Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Post Reply
Royalston
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:09 am

Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by Royalston » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:48 am

Working solely on my 17" Macbook Pro, with no external screen, I get great performance out of Ableton (8.2.6). I can run shitloads of plugins at a low latency. But when when plugged into an apple screen, the same song in ableton will have its performance halved - I get dropouts even under huge latencies (1024-2048) on a song that was fine running on 256sample latency.

At first I blamed my Fireface 800 , which is my soundcard when Im in the studio...but Ive finally narrowed it down to the monitor...Anybody noticed this/ got any tips for getting around it (apart from the obvious one of not using the screen)? It sucks!

Royalston



http://www.soundcloud.com/Royalston

xenomachino1
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:07 pm

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by xenomachino1 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:50 am

i have the exact same problem. i thought it was the actual monitor, buy i switched to a different monitor and the problem was still there. Would be interesting to find out what kind of macbook you have. I have the one with the combo thunderbolt/minidisplay port. Not the latest model but the one before that. Let me know, let's figure this out cause its driving me crazy!

h4nc0
Posts: 141
Joined: Fri Dec 05, 2008 10:58 pm

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by h4nc0 » Wed Sep 05, 2012 8:45 am

Have you tried using an utility to force running discrete video processor instead of the integrated one? Try it. But AFAIK, running external monitor automatically forces the use of discrete GPU, so may not make much difference.

http://codykrieger.com/gfxCardStatus

fishmonkey
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:37 am

are you running other applications in the background?

garyboozy
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:27 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by garyboozy » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:46 am

i don't see any difference in performance at all.
using the early 2011 thunderbolt mbp quad i7 2.2ghz, 10.6.8, Live 8.3.4
+ old 24" samsung lcd monitor with dvi to minidisplay port adapter in the thunderbolt port.
Last edited by garyboozy on Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by fishmonkey » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:54 am

i think the issue is driver and/or VRAM and/or application related. a quick Google search turns up reports of similar issues with Logic, Final Cut Pro 7, and some games.

you would definitely want to make sure that you don't have any other applications running that hog VRAM. for example, Firefox is one application that tends to use a lot of VRAM.

supamonsta
Posts: 2621
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 7:31 pm
Location: The Lounge
Contact:

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by supamonsta » Wed Sep 05, 2012 12:01 pm

macbook pro i7 dual core 2,8ghz + 8gb ram, Lion
external 27" screen with minidisplay-hdmi adaptator and hdmi cable

=> we hear the fans being much more active, but I can't say I noticed a performance cut... but
=> the external screen blinks permanently, it seems to shut off 1 second, then come back, and again, and again...

the external display blinking is reported on lots of forums, even with apple displays...
seems apple need an update of Lion


WTF apple with the video ?? 8O

Royalston
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:09 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by Royalston » Wed Sep 05, 2012 1:23 pm

I'm running a 2.3ghz Core i7, 8gb ram...Snow leopard 10.6.8 Using thunderbolt port. Apple monitor.

Not running any applications in the background. I even switch the airport off.

The exact same tune + setup without the monitor will run at around 50% CPU usage in Ableton (very smoothly). With the monitor - giants spikes of well over 100%. I have tried with different soundcards (to rule them out as a cause). Fan is generally working very hard too.

I would love to get this problem sorted...driving me crazy.

rikhyray
Posts: 3644
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 12:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by rikhyray » Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:09 am

In cases like that I just call Apple support though that requires some patience - going through 1 tier which are mostly half or complete idiots- so you have to tell full story (which they wont understand anyway) to get to 2nd tier. Once there , need some luck - to get right person @ 2nd tier. I was lucky, at least twice, getting to people who were using DAWs privately, but even with regular 2nd tier support people you can get somewhere. Like with any other support you have to have some skills not to let them go to "refer to the third party software manufacturer" and other support tricks to get rid of customer.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:19 am

apart from full-blown applications, I would check all the other stuff you have installed and running in the background. all it takes is for one badly written piece of low-level code to hog resources or force too many interrupts in your system and mess things up.

if you are serious about narrowing down the possibilities, i would make a totally clean installation of Mac OS X with only the extra drivers required for your audio interface, and test from there.

Royalston
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:09 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by Royalston » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:31 am

My music computer is relatively new, and generally kept off the net. I have only installed applications that I use for music. Reinstalling everything is difficult due to the downtime. This behaviour (bad performance) has occurred since I bought it and the screen. Its pretty easy to narrow down the problem - screen attached= bad performance. Screen off= good performance. I have installed some monitoring apps and I will test over the next week which ones seem to spike when the monitor is attached.

garyboozy
Posts: 2633
Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:27 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by garyboozy » Thu Sep 06, 2012 10:32 am

is it the apple thunderbolt display, or a 3rd party one?

fishmonkey
Posts: 4223
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by fishmonkey » Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:01 am

Royalston wrote:My music computer is relatively new, and generally kept off the net. I have only installed applications that I use for music. Reinstalling everything is difficult due to the downtime. This behaviour (bad performance) has occurred since I bought it and the screen. Its pretty easy to narrow down the problem - screen attached= bad performance. Screen off= good performance. I have installed some monitoring apps and I will test over the next week which ones seem to spike when the monitor is attached.
the symptoms tell you that it is probably a graphics-related issue somewhere in your system, there are still a lot of possible culprits though.

Royalston
Posts: 31
Joined: Sun Jan 29, 2012 6:09 am

Re: Macbook: Huge performance cut when using an external monitor

Post by Royalston » Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:09 pm

It is a new apple thunderbolt display.

If it is a graphics related issue - what can I do? Are there different graphics drivers? I guessing Apple will just tell me its Ableton's fault...

Post Reply