How can I make my MacBook Pro run faster?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by UnixSaysGo, May 5, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    UnixSaysGo

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    New York City
    #1
    My Macbook Pro of some 2 years now is starting to run slow. Programs take some time to boot, and once they are placed in the background, they take some time to return to. Even closing down some programs, such as Microsoft Word or any CPU/GPU-taxing programs, will most of the time result in the Beachball of Death to come up, forcing me to Force Close them.

    I tried looking up the problem, and Cult of Mac recommends three fixes:

    -Free up disk space.

    -Purchase more random-access memory.

    -Do not run too many programs at once.

    However, the problem still remains--I have some 140 gigabytes out of 250 gigabytes free, I have 4 gigabytes of memory (which is 2 times more than the 2GB requirement for Snow Leopard), and slowdowns can occur even when I have 2 programs open at once.

    Should I search my hard disk drive for bad sectors? What could possibly be the problem?
     
  2. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    Performance Tips For Mac OS X

    At a time when you're experiencing slow performance, do the following:
    1. Launch Activity Monitor
    2. Change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes"
    3. Click on the CPU column heading once or twice, so the arrow points downward (highest values on top).
    4. Click on the System Memory tab at the bottom.
    5. Take a screen shot of the whole Activity Monitor window, then scroll down to see the rest of the list, take another screen shot
    6. Post your screenshots.
     
  3. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #3
    I would recommend adding looking at Disc Activity as well. If something is accessing the hard drive you will experience massive sluggishness without really having to see anything in terms of RAM or CPU usage.

    As an example, last night started acting up and I saw absolutely nothing that could be the reason why, just looking at CPU and RAM. Then I saw that something was writing to the disk at around 50 MB/s (without the disk space diminishing, for some reason). After googling for a while, I found a fix including adding the HDD to the privacy list of spotlight and then removing it, forcing a re-indexation of the hard drive. It hasn't happened at all today, so maybe that fixed it.
     
  4. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    That's why I wanted screen shots of the processes. If Spotlight is indexing, the mds and mdworker processes will usually show to be using more CPU and RAM.

    If a drive is constantly active or your CPU utilization is high (possibly with increased temps and fan speed) when you're not running any major apps, you can check to see if Spotlight is indexing by looking at the Menu Bar icon:
    [​IMG] (not indexing)
    [​IMG] (indexing) (pulsing dot)​
    When it's indexing, you may also see increased CPU and RAM usage by the mds and mdworker processes in Activity Monitor.
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

    UnixSaysGo

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    New York City
    #5
    I've attached the screenshots.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #6
    There's nothing there that indicates high demands on your system. The mds and mdworker processes are higher on the list than normal, so you might be indexing. There's no dot in the Spotlight icon on your screen shots, but it's possible your screen shots were taken between pulses. Are you getting slow performance right now?
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    UnixSaysGo

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Location:
    New York City
    #7
    There's no slow-downs now. Usually they occur if the Macbook has been on for some long periods of time (anywhere from 2 to 3 hours). I will post screenshots then.
     
  8. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #8
    I don't think it was indexing, since there were no blue dot in the magnifying glass and it was writing at around 50 MB/s. Indexing is mainly reading and at far lower speeds. I'm just saying that the fix involving indexation seems to have fixed it, maybe it was stuck in some kind of buggy loop, I don't know.

    But the point is, if I would have posted the screenshots you asked for you wouldn't have seen anything indicating that the system should be running slower than usual (yes, I have "all processes" visible). But when looking at Disk Activity, it became evident why the system was slow (but not because of what)... That's why I'm saying it might be worth including looking at the Disk Activity in the little guide you've written.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #9
    1) Have you checked to see if you might be a victim of the Flashback trojan? See http://unvexed.blogspot.com/2012/04/check-and-protect-your-mac-or-linux.html for suggestions for checking and removal.

    2) A laptop of two or thee years' age is going to soon be a candidate for a new disk drive. Your slowdown issues might relate to the drive starting to fail and taking multiple attempts to accomplish some reads or writes. (I hope you back up regularly in any case.) New drives are fairly cheap and can make a difference. If you were running Lion I'd recommend the Seagate Momentus XP with its hybrid flash cache, but it seems from your screen-snaps that you're running Snow Leopard, and my own experience with the XP was less satisfactory with that OS. I seem to recall the Western Digital Scorpio Black was the consensus best-conventional-drive among folks here. Or, splurge and go SSD. Whoosh!

    3) More RAM is always a good idea but it wouldn't explain why the machine is slower than it used to be.

    4) I presume you've done the usual permissions-repairs. There's a chance that might make a difference.
     
  10. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #10
    Especially since the screen shots show no paging activity. If that's typical usage for the OP, adding RAM won't provide any improvement in performance.
     
  11. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    #11
    When you do, take a look at Disk Activity as well.
     
  12. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2012
    #12
    help plss

    heres a screen shot of my activity monitor, i wanna know why my macbook is slowing down and what can i do to fix it plssss help
     

    Attached Files:

  13. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #13
    There's nothing in your screen shots to indicate high system usage. You have no page outs, plenty of free memory, and nothing placing high demands on your CPU.

    If you're having performance issues, this may help:
     
  14. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #14
    what about me?

    my macs been running slow for days and im no computer wiz, i think it may need more ram and going from 4gb to 16gb would be beneficial for me. any tips and advise?
     

    Attached Files:

  15. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #15
    When is the last time you restarted your Mac? Also, follow the instructions in the 2nd post of this thread.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #16
    just restarted the system

    this normal? if so do you still think it would be beneficial to get more ram because at college i run multiple programmes at once like CAD and google sketch up word etc?
     

    Attached Files:

  17. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #17
    Yes, everything looks normal. To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used
     
  18. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #18
    any advise on things that will speed up my mac?
     
  19. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #19
    restart mac and open the normal programmes

    this is what it currently looks like
     

    Attached Files:

  20. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #20
    Look at the 2nd post of this thread. The first link there should provide some useful tips.
     
  21. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #21
    Slow in what programs? All of them?

    The screenshots posted so far show no large disk swapping, no exhausted memory (you still have green showing), and no CPU hogs (other than Minecraft at over 100%). Maybe the network is slow for some reason, and the programs you noticed the slowness in were all relying on the network.

    Minecraft requires the network, in addition to significant CPU, so if Minecraft is active when you notice the slowdowns, maybe that's the problem. With 4 CPU graphs showing in CPU activity, it's unlikely that a process with 100% CPU and no other activity would be enough to cause noticeable slowdowns. I can easily enter a Terminal command to consume 100% CPU and nothing else, and there will be no noticeable slowdown.


    Another possibility is that your hard disk is dying. One symptom of impending disk failure is that reads and writes take longer and longer to complete. This will not show up in any of the Activity Monitor statistics, except possibly in Disk Activity, where you might see large amounts of disk activity (high MB/sec rates) even though little or nothing is happening on the machine.

    Disk activity alone is not a definitive indicator of impending disk failure. There are other things that can spike disk activity (e.g. mdworker, mds, which are Spotlight components) which are completely normal and expected.

    You should be able to see SMART status in Disk Utility.app (look at bottom of its window), but it is quite possible for SMART status to say the disk is OK even though it's dying.
     
  22. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    #22
    My mac is not as fast as it used to be

    two year old macbook pro, posted screenshots below
     

    Attached Files:

  23. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #23
    You have a small amount of page outs, but not enough to be concerned about, assuming those screen shots represent your normal workload. I see you have McAfee antivirus installed. You don't need it, and it uses system resources. I recommend you uninstall it completely.

    You don't need any 3rd party antivirus app to keep a Mac malware-free, as long as you practice safe computing, as described in the following link. Read the What security steps should I take? section of the Mac Virus/Malware FAQ for tips on practicing safe computing.

    Also, if you're having performance issues, this may help:
     
  24. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
  25. macrumors 603

    cambookpro

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #25
    How long since the last restart?
    (Type 'uptime' in Terminal if unsure.)

    Quite a high percentage of page outs/ins IMO. Could benefit from more RAM.
     

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