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Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

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Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 1:36 pm

I’ve been having system overload problems with Logic on my 2018 Mac Mini. I’ve tried almost everything I can think of to resolve this issue, and could really do with some input. It’s driving me mad and at this point I have some regrets about getting rid of my trusty 2009 Mac Pro.

The Mini is a 2018, i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Mojave 10.14.6, Logic 10.4.7. I’m using an Allen & Heath mixer with USB 2 interface and an external USB 3 7200 rpm HD for audio.

The issue is that playback of almost any Logic project is interrupted by a massive CPU spike on core 1 causing a system overload in Logic. This affects any project, even simple ones with no more than eight tracks of audio and NO plugins and NO software instruments. These CPU spikes occur quite frequently, I’d guess at least every 10 - 15 minutes but sometimes more often.

Things I have tried to remedy this in various combinations (to no avail) are:

  • Selecting an empty audio track during playback (although my understanding is this is only relevant for projects with software instruments, and my problem occurs regardless of whether I am using any software instruments);
  • Experimenting with every conceivable audio preferences setting in Logic;
  • Ensuring that all other applications are closed when using Logic and ensuring there are no user startup items;
  • Ensuring that the Mac is disconnected from the network and wifi is off when using Logic;
  • Various different combinations of USB sockets, Thunderbolt adapters etc for my audio interface, HD and peripherals (EMagic MIDI interface, keyboard and mouse);
  • Playing back my projects through the internal Mac Mini audio with the Allen & Heath interface disconnected (having read about the issues with the T2 chip and USB 2 audio interfaces);
  • Disabling automatic updating of date & time and location (online advices suggests this appeared to resolve audio issues for some Macs with the T2 chip)
  • Creating a new user account on my SSD and playing back my Logic projects from this account (was wondering whether anything that had come across from my old Mac when I imported my user account from time machine backup could have been causing problems);
  • Copy a small Logic project with a couple of audio tracks and no plugins to the SSD drive and playing back from there (to eliminate any issues caused by the external HD, although the HD activity monitor in Logic looks fine);
  • Looking for problematic processes or issues in Activity Monitor and the Console logs (although I’m not really sure what I’m looking for, I haven’t seen anything burning CPU when these system overloads occur).

I think that’s about everything I’ve tried, although I may have forgotten something.

The only thing I can think of now is to try a clean reinstall of the OS, just in case something weird has come across when I imported my user account and applications from my old Mac, although as noted above I have already tried creating a fresh user account.

Obviously that’s a bit of a hassle and I would really appreciate any ideas or advice about this before I try that.

Thank you very much for anything you can offer.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:06 pm

Does it still happen if you use the built in audio instead of the Allen & Heath?
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 2:51 pm

Tomás Mulcahy wrote:Does it still happen if you use the built in audio instead of the Allen & Heath?

Hi Tomas - yes it does. I have disconnected the Allen and Heath and played a variety of projects through the built in audio, but the issue remains.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby desmond » Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:24 pm

Well, it certainly sounds like you've done all the right kinds of things to try to track down the cause.

Are you local to an Apple store? If so, it might be an idea to take your machine in to a Genius appointment, together with a little example project that shows the issue, and compare it with another similar machine.

It's a good idea to try on a completely clean system install, as you rule out a lot of things that way - but I don't recommend you wipe your current installation just to do this - just install a clean OS on another drive or partition, boot from that, and try it to see whether the issue is still there.

Let us know how it goes, and then I'll see if I can think of any other things you can try to track down what's going on.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sat Nov 16, 2019 7:03 pm

Thanks Desmond. Nearest Apple Store is about 40 miles away, but I’d go and see them if I run out of all other options.

A clean install on another drive is a good idea. That’s something I can do quite easily. I’ll try that first, thank you.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby getrichs » Sun Nov 17, 2019 8:45 am

I had exactly the same issue on my 2012 quad core macmini after "upgrading" to Mojave. It seemed the OS wasn't using all the cores, and after trying every possible solution I reinstalled High Sierra and the problem went away. So I'm basically resigned to sticking with this combination for the life of this computer ... Seems a shame to have to, but Apple will keep tinkering with stuff that already works.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sun Nov 17, 2019 1:12 pm

getrichs wrote:I had exactly the same issue on my 2012 quad core macmini after "upgrading" to Mojave. It seemed the OS wasn't using all the cores, and after trying every possible solution I reinstalled High Sierra and the problem went away. So I'm basically resigned to sticking with this combination for the life of this computer ... Seems a shame to have to, but Apple will keep tinkering with stuff that already works.

Interesting feedback, thanks. Mojave is the oldest OS this machine can use, so that's not an option. However, if a clean install of Mojave doesn't sort it out, I might try an install of Catalina on my spare HD and see if that makes any difference.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby G-Doubleyou » Sun Nov 17, 2019 10:19 pm

I have the same machine, no issues so far.

Don't know what to say, don't use USB except for an iLock.

:?:
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:52 pm

An update on this situation.

I’ve now had the opportunity to do a clean install of Mojave on an external HD. I’ve only installed Logic itself, no fancy third party plugins or additional software.

Unfortunately, the issue persists, so I have concluded it must be something fairly fundamentally wrong with this Mac or it’s software.

I’m going to try an update to Catalina on the external HD. I’d been avoiding it for now, but there’s nothing to lose. It does include some firmware updates for the 2018 Mac Mini so you never know, maybe that’ll help.

If that doesn’t sort the issue out, then I really feel I’ve tried everything and it’ll have to be a trip to the Apple store.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby brucie » Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:44 am

I'm very familiar with this issue and have similar spec machine.

How many monitors are you running?

What resolution are you running them at?
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Tue Nov 26, 2019 10:24 pm

brucie wrote:I'm very familiar with this issue and have similar spec machine.

How many monitors are you running?

What resolution are you running them at?

One monitor. 1680 x 1050.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby brucie » Wed Nov 27, 2019 11:45 am

I have been having problems with multiple monitor with my Mac Mini 2018 and Logic. I believe the issues are down to the GPU. On top of that I found that if I use any other resolution than the native unscaled resolution then I get the same 1 core spike.

Not sure if that helps.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:10 pm

Thanks for that. It’s worth looking into more. Although I am using the native resolution of the monitor and I’m only have one monitor, it is an unusual (maybe non-standard, even) resolution these days; so maybe I should try a more standard resolution monitor.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:11 am

brucie wrote:I have been having problems with multiple monitor with my Mac Mini 2018 and Logic. I believe the issues are down to the GPU. On top of that I found that if I use any other resolution than the native unscaled resolution then I get the same 1 core spike.

Not sure if that helps.

Thanks again for this advice. I have now listened through to a number of projects that would normally be guaranteed to show up the issue with the monitor off, and they all played through perfectly multiple times.

This tends to suggest that there is something GPU related going on here. I may purchase a cheap 1080p monitor and see if that helps; I suspect that running what is now essentially a non-standard screen resolution may be causing some scaling issues.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby brucie » Sun Dec 01, 2019 5:38 pm

Hi there

Glad it seemed to have worked, I still haven’t fully got to the bottom of this but I am now running with 1 monitor instead of 2 at 1080. Very frustrating, I guess I am going to have look into an Egpu at some point (and more expense!)

Good luck

All the best,

Neil
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:08 pm

Unfortunately, a new 1080p monitor has not resolved the problem. I really feel I’ve exhausted all avenues now, so I have a support call booked with Apple.

I’ll probably have to try all sorts of basic stuff that I’ve already been through before they grasp the issue, but oh well.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby MOF » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:34 pm

Have you checked the RAM? Hold down the D key on power up and follow the diagnostic prompts.
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Re: Mac Mini 2018 - system overload issues in Logic

Postby Dryjoy » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:46 pm

MOF wrote:Have you checked the RAM? Hold down the D key on power up and follow the diagnostic prompts.

Thanks - any suggestion is worth a try. I’ll give it a go later.
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