Help with fairly new Macbook Pro running slow?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cgib, May 11, 2013.

  1. cgib macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2013
    So last July, I bought a new standard (non-Retina) 15" MacBook Pro (Mid-2012 model) with 8GB RAM, 2.6GHz i7, and 750GB HDD with ~200GB free. Recently, it has begun to slow down considerably, and overall its performance over the past few months is not what I would expect from a $2500+ laptop.

    I have noticed that even right after I boot up, there is only ~5GB of free memory. Is this normal? Shouldn't it be close to 8 right when I boot up? Surely it doesn't require 3GB of RAM just to start up? Furthermore, the free memory drops quickly and requires cleaning often.

    Additionally, I use iStat Menus to display my CPU activity in the menubar, and even though I rarely see it jump above ~10%, I still often see the spinning beach ball in many applications. iStat Menus also freezes a lot, and when this happens, the wifi, spotlight and other stock Apple menubar icons also give the spinning beach ball when I hover over them.

    I have also noticed that, about twice weekly, I have to force shut down using the power button because either Google Chrome or iTunes has frozen the whole computer. Occasionally, force quitting by holding down cmd-option-shift-esc will quit the application successfully, but if I try to open the force quit window and force quit the application from there, the window itself will also freeze, forcing me to shut down the computer using the power button. Sometimes, the dock will also freeze, which makes switching (and sometimes using) applications impossible (since LaunchPad and Mission Control will also freeze when the dock does), again requiring a forced shutdown.

    I have found that by installing Memory Clean and freeing up the memory when it drops below 2GB (which happens extremely often), that everything freezes less than normal.

    However, things still move slowly. iTunes takes forever to start up (gives a Checking iTunes Library... window that will stay up for up to 10 minutes before actually opening iTunes). I have a fairly large library, but one of my friends, who uses a 2011 13" Macbook Pro with 4GB RAM and 250GB HDD, and has a larger iTunes library than myself, doesn't experience this problem.

    I try not to have too many applications open at once, usually I'll have Google Chrome, Mail, and iTunes open, as well as my menubar applications: Dropbox, Mint, Evernote, Memory Clean, Plex, Moom, Caffeine. I am an engineering student and I bought this laptop so that I could have AutoCAD open while using iTunes, Chrome, and Mail, as well as using my Windows partition in Parallels. I have Sophos Antivirus installed, and check for viruses/Malware often.

    Are there any tips anyone has for me? I have considered swapping the optical drive for an SSD and moving OS and application files to the SSD while keeping other data on the HDD. Would this be worthwhile if there are no other solutions to my above problems?

    Thanks in advance for any help, it's much appreciated.
  2. johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    Honestly I had ALOT of the problems you described. Slow iTunes, constant beachballing, etc.

    I haven't had any of it since I got an SSD.

    Since you have a cMBP it's real easy and I really can't recommend it more. Night and day difference.

    I was pretty unhappy with my macbooks performance considering it was brand new, until I realized every problem I was having was caused by the ungodly slow 5400RPM drive.

    It seems unnecessary to run Sophos all the time, it's just taking up resources. You rarely hear about people having problems with viruses on a Mac, just be smart and don't download really odd stuff from sketchy sites.

    Do an SMC reset also. It came often help improve slow performance.
  3. cgib thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2013
    Thanks for the advice, fellow Leafs fan! I'll definitely be considering an SSD before school in September. Which one do you have? And how big is it?
  4. johnnnw, May 11, 2013
    Last edited: May 11, 2013

    johnnnw macrumors 65816


    Feb 7, 2013
    Thats pretty awesome you're a Leafs fan as well... hoping for big things tonight. (sunday)

    As for the SSD. I opted for a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro. It may have been overkill but it's best in the market right now and I had the cash so I figured why not.

    You can definitely go cheaper if you want. Crucial M4 is a great option and cheaper. I got my 840 Pro for a really really good deal, $191. Usually they are around 220-240 depending where you look, but do go on sale sometimes.

    I haven't used my optibay yet for anything. Honestly I don't need more than 256GB. I keep everything I actually need with me and purchased a 1.5TB external drive for my movies, tons of photos etc.

    I also now use my old hard drive as a clone backup drive using an enclosure and CCC. Working great so far. If I ever have a problem I just return the SSD (5 year warranty, another plus of the 840 Pro) and clone back the hdd to the new ssd, and bang I'm back right where I left off.

    The freezing is unusual for some of things you described though, so again consider a SMC reset.

    I don't want to make it seem like it's absolutely necessary to get an SSD but it's a worth while upgrade for anyone really. Definitely look into it if you are comfortable replacing it and all that.
  5. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2011
    For starters, stop cleaning memory. OSX takes the strategy of caching so your system runs as fast as it can because free ram is wasted ram. Don't be stuck in that old crummy windows idea that more free ram is good because it isn't. Let OSX manage memory by itself.

    Other things you can do are swap our HDD for an SSD so you could try that too.
  6. calderone macrumors 68040


    Aug 28, 2009
    This sounds like a bad/dying drive. Get it replaced.
  7. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    You probably upgraded the ram yourself. Your problem could be a logic board fault, but that's less likely. You either have a hard drive problem or a bad ram problem. It could be both. I would test both to be sure. 5GB free isn't a reason for it to start beachballing. OSX and its HFS+ file system is kind of sloppy with the way it sets up hard drive volumes, which is one of the reasons people would experience that stupid beach ball with HDDs. Anyway this isn't normal behavior, so you should investigate rather than just accept "get an ssd". These kinds of posts come up all the time, and a decent percentage of them have been due to bad ram upgrades. This doesn't mean incompatible ram. It means ram has gotten cheap and quality control and testing are often poor. I would download memtest first, and run it in single user mode for 5 or more cycles. If you have any errors on any of those tests, that is one known problem. Drive corruption could be another. I mention the most common causes of such issues, as it's impossible for anyone on here to give you a definite diagnosis.

    Edit: You said 2012 macbook pro, not retina macbook pro, and the 2012 macbook pro stuck with 4GB stock. That is why I figured manually upgraded.
  8. cgib thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2013
    How would I go about doing this? I downloaded the iso from here: but I can't figure out how to use it. And how could I check to see if anything is wrong with my HDD?

    Also, all hardware installed is what came preinstalled when I bought it. I haven't performed any hardware upgrades myself.
  9. cgib thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2013
    For anyone else with a similar problem, I went into Disk Utility and selected Macintosh HD in the sidebar, then Verify Disk. It said my disk needed to be repaired so I followed the instructions, and it improved my boot time by a bit. Also, everything seems somewhat faster, although I do still see the spinning beach ball occasionally, mostly in iTunes and sometimes Chrome.

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