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Mac Mini (2012) HDMI losing sync (blank screen/snow)

80927 Views 429 Replies Latest reply: Jan 28, 2014 11:51 AM by jurre-j RSS
  • Tnadu Calculating status...

    There are at least two threads here discussing this problem. The first one started on October 27, 2012 and is up to 78 pages. This one started November 8, 2012 and is up to page 24. That's a lot of unhappy Mac users! And I would guess that there are a lot of people who now wish they'd taken advantage of the return policy (I did with B&H Photo) when they had the chance. Personally I don't mind the time I spend doing set up on computers as it keeps my skill set up to speed, but to have to deal with a daily problem that Apple can't seem to fix in almost a year, well that really *****. I never have to do anything with my 2010 Mini except use it...never any problems.

     

    Come November or so when the new 2013 Mini hits the market I predict there is going to be a glut of used 2012 Minis on the used market as disappointed users upgrade hoping for a trouble free Mac. I may even one, but not until the 2013 has been on the market for several months and I'm sure there are no threads like this.

     

    You would think Apple would learn from this, but apparently not. The new MacBook Air is plagued with Wi-Fi problems. Apple seems to think it okay to use their customer base for beta testing. While it is normal for some problems to show up in the field, problems as obvious and consistent as the video problem with the 2012 Mini and the Wi-Fi problem with the 2013 Air should have been discovered and dealt with pre-production.

  • bobmepp Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 2, 2013 11:11 AM (in response to Tnadu)

    I think the Intel video chip as the problem is the only thing that makes sense. The problem is probably a manufacturing flaw and as with most flaws it happens with only a small percentage of the chips. I got lucky, I have never had a problem, as apparently is the case with a large majority of the late 2012 Mac minis. I think your recommendation of the option of returning your unit if the problem shows up within 14 days or DEMANDING corrective action if the problem shows up later is the best option.

  • OWC Larry Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    There are other factors involved and I will maintain that OWC memory is not the issue. We've done extensive testing in house in trying to see the issue occur without issue. And - happy to report a prior system where our memory was suspect is now not seeing issue with our product and thankful for this custome taking the time on this. In general - this is frustrating for a lot of people. We have been able to confirm cases where replacing a generic / cheapie video cable has eliminated the issue where experienced on the HDMI side.

     

    Other thread with related on memory:

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/22452040?ac_cid=tw123456#22452040

  • rcarmic Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I have never considered RAM to be the cause of the HDMI issue that has been reported here. I have experienced this problem using both OWC and Kingston memory. I really believe this is an issue Apple needs to address.

  • Michael Aos Calculating status...

    OWC Larry wrote:

     

    There are other factors involved and I will maintain that OWC memory is not the issue. We've done extensive testing in house in trying to see the issue occur without issue. And - happy to report a prior system where our memory was suspect is now not seeing issue with our product and thankful for this custome taking the time on this. In general - this is frustrating for a lot of people. We have been able to confirm cases where replacing a generic / cheapie video cable has eliminated the issue where experienced on the HDMI side.

     

    I'm generally a fan (although less so now) of OWC products, but with my 2.6Ghz Core i7 Mini (Late 2012) there was ABSOLUTELY a correlation between OWC RAM and black / blank screens.

     

    Apple OEM 2x2GB RAM = no issue

    Initial 2x8GB OWC RAM = issue

    OWC 8GB + 2GB OEM = no issue

    Replacement 2x8GB OWC RAM = issue

     

    Purchased my Mini 11/16/12.  Fought with this (and OWC) for MONTHS.  I had received the Mini & RAM at the same time, so I initially never even tried the Mini with the OEM RAM.  Started w/OWC RAM (and issues) from day-one.  I also never would have suspected RAM as the culprit for "HDMI" issues.

     

    Purchased the Kingston 2x8GB set 4/3/13 and have been running it constantly with not a single issue since.

     

    It wasn't overall the greatest experience w/OWC either.

     

    The RAM was lifetime guaranteed, and they cross-shipped me new RAM.  Fast, efficient, that was great.

    Except that I had the exact same problem / behavior with the new RAM.  Called and spoke with a knowledgable tech-support person.  That was also great.  She initially offered to let me return all the RAM.  Awesome.  Then she after talking to someone else, she asked me to just sit-tight and not do anything while they look into the issue and try to duplicate it in their lab.  Sounded good.

     

    This is where things go south.  When I hadn't heard anything, I e-mailed the tech-support for an update.  She responded that they didn't have the resources to duplicate the issue in the lab, and now too much time had gone by to offer a refund.  I'd have to dig up the e-mail, but I believe she suggested I sell the defective RAM myself.

     

    I called and talked to someone else in customer service.  They initially said "sorry, too bad".  After quite a bit of arguement, she finally agreed to take them back, with a restocking fee -- and she said she was going to make a note in my file that this was a one-time exception and I was to never ask for anything ever again!

     

    I've been an OWC customer for many years and many thousands of dollars.  I don't recall ever having any sort of problem like this before.

     

    As an aside, when I sent the RAM back to OWC, they did credit me my original purchase price and didn't charge me the restocking fee they said they were going to.

     

    So anyway, at least in my case, there was ABSOLUTELY a correlation between the OWC RAM and the black / blank screen on my Late 2012 Mini.

  • Michael Graubart Level 2 Level 2 (250 points)

    The fact that there are so many possible variables in this affair, which makes a systematic testing by changing one variable while keeping all the others constant very time-consuming, has already been commented on in this discussion. I have not attempted this, but a summary of my unsystematic findings may nevertheless be of some use in narrowing down the search for the cause(s).

     

    1. The problem occurred when I started using an HDMI to DVI connection to my new Dell monitor. I used the cable supplied by Dell  with the monitor and the adapter supplied by Apple with the computer.

     

    2. I have not changed or in any way touched the RAM that was in the computer when I bought it.

     

    3. I replaced this connection with a 'generic'  DisplayPort to Mini DisplayPort cable. The problem recurred just once while using this cable after I had unplugged the HDMI-DVI cable and adapter from my computer (but left it plugged into my Dell monitor and lying alongside the DisplayPort cable for part of its length).

     

    4. In my case the display went into what turned out to be a Jacquie Lawson screensaver immediately after going black, not into a snowstorm. I discovered that I had two old Jacqui Lawson screensavers (transferred accidentally from my old computer) in the 'custom' screensaver folder in my Library. I deleted them, and also removed the HDMI - DVI cable altogether. Unfortunately for scientific method, I thus changed two variables at the same time.

     

    5. I have now had 7 days without the trouble recurring. I sincerely hope that I am not speaking too soon.

     

    What is there to be deduced from all of this?

     

    a) The problem is not, or is not entirely, caused by using non-Apple-supplied RAM.

     

    b) In my case the problem did not lie solely with the graphics card. (I stress 'In my case', because it has been suggested that it may be due to a manufacturing fault that has affected some but not all the Intel graphics cards.)

     

    c) The problem may have been caused (or caused in conjunction with the graphics card) by the HDMI - DVI connection or by interference between the partially connected HDMI cable and the DisplayPort one..

     

    c) It may have been caused by the presence of the old screensavers in [my computer's name] > Library > Screensavers; or this in conjunction with cables and/or the graphics card.

     

    If this helps anyone else to track down the (or a) cause and a solution, I am glad. If not, I apologise for yet more time- and space-wasting.

  • Michael Aos Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Some of the critical factors I believe were involved in the issue I saw:

     

    I think the Mini treats RAM differently when there are two "same size" DIMM's.  Interleaving, parallel access - something different than with dissimilar sizes.  I didn't have any issues with 1x 8GB OWC DIMM and 1x other-sized, other-brand DIMM (or just 1x 8GB OWC DIMM alone).

     

    More video RAM is allocated once you add more RAM.  I think "About this Mac" reported 512MB VRAM w/4GB or 6GB RAM, then it goes to 768MB when you have 8GB or >8GB.  Looking now, it's reporting 1GB VRAM in 10.9 build 13A524d.

     

    Obviously VRAM is shared with system RAM / memory.

     

    I'm driving a Thunderbolt display 2560x1440 and an HP LA2405wg 1920x1200.  That means more VRAM is being used.

     

    So when you combine 2x OWC 8GB DIMM's, 2x high-resolution monitors, shared video memory, and maybe the Core i7 @ 2.6Ghz, there's some kind of issue.  Presumably timing, but I don't know.

  • Michael Aos Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Sort of related -- I came to the Late 2012 Mini from a 2006 Mac Pro 1,1.  I was used to having 3 displays and 16GB of RAM.

     

    Thanks to the OWC / Newer Technology Display Adapter (USB 3 to HDMI), I'm back up to 3 displays again.

     

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/VIDU3HDMIDV/

    --

    Mac mini (Late 2012), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • OWC Larry Level 1 Level 1 (45 points)

    While it's not to say a combination of factors that our memory could have been in the mix of could have been a party to this issue's manifiestation - our memory is absolutely not the underlying. We do provide memory certified fully to the Apple specifications which include that they are 1.35 Low Voltage vs. the typical 1.5V draw modules that are standard out there and also will work in the mini and admittedly with what is only a relatively higher power draw and heat contribution. If it is at all related to a noise issue in the chipset, the 1.5 Volt parts seeming to 'fix' or mask the issue would actually make some sense.

     

    That being said - we have extensively tested various display configurations on the Mac mini - including use of TB Display + 1920x1200 displays connected both via HDMI as well as HDMI to DVI ongoing since June when I became aware of the other thread. Zero issues have been encountered and we've tested with multiple Mac minis as well - we have a large number of them that are we use normal in our memory testing program that is always ongoing and used several to do the more extensive testing with display configs to try to get the screen issue to occur under various application loads, sleep, wake, restart, etc.

     

    Apple has clearly continued making improvements that affect this issue - and that includes impact for other Apple models, including those like the Retina MBP which also suffered from the same kind of reported display issues and are a 100% factory controlled hardware config, including soldered memory.

     

    Based on test data from before the summer, I do believe as Apple updates were provided, the issue was more and more limited to specific systems and with variability when issue was present. It also is appearing that in the present - at least since mid-June - updates to this point seem to have more broadly crushed this problem/corrected it at the source.

     

    Michael - I invite you to email me owc at macsales.com if you'd like to try our memory again. Further - if the issue occurs - I'd like to convince you to consider letting us swap your Mini so we can get a 'trouble' system for some real further testing.

     

    I have become personally involved with this and it's my current obsession to either confirm Apple updates have fully eliminated it - or confirm the issue current in a system for both report to Apple as well as additional solution testing. If the issue is still present in some outlier units I will be wagering that cheating on the memory voltage is the likely solution around it for those corner cases - assuming it's not a cable related issue that could be solved without needing the do the voltage cheat.

     

    I apologize for how our customer support group communicated as well - Not at all in line with expectation or norm and a situation that also is far from.

     

    You have my personal committment here and I hope to hear from you.

  • Michael Aos Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Quick update for everyone.  I've had the OWC RAM installed for just over 24hrs now and haven't encountered any of the previous (or any) issues.

    --

  • Chris Syntichakis Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 25, 2013 3:29 PM (in response to .Bunny)

    Hi,

     

    Its just a couple of days that I got a Mac mini (Macmini6,1) and I noticed 4-5 times so far the black screen issue.

    I checked the firmware and , yes, I have the latest. I will try tomorrow the display port (DVI) with my monitor, as now its connected via the HDMI. Is it really an issue with the RAM modules?

     

    thx

  • Tnadu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Chris,

     

    There is no issue with the RAM; it is the integrated Intel HD 4000 video chip, and in almost a year neither Intel nor Apple has come up with a fix. You might want to consider returning it while you still can and wait a couple of months or so for the new Mini to come out with the new HD 5000 chip.

  • bobmepp Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2013 9:35 AM (in response to Tnadu)

    Tnadu,

    I agree with you on the ram, but it would probably be most accurate to say that is is *some* of the HD4000 chips, as I have never had a problem, using the hdmi output, but with my own high quality hdmi cable, not the adapter provided by Apple with the Mini. (I do wonder if Apple's hdmi to dvi adapter is part of the problem, but the pattern of complaints in this discussion tends to rule that out as the sole cause.) Now the percentage of bad chips can only be guessed at, and I would suspect that the percentage is low, but no matter how low, it is unacceptable. I purchased Apple Care, but updated my ram to 16 GB on my own to save money. If the problem shows up belatedly in my Mini, the original ram is going back in, and the Mini will be delivered post-haste to the Apple store with a demand for immediate relief. I think Apple would promptly replace a unit or the system board under warranty or Apple Care if such a demand were made, and hope that is not wishful thinking.

     

    I have not yet used the thunderbolt port for video or anything, so I can't say my unit would have a problem in that configuration, but I have noted that the display Mini at my local Apple store appears to be driving a large thunderbolt monitor with no issues. Of course they wouldn't be using a flawed Mini in a store display, would they?

  • Tnadu Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 26, 2013 10:23 AM (in response to bobmepp)

    bobmepp,

     

    You probably are correct regarding the HD4000 chips, but clearly there is an unacceptably large sample of bad ones as it is not only Mac users who are complaining. You will also find many complaints of problems on the Intel Support pages. Apple has released a firmware update to address this problem, which leads me to believe it is not a small number of users who are complaining. Unfortunately that didn't seem to fix anyone's problem. On the Mini the problem does appear to be limited to the HDMI output, although I doubt it is as simple as a cable issue. I've not heard anyone complain about problems with the thunderbolt output, and I doubt an Apple store would use anything less than their thunderbolt display as a demo. So far I have not read anyone saying Apple replaced their Mini or the logic board. Finally, I've heard no complaints from MacBook users that have the HD4000 graphics chip, but they are not using HDMI out. As I've said in previous posts, I'm waiting for the new Mini to come out this fall with the new HD5000 and will be watching closely for complaints, but until then will continue to use my 2010 Mini that has been trouble free except for the optical drive that died about the time I received the 2012 Mini that I returned the end of last year. I ordered a new optical drive from China ($50), which I replaced myself and it is working great.

  • theo2ro Calculating status...

    Try to reset the SMC and PRAM, and be sure you have two ferrite rings on your cable.

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