Can't figure out why I have so many beachballs on my Mac Pro

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by richpjr, May 20, 2007.

  1. richpjr macrumors 68020

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #1
    I am a recent switcher who picked up a 2.66 gig mac pro. I experience an awful lot of lags and beachballs and I can't figure out why. I recently upgraded the RAM on it to 4 gig. I put my iPod music collection on it's own separate, fast drive. I experience very frequent pauses doing simple things like opening iTunes or Safari.

    Not knowing much about admin in OSX, are there any tools that could point to what could be wrong? I poked around in Activity Monitor and my page outs are virtually non-existant. I have a ton free disk space and lots of free RAM. I don't quite know where to look at to figure out what could be wrong. I do have Photoshop and MS Office loaded, but experience the lags even with nothing on them running.

    And suggestions?
     
  2. slughead macrumors 68040

    slughead

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #2
    I'm having a similar problem involving the DVD drive.

    Seems silly to ask, but does it do it when there isn't a disc in the drive?

    Also, go into system profiler and make sure your RAM is "OK".

    Finally, check activity monitor for disk activity when the beachballs are occurring--maybe some task is taking up all the hard drive throughput.
     
  3. richpjr thread starter macrumors 68020

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #3
    There were no problems reported with RAM. I'll watch the activity monitor.

    Thanks.
     
  4. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #4
    That happens when you use non-Universal programs. A Universal program is one that has been written to work at full speed on Intel Macs like the Mac Pro.

    CS3 is Universal but CS2 is not. Office is not Universal yet, but Microsoft are beta testing a Universal version.
     
  5. richpjr thread starter macrumors 68020

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #5
    I have CS3 so that is universal. I get the beachballs with no part of Office open - do they load other "junk" like it does in Windows?
     
  6. aLoC macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2006
    #6
    I'm not sure. One way to find out is open Activity Monitor and make sure it says "All Processes" at the top, and make sure the Kind column is showing.

    Ideally, the Kind of all the running programs should be Intel, not PowerPC. If there are any PowerPC ones, it means the PowerPC emulator (Rosetta) is running, and it often causes beachballs for the system.

    Also, check the Energy Saver in control panel. Make sure "Put the hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" is not checked. This can cause beachballs because the computer turns off the HD to save power, so when you try to load something later on it takes 2-3 seconds for it to spin up again, and you get a beachball while you wait.
     
  7. tribe3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Vienna, VA - USA
    #7
    Did you repair permissions? Also, download "Onyx" and do some optimization scripts.
     
  8. Lycanthrope macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Brussels, Belgium, Europe
    #8
    I'll echo the comment about HD sleeping, I was getting horrible delays until I unchecked this...

    Otherwise I have a similar spec and have no problems at all and I'm runing SETI/Einstein on all four cores 24/7 also.
     
  9. Rad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #9
    Beachballs

    It is likley that you have your computer putting your hard drives to sleep. Check you Power Saving options control panel. Under the settings for putting your display to sleep, there is a setting for putting your hard drives or computer to sleep. Make sure both are not set NOT to put them to sleep - and you will find that launching applications and especially accessing the non-boot drive will no longer have any delays. I used to have this problem on the ime on my Mac Pro. You could set the delay to sleep to much longer, but even if you wake your system, the first time you access the non-boot drive, there will be a beachball delay. Hope this helps! :)
     
  10. jersey9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle
    #10
    Same here

    I have a brand new quad 3.0 unit with no applications loaded yet (waiting for CS3) i installed a mirrored RAID (Apple) first thing, and have all kinds of beachballs. I just unchecked the HD sleep box to see if that helps - but other than that with no data and no apps - I am disappointed in this machine unless it is something I did in the RAID install.

    I am sitting here watching Activity Monitor and it is spiking red and to the top every so often - I have not yet figured out why just yet...

    I have 2 gig of memory and the profiler shows OK 1.57 is unused most all the time.

    The drive activity continues to spike every so often - however, it seems that not letting the drives sleep has helped
     
  11. Evergreen macrumors member

    Evergreen

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    #11
    In Activity Monitor, click on the "% CPU" column to see which process is using up the CPU. Do the beachballs show up in the Finder, or other apps as well?
     
  12. Rad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #12
    Beachballs

    I also have my Mac Pro starting up on a RAID (using the Apple Disk Utility), but it is a RAID 0 for performance. I use two RaptorX 150s to get a 300 GB startup volume. I use Super Duper to back up to an external drive every automatically at night (it even mounts and unmounts the drive by itself to keep it as a hidden backup drive nromally0. No beach balls and very fast overall. Spotlight sometimes can slow things down - I list the backups as a private drive in the Spotlight prefs so it doesn't try to catalogue them.
     
  13. jersey9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle
    #13
    Clarification

    I do not boot up on my RAID - I use it for a data drive - I figure the applications and other files can be restored without too much trouble if need be. I am still concerned about how much time it takes the machine to boot up. I did check today but last week it took about six minutes - how long does yours take?
     
  14. Rad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #14
    Bootup Time

    Less than a minute to fully reboot! And that is with lots of start-up applications like Drag Thing, Timbuktu, Huey, Net Monitor and Disk Spy, as well as a total of four drive volumes. Something is dragging your system. By boot drives are Raptors which are 10,000 RPM and in a RAID 0 to increase performance, although an earlier configuration with RAID 0 WD drives was nearly as fast.
     
  15. jersey9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle
    #15
    Cold Boot is still more than five minutes

    I am still looking at a boot up time of more than five or six minutes - way too long. Any ideas? Mac Pro 3.0 ghz, 2 Gig ram, four drives, one 300 gb set up as the boot drive with OSX loaded, two more 300 gb as a mirror RAID and a 4th as a spare, just formated. No applications loaded yet.
     
  16. thagomizer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    Is Spotlight indexing one or more of your drives?
     
  17. Rad macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    #17
    Boot Times

    The only other major difference is that I have 6 GB RAM, but 2 GB should be OK. Was it a completely fresh install? If you have not installed anything yet, I would reformat (zero-out the entire drive when erasing) and reinstall the boot drive completely clean without using any transfered info from another computer. It really should not take anywhere that long. I have had mine since last August and it starts up just as fast as new. You may want to try to install a fresh copy on the spare/empty drive to test it out. Are the drive the stock ones? I upgraded all my drives to the Raptors and WD SE2 drives. Still, the drive would not make THAT much of a difference.
     
  18. tribe3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Vienna, VA - USA
    #18
    Did ya do this ^^^^^^^^:rolleyes:
     
  19. erickkoch macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2003
    Location:
    Kalifornia
    #19
    Very few beachball here, but I did notice I get them on applications that take a little time to load, Photoshop Elements 3, for example. The beachball briefly flashes in iPhoto, but only sometimes, while loading about 3,000 photos.
    My drive is set to sleep when possible.
     
  20. richpjr thread starter macrumors 68020

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #20
    Haven't had a chance yet - had to work late last night. I did turn off the checkbox in Engergy Saver and didn't see any real noticable difference, but haven't had a chance to try the other suggestions yet. I'll try them out tonite.

    Thanks for all the suggestions.
     
  21. Evergreen macrumors member

    Evergreen

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    #21
    Do a startup in verbose mode (hold command+v immediately after the startup chime) to see if you can tell which item is taking so long.
     
  22. jersey9 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle
    #22
    Mac Pro RAID update

    I shut the machine down as it had hung permanently. The boot drive was corrupted..I pulled the Seagates from bay 2, 3 & 4. I erased and reinstalled the OS X on the Seagate in Bay 1 - the Mac came up fine, the drive verified, permissions were fine and it shut down and restarted over and over again without a hitch. I ran Apple Hardware Test and Xbench - both look fine. It is either the Apple soft RAID in combo with the Seagates or the Seagates are bad or some wierd combination of these factors and drives installed in all four bays at once. As of now, the machine in running fine - but it looks like my choices are to try WD drives - or, find another RAID.
     
  23. richpjr thread starter macrumors 68020

    richpjr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2006
    #23
    Well, I got a chance tonite to try and repair permissions and it found quite a few things to correct. After doing this, I have been messing around and my system is now flying! No beachballs at all and everything is much snappier. I don't know enough about OSX maintenance to see how this could have made such a dramatic difference, but I'll take it.

    Thanks for the great suggestion!
     
  24. tribe3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2005
    Location:
    Vienna, VA - USA
    #24
    As a google expert I can tell you this:

    "Mac OS X is based on OPENSTEP technology, which is similar to Unix. As in Unix-based systems, Mac OS X assigns specific access privileges, known as permissions, to each of your programs, folders, and documents, which are associated with a particular owner, a group, or groups. When an error in your permissions settings occurs, it may cause significant problems. For example, your applications may not launch or your system may respond sluggishly. These problems are more likely to occur after you update your operating system or install new software."
     

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