Why is my Mac Pro slow[er than I expected]?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by pixelbaker, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. pixelbaker macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #1
    I'm not positive if this is an OS issue or hardware, but hopefully you guys can help me pinpoint the problem. Currently I'm waiting for Leopard (Feb. 20th... PLEASE) to do a clean install on a 74gb Raptor that will replace my 250gb Seagate as System drive.

    Overall, I'd say my mac pro is a pretty stable machine. I have had some burps and weird little glitches, but I'm a switcher so it's not at all out of the realm of possibility that I've borked it up somehow. I've done repairs on disk permissions and every other possible OS fix that I can find and also run the Apple hardware test, but my Mac still feels much slower/glitchier than it really should be.

    Hardware: 2x2.66ghz, 2gb Apple RAM, 250gb Seagate from Apple as System + 500gb Seagate OEM as Storage, 2xNvidia 7300GT

    Note: After I got my Mac I used it for a while, then did a fresh install of OS X after it had begun to slow down and act abnormally. This install is probably about 3months old maximum.

    1. Parallels is awful to get going. Once it's running, I'm ok, but it is at least 5 mins of letting my system just sit and do nothing while it loads WinXP VM.
    2. While extracting files from RAR, I can't listen to music. This was never a problem on my PC. I do realize it's disk intensive, but c'mon. Something isn't right here.
    3. My GUI effects sometimes get extremely choppy and I have to reboot to fix the issue. Genie effect is most affected, but sometimes Dashboard and Expose also.
    4. Sometimes app just refuse to load. They will be running fine and then next time I try to load, nothing. A bounce or two in the dock and then nothing.
    5. MS Office 2004 has begun randomly crashing.

    Please let me know if I can provide any more info to help troubleshoot. Thanks.
     
  2. Renderz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #2
    Use activity monitor

    I had a similar problem with my Macbook Pro, in the end I tracked it down to a weird process run by Spotlight. I'm not suggesting you have a similar rouge process, but I would suggest you open up activity monitor to see if anything is taking up most of your processor time and hard drive access. Open up "all processes" and not just "my processes"

    Activity Monitor can be found under, applications/utilities.
     
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #3
    1. 5 minutes is fast compared to my Windows XP Pro SP2 machine. Depends what Windows is loading, plus its a virtualization.
    2. Sounds more like a problem of resource sharing than power. What app are you using to expand?
    3. Sounds like a memory leak in an app -- what Widgets and haxies are you running? Is Safari running at this time?
    4. Repaired Permissions yet? Thrown out .Plist files?
    5. Repaired Permissions yet? Thrown out .Plist files? Office is non-Universal

    This is sounding a lot like there's something borked in your System. Why haven't you tackled that yet?
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #4
    Are you experiencing all this issues whilst Parallels is running? If so your problem is probably RAM. You are running two OSes so you need enough physical RAM to run both. I'd recommend 4Gb at least...
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #5
    2Gb is not enough to use the Mac Pro as a 'power' machine. Another of those Mac gotchas but you need to double the amount of RAM Windows needs to run well with your requirements, and you have the Mac requirement. Looks like you need 4.
     
  6. chibianh macrumors 6502a

    chibianh

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2001
    Location:
    Colorado
    #6
    You can run XP with 512MB or RAM dedicated to the VM. That doesn't sound right at all.. something is definitely wrong with your machine. I have the same set up as you except with 3GB of RAM and the thing flies. May be it's your hard drive? Try installing a fresh copy on the raptor, boot off that, and then run the same applications to see if you still have the same problems.
     
  7. hidea macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    #7
    I have 5GB, and I want more already. Hopefully, I'd have 9 by the end of March.
     
  8. Renderz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    #8
    OMW, what do you use your mac for?
     
  9. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Location:
    An octopus's garden
    #9
    Funny, I was just wondering the same thing. I've been compressing a video in quicktime for 15 hours now and according to the progress bar, I'm only halfway there! It's not especially long - 1.5 hrs - and is being compressed from an already compressed file of 4GB... I noticed that my computer is dedicating very little of the CPU to this process. When you have a look at your activity monitor, about how much of your cpu is being used for various processes?

    Does anyone know how the processors are managed in the MacPro? In the G5's you had that option of high and reduced processor activity - is the MacPro self regulating?

    YT
     
  10. pixelbaker thread starter macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #10
    Thanks for all the quick replies everybody.

    just FYI, apps I normally have running even if not with active windows: Safari, VLC, Azureus, Limewire, Word, Adium, X-chat, iTunes, Excel, TextEdit

    Renderz: I've checked processes and couldn't find any that were abnormal.

    CanadaRAM: (2) using UnrarX to expand. (3)I've got quite a few widgets running but they're all actively used, oddly enough. I count 6. Two stickies, calendar, converter, calculator, iStat Pro. I haven't hacked any aspect of the OS from fear of making it even more unstable. I always have Safari running in the background. (4-5)I've repaired permissions. Reset PRAM, etc... Haven't done anything with p-list files. Should I just Spotlight search for p-list and delete then reboot? I realize Office is non-UB, but the instability and primarily, the slowness, doesn't seem to be happening to others.

    robbieduncan:no, I run parallels occasionally rather than constantly. it's unstable when my normal daily-use apps are running.

    Sesshi: I hadn't really considered my average every day things power usage, but maybe I'm more of a power user than I thought? I rarely even open FCP or PS. Most of the things I do aren't that intensive at all.

    Chibianh: I'm hoping I'll be able to try a fresh install today.

    hidea: what sort of apps do you use frequently?
     
  11. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #11
    Exactly. The Intel Mac requires at least twice the RAM as Windows just to get going in normal use, but throw in Parallels and you've got even less memory to play around with. You don't need to be a 'power user' to need oodles of RAM on the Mac. You just need to be a 'user'.
     
  12. pixelbaker thread starter macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #12
    my only problem is that the slowness doesn't just come with running Parallels, which I only do run occasionally. it's even while it is not running
     
  13. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #13
    Assuming it's not hardware failure or heat death / impairment, excessive beachballing when switching between apps is almost invariably down to memory.

    I don't know whether you're addressing any Windows or SMB network related storage, but OS X's dire performance in those respects can also cause a significant amount of beachballing.
     
  14. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #14
    This really does sound like some hardware or OS issue. Try reinstalling now, but don't install any of your apps. One by one try to do your tasks. Start with Unrar and iTunes... I do that ALL the time on my MBP and it doesn't have an issue with it. Then move onto your other tasks...

    If my MBP can handle those things, your MacPro should handle them. As long as you have at least 2GB of RAM, then memory is not your issue. You're not trying to run Motion or anything here. Make sure that Parallels isn't using too much memory though. Only give it around 512MB or so to start with.
     
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #15
    I don't think lack of RAM is the issue. Even running Parallels your Mac shouldn't be that slow with 2GB.

    If Activity Monitor says the CPUs aren't busy, then it's memory or disk activity that's slowing you down.

    The next time your MacPro is slow, open Activity Monitor, and see how much memory is free. In the list above, sort by "Real Memory" and tell us the top 5 or 6 there and how much they're taking up.

    If you're a switcher, could it be you're not quitting applications when you're done with them (a common habit until users become accustomed to MacOS)? In particular, I'd recommend quitting Safari regularly, for me it causes OSX to bog down substantially if left running for several days.

    I'd also consider disconnecting the network cable for a while, and seeing if it makes a difference.

    Reinstalling from scratch might make a difference, but obviously it shouldn't be coming to that point.
     
  16. kzg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #16
    UNrarx

    Unrarx is TERRIBLE, it without fail, locks up my system in the same way when decompressing large files. If you do a google search on this issue, it seems to be related to unrarx and most new intel macs.

    However besides this issue, I think the other issues you're having are seperate from this.
     
  17. pixelbaker thread starter macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #17
    Sesshi: the CPU temps are usually around 25-27C so I don't think heat is an issue at all. I connect regularly to a shared folder on a WinXP system, but as soon as I'm finished doing whatever I need to do I disconnect it

    Crazzyeddie: WinXP currently only has 512mb of RAM and like I said, the VM itself is not slow once it's loaded, it's the actual loading of the VM in parallels that takes forever. Once it gets to the WinXP logo loading screen, it's smooth from then on.

    whooleytoo: I usually only leave apps running that I use regularly or am currently using in the background. I do leave Safari open for long periods, but I'm actually only using Safari because Camino started acting strange and crashing all the time. I'll try quitting it periodically. Will Safari be fixed in Leopard so these memory leaks and other issues don't happen?
    Any time I have opened Activity Monitor, the CPU's have never been taxed beyond 5% and even that is high. With the memory, I usually have only 100mb or so actual unused with about 1gb or so allocated under Inactive.
     
  18. pixelbaker thread starter macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #18
    any recommendations on other RAR apps to use? I would like something that opens the contents of the RAR in a window like WinRAR and I can then drag whatever I want out of it to the desired location. I currently have it set to unRAR into the source directory and it works well enough.

    I also have StuffIt but I hate the way it opens the RAR and has me extract.
     
  19. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #19
    Only 100MB free out of 2GB? Ok, that's very little. Which apps are using the most RAM?
     
  20. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #20
    I don't know the options, but you can try and choose from:

    List
     
  21. pixelbaker thread starter macrumors member

    pixelbaker

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2006
    #21
    I'm at work atm so I can't check, but the most common highs are Safari with around 75-125mb used, then Azureus, iTunes. Those are all that I can remember off the top of my head.
     
  22. TBi macrumors 68030

    TBi

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    Location:
    Ireland
    #22
    Parallels has a problem where by it doesn't see the VT in the mac pro's processors so you are running in fully emulated (read V. Slow) mode. Check for that as my macbook boots windows in about 30 seconds

    I'd guess there is something wrong with your system. I had similar issues when i put a bad stick of ram into my iBook. OSX just ran like crap, even when i took the ram out. Boot up the install cd running that system checker program on it (can't remember the name sorry i think you hold C instead of D) and test the memory.

    The only way i could fix it was a full reinstall.
     
  23. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #23
    2GB of RAM not being enough isn't the answer, IMHO. But, if you check on Activity Monitor, you'll easily be able to see if OS X is having to swap stuff out of RAM all the time.

    When you reinstalled the OS did you do a complete format and start over or archive and install? Have you tested your RAM with (whatever it is everyone uses... memtest) and not just the Apple tool?

    I reckon you have hardware problems, the symptoms sound like what I used to experience on my Mac mini (2GB RAM) before it packed up altogether. The replacement Mac mini was flawless, just as every other Mac I've bought since has been.
     
  24. whooleytoo macrumors 603

    whooleytoo

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Location:
    Cork, Ireland.
    #24
    I don't use the app, so might be way off the mark; but if the problem persists I'd try not running Azureus and see if - over time - that makes a difference.
     
  25. WRXHokie macrumors regular

    WRXHokie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2005
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #25
    To do what he's asking to do... he doesnt need 4GB of RAM. The machine should be able to handle RAR extraction and listening to MP3's without a problem. Sounds like he's having some issues with something.
     

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