El Capitan, Why So Laggy?

Discussion in 'OS X El Capitan (10.11)' started by jasnw, May 6, 2016.

  1. jasnw macrumors 6502

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    #1
    This is sort of an "impressions after a month of use" by a Mavericks user who finally bit the bullet and waded into El Capitan (10.11.4). I did a fully-clean reinstall of everything, including all system settings, so there's no scruft carrying forward from earlier OS versions, and I don't run a lot of 3rd party stuff, Tunnelblick being the main offender there. I'm running nothing now that I wasn't under Mavericks. Anyway, my primary impression is that the system is almost terminally laggy, both when I'm running in the GUI and when I'm running processing codes from the command line. The laggyness in the GUI ranges from slow response when doing things like moving mail from one mailbox to another to OMG the spinning beachball of death. I've got a 2011 27" iMac (2.7 GHz 4 core) with 20GB memory and a 240 GB SSD (OWC Electra 6G), and while performance under Mavericks was not what I'd like, it's noticeably worse under El Capitan, and I'm starting to consider a fallback (third one, actually) to Mavericks.

    Something is really not right with things since Mavericks at least, and IMHO since Snow Leopard. Some of the new software technologies they've put into the OS are clearly problematic, and continuing to put more coats of different colored paint (shaded buttons to flat buttons, for example) doesn't fix the underlying issues. Come on, Apple, you may be focused on mobile devices but apps are still being developed on computers, even if they're just laptops. You still need OS X.
     
  2. aristobrat macrumors G4

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    Oct 14, 2005
    #2
    I'm on an Early 2013 rMBP and haven't noticed those issues. Not sure if it's because the processor and SSD are faster than your iMac or what.

    What's bogging down on your system? Have you left Activity Monitor running (set to 'All Processes') and observed the load on the processor, disk and network during the laggy times? It has a history graph for each of those, so you don't have to be watching it exactly at that time, but it does need to be open and running.
     
  3. aking83 macrumors member

    aking83

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    USA
    #3
    Hmm, not sure what to say here. Check your running apps and make sure antivirus is off if you have one. I'm running a i7, ssd and performance runs fine in Xcode and building apps. I also use photoshop a bit and it's at a speed that is manageable, not slow enough for me to complain about it. Maybe add more ram if possible?
     
  4. jasnw thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    No antivirus, and I don't run Activity Monitor unless I'm looking at a specific issue, and I shut down anything actiive in the Dock if I'm not going to use it soon (although Preview seems to keep running even though it's not showing in the Dock, requiring a Force Quit). If 20GB of RAM isn't enough to do simple things like mail, I'm back to my original statement that there's something not quite right somewhere. Things were a lot better when I was running Mavericks, and the system hardware, and the things I'm running, haven't changed, only the OS version changed. I've been using computers since the late 1960s, desktop systems since before Windows was a gleam in Bill's eye, and a wide range of OS's, and something seems amiss with El Capitan (and Yosemite before it, which I skipped completely hoping for better with the next version).
     
  5. aristobrat, May 6, 2016
    Last edited: May 6, 2016

    aristobrat macrumors G4

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    #5
    I've only been using computers since the mid-80s. I don't recall a time where a computer ran better on an operating system that was written four years later (vs. the OS that it shipped with), regardless of the OS. People are saying that Windows 10 does that, but I don't have any experience with it. Perhaps it does, but Windows seems to be a sinking ship for Microsoft, so it's in their best interest to make that happen. Apple would prefer that you bought a new computer every four or five years, so I doubt they're developing new OSs with the mindset that they should run just as fast on five year-old computers as they do on newer ones.

    20GB of RAM isn't likely to make Mail run any faster. I don't think that Mail caches up your mailboxes in RAM every time you swap into the app, otherwise you'd really be complaining about beach balls. My suggestion about using Activity Monitor was to see if network activity significantly increased during times you feel it's laggy. If it does, perhaps you could check your preferences and see if it's even caching all of your mailbox locally on disk. It may be set not to, and reaching out to the server frequently because of that (which is laggy).

    I've been a MacRumors member since OS X 10.4 came out, and some people complained about lag/slowness in that release, and there have been the same complaints with literally every release thereafter. It's not hard to find threads where people absolutely hated Mavericks and rolled back to Lion for better speed/stability. But Mavericks is the OS that you find acceptable in terms of performance. ?!? It's just weird like that.

    I've been lucky enough to have not experience the upgrade blues, but I've never held out of an OS upgrade like you have. Maybe 10.10 (that you skipped) introduced some Mail lag that I got used to, and the same with 10.11. So maybe you, coming straight from 10.9 to 10.11, really notice it. But that's not my experience. I'm sorry that it's yours.
     
  6. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #6
    Check your SSD for errors / check performance with something like blackmagic disk speed test.

    SSD + 20 GB of RAM should be more than plenty for El Capitan (i've run it on spinning disk and 8 GB and upwards), i'd say you have a rogue driver, or a hardware problem of some kind.

    Your CPU is far more powerful than i've run El Capitan on, and i have not seen those problems. I've seen a number of other El Capitan bugs (that i can grudgingly live with), but freezes and general crap performance are not a problem i've seen).



    edit:
    As to operating systems that have performed better than their predecessor in my experience:

    Snow Leopard
    Mountain Lion
    Windows 7

    They do exist. Particularly when the previous OS (e.g., Lion, Windows Vista) were a major architecture change that was then tweaked and tuned in the subsequent release.


    The only similar system to yours that i've run El Cap on was my hackintosh which was an i5-4430 with 16 GB of RAM and a hard drive; didn't see problems on that either.
     
  7. firelighter487 macrumors member

    firelighter487

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    The Netherlands
    #7
    i'm running it on a early 2009 macbook with 2 ghz core 2 duo, 4 gb ram, geforce 9400m and an ssd. it runs really smooth actually, well, as smooth as you could expect from a 7 year old laptop. i have never had the beachball before, nor any freezes or glitches.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP:

    With 20gb of RAM you have plenty to try what I'm going to advise.

    I would do the following (via terminal commands):
    - Turn off VM disk swapping
    - Turn off Spotlight indexing
    - Turn off compressed memory
    - Turn off hibernation
    - Turn off app nap
    - Turn off "cloud communications" as much as possible.
    - Disable Time Machine (just run it "by user command" rather than in the background)

    ...and then run like that for 2 or 3 days, taking note of the speed difference.

    If you do this, I predict you will see a BIG jump in overall performance.

    I've been booting and running my late-2012 Mac Mini like this for while (using El Capitan), and it runs fast and smooth, and (most importantly) NEVER crashes. And that's with only 10gb of installed RAM.

    My opinion only.
    Others will disagree.
    Some will disagree vehemently.
     
  9. Morpheo, May 7, 2016
    Last edited: May 7, 2016

    Morpheo macrumors 65816

    Morpheo

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    #9
    Not that I disagree or anything, but having to disable so many things to make an OS useable is kinda sad really - considering these are important features.:rolleyes:

    I've gone back to Mavericks mainly because Pro Tools (12.5), which I use everyday, and Photoshop (CC2015) have some very annoying graphical/performance issues with El Capitan. Both perform perfectly in Mavericks. Unless these issues get fixed in an upcoming update, I'm staying in Mavericks.

    On a side note: in El Capitan, waiting for mds_store to complete its job after each login takes *always* about 15 or 20 mn, often taking up to 95-100% of cpu. In Mavericks? 3 min max. When you get to work every morning and you have to wait 20mn before you can actually use your computer, let me just say it's just, sort of "frustrating".;) By "use" I mean not having to wait forever before dock icons finish bouncing - or opening a large project file while mds_store slows everything down in the background.
     
  10. jasnw, May 7, 2016
    Last edited: May 7, 2016

    jasnw thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I turned off Spotlight access to almost everything years ago - I don't use it, and mds is a nightmare in and of itself. I'd turn Spotlight off completely, but then you can't search in Mail (good design there, Apple). I stopped using TM years ago because every time I really needed it I was unable to restore for one reason or another. I use CCC and rsync for this sort of thing now. Very reliable, and I have control over it. Turning off memory compression and VM swapping might be worth a try, but I agree with the last poster that having to turn all this stuff off to get acceptable performance on a not-that-old machine is not a great advertisement for any OS.

    If I fall back it will be to Mavericks not because I love it, but because it's really the only option. The last "good" OS X I ran on was Snow Leopard, which I still run on an older iMac. I tried installing SL on my current machine at one point, but ran into some weird hardware-related issues that Apple couldn't help me sort out. There's also security concerns running older versions of OS X (my SL machine is on my LAN, but I never go out to the larger Internet with it any more). So it's Mavericks or later only.

    (After consideration) Not going to try fiddling with the memory management system. That way lies madness and the likelihood of more bizzaro-world behaviors.
     
  11. Gochugogi macrumors regular

    Gochugogi

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    Oct 27, 2013
    Location:
    Sandwich Isles
    #11
    Although the first couple releases of El Capitan weren't so great, 10.11.3 and 10.11.4 are fast and stable in my Mini i7 (2013) and iMac (2015), unlike Mavericks. I'm using lots of "legacy" apps--Bias Peak Pro, Quicken 2007, CS5.1, Aperture 3.6x, Word 2008--and 10.11.4 is runs them like clockwork. My fav OS was 10.8.5 and would still be using it if it ran on all my Macs. I still use FW audio interfaces and Apple's support of FW went downhill fast beginning with Mavericks.
     
  12. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #12
    I've got all that turned on with a dual core, slower mobile CPU, and 8 GB of RAM and performance is fine.

    Whilst i have no doubt turning all that off may make things a little faster, given the guy's hardware spec it should not be required. If the listed performance problems are happening, its due to a problem, not just because he has stuff enabled that ships with OS X out of the box.


    edit:
    OP: you have some sort of install or hardware problem. Your machine should definitely not be running as slow or as badly as it is given your spec. I'd run hardware diagnostics and see what comes up. If nothing shows up, i'd reinstall El Cap as a clean install and see if it fixes it.

    My 2011 MBP 15 (same age, lower spec than your machine) was running El Cap just fine until the video died in it.
     
  13. got556 macrumors 6502

    got556

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    Indiana
    #13
    20GB RAM? How are they divided up? All the same RAM? I would MAYBE start there. I can tell you this, 10.11.4 runs worse on my Early 13" MBPr than 10.9 and 10.10 did on a mid 2010 iMac, 2009 (three of them) Macbook Pro's, 2012 15" MBP i7 fully spec'd, and a 2012 Mac mini semi spec'd. Good luck OP and hope you get to the bottom of the issue.
     
  14. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Perth, Western Australia
    #14
    Just putting it out there - how much free space is there on your SSD?

    If there's basically none then performance may be tanking in a big way due to the system needing to shuffle/reclaim/wear level your SSD free space excessively. If you've got less than say 50-60 GB free, try to free up some space and see if performance improves.
     
  15. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #15
    OP wrote above:
    "Not going to try fiddling with the memory management system. That way lies madness and the likelihood of more bizzaro-world behaviors."

    Did you read all of my post above?

    I've been booting and running my late-2012 Mini with VM/Swap disabled for months now.

    No crashes whatsover.
    Let me repeat that for emphasis: NO CRASHES AT ALL.

    It runs fast, smooth, responsive, BETTER THAN previous OS's.

    Anyone reading this:
    You won't believe how well this works until you try it.

    It will hurt nothing, and if you don't like it, just re-enable VM/disk swapping.

    I WOULD NOT recommend this UNLESS you have at least 8gb of RAM ...
     
  16. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    Perth, Western Australia
    #16

    Did you read the above?

    I've never had to do any of that on any of my machines including those with far inferior spec to the OP (and yourself) and have had no crashes at all. Performance is fine, also. The OP has hardware more than capable of running 10.11 just fine with all the features turned on.

    Trying to band-aid the problem with disabling a bunch of functionality is not a solution.

    There's something not right with either the OP's hardware or his installation of OS X.
     
  17. jasnw thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    #17
    SSD : 140GB free space. I already moved much of my rarely-used large files off to an internal spinner.
    Memory : Two 2GB and two 8GB. Same hardware as when running Mavericks, which was NOT laggy
    Ran the standard hardware diagnostics, no issues raised.
    Since I started with a clean, REALLY clean, install just a month ago, I'm not yet ready to try that. Things were laggy from the start.

    And, to repeat, Mavericks was not this laggy. Same hardware, and not even with a clean install.

    OK, I am trying one thing. Remembering back to early Linux and Windows desktop days, things could get laggy if you had a lot of things on the desktop. I've removed about 70% of the items on my desktop off, and it seems to be helping. Too early to tell as yet.

    Other things I don't like about El Capitan are things that happen erratically. For example, after a reboot when the login window comes up, you should be able to start typing in the name of the user you want to login as and focus is moved to the password entry window for that user. Never had a problem with this before, but with EC I often find that I am forced to use the mouse to click on the desired user as the keyboard entries are being ignored. A wired keyboard, not Bluetooth. A lot of these little, easily fixable, annoyances become very irritating after a while. I can most likely live with those if the laggy issue can get resolved.
     
  18. slapppy macrumors 65816

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    #18
    El Capitan will get sluggish over time. Specially if you do iMovie, Garageband stuff. Or tend to open several apps at a time and never "quit" them for days or weeks. I just try and remember to do a quick reboot every so often when that rainbow spinning wheel starts to rear its ugly face. Soon as I get that, I just do a quick reboot and its good to go again. I have a 2015, Late 2013 iMac 2.7 with 16gb RAM. It's just how El Capitan is until Apple gets their act together and fix it.
     
  19. jasnw thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #19
    No iMovie, no Garageband, and I routinely quit (and when needed, force quit) apps I'm not planning to use in the short term. One reason (of many) I moved from Windows to OS X back in the Tiger days was that I didn't have to be rebooting the system every couple of days in order to keep things snappy. If this is Standard Operating Procedure in order to have a good working El Capitan, I go back to my original premise that there's something not right with the OS.
     
  20. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    Apr 3, 2014
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    Hong Kong
    #20
    I think you better go back to Mavericks.

    My initial suspect is he SSD. However, since you say that the lag only happen after upgrade to El Capitan. I will try go back to Mavericks and find out if that's a coincident or really OS related.

    However, IMO, that also means you have to upgrade back to El Capitan at least once more to confirm it's OSX issue.

    My 2nd suspect is GPU, however, since you said that you can experence the lag even in terminal. I think it's not GPU / driver issue (even though can't eliminate it at this moment).
     
  21. wolfie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    #21
    I've also got the same problem.
    Perfect and smooth on Yosemite and as soon as I upgrade el cap went laggy. I did a fresh el cap install and had the same problem. I suspect there is a bug for those with iMac systems from certain years and its performance as my Mac mini runs perfectly fine despite the Mac being more powerful.
    Other threads in this el cap section have other users also complaining about el cap being laggy and they too have iMacs.
     
  22. jasnw thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Nov 15, 2013
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    Seattle Area (NOT! Microsoft)
    #22
    This is my third try at moving to El Capitan, after a similar number of tries moving to Yosemite. I'm going to try to make a go of El Capitan, if for no other reason as to not get too far behind the "bleeding edge" of Apple OS updates.
    --- Post Merged, May 11, 2016 ---
    Just out of curiosity, what graphics are in your iMac? Mine in the 27" model with the AMD Radeon HD 6770M chipset with 512MB of VRAM. I could certainly see the GPU being a factor in GUI lagginess that's not consistent across the user base.
     
  23. Mcmeowmers macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2015
    #23
    El Lagitan. Have a maxed out 2015 15in and it's still laggy regardless of clean install or anything. The only way to stop the lag is transparency effect in Accessibility
    --- Post Merged, May 14, 2016 ---
    It's not the GPU. The GPU is fine. The issue is with transparency effect. With it on the entire system is like 15-25 fps with more severe drops when you open an overlay oh god no! If you turn it off it's quite smooth. Almost as smooth as Windows 10 running on the same device. How strange!
     
  24. h9826790 macrumors 604

    h9826790

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    #24
    This sounds like a driver issue. Since the GPU driver is included in the OSX, that means the problem now become OSX issue.
     
  25. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #25
    I've explained what to do to correct El Capitan's problems in posts 8 and 15 above.

    This makes El Capitan -FASTER- on my late-2012 Mac Mini than previous versions of the OS.
    And I'm booting and running from an external drive connected via USB3.

    If folks don't want to give my suggestions a try, what else can I offer...?
     

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