MacMini Cracks and Pops When I Move A Window

I’m running a well-spec’d Intel MacMini (2020 3.2Ghz, 8-core i7, 64GB RAM, Intel UHD Graphics 630, Ventura 13.5) and have always had this weird problem that has finally just gotten to me. I’m about to just buy a Mac Studio and be done with this mess. However, I want to give it one more try to see if anyone has an idea what is going on or if it’s something that is just inherent to this generation MacMini.

If I have almost no windows open and don’t move or adjust anything I can set the buffer to 128 and it seems to work fine and it feels right to play from a latency standpoint (guitar). However, if I and move a window, any window (Safari, Finder, GP, a plugin, etc) or even adjust a widget I get a bunch of cracks pops. I will strum a chord and it sounds fine, then move a window and just sounds horrible…cracks, pops, otherworldly crap sounds everywhere. As soon as I stop manipulating something on the screen the noise pretty much stops. If I set the buffer to 256 I still get a little of it but not much so it seems to be better. However 256 just doesn’t feel right, I’m not going to play at that setting.

Why does manipulating something graphically cause so much havoc? It does it whether GP is showing 10% usage or 45% usage. I looked in activity monitor and it shows the GPU usage <1^% and CPU around 5% most of the time. Is it something about the crappy built Intel graphics?

Thanks for the help.

I get similar issues on my 2018 Intel MacBook Pro when using/moving other windows.

But widgets are fine in my experience.

Who’d say that this happens on a Mac :thinking:
And not on any Mac, but a powerful one (CPU: 3.2Ghz, 8-core i7, RAM: 64GB RAM, Year: 2020)

I thought that the real-time audio thread was intact when dealing with the GUI stuff (at least, that is what a Mac user will tell you).

Are there any ways to tweak display settings, like on Windows? (say optimize the display settings for “best performance”?)

Any chance to test that with a DAW like Logic?

I’m using Windows, so I don’t know if the GP options on Mac offer this one: using ‘Open GL’ vs. ‘Software Renderer’ (at the bottom of the ‘Display’ tab.)

The Open GL renderer for Mac is deprecated in v4.1 (I think).

There are no options for this on macOS (it uses CoreVideo that allegedly works very well).

1 Like

It’s been a while since I used a DAW but I’ll try Ableton and Logic and report back.

I was pretty sure it’s not a GP problem and the following pretty much confirms it.

The short answer is the problem is worse in both Ableton and Logic which would make sense given there’s a lot more going on using computer resources as compared to GP.

I used the same 2 plugins on the same presets as I was using in GP. ML Sound Lab Gemini and Soundtoys Effects rack with one of the complex Sound Design presets.

Ableton with buffer at 128 gets clicks and pops no matter what, even when I don’t move a window, but it’s worse when I move one. Ableton with 256 buffer has a few artifacts with no window movement, but many more when I move the windows.

Logic with buffer set to 128 is quite a bit of clicks and pops but not as bad as Ableton without moving a window. Moving a window causes all kinds of noise. With the buffer set to 256 it’s pretty much clean, but when I move a window the clicks come back.

To me this definitely means some sort of connection between moving a window or doing something “graphical” and audio processing at the system level. It’s not just GP (I never thought it was).

GP actually performs better than the DAWs which again is no surprise.

Any thoughts?

I’m thinking I’ll be looking to treat myself to a new machine for my birthday in October, unless someone has an idea. Apple support is clueless also.

This issue is really preventing me from doing things I want to in GP.

What’s your audio interface?

Audient ID44

IIRC were there ALOTS of problems with these 2018 macMinis vs. Ableton live usage, back then.
They seem to have a shitty graphics card or drivers or both.
The problems have been graphics related.
compared to a M1/M2 Mac are these just pieces of poop vs. music making.
Sorry for the hard words. Gladly the M1/M2s are on the table.
Its such a different experience.

ahh, might play a big role if you have a internet browser open in parallel on these macs.
I for example have mostoften.
Close everything in case you have something open.

Also, are modern plugins permanently more “demanding” vs. graphics power.
Not sure if this is an aspect here.

I’m not all that surprised to hear it and was pretty sure that was the answer. This machine has had other issues as well. I think it’s time to move on to a Mac Studio with M2 Max.

I’m thinking the base machine with 32Gb RAM and an upgrade to 1TB SSD will be good.

There are (pricey) options to also upgrade the CPU/GPU and RAM, but I think this will suffice unless anyone else thinks I should bump the specs higher.

Have you tried using the built in soundcard for os and asio to the offboard card for gp, it worked for my pc

(this is the Mac section)


Somewhat related, but I think only relevant for laptops. My 2017 MacBook Pro would be seemingly random in getting clicks/pops in the audio when I would do things with windows (particularly as I like to use Mission Control). Doing the 3 finger swipe up to enter Mission Control would sometimes create a bunch of clicks/pops.

Today it started doing it again (after no issues for a while), and the one thing that was different was that my battery had been completely drained. I was on power, but it was charging up from about 5% charge.

On a whim, I went looking in the Energy Saver prefs, but as I’m newly upgraded to Ventura, this is just a ‘Battery’ option now. There is an extra ‘Options’ button, which then displays an option at the bottom for ‘Automatic Graphics Switching’. I turned this off, and my click/pops when using Mission Control instantly disappeared!

1 Like

Can you check this on your Mac?

He has a Mac Mini. This setting is likely only to be on MacBooks. But it might still point to an issue with the graphics chip in his Mac Mini.

1 Like

I do have a MBP intel from 2017, but IS and will stay on Mojave.(for the near future)

Oh, OK, I thought that this setting is Ventura related.

If the Intel UHD 630 is the graphics chip in @chris_g’s MacMini - that is actually the lower power graphics in my MacBook Pro. The Intel chip looks to be an extremely underpowered graphics chip from my limited research.

This is the big difference between my main graphics chip (Radeon Pro 555) and the backup Intel chip: