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Macbook pro keeps freezing playing video

Posted on 2014-12-19
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Last Modified: 2015-01-26
Every time a play a video on my mac it locks up after 5 - 10 min of use. This happens consistently via a web browser or in itunes. Cpu and ram (8GB) nowhere near maxed out when this occurs. Sometimes the computer plays a looped static sound when its stuck and occasionally has square screen blotches. Most common is a compete lock up with no cursor movement / frozen screen of my current osx view.

I have a newer 256GB SSD drive that was installed last spring. I have approx 16% hd space left. I've had this as low as 25% hd free and it still occurs.

I have no lockups in safe mode. Stability has been better now that I have upgraded to yosemite, yet the issue still occurs when playing vid.

I have been told by my osx repair technician that its my cpu chips that are failing. Essentially the analogy I got was that I'm driving a car with one flat tire that occasionally veers me off the road, so its like a processed is left incomplete and the computer hangs. My only other though was that the nvidia video card is failing.  Thoughts?
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Question by:m2ew
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by:strung
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by:akahan
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Sounds a lot like CPU overheating.

Could be dust (most likely, especially if you have pets), fan failure, or, depending which model MacBook, you have the settings set to make the CPU do most of the work when playing videos, rather than the graphics card.   The fact that it only happens when you're playing videos suggests that it's heat related.  Playing videos is hard work; CPU temperature goes up; overheats; locks up.

First, make sure you have the graphics card, not the CPU, doing the work of playing the video.  If you have this setting:

System Preferences > Energy Saver >  Automatic Graphics Switching
make sure Automatic Graphics switching is UNchecked.

Check CPU temperature when running video with (free) istatpro:  http://istat-pro.soft32.com/

Get online and look up your particular CPU and see what its running temperature is supposed to be.  

If istatpro is reporting it's too high, that's your problem.
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by:m2ew
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@akahan I have had the issue playing audio as well. Usually my temp is around 40 - 45 degrees idle, usually between 65 & 72 degrees if have hefty processes running. My fans we set by my IT guy to help cool them off; usually they are running around 5700 rpm. I have iStats Menu running to check this.

I'm beginning to think my cpus are actually on there last legs.
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by:akahan
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If you're getting it when playing audio as well (which you didn't mention in the initial post), then it's probably not overheating, and also probably not related to your Nvidia graphics card, as that has no role in playing audio.
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by:m2ew
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@akahan cpu then?
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by:akahan
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Running the hardware test that strung suggested may shed some light.   It could very well be the CPU, but could also be memory going bad or any number of other things.  I don't think it would make sense for you to randomly spend money replacing components.  If your technician ran actual diagnostics, then his diagnosis would be reliable.  If he's just looking at the symptoms, then he might have a lucky diagnosis, or could be completely wrong.  A good Mac repair shop should be able to run tests and tell you exactly what the problem is.
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by:serialband
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If it's working fine in Safe Mode, then it's a driver issue, not hardware.  A reinstall of the driver is likely necessary, or you have some driver interfering.

It's not the SSD  I've played videos when I've run down to 1%-2% free space and have no problems.  Some recent updates caused my video to freeze up and I've seem to have fixed or mitigated the problem with a reset of the SMC and the PRAM.  That may possible reduce your issues.

Approximately once each year, you should open the case and blow out the dust.  If you're not mechanically adept, you can still clear out 2/3 - 3/4 of the dust bunnies with canned air, using the includee straw, aimed through the grill by the screen hinge.  I suggest you do this outdoors.
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@serialband I will try cleaning out the dust on the weekend. Fingers crossed.
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by:m2ew
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Turns out it was the CPU all along
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