Alum Macbook sluggish. Troubleshooting

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by james948, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. james948 macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    I've got the low end Aluminium Macbook. I've found it to be sluggish in general;

    - Opening applications.
    - Switching between tabs in Safari/Firefox.
    - Expose.
    - Opening a page in Pages.

    I generally get the spinning beachball far too often. I have the pre-installed 2GB of ram in two 1GB sticks. What's going to help make it a bit more nippy? More ram? More HD memory free(I generally have about four or five gigs free). Is there any clutter I can get rid of ? It shouldn't be this sluggish I don't think. I'm basically hoping that Snow Leopard will be significantly faster.
  2. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    RAM definitely. Really, get some cheap 4 -or better 6- GB RAM
    Oh and btw try slimming down your apps using TrimTheFat.
  3. amrk47 macrumors regular

    Nov 4, 2007
    download Ifreemem and free up your memory

    or just restart your computer

    its not supposed be that slow
  4. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    To me it would be lightning fast because I'm on a G3 iMac ....what machine are you coming from?, just trying to say that you might be expecting too much of it if you are coming from a fast PC, just a thought
  5. dL. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2007
    Have you tried "Repair Disk Permission" yet?

  6. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    I just re read your post,......
    When you say sluggish, could you elaborate a little more please, benchmarks would be handy.

    Have a look in the Activity Monitor & see if anything is running that shouldn't be, then re seat the RAM, then PRAM reset, if you have some spare RAM lying around you could try that before PRAM reset. try that and let us know.

  7. hacksaw-C87 macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2009
    Birmingham England
    4/5 Gigs HD Space isn't near enoughn free HD space. Store you movies/videos/pictures/music on external DVDs and free up some HD space. I think the max memory you can have on a Macbook is 4GB. Go to and get some RAM too.
  8. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    I'm not sure how o do benchmarks when it comes to clicking between tabs. It's also a little slow sometimes to scroll down a webpage.
    when I say sluggish I mean that, on a brand new computer, I don't think I should be receiving any lag when I click between tabs. I'll look into the slimmer program although I'm cautious having used another slimmer program before and messed up my whole system.

    How do I repair disk permissions? Do I need to boot from the system disk?

    Cheers for all the help guys.
  9. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    I'd repair permissions from a separate disk altogether,

    Like the guy above mentioned , 5 or 6 gigs of HD space is not enough space!, I'm not surprised it's running sluggish.

    BTW, was it a sudden change of speed or was it always this way or simply did it start when your HD began getting full ?.

    OS X needs about 10% minimum free, to be optimum .After clearing a bit of space out of the on board HD check in Activity Monitor under all processes , be careful not to stop any processes if you don't know what they are.

    Re-seat the RAM, try different RAM.

    Try onyx (an OS X maintenance tool) after checking Activity Monitor, it's pretty good at cleaning out all the 'fluff' from cache etc etc etc which will certainly help and no you shouldn't really be getting lag switchin tabs or scrolling pages . Try Onyx, available here :
    No need to repair permissions just yet imo.
  10. Stachelsk macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2008
    You're all wrong. (Well, most of you). More RAM does not make your computer faster, unless you are constrained for RAM. The only way to consume more than 2GB of memory right now is to either use VMs or PS, which the user did not say he used.

    So don't go out and blow money on 4/6GB of RAM, as it will do nothing.The problem is, as the OP mentioned, is that he has 4-5gb of hard drive space free. OSX slows to a crawl when you have one main partition, with your system and everything on it, and almost no free space.

    You should probably do what I did... partition your drive such that your first partition is roughly 20gigs or so; and only install applications, drivers, system stuff to that drive. Make it the first partition so all of the data that needs to be accessed quickly is confined to the outer edge of the harddrive, where the transfer rate is considerably quicker.

    Then you make a second partition with all of your user data (literally, move your whole account folder into this partition; that way movies, music, and other documents that don't need fast access times are stored on a slower part of the drive). IMO it makes a huge difference. I can have my entire hard drive loaded down without incredibly long startup times, that I used to experience when I had one partition that was almost full to the brim.

    To the OP: You can open a good amount of applications (iWork, Safari, iTunes, Mail, etc.) and then open Activity Monitor, and I'll be willing to bet that you'll still have a sizable amount of memory free. While the hard drive is on the smaller side for the low-end Alus, I had a 160GB in my old MacBook and it chugged along just fine.
  11. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    I've downloaded Onyx and I'll give that a try. The partitioning sounds like a fantastic idea. However, how does one 'defrag' the hard drive on a mac? If i were to free up 20GB of space, how would I know it was all in the same place?

    I'm going to try and get rid of some scurf but the HD is only 160 and I can't afford a better one. I want all my music on my computer which is about 50GB so it's tricky.

  12. marbles macrumors 68000


    Apr 30, 2008
    EU mostly
    50 gig of music will fit on a 160 drive , man what other massive files do you have .The OS doesn't take up that much (depending on install options) and 50 gig so that leaves about 90 odd Gb , you really must have some massive files to use that all up , what Apps you using ?

    When you 'free up ' your hard disc, you simply move the files to another hard disc that is connected to your Mac or move your files to online storage , then bingo your hard disc has been freed up, move enough of your files off the Macbook HD to give the OS a little room to move, that will speed you up.

    When you look in Activity Monitor have a look how much memory of the 2Gb is being used, also look to see how many 'pages in/out' the HD is making, both before you move some files off the HD and after.
    That'll give you a clearer idea how moving files and creating 'breathing space' for the OS will speed up your Mac.
    Stachelsk is correct, you will not need more RAM unless you are using all the RAM you have in there now and I doubt you are, have a look in Activity Monitor under System Memory and do what you usually do on the machine for a while and watch to see if your 2Gb RAM is fully used or not, if the 2Gb RAM is maxed out buying more RAM will help, along side freeing up some HD space of course!!, if the 2Gb RAM is not all used up, you don't need to spend money on RAM and something else is going on.

    Let us know what Activity Monitor is showing
  13. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    With eleven apps running

    Word, Quicksilver, Disk Inventory X, Activity Monitor, Transmission, Mail, System Profiler, Quicktime, Text-edit, Safari, iCal

    I have page ins: 2.11GB
    Page outs 2.04GB
    Swap[ Used 1.53GB
    I'm using memory:
    Free: 8.6 MB
    Wired 333.91
    Active 963.8
    Inactive 481.41
    Used 1.74GB

    I'm running diskinventory now to see what is taking up the most space.
  14. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
  15. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004
    Here we go.

    61GB - iTunes Library
    9.7 GB - iPhoto Library
    4GB - Myst end of ages (keep meaning to play this)
    6.7GB - Mail ( I have all attachments to DL aswell. Perhaps I should change this but then how can I flush it out?)
    12.6GB Applications
    2GB: Sleep image.
    1GB RivenX -I keep meaning to play this again.
    1.3 Half Life - Never played. Must do. No time.
    And, yes, I've realised I have about 8GB downloading in transmission of the first series of the british Life on Mars. So that could be the culprit. I'm glad it could be something so simple as not giving the computer enough breathing space.
    I'm going to try deleting all this or copying it to my external and see how I get on. I shall report back.
  16. james948 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 17, 2004

    You're a dummy. And rather patronising too. A google search leads me to non-specific articles and forums. Clearly what I was looking for was expert and specific advice.

    Thanks for wasting my (and your) time.


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