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View Full Version : 1.5 yr old Powerbook 12" throwing beachballs at me left and right




buckuxc
Jun 20, 2005, 10:18 PM
hey all,

I've had my Powerbook (12" 1ghz currently with 512MB of RAM and a 60GB hard drive w/ 16GB free) for a year and a half now. Not long ago, I could have 2-3 Safari windows open with a total of 20-25 webpages, and all told about 9-10 applications running and not even really notice a problem with hanging ever.

Since I've installed Tiger, my little machine runs at or close to 100% CPU (i have menu meters installed to monitor), the fan is running most of the time I use it (never used to do this) and the machine gets ridiculously hot (again, never really used to). On top of this, I get the stupid little beachball ALL THE TIME! For example, I have 15 webpages open and 6 programs open (not including Finder) - Quicksilver, Skype (not in use), Safari, Adium, iTunes, and Stickies. I had something typed into a search field and to switch windows, type it in, then erase mistake and retype took me almost a minute to do. When I pressed the delete key to erase the machine hung (beachballed) for the third time in a very short amount of overall time.

What gives? Is Tiger overloading my computer? This computer is (not kidding) starting to act more like a windows machine in that it takes me 15 minutes to do a 5 minute task. Any suggestions. It hardly matters how many apps I have open and which ones, the computer is hanging all over the place and it giving me an anuerysm.

Thanks



CanadaRAM
Jun 20, 2005, 10:26 PM
Funny, my 1.5 year old nephew does the same thing ;)

Look at your Apple System Profiler. What does it say for RAM? Have you lost the RAM entirely from one socket? IF so take it to Apple under warranty: the 10.3.9 update or Tiger has borked your motherboard.

I assume you have followed all of the standard steps - in Disk Utility rebuilt permissions, booted from the CD and done a Repair Disk from Disk Utility under the top left menu?

I think maybe you're a candidate for backing up and scrubbing the hard drive and reinstalling. Or at least an archive and install of Tiger.

dmw007
Jun 20, 2005, 10:35 PM
Funny, my 1.5 year old nephew does the same thing ;)

Look at your Apple System Profiler. What does it say for RAM? Have you lost the RAM entirely from one socket? IF so take it to Apple under warranty: the 10.3.9 update or Tiger has borked your motherboard.

I assume you have followed all of the standard steps - in Disk Utility rebuilt permissions, booted from the CD and done a Repair Disk from Disk Utility under the top left menu?

I think maybe you're a candidate for backing up and scrubbing the hard drive and reinstalling. Or at least an archive and install of Tiger.

I agree, I think that you might need to re-install Mac OS. Maybe a little more RAM would help as well.

kant
Jun 20, 2005, 10:40 PM
Look at your Apple System Profiler. What does it say for RAM? Have you lost the RAM entirely from one socket? IF so take it to Apple under warranty: the 10.3.9 update or Tiger has borked your motherboard.

Pardon?????

Tiger can hose the hardware??

Patmian212
Jun 21, 2005, 12:39 AM
My ibook starts to get really slow aswell after I have about 6 or 7 tabs open. Apart from that I have temp monitor on, folding at home on, acquisition on and 2 widgets. Also I have about 4.9GB left.

kbonnel
Jun 21, 2005, 01:26 AM
Check to make sure you hard drive isn't about to die. My powerbook, after a year of ownership, also started showing real slow performance (taking forever to load web pages, etc, etc). I did a hardware test and the hard drive came up with an error. Got it replaced, and all is great.

Kimo

Patmian212
Jun 21, 2005, 11:15 AM
My SMART status is vereified does that mean my HD is ok?

Eniregnat
Jun 21, 2005, 12:37 PM
My SMART status is verified does that mean my HD is ok?

Yes and no. S.M.A.R.T = Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology. You could still have croupt data, problems with information mapping/linking, or have problems that SMART dosn't moniter.

You still need to preform volume, tree, file, and disklevel diagnostics from time to time.

So in the grossest sense yes. Anomalies are logged and stored with in the drive. Missed writes, missed reads, significant temperature, voltage spikes internally externally, sector misses etc.. are all logged. This doesn’t mean that the drive is running perfectly. Information could be lost or damaged, SMART only keeps track of the hardware and individual datum requests. SMART has tolerances. From time to time, a drive will over shoot on a seek, miss a read or write. That's normal.

What SMART will report is a missed sector, or a discovered bad sector that can not be recovered, is not good. The information is logged and the error mapped, diminishing usable drive capacity. SMART will report that the drive is failing. More than a few of these and the drive is reported as FAILD- but usable. SMARTs purpose is to help predict dive life and to help users predict drive imminent drive failure.

Most drive platters have imperfections that are mapped when the drive is at the factory. The information is stored on the drive so that data is not stored in those locations. This 'error' map is not lost during a format. Manufactures grade platters, the platters with more imperfections platters go into less expensive drive assemblies. SMART allows the ‘error’ map to more dynamic. Sorry- random brain burp.

[EDIT- More burpage- Links]

SmartTools GPL (http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/)

Sorry, I like to share the knolege.

csubear
Jun 21, 2005, 01:23 PM
SMART is a cool tool, but its full of crap.

My smart status was Verified until my hard drive was not longer working. And by not working I mean dead. There is not much warning, best thing to do is to listen to the drive. Is it louder? That what mine did, it got louder over time. Thats when i new i should start doing weekly backups of my important data.

Eniregnat
Jun 21, 2005, 02:05 PM
SMART is a cool tool, but its full of carp.

It's not fool or fish proof. Much as the check engine light can warn of problems, it might not light up if your in an accident, the car is in flames, or if the rear differential has detached it's self. (The Check Inflatable Restraint keeps lighting up and I don't know what to check- but I digress) The same holds for SMART. Soft diagnostics are still needed. If the drive sounds bad, it might be dieing- that isn't brain science. The smartest thing is still the user, except in my case.

This rocket surgeon likes SMART, as it did give me a few weeks warning as the drives state. It went from Failing- Check drive and back up data, to FAILD- Copy What Can. But I also check the SMART status once a week, so I saw the warning light.

I wonder if more drives fail before SMART warns of a problem?

CanadaRAM
Jun 21, 2005, 02:17 PM
Pardon?????
Tiger can hose the hardware??
There is an active issue with Powerbooks where people install the 10.3.9 update or Tiger and the lower memory socket on the machine disables itself. Apple hasn't admitted to a problem as such, but they are replacing motherboards. So this is one of the issues to check for when a machine suddenly stops working as well as it did after an OS upgrade.

Eniregnat
Jun 21, 2005, 02:19 PM
Back to the topic

hey all,
Not long ago, I could have 2-3 Safari windows open with a total of 20-25 webpages, and all told about 9-10 applications running and not even really notice a problem with hanging ever.

Under Tiger, some Applications may not work properly. Some people have had problems with Audim. I would diagnose the problem simply. Rather than doing everything the same old way and saying it broken, start off with one App, and then add more to your work load. What happens? What breaks the camels back?

Since I've installed Tiger, my little machine runs at or close to 100% CPU (i have menu meters installed to monitor), the fan is running most of the time I use it (never used to do this) and the machine gets ridiculously hot (again, never really used to).

Perhaps this is unrelated. Once some time ago people complained that the fans on the iBooks made more noise, but that was part of a firmware upgrade that changed the opperating temperature tollerances.

Lastly. More memory is good. I'm happy with a 1Gb brick, and my machine is only 1 1Gz 12" P.B. running Tiger.

Thanks Thank all of you. These answers help all of us.

http://forums.macrumors.com/image.php?u=41707- A special thanks to the MapleLeaf Memory- Your input is always top notch.

IJ Reilly
Jun 21, 2005, 02:39 PM
I'm kind of shocked (on a more or less permanent basis) by the number of people who automatically recommend reinstalling OSX before they even know if permissions have been repaired. (We never did hear back from the original questioner on this, did we?) This is especially shocking since we should all know by now that repairing permission fixes about 99% of all beachball issues, and that reinstalling OSX rarely fixes anything that could not have been accomplished much more easily and far less disruptively.

I'm beginning to feel like my main mission on these boards is to talk people out of reinstalling OSX every time it hiccups. I have to do it nearly every day. :(

CanadaRAM
Jun 21, 2005, 02:54 PM
I'm kind of shocked (on a more or less permanent basis) by the number of people who automatically recommend reinstalling OSX before they even know if permissions have been repaired.:(
I am equally shocked at members who criticize without reading the threads

Post #2 in this thread

"I assume you have followed all of the standard steps - in Disk Utility rebuilt permissions, booted from the CD and done a Repair Disk from Disk Utility under the top left menu?"

:(

Eniregnat
Jun 21, 2005, 03:09 PM
I'm beginning to feel like my main mission on these boards is to talk people out of reinstalling OSX every time it hiccups. I have to do it nearly every day. :(

Actually, that's a great idea. Everybody has something that their good at. I often give advice that isn't useful, and take to your reminding. All of us need reminding to do the simple first. Since we are a cooperative, (and the Repair Permissions was noted), it's good to have somebody remind us of the common sense steps/SOP that all of us should do before posting a question. The nice thing about these threads is that they are searchable, so all of this knowledge is searchable, and usable. If it doesn’t apply to this problem, it might apply to somebody else’s.

Back on topic.
Does repairing the permission really stop beach balls?
I rarely get them, and I haven’t found that repairing the permissions solves this issue? Usually, it just some glitch and relaunching the application solves the problem, except for MS Word, which required a reinstall. I run a set of maintenance scripts once a month, could this help prevent beach balls of doom?

Linkjeniero
Jun 21, 2005, 03:49 PM
Whenever your start getting beachballs for no apparent reason, launch Activity Monitor and see wich app is hogging the processor the most. If you get the same app doing it too many times, it means it probably doesn't get along with Tiger too well, and you should upgrade it (I did this with a couple of apps after switching to Tiger, and now things are really smooth with my 1.33 GHz PowerBook with 768M of RAM).

PS: By the way, Menu Meters is a great tool for this, I can catch the hoggers on the fly with it.

kant
Jun 21, 2005, 05:54 PM
There is an active issue with Powerbooks where people install the 10.3.9 update or Tiger and the lower memory socket on the machine disables itself. Apple hasn't admitted to a problem as such, but they are replacing motherboards. So this is one of the issues to check for when a machine suddenly stops working as well as it did after an OS upgrade.


Well crap. I'm trading for a 12" powerbook and one of the reasons is for Tiger. So I could install Tiger and lose the memory slot? Or is this only a 15"/17" thing?

IJ Reilly
Jun 21, 2005, 06:31 PM
"I assume you have followed all of the standard steps - in Disk Utility rebuilt permissions, booted from the CD and done a Repair Disk from Disk Utility under the top left menu?"

:(

I never assume -- and you will note, the original questioner didn't respond. He might not even know what "repair permissions" means. And, even if he had repaired permissions and run disk utility, by no means is reinstalling the OS the next step. Not in my book anyway. In fact, my point (and I suppose I should pull the same "if you'd read what I wrote gambit"), reinstalling the OS almost never helps solve any problem that couldn't have been solved more easily.

Anyway, don't take it personally. I come unhinged at the drop of a hat. :o

IJ Reilly
Jun 21, 2005, 06:36 PM
Whenever your start getting beachballs for no apparent reason, launch Activity Monitor and see wich app is hogging the processor the most. If you get the same app doing it too many times, it means it probably doesn't get along with Tiger too well, and you should upgrade it (I did this with a couple of apps after switching to Tiger, and now things are really smooth with my 1.33 GHz PowerBook with 768M of RAM).

PS: By the way, Menu Meters is a great tool for this, I can catch the hoggers on the fly with it.

This is good advice. I keep Activity Monitor in the Dock for just this reason. I've had the Finder go berserk and suck up nearly 100% of my CPU. About all I could get to happen was launching Activity Monitor and killing the process dead manually. Then I was good to go again.

CanadaRAM
Jun 21, 2005, 06:41 PM
Well crap. I'm trading for a 12" powerbook and one of the reasons is for Tiger. So I could install Tiger and lose the memory slot? Or is this only a 15"/17" thing?
I have only heard about it on 15/17" Powerbooks, but with the lack of feedback from Apple, I don't kn ow for sure.

Eniregnat
Jun 22, 2005, 11:50 AM
Well carp. I'm trading for a 12" powerbook and one of the reasons is for Tiger. So I could install Tiger and lose the memory slot? Or is this only a 15"/17" thing?

My 12" 1Gz 40Gb 1GbRam Super PB hasn't had any problems with Tiger. It has had problems with the gravity, acceleration, and abrupt vector changes.

asif786
Jun 22, 2005, 11:58 AM
well, im running an imac g5 and i had the same problems a few days ago..

the thing with mine is that i know the hard disk is screwed up. at the moment its too hot to touch. it's failed all the tests. it's gonna die any day now (i dont have money to be buying hard disks right now)..

anyway, whck your hd, it could be the problem. and if you want a short term fix, re-install tiger. that'll do it. a few days ago i couldnt go 5 mins before a 10 minute beachball..now it's fine.. :)

now i just gotta count down till the drive dies..

buckuxc
Jun 26, 2005, 07:23 PM
I'm a little late getting back to this thread, so bare with me. Yes I've done repair permissions quite a few times, that doesn't seem to do anything significant. I am trying to use what seems to be a rather memory intensive program called DevonThink. It really helps to have this program open at all times because it serves as a giant database for ideas, projects and other items. Unfortunately, I can't run a CD based disk repair or utility because 1) my CD/DVD drive appears to be broken - I cannot get a disk more than halfway into, it gets stopped by something and I don't want to force anything and 2) I left my copy of Tiger back at my house at school and won't be back to August 9th.

I did run Speedtools defrag program (it's not an updated copy, I received it when I bought an OWC external hard drive but I don't have the money to upgrade the version right now). The most recent defrag spit back about 200+ fixed sectors and about 129 errors that could not be resolved. Does this mean I'm a candidate for a new hard drive?

I do have some repair that needs to be done to the case. I managed to own the thing for a year without dropping it and then it took a pretty hard fall. I'm assuming that this is the cause of my CD/DVD drive problems (the lower casing was bent in a bit and battery cover was broken...the battery still works albeit poorly, so I know I definitely need a new one of those...I have to keep it plugged in all the time or it dies within about 20-40 minutes). However, even after the drop the system displayed just fine performance. It was asleep when dropped and when I picked it up and opened it it came right back on no problem. I only started displaying hang ups about 3-4 weeks ago and they have gotten more and more severe.

The hard drive sounds like it is working over time. I have 512MB of memory installed (wish I could afford more at this time but it'll be a few weeks before that happens), which I have had the whole time. According to the System Profiler, 512MB is still listed as system memory. Honestly as far as I can tell the problems have really only come along since Tiger was installed. Every time I try to call up Dashboard, after having not used it in a while, it takes about 10-30 seconds to appear on the screen. After that it takes a few more seconds to load the data for each widget. And after all that it is a little more responsive to the F12 key. Again, probably related to memory, but I'm not so sure.

I have attached a screenshot (I love the Capture Widget) of my activity monitor from 5 days ago, at which point I'm pretty sure the system was running pretty hot and the fan pretty hard.

I just want to know if I should be worried about anything failing on me at any point in the near future and if there's anything I can do to keep that from happening. If I can only do that with the CD or more memory or a new hard drive, then I guess it'll have to wait.

thanks

kbonnel
Jun 27, 2005, 08:35 AM
I think you really have to run the CD diagnostics to make sure you don't have any HD issues. When my HD was dieing I did not get any errors with S.M.A.R.T, only with the CD diag. tools. The only way I could tell something was wrong was the large amount of time it took to do anything, even bootup the machine. I would start safari and the icon would just bounce for a couple of minutes, and then I would open a web page, again more waiting, etc.

Bummer about the CD drive, that doesn't help.

If you want to reduce the amount of resources your box is taking, remove all of the widgets from the dashboard so nothing is taking any CPU/Memory. Test to see if things work better, and then add them back one at a time.

Kimo

munkle
Jun 27, 2005, 08:58 AM
Are you running Virex?

AliensAreFuzzy
Jun 27, 2005, 09:17 AM
I have attached a screenshot (I love the Capture Widget) of my activity monitor from 5 days ago, at which point I'm pretty sure the system was running pretty hot and the fan pretty hard.

Wow, world clock seems to be taking up a whole heck of a lot of CPU power. That could be why your fans are running so much.

Edit: Dashboard could definately be your problem why everything is taking so long. It's using a ton of memory.

buckuxc
Jun 27, 2005, 01:38 PM
No, no Virex or any other anti-virus. I'll try taking down the widgets and see what happens.

jim.
Jun 27, 2005, 01:58 PM
Looking at your page ins/page outs, I think that you are definitely out of memory and this is the reason for your slowdowns. This isn't a surprise as you seem to be running at least 15(!) widgets, one of which is eating your CPU cycles like mad (is it typically doing that, or is this just a heavy update?).

If you want to check your HD for problems, you can always boot into single user mode and run fsck. There is a sticky somewhere on this forum about how to do that. This is the same thing that Disk Utility does, only it isn't pretty and graphical. I personally doubt you have HD problems though.

You either need to cut back on all the widgets or get more memory, then everything should be up to, or close to, Panther speed.

Jim

buckuxc
Jun 29, 2005, 11:50 AM
While it is still running warm, things seem to be closer to normal (aka, pre-Tiger days). I guess I'll just have to wait for some cash and buy a gig stick off of eBay before I start using many widgets (I'd gotten used to them being there for me too :( ). Oh well...

thanks again for the help, and i'll try that fsck thing just in case.