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Dave Marsh
Feb 17, 2005, 01:18 AM
Hi, I've just received my new 15" PowerBook 1.67GHz laptop and am trying to figure out why it now boots up more slowly than before. Here's my story.

Immediately after receiving the PowerBook, I reformatted it into three partitions of 40GB (Startup), 10GB (Utilities Startup), and 43GB (Data). I reinstalled MacOS X from the installer DVD that came with the Mac, then transferred all my old data over from my 14" iBook during the startup questioning phase to the Startup partition. After completing this phase and rebooting, it started up fine, as expected. However, I noticed that it took more spins of the wheel during the startup process, and attributed that to the copied file layout on the hard drive.

So, I Repaired Permissions, booted up from my external FireWire drive, ran Norton Utilities/Disk Warrior and then defragmented with a new utility called iDefrag (from Germany). Upon completion of this process and rebooting twice, I noted that it now took 25-26 spins of the wheel during the bootup process vice the 15-16 spins it took previously on my 14" iBook.

Now, after logging in, nothing is slow. Everything starts up quickly, so I don't really think anything is amiss, but I'm left wondering. I perform routine maintenance on about 50 Macs at work and have a pretty good feel for whenever anything is not normal. While this Mac is faster than anything we have at work, and we do have a number of newer Al PowerBooks from 867MHz to 1.5GHz in use, all of these machines routinely boot up with the usual 15-16 spins of the wheel.

Initially, I thought it was the new iDefrag utility. I've previously used Speed Disk, but with Symantec dropping their Mac support I've been looking for a suitable replacement. Today I upgraded our 12" Al PowerBook to MacOS 10.3.8 and used the iDefrag tool vice Speed Disk to see if that made a difference. Oddly, it didn't. After rebooting, it displayed the same 15-16 wheel spins as it had following a Speed Disk defragmentation.

Now Speed Disk and iDefrag lay down their files differently. Speed Disk puts the System files and Applications at the start of the disk, and moves the data files to the end, with a large empty block separating them. IDefrag takes advantage of a new feature in Panther that has a hotfiles area on the hard disk. It places the drive and volume information at the start of the disk, skips around a GB of free space, and then starts laying down everything else, prioritizing the order based on an algorithm I know nothing about, but seems to place key application and system files clustered in the faster area of the platter and the less used stuff further out on the platter. When it's done, there are two blank areas on the disk, the first one I mentioned above, and the remaining unused space on the disk following the used area.

Following my first use of iDefrag, I noticed this difference and attributed it to the trade-off of slower startup to faster user application response after logging in versus the faster startup with Speed Disk, and slightly slower user experience following logging in. However, after using iDefrag on the 12" PowerBook today, and noticing NO difference in the startup spin counts between Speed Disk and iDefrag use, I'm left wondering if there's some hardware difference in the new PowerBooks that might be taking more time during startup now. The 12" PowerBook had 640MB of RAM, so I don't think it's that. And, of course, from bus to hard disk, everything on the new PowerBooks is faster.

So, I'm puzzled. Any ideas? Can any other new 15" PowerBook users post how many spins their laptops are taking during the startup process? My next step is to simply run Speed Disk on the new laptop to see if it behaves differently with the new PowerBook vice the older models.

Thanks for listening... :confused:

jackieonasses
Feb 17, 2005, 01:22 AM
Update it to 10.3.8.... That made mine much quicker....


kyle

Dave Marsh
Feb 17, 2005, 01:31 AM
Thanks for the quick reply. I am using MacOS 10.3.8, and yes it is faster. I don't really have any problems with my user experience. I love this new laptop. I'm just trying to figure out why it now takes 25-26 spins of the wheel during startup vice the 15-16 spins it took on my 14" 600MHz iBook. :)

Demon Hunter
Feb 17, 2005, 01:51 AM
Why are you trying to defrag? I thought that was unecessary and even hazardous for the system files? :confused:

Dave Marsh
Feb 17, 2005, 02:01 AM
Good question. Panther automatically defrags files <20MB, but does nothing about free space. It also makes no efforts to defrag files over 20MB, which may include many music or video files you have on your hard drive.

Call me anal. I'm just always trying little things to tweak out a bit more performance from my Mac. I've been monthly performing system maintenance on all my Macs for years, with no issues. Anything I can do to reduce the number of application startup bounces or bootup spins just suits me. :o

Dave Marsh
Feb 18, 2005, 01:27 AM
Well, I'm a little deeper into the different startup times between my old 600MHz iBook and my new 1.67GHz PowerBook.

A simple side-by-side startup on battery from push button to login screen, showed the iBook beat the new PowerBook by about 6 seconds. I took this comparison a bit further by copying the system.log files from each machine and comparing them. At this detail level the actual startup differential was actually 29 seconds for the iBook and 35 seconds for the PowerBook. I also noted while watching them boot up that the wheel actually spins faster on the new laptop, so that wasn't as good an indicator as I thought it might be.

The period when the PowerBook fell behind the iBook occurred early in the startup process before the Welcome to Macintosh screen. Here's a brief extract of each log:

PowerBook G4 Startup
15:32:55 Restart
Feb 17 15:32:56 localhost kernel: Jettisoning kernel linker.
Feb 17 15:32:57 localhost kernel: Resetting IOCatalogue.
Feb 17 15:32:59 localhost kernel: Matching service count = 0
Feb 17 15:33:05 localhost kernel: AppleRS232Serial: 0 0 AppleRS232Serial::start - returning false early, Connector or machine incorrect
Feb 17 15:33:14 localhost SystemStarter: Welcome to Macintosh.

iBook G3 Startup
16:12:37 Restart
Feb 17 16:12:38 localhost kernel: Jettisoning kernel linker.
Feb 17 16:12:38 localhost kernel: Resetting IOCatalogue.
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: Matching service count = 0
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: AppleRS232Serial: 0 0 AppleRS232Serial::start - returning false early, Connector or machine incorrect
Feb 17 16:12:44 localhost SystemStarter: Welcome to Macintosh.

You can see it took the PowerBook 19 seconds to get from the startup to the Welcome to Macintosh screen, but the iBook only 7 seconds, with the gap opening between the Matching Service Count entry and the Welcome to Macintosh screen. It's in this portion that a series of entries for which the PowerBook seeming to be waiting occur:

Feb 17 15:32:59 localhost kernel: Matching service count = 0
Feb 17 15:33:05 localhost kernel: AppleRS232Serial: 0 0 AppleRS232Serial::start - returning false early, Connector or machine incorrect
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][start]
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [AppleUSBHCIController][StopIsochPipeRead] - mInt1IsochInPipe = 0 - numReadsPending = 0
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][configurePM] ignore = 1
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][setPowerState] 1 (ignore=1)
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][configurePM] changePowerStateTo(0)
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][setPowerState] 0 (ignore=1)
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [HCIController][configurePM] ignore = 0
Feb 17 15:33:06 localhost kernel: [CSRHCIController][start] 1
Feb 17 15:33:14 localhost lookupd[144]: lookupd (version 324.11) starting - Thu Feb 17 15:33:14 2005
Feb 17 15:33:14 localhost SystemStarter: Welcome to Macintosh.

Here's what's happening on the iBook at this stage:

Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: Matching service count = 0
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: AppleRS232Serial: 0 0 AppleRS232Serial::start - returning false early, Connector or machine incorrect
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: AirPortFirmware: start Sta f/w download
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: obtaining ID
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: from Registry
Feb 17 16:12:43 localhost kernel: ATIRage128: using AGP
Feb 17 16:12:44 localhost kernel: UniNEnet: Ethernet address 00:03:93:7a:42:58
Feb 17 16:12:44 localhost kernel: AirPortDriver: Ethernet address 00:30:65:15:a8:d4
Feb 17 16:12:44 localhost kernel: IOFireWireIP: FireWire address 00:03:93:ff:fe:7a:42:58
Feb 17 16:12:44 localhost SystemStarter: Welcome to Macintosh.

The system.log for the iBook has none of that HCIController stuff anywhere, which suggests to me that the iBook doesn't have one.

Well, that's about as far as I can go on this issue. However, I'd still like to hear from any new 15" PowerBook 1.67GHz owners. At least the number of spinning wheels they experience during startup should be comparable. Of course, none of this explains why that 12" PowerBook 867MHz laptop we have at work stills boots up in 16 wheel spins. ;)

Dave Marsh
Feb 18, 2005, 01:50 AM
Well folks, I'm now ready to posit a solution to my query. It appears that HCI stuff that's adding 8-9 seconds to the startup cycle is Bluetooth-related. I checked and found it in the System Profiler, since I remembered seeing the HCI acronym before. Neither my old iBook, nor the 12" PowerBook at work, have Bluetooth. I'm guessing now that the PowerBook is waiting to discover a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse before proceeding, since they will certainly have to be detected before using the login screen.

I guess there's a price to be paid for adding all the latest bells and whistles to my new Macintosh. :D

altair
Feb 18, 2005, 02:13 AM
Oy, well, seems like you know about 10x more than me, and put about 10x more effort into your mac than me. But thought id throw in my 2cents anyway.

Only time ive seen a login take longer is if my powerbook is normally connected to a network, and for some reason it isnt when it boots up. It just sits there looking and looking and looking.

khammack
Feb 18, 2005, 02:19 AM
If you disable bluetooth, does it boot quicker?

-kev

Demon Hunter
Feb 18, 2005, 02:27 AM
Call me anal. I'm just always trying little things to tweak out a bit more performance from my Mac. I've been monthly performing system maintenance on all my Macs for years, with no issues. Anything I can do to reduce the number of application startup bounces or bootup spins just suits me. :o

Hehe, you are talking to a guy who overclocke his G4 tower and installed an unintended video card, just for some more FPS. ;)

Glad you got it figured out.