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Old 08-15-2019, 05:31 AM   #1
talustalus
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Default I experienced Reaper hangs all week long and now I know why

Over the past week or so I posted about a few situations where I had been experiencing Reaper crashes with no crash logs produced (on a MacBook Pro, 2019).

I was at the point of hopelessness. But now I know exactly what had been causing these crashes and feel compelled to share in case someone is interested or in case it ends up helping you.

Firstly, it must be said that the issue was not attributed to Reaper. I'm sorry to its coders. I firmly believe Reaper is very stable on OSX (relative to any other DAW).

But the reason for the hangs is no longer a mystery.

Simply, my macbook was overheating. The intensive demand of my large Reaper projects and my machine's limitations caused its internal sensors to read temperatures around 100 deg C. Mac's clearly have a built-in safety feature that freeze any program that is causing this significant heat (due to high CPU usage).

Realizing this I went on a hunt for possible solutions.

Yes, MacBooks are equipped with fans to prevent overheating. But the problem is the profile of when and how they work as designed by Apple, is really very shit in achieving this goal.

My two solutions that seem to have everything running stable again are:

1, Turbo Boost Switcher - I got this to have control over when the CPU cores are boosted to their maximum boost speeds. I have found that keeping it disabled (so far) prevents the macbook from getting way too hot. Maybe it's a balance, maybe I'll need to turn it on for the most demanding tasks, but so far keeping the CPU cores running at their standard speeds is doing me fine.

2, MORE importantly, I am now using Macs Fan Control which enables me to set my own profile of when the fans start spinning and how fast in direct response to the CPU core temperature sensors. This has been amazing.

No more excessive heat, no more hangs. Happy days.

Apple's factory fan control profile must have been a one-size fits all that extends the life of the fans and covers most "consumer" applications.
The thing is, the fans don't even need to go crazy to maintain a steady internal temperature - it just seems that they are now coming on and off in a much smarter, more efficient way. Yes they come on earlier, but it prevents the hot bath that was before and they are running at less RPM, and finally, both the left and right fans are equally sharing the load.

That's all.
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Old 08-15-2019, 05:40 AM   #2
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Interesting, and thank you for letting us know
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Old 08-15-2019, 06:04 AM   #3
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No problem.

I had no idea it was my mac that was the culprit with its thermal shutdown of Reaper, and by the looks of things this is not a well-known thing so I'm glad to share it.
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Old 08-15-2019, 08:22 AM   #4
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Perhaps it also depends what surface you have your macbook sitting on.
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Old 08-15-2019, 03:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
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Perhaps it also depends what surface you have your macbook sitting on.
No. It's raised on a stand with a pocket of air underneath.
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Old 08-16-2019, 12:06 PM   #6
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I've never been a Mac fan... hahahaha
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Old 08-17-2019, 10:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I've never been a Mac fan...
if you were a mac fan, then you would be running overtime to cool the macbook in question. Q.E.D.
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Old 08-18-2019, 12:59 AM   #8
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A thought: This sort of problem occurs with PC laptops too.
One thing that is always worth doing is to see if you can vacuum out any fluff, animal haior, etc., that has lodged in the airway to the outside world.
This is dead easy to do on most Windows machines, so I assume it is do-able on a Nac. I only have a Mac Mini so no idea how you would do this on a mac book
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:06 AM   #9
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The 2019 Macbook Pros have a known design flaw with the cooling. They tweezed the firmware to work around it some but at the end of the day the machine has to throttle or shut off if it gets too hot. I believe the firmware "fix" at least gets you up to the non-boost CPU speeds. Even with that, that machine should still have some seriously above average performance. Post Steve Jobs Macs are what they are...

You can put better heatsink paste on the CPU and GPU yourself. You won't get it cooling itself as well as the older Macs though (which had a few complaints to begin with when you weren't on top of them).

I put Arctic Silver paste in my 2011 Macbook Pro and then heatsink pad material to couple the fins of the heatpipe to the bottom cover. I can get up to 700% CPU use (7 virtual cores worth with hyperthreading) and the temps don't go over 85 deg C. That's a little on the high-ish side still but seems reasonable for a monster computer shoved into a laptop format. Full CPU use (800% in Activity Monitor) gets up to 90 deg C or a little more which is a little scary. Never had it hit 100 deg C and shut off though.

Blowing the dust out periodically is a good thing. The Macs have always been easy to service (Jobs era Macs anyway). I recommend cranking up the fans when needed too. They are one of the least expensive components in the machine. Treating the fans as a consumable and going through 2 or 3 sets of them over the years is the best bang for the buck IMHO.

I guess it just is what it is. If you want to have a super computer squeezed into a laptop form factor, there's just a little bit of DIY involved to keep it going full spec.

Last edited by serr; 08-18-2019 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 08-18-2019, 10:31 PM   #10
talustalus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
The 2019 Macbook Pros have a known design flaw with the cooling. They tweezed the firmware to work around it some but at the end of the day the machine has to throttle or shut off if it gets too hot. I believe the firmware "fix" at least gets you up to the non-boost CPU speeds. Even with that, that machine should still have some seriously above average performance. Post Steve Jobs Macs are what they are...

You can put better heatsink paste on the CPU and GPU yourself. You won't get it cooling itself as well as the older Macs though (which had a few complaints to begin with when you weren't on top of them).

I put Arctic Silver paste in my 2011 Macbook Pro and then heatsink pad material to couple the fins of the heatpipe to the bottom cover. I can get up to 700% CPU use (7 virtual cores worth with hyperthreading) and the temps don't go over 85 deg C. That's a little on the high-ish side still but seems reasonable for a monster computer shoved into a laptop format. Full CPU use (800% in Activity Monitor) gets up to 90 deg C or a little more which is a little scary. Never had it hit 100 deg C and shut off though.

Blowing the dust out periodically is a good thing. The Macs have always been easy to service (Jobs era Macs anyway). I recommend cranking up the fans when needed too. They are one of the least expensive components in the machine. Treating the fans as a consumable and going through 2 or 3 sets of them over the years is the best bang for the buck IMHO.

I guess it just is what it is. If you want to have a super computer squeezed into a laptop form factor, there's just a little bit of DIY involved to keep it going full spec.
This describes my take on it as well, in that I'm still really impressed by how much performance these new MacBook Pros pack in especially when you consider their size.

I'm still grateful that I get to make music in such a convenient way, even though there are some custom tweaks that need to take place. I mean, my projects are huge so I'm well aware of the feat of technological advancements that a laptop can handle them.

Also grateful to the boffins who come up with the software tools that help to keep it operating at a cool temperature.

This is an amazing age to make music, or do anything technological for that matter. And the music industry is really now a branch of the technology industry.
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