New Fan Noise and Processing Overloads

I’ve recently noticed increased fan noise and frequent processing overloads coming from my 2020 iMac while using Cubase 12 Pro (though the issue started while I was still on Cubase 11 Pro).

The issue is present even if the project only has, for instance, one instance of Groove Agent SE. It takes about 12 minutes after opening a project for the fan to gradually ramp up, after which it stays loud during the rest of the Cubase session.

It wasn’t always like this. I got the computer and started using Cubase 11 Pro in January '21. At that time, I participated in an online course (facilitated by a Steinberg rep). We touched on the buffer size setting during the initial weeks of the course, when I set my buffer size to 32. During the intervening time, I haven’t had the issues I’m describing here. My projects are never huge or involve lots of processing, but all the same, I could confidently use more than one VSTi in a session. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Cubase became more or less unusable.

In searching for a solution, I’ve read through the relevant manual sections, watched youtube videos, and chatted with both Steinberg and Apple support. None of the proposed fixes were effective. Increasing the buffer size helps with the processing overloads, but the increased latency makes recording difficult.

I have an open case with Apple support which is moving rather slowly. If I could just figure out whether the problem is an Apple issue or a Steinberg issue, I’d feel at least as if I’d gotten somewhere.

I’m hoping to hear from someone who’s solved a similar issue, or someone with more technical knowledge, who can point me in the right direction.

Is there any chance that there’s dust accumulation in your iMac, thus preventing regular airflow?

Thanks for your response.

Funny you ask about dust. I was just chasing that down as a potential culprit. I would be surprised if that were the issue, but since it’s a possibility, I’m taking it for service in a couple of days. Will report back if that was the cause.

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Try a hoover on the vents

According to many sources, this is inadvisable.

I took my computer for service. The representative I met glanced at it and more or less said “Looks fine”.

During the process of moving the computer–only the second time since I set it up a year and a half ago–I noticed the vents along its bottom edge. Lo and behold, there was plenty of accumulated dust on the exterior. I sprayed into the vents (as well as the fan) with compressed air, and was shocked at how much dust shot out from the interior.

Since I’ve done that, I’ve experienced no problems. I’m overjoyed the fix was so simple, and perplexed that Apple support didn’t suggest this remedial action first. Perplexed, but not surprised.

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I always vacuumed the fan vents and heat vents in all the computers I’ve owned and never had a problem. A regular vacuum is good preventative maintenance to stop any overheating. It’s amazing how much dust can be in the environment! :+1: