3 Replies Latest reply: Jul 31, 2012 1:11 PM by MichelPM
Eric D. Level 2 Level 2
Mac OS X

I have an iMac with a 3.06 Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 4 GB of RAM.  I find that watching video on my machine is almost pointless.  Whether it's YouTube, CNN or just about any other site, video seems to stop and stutter or get out of sync.  Yes, I know Flash is a significant part of the problem.  I keep Flash updated to the latest version but also know I have a machine that is not supported with hardware accelleration.  That said, many of the sites are now HTML 5 so it's not just a Flash issue.  I also have a high speed connection and regularlly get over 20 Mbps. I can watch Netflix all day long on my computer or iPad without a single hicccup and yet watching a simple news clip on CNN seems to be too much to handle.  When I look at Activity Monitor, it appears the CPU's have plenty of cycles available while playing video and there's plenty of memory and hard disk available too.  Nothing seems strained so I'm puzzled by the problem.


Is the problem that everyone has these issues no matter what machine they're using?  Are most of these sites just maxed out and can't deliver the video streams fast enough to keep up with playback?  Certainly not every site has issues.  Some playback fine but it seems more and more like the exception rather than the rule.  I really wonder if the internet is just getting so clogged up that everyone's experience is lousy or is my machine just underpowered even though it appears to have plenty of processing power available?

iMac 3.06 GHz 24, Mac OS X (10.7), 4 Gigs RAM
  • MichelPM Level 6 Level 6

    I have the same CPU as you with a 256 MB VRAM graphics card.

    It maybe a combination of things.

    4 GBs of RAM is really the true minimum to run almost any version of OS X from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to 10.8 Mountain Lion.

    Every iteration of OS X has always need more CPU, GPU and RAM.

    I bet everything has been slower since you updated to OS X 10.7 Lion. It will only get worse when and if you decide to update to OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

    I have 16 GBs of RAM in my iMac and Hulu, YouTube and other streaming video sites run fine.

    I suggest that you, at least, double your RAM to 8 GBs.

    This may help with your video issues.

    Also, make sure that you no other CPU intense type of applications running in the background.

    Even if these apps are running idle in the background, they can still eat up CPU cycles.

  • Eric D. Level 2 Level 2
    Mac OS X

    Thanks for your comments.  Unfortunately, my particular machine is limited to 4GB officially, 6GB unofficially so I can't do much to improve the RAM situation.  I do understand that when memory runs out, virtual memory kicks in and there's always a performance hit for that but usually when these problems happen I have plenty of free memory available.  It seems that the problem is that when streaming video, most of the streams load at about the same pace as playback.  This inevitably causes issues, especially with Flash.  What's puzzling is that I know I have a fast connection (although that doesn't mean that all the traffic coming over that connection is fast) and my machine appears able to handle it.  I can watch full HD movies trailers, Netflix, Apple keynotes, etc. without any issues.  It seems like it's the popular sites that cause most of the issues.  It could be a cable company, routing issue...it certainly wouldn't be the first time but it just shouldn't be so difficult to watch internet video.

  • MichelPM Level 6 Level 6

    I assumed you had the newer 24 inch iMac model the also had a 3.06 Ghz CPU.

    That model could take 8 GBs of RAM.

    Install the 6 GBs of RAM

    Any increase in RAM from 4 GBs will help.

    Use Activity Monitor and report the specs and the bottom of Activity Monitor screen.

    That wil tell us just how much CPU and RAM you are using doing normal activity.

    Your browser uses up a lot of CPU cycles and RAM when running Flash to stream video.

    And yes, your Internet connection speeds can vary.

    If you're, at least, streaming a min. data rate of 4 Mbps or greater, any internet video should stream fine.

    Make sure you are running the latest Flash plugin.

    Also, wouldn't hurt to try another web browser.

    If using Safari maybe try Firefox or Camino.