In a nutshell, with both my new rMBP and a few other forum member's 2012 MBA this problem occurs, more usually with an Apple Thunderbolt Display. I ask here as it is discussed in the Air forum. Also, no one else seems to mention it being a problem with USB audio too. Audio is fine using the headphone jack/internal speakers. Audio is also fine using an external sound source such as aThunderbolt Display or a Digidesign Mbox2 (USB). However, when you start doing something graphics intensive the audio on the external device begins to degrade into static until it goes entirely. This can takes a few minutes to appear and then a few more minutes to die completely. It happens on both Thunderbolt and USB buses. Even after the audio has degraded, the internal speakers/headphone jack are totally unaffected. The problem with the external device seems to need a reboot to fix. The problem does not seem to be different if using discrete or integrated GPU. Anandtech discusses a problem with the Thunderbolt Display and a Pegasus drive but as far as i can tell he does not speak of the problem being broader than that scenario. http://www.anandtech.com/show/4832/the-apple-thunderbolt-display-review/10 Also: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1241915 http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=15169406#post15169406 Has anyone had any feedback from Apple about this. It seems to predate the rMBP so you would have thought they might have fixed it by know, or at least acknowledge it.