Device question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Iammuku, Mar 27, 2016.

  1. Iammuku macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2016
    Hello all,

    I am a medical student on a very fixed budget but still in love with his Apple products. I currently use my Early-2011, MacBook Pro. I also use my iPad Air (first generation) along with bluetooth keyboard to have a second portable device. Unfortunately, the MacBook Pro, probably due to its age?, often has difficulty keeping up with the digital demands. I am typically running very large file Microsoft OneNotes along with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Firefox, and VLC media player concurrently. Anything new that needs to open takes about 5-10 minutes. My first question would be, is this a consequence of age of the laptop, not enough open space, or simply too much pressure on the device from too many programs running? Additional specs on the laptop 2.3 GHz i5, Memory: 4 GB, Storage: 320 GB SATA disk (70 GB free).

    My thoughts are, if I got an IMAC and used that for the majority of my work (when at home) and then reset the laptop so there is more storage space, would the laptop be able to hold out for the remaining 3 years of medical school? Or should I instead invest in a new MacBook Pro?

    Thoughts/opinions much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
  2. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    The programs you are running are minor and your mbp should be more than capable to run them.
    I suspect software issues.

    My advice in order:
    • repair disk permissions
    • run apple diagnostics
    • reset pram
    • reset smc
    • swap the old hdd for an ssd
    • reinstall the OS
    • upgrade ram (not absolutely necessary but might give a slight improvement anyway.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    That's almost certainly a dying hard drive, back up your system now so you don't lose any data then swap out the drive for an ssd replacement for a faster than new experience!!!
  4. Iammuku thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 27, 2016
    Thanks for the recommendations @Samuelsan2001 and @Meister. Is there recommendations on what type of SSD to purchase for the price/ease of installation?
  5. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    Agreed that there is a good likelihood that this could be a failing disk. Any of the major brand SSDs will make a big difference - SanDisk, Crucial, Samsung and others. 256GB is about $100.
  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Any 2,5" sata III ssd will do.

    I recommend the 480gb Sandisk Ultra II, for the best balance between size, price, warranty and performance.

    As @Samuelsan2001 suggested, you should always have a time machine backup on hand.

    Even if it is not a failing hd, an ssd upgrade is simple and always recommended.

    Good luck :)
  7. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    As above but I would also increase the ram if you can afford to. Your machine is certainly more than upto the tasks your throwing at it.
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    Highly unlikely that the OP will benefit from that.
    And he can always do that at a later point.
  9. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I have a 2013 MBP with 16GB memory, 10..11.4. Setting up to the OP's app configuration (with Office 2016), Activity Monitor shows Memory Used to be 8.19GB (6.08 GB App Memory and 2.11 GB Wired Memory). This is a somewhat gross approximation, but a hint that more than 4GB would be beneficial if all these apps are open. I suspect you are getting into swap (virtual memory) and that both SSD and memory can help overall performance. But, a 4-year old laptop disk is probably near the end of its life. Download a free or trial version of SMART disk utility and see if it says there are issues. Note that this utility may report no issues and the drive could be near end of life, but if it does report issues it is absolutely near end of life.
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    Before judging RAM usage, you have to understand how OS X manages RAM. Basically, it uses as much as you have - it does not clear data/code from RAM until something else needs the space, in case you may need that data/code again (faster to leave it there than to fetch it a second time). I also have 16 GB, and run Activity Monitor at all times. Even routine, light usage (email, web browsing, etc.) will eventually fill RAM following a system restart. I'm sure someone with 32GB would see the same.

    That said, 8 GB seems to be a sweet spot, so I wouldn't talk someone down from upgrading from 4GB.

    Of all the recommendations, I saw none to run Disk Utility to Verify Disk (if you have 10.10.x or lower) or run First Aid (10.11.x). That's the first thing I'd do under these conditions. Verifying/repairing Disk Permissions affects only certain system files, it is not a general fix for a slow HDD. Further, changes to OS X made repairing Disk Permissions unnecessary in recent version of the OS (that's why it was finally removed from El Capitan). Verify Disk/First Aid is far more likely to find an issue. (You have to run Disk Utility from Recovery to make repairs.)

    A disk can be failing due to either corruption of the file system (that's what Disk Utility addresses), or failure of the mechanical systems. It's far more effective to see if there's a software-repairable problem first, before cracking the case open and spending money on hardware. Even if you plan to replace the drive with an SSD (a fine move, as far as I'm concerned), it's worth running Disk Utility first.
  11. fanboi4lyfe macrumors regular


    Apr 20, 2015
    Chicago, IL
    Trying going to OtherWorldComputing ( Used this site to replace my HDD to SDD in the same model, Early 2011 MBP and it runs beautifully! They have fairly good prices and nothing that will break the bank. Plus replacing the hard drive is a breeze if you have the right screwdrivers. Good luck!
  12. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    I would also recommend that you backup your system disk ASAP and do it to a bootable external clone. And keep backing up regularly then if your boot disk goes south you have a quick recovery option, plus a way to keep your system running until you get a replacement disk

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11 March 27, 2016