Choppy / Stuttering Video on a Mac Mini

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I am using a Mac Mini with latest version of Yosemite (v.10.10.1) as a home media center and it has worked great in the past, playing back music and videos from multiple sources (web, quicktime, VLC, iphoto, Plex). A few weeks ago the video playback from all my sources started to become choppy, to stutter, and often the picture would hang for seconds at a time. Totally unusable. Driving me nuts.
Have spent a great deal of time resurching the web for a solution but no luck yet. Is there anyone out there with the same problem ? Do I have to reformat my Mac ?
Any help will be very welcomed
Thanks
Mauricio
 
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late 2012 mini w/SSD
Please tell us some more-
How much RAM? How much hard drive space free?
Read about using Activity Monitor:
How to use Activity Monitor - Apple Support
Tell us about CPU and Memory use - maybe include the top 5 users of CPU and memory (with numbers) in a reply.
 
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Hi
Thanks for taking the time to answer my post.
I have attached some screenshots of my CPU usage, RAM and HD Space
Please let me know if you need any additional information
Thanks again
Mauricio
 

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There is nothing attached and don't really need screen shots.

Just tell us which Mac Mini, e.g.

2009 with 2.2GHz Core2Duo
100 GB used 20 GB free
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Thanks for the prompt reply..here is the information regarding my MAC MINI

Mac Mini ( mid 2011)
Processor: 2.3 GHz Inter Core i5
Internal HD: 500GB - 207 GB Free
I also have two 2TB External HDs
Disc 1 has 1.54 TB of free space
Disc 2 has 697 GB of free space

The movies that are choppy and stuttering are on my internal drive, but the problem occures with any video, does not matter whether is located in any of the drives or from any streaming source
Thanks and regards
Mauricio
 
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Same problem here and apparently it's old news based on a search for the issue.

One fix was to start Safari in 32 bit mode but that isn't an option in 10.10.2. Using Chrome or Firefox is a fix and as much as I like Safari, I haven choice but to revert to one of those browsers.

FWIW, I have the issue on an 8 core (2008) Mac Pro with 20GB RAM and on a new Mac Pro (late 2013 trash can) with 32GB of RAM.

My internet connection is 23 Mbps (on average) so it ain't my connection and it ain't my cpu(s). It is Safari - most of the time.

In some cases it is also the site you visit. Facebook is notorious for freezing while loading. YouTube can also get clogged up. I suspect in some cases one might blame the ISP (although it borders on "conspiracy" to think they've already implemented net neutrality).
 
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Hi Mortilla,
Thanks for the reply but my problem is definitely not my internet connection..I do not need to be plugged to the internet for the problem to occur. I am talking about videos that are on my internal and external HD
Could it have something to do with my graphics card ?
 
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Hi Mortilla,
Thanks for the reply but my problem is definitely not my internet connection..I do not need to be plugged to the internet for the problem to occur. I am talking about videos that are on my internal and external HD
Could it have something to do with my graphics card ?

I would certainly start by clearing all cache with a program such as Onyx (free) and even before that, I would create a new user account and see if the problem persists. If it goes away, it could be a software conflict.
 
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Thanks I did what your recommended but the problem still persists. I have even done a fresh Yosemite install and thought this was going to resolve my problem but to my surprise, nothing changed, the video when played via Iphoto is choppy and hangs for several seconds. What I found out is if I play the same video that is on a slideshow in Iphoto from and external drive, it plays fine without hanging and stuttering so it defiantly has something to do with the internal HD or memory
Again any help will be very much appreciated
 
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I have added 3 screenshots of my CPU/Memory and Disk usage Disk Usage.png

CPU usage.png

Memory usage.png

Please let me know if you spot anything wrong
 
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Please let me know if you spot anything wrong

Thanks for the screen shots. I don't see anything of concern.

If you copy videos to one of the external drives, does it play smoothly from there?
You "kind of" answered this before - but still curious if there's a difference when copied to an external.
(I'm thinking hardware now - internal drive or motherboard is the question)
 
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Hi, thanks for taking the time to look at my screen shots, I have trying to find a solution throughout the weekend but no luck, I thought that viewing videos from my external drives solved the problem but after 5 to 10 minutes into the film the video started to hang and chop again.. same thing. I am thinking of upgrading my memory to 16 GB.. do you think this may solve my problem... this all happened after updating to Yosemite, before this I never had any issues. I even did a fresh install but the problem persists. What could the problem be ?
 
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Thanks I did what your recommended but the problem still persists. I have even done a fresh Yosemite install and thought this was going to resolve my problem but to my surprise, nothing changed, the video when played via Iphoto is choppy and hangs for several seconds. What I found out is if I play the same video that is on a slideshow in Iphoto from and external drive, it plays fine without hanging and stuttering so it defiantly has something to do with the internal HD or memory
Again any help will be very much appreciated
UPDATE: I take back what I side earlier on.. the problem also happens when playing a video from an of the external HDD´s. Actually the entire computer is very very slow. Its not just video playing.
 
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Actually the entire computer is very very slow. Its not just video playing.

First thing - have you been backing up regularly, like using TIme Machine? I think your Mac could fail at any time.

Have you tried any basic maintenance? (Onyx is good - it's a graphical interface for OS X's built-in utilities.)
I'd start by booting into Recovery, then using Disk Utility to repair the hard drive. How to use Recovery mode:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT4718

Do you have a bootable drive among the external ones? You can start up from that and see if the same problems persist.
 
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Silver M1 iMac 512/16/8/8 macOS 11.6
We still don't know how much memory. For Yosemite suggest at least 8GB as Yosemite and Mavericks are both pretty hungry beasts, and update to OS X.10.2.
 
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First thing - have you been backing up regularly, like using TIme Machine? I think your Mac could fail at any time.

Have you tried any basic maintenance? (Onyx is good - it's a graphical interface for OS X's built-in utilities.)
I'd start by booting into Recovery, then using Disk Utility to repair the hard drive. How to use Recovery mode:
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT4718

Do you have a bootable drive among the external ones? You can start up from that and see if the same problems persist.

Hi Gsahli,
Thanks for your quotes... last night I received the new 16GB memory and was anxious to see if this would fix my problem... but to my surprise, nothing happened, I still get choppy and hanging videos... I am really frustrated, cause I really cannot find a fix.
I have used Onyx but it did not resolve the problem. I have not tried booting into recovery.
Will try this tonight and see if it changes anything..
Let me know if you think of anything else
Thanks
Mauricio
 

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... last night I received the new 16GB memory and was anxious to see if this would fix my problem... but to my surprise, nothing happened…

I'm not surprised. You started will 8gig of ram (a fairly good amount). Throwing more ram (16 gig) at things was really not going to help in this situation. If you only had 2gig…that would be a different story.

Let me know if you think of anything else

What you want to figure out is…do you have a software or hardware problem. An easy way to do this is…boot the computer from a "virgin" source. A good way to do this is to use an empty external hard drive.

- Erase & reformat it.
- Install a fresh copy of the Mac OS (nothing else).
- Boot the computer with this external drive.
- See if you still have choppy video.

* Nick
 
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similar video stuttering problem on Mini 2011

I've been handed a 2.3GHZ 4G Ram 500G HDD 2011 Mini to play with. My 1st Mac in 15 years so call me new to Macs. It's pretty clean having had a Yosemite fresh re-installed and updated. Only has iLife and VLC Player also installed. HDMI to a Samsung TV in game mode bypassing all picture enhancements at the TV.

Even not full screen, running video through Quicktime Player in windowed mode, the video constantly pauses for a second or 2 before resuming while the sound plays perfectly without interruption. Same for iTunes playing trailers. When the video image freezes, the mouse cursor and other screen elements can still move fine, just the video window sticks.

Strangely YouTube videos play fine in Safari without stuttering, so I think its to do with the video card and Quicktime/iTunes? VLC seems better at video playback of a 2G MP4 video from a DVD I made, but still not perfect. Same file played with QuickTime player has unwatchable stuttering.

May be the same problem as the original poster? Do you get this stutter in windowed video?

I could re-install Yosemite again and test before updating and instaling iLife and VLC?
 
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Re-installed after format and without any iLife. Stutter is still there.
The CPU does not seem to be taxed... Disk transfers are not saturated....
Not being able to enjoy iTunes video rentals without constant freeze frames makes this very annoying for me... its unusable for my intended purpose in replacing my apple TV.

That the stutter is there even with windowed video and pauses the video whilst the progress bar and mouse cursor still moves fine indicates its not a HDMI problem to me. Any ideas how to solve this would be much appreciated!
 
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I could re-install Yosemite again and test before updating and instaling iLife and VLC?

Two common troubleshooting techniques:
1) Install VLC. Startup in Safe Mode, and see if you get video to play OK using VLC. Why? Safe mode disables third-party extensions (and does some drive repairs), and VLC plays independently of extensions.
2. Create a second bootable drive, and startup using that. And try a video. That will test whether the internal drive is the problem.
 

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