PDA

View Full Version : 1.6Ghz MBA runs slow only with 24" LED ACD plugged in




MovieCutter
Apr 22, 2010, 02:17 PM
I bought my girlfriend a MacBook Air and 24" LED Cinema display, and the MBA works great when it's on its own. However, when she plugs in the 24" and runs the MBA in clamshell mode, she gets beachballs even when trying to print, open folders...the whole system seems to slow down. It's the Rev B MBA with the 1.6Ghz C2D, so I can't imagine it's the 9400m, she doesn't have a full hard drive...I just can't think of what is causing the system to slow to a crawl like that? Any thoughts?



Hellhammer
Apr 22, 2010, 02:21 PM
Well, it has 9400M which isn't superior but it should run it okay, especially tasks like you mentioned. The HD is 4200rpm so that could possibly cause some slowdowns but I don't get it why it only happens with the ACD.

Try repairing permissions with Disk Utility

MovieCutter
Apr 22, 2010, 02:28 PM
Yeah, she's not doing a whole lot outside of Excel spreadsheets, email, Word, internet. She usually has a lot of programs open, but she said that even if she just runs Word and Excel alone, she types three letters and it pauses...must be frustrating as hell.

Scottsdale
Apr 22, 2010, 05:49 PM
Combination of a slightly underpowered MBA with a 1.6 GHz Penryn, a slow as hell HDD, and a heated system as soon as you close the MBA's lid/also ensure vents are open.

I would go about running a 24" LED ACD on your MBA in one way. Open the lid, run one app at a time, and understand that the HDD is an incredible bottleneck. Reduce heat by ensuring that the back of the MBA has nothing blocking the vents and maybe buy a fan to sit under it if you want to keep the lid closed. When I have seen spinning beach balls, I have always had an overheated system OR I have been seriously expecting by multiple IO tasks hitting the HDD.

I will bet you that fixing any one of those circumstances will yield better results. I was working with a friend on his 1.6 GHz MBA, with Nvidia 9400m, but it had a stock SSD, and I couldn't believe how badly it was struggling. Well, I was used to the Runcore SSD. When we were trying to move multiple files, while we had a few apps open, and we were working together, we got spinning beach balls for an hour straight. The whole system froze three times when we went to print. This was all while plugged into my 24" LED ACD. He had just over 100 GB on his SSD, and his MBA was running 18 degrees hotter than mine while I am connected to my ACD.

After an hour, we switched over to my MBA. It didn't struggle with anything. I have to believe that your situation would even be worse with an HDD vs. a stock SSD. These MBAs are nice but they're not miracle workers. In addition, the drives are a serious limitation especially in the HDD model. What we have to remember is to expect less when we're doing many tasks or when our system is driving a super HD display like the 24" LED ACD.

You could also watch the heat and activity monitor and see what apps might be causing problems. However, I would expect to see what you're seeing under those conditions. But I think you can greatly improve performance by just trying to keep the system cool, ensuring it's open and the vents aren't blocked, and by only hitting the HDD with one request at a time. That HDD is by far the biggest factor in the MBA. Remember when you tax your system with more requirements things are going to heat up.

Good luck.

diminiko
Aug 22, 2010, 02:04 PM
Hey Scottsdale and Hellhammer, do you guys know if the Rev A is likely to be able to drive a cinema display, esp the upcoming 27 inch.

I have searched extensively and can't find a straight answer. It seems that the Rev A is not likely to support the highest resolution of the 27" display. I don't even know how the older style Micro DVI on the Rev A (changed to mini display port for the Rev B & C) will adapt to the required input.

Any thoughts?

diminiko
Aug 22, 2010, 10:08 PM
Ah. I found the answer. Only with an expensive micro dvi-mini display port converter and not at full native resolution!

Scottsdale
Aug 23, 2010, 04:05 AM
Hey Scottsdale and Hellhammer, do you guys know if the Rev A is likely to be able to drive a cinema display, esp the upcoming 27 inch.

I have searched extensively and can't find a straight answer. It seems that the Rev A is not likely to support the highest resolution of the 27" display. I don't even know how the older style Micro DVI on the Rev A (changed to mini display port for the Rev B & C) will adapt to the required input.

Any thoughts?

Well, it doesn't have MDP... so an aftermarket adaptor is necessary, and then it will NOT drive full resolution. Really, the original MBA isn't meant to drive anymore than the older 23" ACD. It had problems driving its own x800 display, so much more will definitely be a challenge.

crx7
Aug 24, 2010, 04:58 PM
My 1.8 does the same thing, some tips:
1) Don't run two screens, this robs processing power. You need to close the lid and wake the machine externally. I use a bluetooth mouse. After you've got it up on the single external display you can open the lid to use the keyboard or get a better wifi reception, and the LCD won't come back on.
2) Careful with the resolution, only run as high as you need to.
3) Keep the machine cool and blow any dust out of it.
4) Get Coolbook and set it to ramp speeds faster. I found this to help.
5) Get a faster harddrive.

Good luck

Alkiera
Aug 26, 2010, 12:12 PM
Odd. I've run my Rev.A MBA to an external 20" monitor as a desktop extension(Running both the built-in and external displays, one above the other) with no real slowdown, using the mini-DVI to DVI adapter that came with it. Mostly doing XCode stuff, as getting all the windows to fit on the built-in display is tight.

I didn't notice any particular slowdown, and the two displays together is more pixels than a 24" Cinema. (1280x800+1280x1024 vs 1920x1200)

I do see slowdowns on occasion, but generally only when a) running Flash anything, but especially video; b) when I have a LOT open, and thus physical RAM is filling up. Usually this take having multiple browsers open, each with multiple windows containing many open tabs... having a total of 30-40+ pages open between Safari and Chrome windows is not that uncommon. Add to that other local apps, iTunes, Numbers, etc... it adds up.

ar25801
Aug 28, 2010, 08:39 AM
Hi all,
There seems to be a conflict between the Cinema Display and the MBA. My MBA runs perfectly fine and I can browse the internet with no problems. When--in the same location, the lid open--I plug in the Cinema Display, the internet simply stops working. I unplug it and it works again. Maybe whatever is causing this is also the reason for your GF MBA's bad performance.