Core 2Duo, 2.5GB RAM, Lion - What's slowing me down?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by mcoldham, May 25, 2015.

  1. mcoldham, May 25, 2015
    Last edited: May 25, 2015

    mcoldham macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    EDIT: Seems like Chrome is actually the problem with all its RAM-hogging 'helpers' as Firefox is making everything run a little smoother - pretty zappy now actually.

    Chrome Canary didn't do sh-t either... how the hell does Chrome get its reputation for being the fastest browser, seriously?

    edit: HDD is only about 2 years old and seems to have no visible issues.

    Hey all,

    Recently installed a new 2GB RAM card alongside the original 512MB one and upgraded to Lion.

    Things seemed reasonably smooth at first, but now I'm back to raging at really f--king slow response speeds on basically all and any apps (read: every browser I've tried), even when Activity Monitor is telling me I have 250MB RAM free.

    Have tried pretty much everything Drive Genius has to offer, including defrag, repairing permissions, and slimming, and used to Checkmate to scan for bad sectors in HD... nothin'

    So what the heck is going on? Is it just that Lion isn't very compatible with my 2.0 Ghz processor or the Hitachi HDD I got in here? I guess I will only know if I downgrade to Snow Leopard again, but historically 10.6 has run slow on this machine when I had the 1GB RAM, so perhaps this machine is just getting old (8 years now).

    Any suggestions welcome! Already tried resetting PRAM and SMC but maybe I'll just do that again...sigh.

    Thank you.

    P.S. Is there a simple nooby way to downgrade OS without backing up all your system prefs\files? cheers!
  2. junkw macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2010
    SSD would help a bit. Is it your main machine?
  3. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000


    Mar 19, 2011
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    SSD would help A LOT - make it like a new machine. My Core 2 Duo Mac mini became instantly snappy, running 10.10.3 on it now, flawless.
  4. mcoldham thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    It definitely did the trick for my 2007 iMac that's for sure.

    But I just find it hard to believe that's its only a hard drive problem here. I can barely run Firefox now without super annoying lags in typing and loading tabs etc... Do new browsers just demand a fast HD? Is there nothing else to try you think?
  5. brdeveloper macrumors 68020


    Apr 21, 2010
    Just one example: a Gmail tab alone takes around 350MB of RAM. A MacRumors Forums tab takes ~130MB. 2.5GB is nothing, so you'd better buy a SSD and/or upgrade RAM. 4GB RAM + 120GB SSD will improve your Mac a lot.
  6. mcoldham thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Thanks br.

    So a 120gb will give me a little more juice than smaller ssds?

    Also I've read quite a few places that my macbook will only really use 3GB even if there's 2x2GB Ram installed...?
  7. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    it depends on which model it is exactly ?
  8. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Max out your RAM, if it can only read 3GB then put in 4GB so it's running in dual-channel mode.

    Swap out the HDD with an SSD.

    Can you go any higher than Lion? I assume because you said your machine can only address 3GB of RAM that it's stuck there but if you can go to Mountain Lion do it. 10.7 was the worst I've used.
  9. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    Try opening it and giving the heatsinks and fans a good clean - even disassembling them if it seems straightforward. Dust build-up can cause laptops to heat up too quickly, after which the machine will throttle the CPU.
  10. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - I won't go into the technical details here, but, in general, the larger SSD you have, the higher performance it will provide. But given that your machine has SATA II at the most, it shouldn't make too much of a difference.

    - That's enormously hard to say given that you haven't specified which machine you have. Look in About This Mac and report what it says.

    Basically, get an SSD, max out the RAM, and upgrade to Yosemite and your machine will be flying. Or at the very least Mountain Lion. Lion is crap.
  11. mcoldham thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Ok thanks all. I wasn't aware 10.8 was really compatible with Core 2 Duo processors, from what I'd read on forums but maybe worth a try I suppose.

    My model is the A1181 (EMC 2139) - Mid 2007 family... (2,1!) there I was thinking the processor and Ghz would identify it, jeezers.


    Tried this with the fan, was a bit scared of taking off the heatsink tape-cover thing, know any good step-by-step guides for cleaning that?

    Anyhow my temp seems to hover around 62C and fan anywhere from 2500-6500rpm, often in the 6000s.
  12. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    The 2,1 maxes out at 10.7.5 Lion. The issue isn't the Core 2 Duo CPU, it's the 32-bit EFI and GMA 950 GPU.
  13. mcoldham thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Ok cheers.

    UK users: any tips on where to buy cheapo RAM and\or 120GB SSDs? I am quite poor.
  14. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - It is. Though not with your model, it appears. Lion is the maximum OS on your machine, I'm afraid. So either keep that or downgrade to Snow Leopard.

    - You could be forgiven for thinking that, but actually several MacBooks have 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo processors.
    Your machine will take a maximum of 3 GB 667Mhz DDR2 RAM.
    Another poster mentioned 2+2 GB is preferable to 2+1 GB. It won't matter in the least. Both will be able to benefit from dual channel memory, but with one you'll have a wasted GB. Get whatever's cheaper.

    And it uses SATA I, so any current SSD at all will max out its bandwidth (but it will still provide a massive performance boost over your hard drive).
    Look at Crucial BX100 or even a cheap SanDisk.
  15. mcoldham thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 13, 2015
    Cheers! By current SSD maxing it out do you mean I can put a SATA II or III drive in?
  16. Bruno09 macrumors 68020

    Aug 24, 2013
    Far from here
    Yes no problem any 2.5" will work (at SATA I speed, anyway).

    Just buy the cheapest you can find (Crucial BX100 for (good) example).
  17. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - I meant that the speeds current SSDs are able to achieve are higher than the limit of the interface in your machine. Hence all SSDs are fast enough.
    And you can get a SATA II drive, but I don't think they're produced or sold new anymore.
    You could even get a used Intel 320 if you can find one cheaply.
    Do an Amazon search for "SanDisk SSD" - they have some of the cheapest around.

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16 May 25, 2015