new mac user , need some ( a lot ) of help

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by VICTORBR35, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. VICTORBR35, Nov 20, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2015

    VICTORBR35 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #1
    Hi guys , first time mac user , coming from windows .I just got a mini mac late 2012 with core i5 2.5 ghz , 4 gb ram and intel video 4000 , with a sluggish 5400 hdd . The product was in mint condition and the seller formatted the system and delivered to me running el captan ( i asked him too do it , wanted the latest os)

    my old laptop was an HP that was overheating with the same cpu , same ram and a radeon 5450 video card running with ssd 128 gb , windows 7 ultimate . Of course the machine was 10 x faster than this one because of the SSD . But my actual machine is not just slow , it is the slowest thing i ever saw . sometimes it takes literally 10 seconds to open simples apps , simples programs and everything else ... i know my older machine had ssd , but i don't really remember that machine being sooooo slow even before i did the upgrade to ssd.

    Well anyway , wanted to ask you guys if something can be done right now , if this is normal .....i already ordered 16 gb ram and a 512 ssd ....should help a lot but still i am very disappointed with this horrendous performance .

    Specially , regarding 1080 playback and this is actually the reason why I created this topic.

    So , on my last machine I used to watch movies ( mostly 3 gb 1080 p , mkv files ) using media player classic ( oh I miss you , hate VLC ) , and all the time i would get perfect , flawless 1080 p playback EVEN when the machine was overheating. The source ? my samsung 1 tb EXTERNAL hard drive connected to my laptop via usb ( that wasn't even usb 3.0 ...just regular 2.0 )

    But now , when i try to run the same movies using the same source ( my external hard drive ) the play is CHOPPY and stutters , don't matter if i use quicktime or VLC . This is driving me nuts because this intel 4000 hd graphics is supposed to have DOUBLE the performance of my old radeon 5450 that was in my old laptop . all the other specs are the same ( same CPU and same RAM ) just the SSD but i wasn't using that to run movies , i was using my external hard drive just like i am using now . So it must be the operational system . If i could run 1080 p perfectly with WORSE specs than now .... and now i can't something is wrong and i was wondering if you guys could help me find what it is .

    Forgot to mention that i was using a top of the line sony hdmi cable but it oxidate so i replaced with cheap regular HDMI cable ...just thought i would mention that but i doubt that would be making this problem . It really seems that the computer can't handle 1080 p video . IT also lags and gets choppy when watching 1080 p streams on youtube. oh and i am not using thunderbolt , just the regular hdmi output

    I will be asking a lot of help around here , i am still getting used to the new OS .... but for now , this was my main issue , I am still typing on my 60 inches led , cause my 24s inche monitor still didn't arrive so I am sorry if there is too many mistakes , I am also speaking english as a second language .

    I would really appreciate some help here and i am sorry for this long post and the ranting
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    You will see a large jump in performance when you go to the SSD, plus more RAM.
    I have two minis identical to yours - 2012 models, purchased a year ago, shortly before the current minis were released.
    I immediately replaced the spinning hard drive with an SSD, and doubled the RAM in one.
    I added only RAM to the second one. It works OK, but not even in the same league as the one with the SSD.

    I usually recommend that if you have "someone else" install the system for you, that you reinstall it again yourself, including erasing the drive first. The reason that I say that is that you don't know what they did to the system that they installed. All you can do is guess, and hope that everything is OK.
    It's an easy task, just download El Capitan from the App Store. Don't install it from that download. Create an external USB bootable installer. The good app DiskmakerX makes that task simple, particularly if you don't like using the command line in the terminal.
    Boot to the bootable installer, and reinstall OS X. You DO NOT have to erase the drive first (unless you want to erase.) Just install over the top of what is already there. You won't lose any files or apps that you have already installed, the reinstall just reloads the system. You may expect that performance might improve a little simply by doing that. However, your best change will be the SSD, and additional RAM. You WILL expect that it can be faster in every task that you use on your Mac. The SSD will make that much difference.
     
  3. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #3
    Thanks a lot for taking the time to reply man. I will do that, you are correct. I can never know what the guy did. Maybe he didn't really format and started from scratch although he probably did it cause when I turned the Mac mini on for the first time it was like it was first time user, I hat to create a profile and all that stuff.

    About the 1080 p playback issue, got any ideas? It is like the video card can't handle but like I said my old video card had half the performance of this one and I could run 1080 p just fine with the same cpu and same ram.
     
  4. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #4
    I keep reading all over the Internet that the mini 2012 can easily handle 1080p playback..... It seems I am having an isolated problem here.... Anyone else with any idea? Anyone having same problems? Maybe it is the new El captain? Maybe the mini can't handle it well? I am considering going back to Yosemite... I don't know
     
  5. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #5
    Yup, it definitely can. However, if the machine is busy doing something else, that can degrade playback performance.

    (BTW, there are a _lot_ of different video playback options out there, some of which work better than others for certain tasks. I'm personally using MPlayerX right now for most of my own video playback.)

    If I may, can I ask you to try running the Activity Monitor when you are experiencing slowdowns? (You should be able to find it by going to the "Utilities" folder under the "Applications" folder.) If the CPU runs high while the video is playing, that may be an indicator that the playback software you are using was unable to utilize the hardware accelerated decoding abilities of the GPU, and is falling back on software decoding (which can be slower). (Older versions of VLC actually prefer software decoding.) Or, that you have a runaway application that is consuming the CPU. Also, if your machine is running out of RAM, that will severely impact video playback.

    You can check if the CPU "Load" is nearing 100% on the "CPU" tab of the Activity Monitor; and, you can check on the "Memory" tab if the memory "pressure" is high. (Of specific interest on the Memory page are the values for "Swap Used" and "Compressed" at the bottom of the window. If "Compressed" is above zero, that will increase your CPU usage and may affect video playback performance; if the "Swap Used" is above zero, you've completely exhausted your available RAM, which will adversely affect pretty much everything that runs on the computer.)
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    The RAM is easy to install yourself -- just take off the black plastic cover on the back, and the DIMM slots are right there.

    Advice:
    BE CAREFUL when you push back the retaining clips that hold the DIMMs in place to "free" the old RAM.
    Some have broken these clips!

    Regarding the SSD:
    Be aware that you can connect the SSD externally via USB3 and will enjoy speeds that rival those of an internally-mounted drive.

    All you need is a 2.5" external USB3 enclosure that SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTS "UASP" (USB attached SCSI Protocol).
    I'm seeing read speeds of 426mbps and write speeds of 342mbps on a Sandisk "SSD Plus" 240gb drive using this method.

    Granted, you might achieve slightly higher speeds by mounting the drive internally, but then you either have to do the job yourself (it's more common than you think for Mini users to try this and then break something inside), or pay someone else to do it for you.
    And the speed differences will be hardly noticeable or not noticeable at all...
     
  7. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    #7
    thanks for the tips man , i just did it , played 1080 p with vlc and nothing else in the background... and here are the results

    cpu :

    system - 2.27 %
    user - 11.18 %
    free - 86 %
    VLC - 45 %

    memory :

    physical mem - 4 gb
    used mem - 2.25 gb
    cached archives - 1.1 gb
    swap used - 512 kb
    app mem -1.17 gb
    resident memory - 828 mb
    compressed - 278 mb

    and those values are running VLC with everything else , any app like chrome and others closed .

    I think like you said , i am running out of ram . If i open chrome with 10 tabs those values are even worse , compressed will jump to 500 mb and used mem to 3.3 gb out of 4 gb which is my total .

    So , i am beggining to think it is memory issue ... funny because i wouldn't have this problem running 1080 p on my last laptop with the same memory , with windows 7 . I know windows 7 is very light and all but I had no idea that mac ox el captain would be so damn heavy . It is probably the reason , don't you think ? I could try to go back to yosemite but my ram should be arriving in about 5-6 days , after i install , i will see what happens / Hopefully it solves the issue but if it doesnt i might have to try going back to an older OS . Funny cause apple is always suposed to bring optmized and light OS ..but i guess not this time ...

    Also , the refresh rate is 60 hertz when i click monitor under preferences .....is that too much ? should i try to lower it ?

    any other tip ? i wonder why is it consuming so much memory ...it has to be the OS itself







     
  8. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #8
    thanks for ther reply . yeah i will do the ram upgrade myself , seems kinda easy to do , but the SSD i will either run externally like you said or pay someone technician to do it because that seems tough to do ...i won't risk . And like you said , i also think the difference in speed from runnning internally will be barely noticable




     
  9. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Dayton, Ohio
    #9
    These numbers look pretty good; the CPU is not being taxed too heavily here.

    And yeah, this shows that you're near the limit on RAM. Which, I guess, you've noticed already. :) Were you able to tell how much RAM VLC was using?

    Yeah, the high compression values means that the OS has decided that there's not enough room left, so it's trying to use compression to cram more data into less memory. This trick works to some extent, but increases the load on the CPU, and may contribute to slowdowns on retrieving video (depending on how the compression is being performed).

    (And yes, Chrome can be a real memory hog. It's still my own favorite browser, though. :) )

    Apple has always rated user experience first, efficiency second; but still, I don't think it's right to blame the OS just yet. :) El Capitan is definitely being used by many folks without problems.

    I think the first thing I would suggest is to try using a video player other than VLC (_anything_ other than VLC ;) ) VLC is probably the most powerful and flexible video player available, but it gains that power at the cost of speed and efficiency. I personally think MPlayerX (available at mplayerx.org ) is a good option.

    That's the native refresh rate for most LCD monitors these days; I don't think it should make a difference here.

    You can dig into the list of processes in the Memory tab of the Activity Monitor to find out which processes are consuming the most RAM. It may indeed be the case that the OS is using most of it, but you might just find that there is some odd utility or set of utilities running that are quietly eating up your RAM. In any case, I believe that a Mac with 4 Gig of RAM running El Capitan and playing a video should, in my opinion, not be running out of memory in this manner...
     
  10. iPhil macrumors 68040

    iPhil

    #10
    Upgrade the ram and install a SSD to boot from .. Mac will smoke the old PC .. Even my '11 mini with SSD n 8GB ram will run 1080 with 16 tabs Safari ...
     
  11. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    Dayton, Ohio
    #11
    I'm sure it would. However, there's no reason why an '11 mini with 4GB ram and a magnetic HD shouldn't be able to play 1080p video flawlessly. You might not be able to run too much else at the same time with that amount of RAM, but simple video playback certainly does not require (or in any way benefit from) an SSD.
     
  12. iPhil macrumors 68040

    iPhil

    #12
    Well I did run 1080 from youtube on half of the tabs and ran fine on standard HDD and 8GB ram ...
     
  13. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #13
    Memory looks fine when using VLC. OS X compresses RAM default on newer versions, not only when it's running out as someone erroneously said above.

    Even my 2009 with 4GB plays 1080p fine, while running multiple other things in the background. Also, stop using Chrome. It's a badly coded resource hog. ;)
     
  14. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2015
    #14
    that is my point exactly and i completly agree ..it shouldnt' be running out of memory like that ....i am gonna check activity monitor again but from what i saw ....there is no real apps consuming that much ..just a bunch of them consuming a lil bit. ...my mac is in portuguese language but i will try to get a print screen and post it when i get back from the gym ....maybe that could help ?

    thanks again bro

    btw- ( other answers are in bold , inside your quote )
     
  15. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #15
    will do that ....just trying to solve the problem while my upgrade parts dont arrive , any ideas ? thanks bro
     
  16. VICTORBR35 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2015
    #16
    damn ...so why do you suggest that might be slowing me down like this and making my 1080 p playback choppy ? any ideas ? thanks man
     
  17. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #17
    That... would be ridiculous. Data compression increases CPU load, which increases power usage and slows down apps. Arbitrarily compressing data when you don't need to is just plain dumb.

    There may be rarely-used portions of the OS that are advantageous to page into RAM ahead of time and keep in a compressed form, but I can't see any reason why you'd want to compress userland data before you actually have to...
     
  18. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #18
  19. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #19
    No idea without actually getting my hands on the mac to do some hands on troubleshooting if I'm honest. You've not given us any details on what type and bitrate of files you are having issues with. One thing I will say is that VLC only supports MPEG4 AVC hardware assisted decode on the Mac.

    Media Centre software like Kodi and Plex have better support for hardware decode.
     
  20. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #20
    Ok, VLC isn't going crazy with buffering, then. :) I was kinda worried that might be the case.

    Hmm. Is "Google Chrome Helper" the task that is still running after Chrome is closed? (I sometimes see that task running on after going to a page with a lot of ads; that can cause various problems. And yeah, Chrome really isn't the most efficient or bug-free browser out there. :) )

    And I can believe dropbox is consuming a bunch of RAM. My Google Drive utility does that too. I often end up closing a lot of these little utility apps when I want to free up some memory...
     
  21. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #21
    Yes, that article is EXACTLY CORRECT! And, it would be nice if you yourself could spend a minute or two to read it. Here, let me just quote a single paragraph from it to make it easier for you:

    Please note the section I highlighted in bold: in short, you win if you use compression instead of using swap. This is exactly what Apple does; when memory runs low, and swap is threatened, compression begins. But until that point is reached, compression is a big loser, not a big winner. Ultimately, what you want to avoid at all costs is swapping.
     
  22. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #22
    Eh? You just said :
    which falls under :
    ???
     
  23. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #23
    Alright, just how much of that article do I really need to quote here? :( Should I copy the entire article?

    Hmm. Let me just post two screenshots from the article, where they were testing the memory compression. Here is the Activity Monitor statistics screen on OSX 10.9 just before compression kicks in:

    [​IMG]

    And, here it is after they have thoroughly overloaded the poor machine:

    [​IMG]

    Please note that, up until the very last moment, OS X uses absolutely no compression: if it can fit all the running programs into exactly 15.99 GB on a 16 GB machine, it will do so. Only after the max is reached does compression begin.
     
  24. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #24
    It's not a real world test. Most Macs are sold with less than 16GB - see the OP. I've not been pushing my rMBP and it's sat here at 9 of 16Gb used with 1.2GB compressed and a green memory pressure graph.
     
  25. jpietrzak8 macrumors 65816

    jpietrzak8

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    #25
    This means that at some point, your machine was under serious pressure for RAM. Once the memory has been compressed (which consumes lots of CPU cycles), it _stays_ compressed (even after the memory pressure has been reduced) until you need to access it, because decompressing the memory takes lots _more_ CPU cycles.

    Once again, I would ask that you please, please, please read that article. It's a great article, and you did post the link to it yourself. In summary: swapping is bad, and needs to be avoided at all costs. But compression is not in and of itself at all good; it's simply less bad than swapping.
     

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