I agree, the SSD is pretty small, but there's still 20GB of space available on it, which in theory should make OSX happy, no? It's an Intel 320 Series and only SATA II with 200/45 MB/s read/write speed, not sure if that's fast enough tbh. I also understand Mavericks does need more RAM than SL, but I've had 4GB of RAM installed for quite a while now, so that shouldn't be a real issue either.

    The whole system runs smooth at 720p…
  4. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    45MB/s write is significantly worse than a platter hard drive. Your HDD probably got at least 100 MB/s. Some SD cards have double that speed. SSD speed is hugely dependent upon the size of the drive. SATA 2 can get up to a theoretical 300MB/s. This drive here is technically 10x faster than your SSD. On SATA 2 it should be about 7x faster.
  5. fa8362 macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    A 2 GHz Mac Mini is early 2009, not late 2009.
  6. Vandal. thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2013
    Well I guess I saved money on the wrong end there then, just ordered a 120GB Samsung Evo 840. Should have really looked into write/read performance properly before, I think I can still return the Intel SSD though.

    Just for my better understanding, it's the slow write speed of the SSD that really affects the performance this much when putting out 1080i?

    Just because the system feels snappy at first and still does when set to 720p instead of 1080i. And yes, my bad, 2.0 GHz is early 2009, thanks.
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    What program are you using to playback the video files? That can make a difference in playback tearing as well.

    For example on my Media Server which is also used to playback on my main TV. VLC gets a lot of choppy playback. That's on a Core 2 Quad with a Radeon 4650 connected via HDMI port at 1080p. The same video will play perfectly smooth via Plex.

    In any 1080i playback is always choppy looking, same with 480i for that matter. My guess is the computer doesn't sync it correctly with the TV. So I use deinterlace to correct this but it isn't an option for you. Since you are outputting in 1080i.

    I assume that the SSD is not the problem as I doubt you are using it for video storage. You have a larger hard drive for that right?

    I'd say the first thing you need to do is rule out the adapter and get a good HDMI adapter.

    As for the speed of your computer. High bitrate video files may be a problem. Resolution shouldn't matter much. As the processing power needed is all about bitrate. The only factor resolution plays is for the same quality of video a higher resolution needs a higher bitrate. But you can keep the bitrate the same, increase resolution and increase artifacts.

    My media server couldn't cut it with a 2.5Ghz Core 2 Duo and integrated graphics on high bitrate video. Luckily I had the Core 2 Quad and Radeon GPU lying around. I was just trying to save energy.
  8. Vandal. thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2013
    Thanks for your reply.
    I use Plex to play all my media files, I did get the same result in a test with VLC though. Files are stored externally (hard drive enclosure with 8TB) connected via USB, with the same read speed as before when running Snow Leopard off the HDD. Never had an issue with choppy video under SL.
    Right now I use a Mini-DVI to HDMI adapter, will try to go for a decent Mini DisplayPort to HDMI one, afaik there is no original apple adapter for this.
    If my processor could handle it in Snow Leopard, shouldn't it be able to handle it the same way in Mavericks?
  9. Vandal., Jul 27, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014

    Vandal. thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 3, 2013
    Just a short update:

    After installing a new SSD (120GB Samsung 840EVO with read/write speeds of 215/265 MB/s according to Blackmagic) the problem with Mavericks still persists. Slow graphics performance, choppy video at 1080i but everything running smooth at 720p. I now also noticed that the fan/blower is running at constant high speeds at 1080i.

    Still, the same setup running Snow Leopard from the hard drive doesn't show any of these issues. I changed the original display settings from 1080p to 1080i to test but video and graphics are still fine.

    Unfortunately a new Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter did not help either.

    Can it really be that my Mini just can't handle Mavericks even though others with the same model and specs report speed improvements updating to it? Do you guys have any other idea what could be the cause of this?

    I'll do a fresh install on the SSD tomorrow and might even go through OSX' history and upgrade from Leopard > Lion > Mavericks to test this.

    Still, thanks a lot for the replies and suggestions so far, really appreciate it.

    Mavericks is handling VNC in a different way it seems, somehow putting more load on the GPU. I'm pretty embarrassed and pretty happy at the same time—controlling the Mini from the actual TV screen and mouse instead of sharing the screen with my Macbook everything is running smooth again! Thanks again though guys.

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