I'm trying to speed up my MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by lukefinch, May 30, 2012.

  1. lukefinch macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #1
    Hi everyone.

    I have a 2.13GHz White Macbook, bought the day before the white uni-bodies were released, and I have noticed with OS X Lion it has begun to slow down.

    I use my macbook mainly for web browsing, listening to music and editing photo's with iPhoto, Photoshop CS4 and lightroom. It has got to the point where i can only have one of the photo editing applications open at a time as well as a few tabs open in safari or the whole computer slows down a lot.

    What I am planning to do is upgrade the 2gb of RAM to 4gb and then install an SSD where the 500gb HDD is at the moment.

    I would just like to know how much of a noticeable difference that will make to the speed of my mac.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    It's tough to measure, since everyone's usage is different. The SSD will make a notable improvement in boot up and app launch times. While it's likely more RAM will help, it depends on how much you're using your RAM now. To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor

    There are also non-hardware improvements you can make: Performance Tips For Mac OS X
     
  3. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #3
    Thanks very much for your help and suggestions.

    I did as you said and here is the activity monitor whilst running everything i would like to run at once. Safari with 8 tabs open, iPhoto, photoshop cs4 and lightroom.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    First, change the "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes". Second, sort by CPU in descending order (arrow points down). Also, did you restart your Mac, as instructed?
     
  5. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #5
    OK, I will do that and post another screenshot ASAP. And I missed the part about restarting the mac. I'll do that too.
     
  6. iRooney macrumors 6502

    iRooney

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #6
    On my white MacBook putting in 4gb of ram and an ssd made a huge difference. This thing flies now.
     
  7. definitive macrumors 68000

    definitive

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    #7
    Increasing the RAM to 4GB will definitely improve the performance of Lion and Photoshop.

    Not sure how the hard drive will do. Could you check in About This Mac > More Info > System Report > Serial-ATA what the Link Speed and Negotiated Link speed display?
     
  8. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #8
    Right, I did what you recommended and ran everything for 15 minutes. Here are the results.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thats good to know :)

    Both say 3 Gigabit
     
  9. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #9
    Yep, you definitely have some paging going on, so adding RAM will help. Also, read items 8-10 on the Performance Tips link for dealing with Flash, which is consuming system resources.
     
  10. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #10
    OK thank you very much for your help.

    Looks like I'll be getting 4gb of RAM and a 120gb SSD ASAP then.
     
  11. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #11
    I've just taken the plunge and bought a Kingston 120GB SSD and 4GB of RAM from Crucial.

    They should both be here tomorrow and i'm looking forward to seeing how much of a difference these two upgrades will make.

    When they arrive, I am going to do a speed comparison between the Lion install on my current HDD, a clean snow leopard install on the SSD, a clean lion install on the SSD and then my current lion installation duplicated onto the SSD.

    I'll then post up the results for anyone interested.
     
  12. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #12
    Ive just received the 4gb of RAM and can already see a difference. The MacBook seems to be a lot snappier now, especially when running a lot of apps.

    I can't wait for the SSD to arrive in a couple of hours.
     
  13. HishamAkhtar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    #13
    How much was the SSD for if you don't mind me asking?
     
  14. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #14
  15. HishamAkhtar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    #15
    Nice results! I maxed out my RAM to 4 GB and it's sped up my laptop big time but I'm not sure whether I want to upgrade the SSD yet primarily because I'm not sure how I'd transfer the data over from the HD to it. How did you switch your data?

    Also love that song, good job :)
     
  16. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #16
    This time, I actually copied my important data like music, photos etc. to an external hard drive. I then did a clean install of snow leopard, then mountain lion and copied all of my data over.

    I then reinstalled all of the applications i use such as photoshop and ilife.

    You can however, as i have done before, get an external hard drive enclosure for the SSD, use SuperDuper! to clone your existing hard drive onto the SSD and then put the SSD into your mac.

    If you are on the fence about getting an SSD, i would definitely recommend getting one. I was on the fence and after only a day with one, i would never go back to a disk drive. The SSD has increased the speed of my mac much more then the extra RAM, although that has helped too.
     
  17. HishamAkhtar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    #17
    Aside from your Kingston in the link, what other SSDs can I get? Do the same drives work on all MBs?

    I've heard the Samsung 830 is the best SSD. Will that work on my 4,1 MacBook?
     
  18. lukefinch thread starter macrumors 6502

    lukefinch

    Joined:
    May 6, 2009
    Location:
    South Yorkshire, England
    #18
    I would have though any SSD would work in your macbook, just like any disk drive would, so yes, I presume that the Samsung SSD would work fine.
     
  19. HishamAkhtar macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2011
    #19
    Okay just making sure considering the changes that have occured in the rMBP. Thanks for the info!
     
  20. roof30, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2012

    roof30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #20
    Really glad to hear the SSD made a significant different to the speed of your Macbook Luke.

    Since installing OS X Lion, my MB (white unibody late 2009) has slowed to a crawl and upgrading the RAM to 4gb (also from Crucial) did nothing to relieve that. May well take your advice and install a 256gb SSD to see how much of a difference that makes. Thanks for your links too - very helpful.

    I should also add that when I say my MB has slowed to a crawl since the OS X Lion 'upgrade', it can sometimes take more than 2 mins for Safari to load properly, and there have been times when I'm still waiting after 4 mins...
     
  21. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #21
    Just for reference for those upgrading to mountain lion, Here's my unofficial benchmarks with Snow Leopard.

    Stock Macbook Unibody Late 2009 except with 8 GB RAM
    Snow Leopard 10.6.8 with latest security updates
    Hard disk is nearly full, only 4 GB free.

    Startup from off to password prompt: 38 secs
    Shutdown: 3.5 secs
    Open Safari first time: 2 secs
    Open Safari second time (safari fully shut down): < 1 sec
    Open itunes first time: 5 secs
    Open iTunes second time (itunes fully shut down): < 1 sec


    It seems my performance on snow leopard with a standard hard disk is only a little bit slower than mountain lion with SSD and a lot faster than mountain lion with standard hard disk. Therefore, is mountain lion requiring a SSD for good performance?
     
  22. Dustman macrumors 65816

    Dustman

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2007
    #22
    The difference with an SSD will be massive. Going from 2GB to 4GB is going to help you a lot as well, but less than the SSD.
     
  23. roof30 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2010
    #23
    Hey Vista,

    How did you manage to get 8gb RAM into your MB? Mine is also the Late 2009 Unibody, and I did a lot of research before upgrading mine to 4gb. As I understood it that's the max amount it could be upgraded to - am I wrong on this?

    Cheers
     
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #24
    Yours supports 8GB. You can find specs on all Apple products, including maximum RAM:
     
  25. vistadude macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2010
    #25
    Roof30,

    Apple doesn't officially support an 8 GB upgrade, but the Motherboard does (it's the same as the Pro has, but without firewire and SD ports). I read somewhere that some of Apple's artificial upgrade limitations are based on price. An 8 GB upgrade in 2009 might have been priced at $400, half the cost of a new laptop.

    That being said, when I upgraded from 2 gb to 8 gb, it made no difference in performance in Snow Leopard. It seems that it would make a pretty noticeable difference in Lion and Mountain Lion. I did the upgrade for windows 7 64 bit, but since I ran out of storage space on my hard disk a long time ago, I never upgraded from 32 bit.

     

Share This Page