Late 2011 MBP 15" Really Slow, need upgrade?

untouchbl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2012
4
0
Hi all

I recently switched from a long-lasting Windows background to my first Mac. It's a Late 2011 MBP 15", i7 2.2Ghz, 4GB RAM and it runs annoyingly slow without having too many applications open. I'm using it mostly for Web development (open Apps are PHPStorm IDE, Safari, Firefox, Chrome, iTerm, Cyberduck and sometimes Photoshop, although it runs poorly without Photoshop too).

My question is: is this normal? If so, would another 4GB of RAM help the poor performance? It's really a LOT slower than my old machine running Windows 7.

By slow I mean opening a new Safari tab and waiting 5-6 seconds, clicking any link in a browser takes a couple of seconds too after a couple of hours of working. I checked my RAM usage using iStat, it says:
Wired: 1GB, Active: 1.49 GB, Inactive: 1.46 GB, Free: ~25 MB

Answers are much appreciated
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
Open Terminal and type the command "purge" and hit enter, then wait 5 or so seconds. A good chunk of that inactive memory should become free memory. If this helps, then OS X is not freeing inactive memory properly as it should. If it doesn't then it's back to the drawing board.
 

HBP

macrumors member
Aug 22, 2006
66
0
If you spend a couple hundred bucks, you'll have a super fast laptop (SSD + 8/16GB ram).
 

untouchbl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2012
4
0
Thanks for the quick answers. Purge helped a bit by freeing up some RAM, so I guess buying another 4 Gigs will do the job.

I'm a bit disappointed though, was expecting to have at least the same speed with this upgrade as my 2.5 y/o laptop.
 

WiBu

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2010
64
0
In Activity Monitor in the System Memory tab check to see if you have a large amount Page outs or if you're using any Swap memory. If that's the case, more RAM should help.
 

untouchbl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2012
4
0
Page ins: 11.23 GB
Page outs: 10.47 GB
Swap used: 6.83 GB

So, more RAM it is I guess :)
 

FastEddiebags

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2012
336
1
NJ
Page ins: 11.23 GB
Page outs: 10.47 GB
Swap used: 6.83 GB

So, more RAM it is I guess :)
Yeah thats a lot of page outs... I would recommend either getting 1 x8gb or 2 x 8gb because of the current prices and it will allow you to run what ever you want without worrying. 16gb is overkill for your needs but if you ever decide to run a VM then it will be useful.
 

nitromac

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2012
282
13
US
4GB of RAM really isn't much these days (a lot of ~$600 laptops ship with 6). I would upgrade your ram to at least 8GB (check if you have one 4GB stick or 2x2GB installed). Otherwise, your laptop should be fine. I knew someone with the same model (2.2GHz late 2011) and their macbook was very quick, with two or three VM's running simultaneously and other apps open (chrome with 30 tabs, for instance). Granted, they had 16GB of RAM, but that seems unnecessary for your use. I would definitely upgrade ram and possibly look into an OS reinstall.
 

axu539

macrumors 6502a
Dec 31, 2010
929
0
Yeah thats a lot of page outs... I would recommend either getting 1 x8gb or 2 x 8gb because of the current prices and it will allow you to run what ever you want without worrying. 16gb is overkill for your needs but if you ever decide to run a VM then it will be useful.
I would recommend just going for the 2 x 8 GB. getting a single 8 GB stick won't give you the benefits of running 2 in parallel. It's not that expensive either (you can get a pair for like $70 now if you look hard enough).
 

untouchbl

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2012
4
0
Thanks for the advices. The Macbook is ~ 1 months old & I just upgraded to Mountain Lion, so I don't think a reinstall is necessary. I know that lots of cheap systems come with more RAM nowadays, it just seemed stupid that an expensive model like this lags with the base configuration.

I will definitely buy more RAM, but isn't the cap for these models 8GB? I think I read it in the official documentation (the guide where it shows you how to change your RAM)
 

FastEddiebags

macrumors 6502
Jun 1, 2012
336
1
NJ
Thanks for the advices. The Macbook is ~ 1 months old & I just upgraded to Mountain Lion, so I don't think a reinstall is necessary. I know that lots of cheap systems come with more RAM nowadays, it just seemed stupid that an expensive model like this lags with the base configuration.

I will definitely buy more RAM, but isn't the cap for these models 8GB? I think I read it in the official documentation (the guide where it shows you how to change your RAM)
It says 8gb but its not true... I have the same config. and I am using 16GB.
 

eron

macrumors 6502
Dec 2, 2008
394
0
Get your ram upgraded to 8 or 16gb.
Then upgrade your hdd to a Samsung 830 ssd.

It will be almost as fast as the newest rMBP.
 

Dangerous Theory

macrumors 68000
Jul 28, 2011
1,981
28
UK
Thanks for the quick answers. Purge helped a bit by freeing up some RAM, so I guess buying another 4 Gigs will do the job.

I'm a bit disappointed though, was expecting to have at least the same speed with this upgrade as my 2.5 y/o laptop.
Did the freed up RAM give you a smoother experience for a while? If so then yeah, that's an unfortunate problem with OS X that's been around a while where it sometimes doesn't recycle Inactive RAM properly (for what reason, I don't know) and just ends up paging out instead. Buying more RAM is a solution, albeit an annoying one since it's uneconomical.
 

AppleBoyFreak

macrumors 6502
Jun 20, 2011
290
0
Kentucky
So, 4GB ram isn't enough apparently, so I have a question. Does Apple retail stores carry the base 13" MacBook Pro with a preinstalled 8GBs of RAM or is this upgrade only available online? Thanks!
 

user418

macrumors 6502a
Aug 22, 2010
668
12
Thanks for the advices. The Macbook is ~ 1 months old & I just upgraded to Mountain Lion, so I don't think a reinstall is necessary. I know that lots of cheap systems come with more RAM nowadays, it just seemed stupid that an expensive model like this lags with the base configuration.

I will definitely buy more RAM, but isn't the cap for these models 8GB? I think I read it in the official documentation (the guide where it shows you how to change your RAM)
It says 8gb but its not true... I have the same config. and I am using 16GB.
I have the same MBP as both you guys. You shouldn't be having the type issues as described. The MBP we all are using is a great machine and should be pretty darn fast out the box. I added 16gb Corsair RAM and things got a bit faster and smoother. Then I added a Samsung 256gb SSD and things got even better. Finally I upgraded to ML and as some have stated I saw a further increase in performance. With a couple of upgrades your experience should be the same.
 

joelypolly

macrumors 6502
Sep 14, 2003
418
44
Melbourne & Shanghai
Most likely a problem with your hard drive. Probably time to replace it. I have had this issue twice with my 2011 MBP.

edit: First time it happened was brand new OOTB. Took it to the Apple store and they diagnosed it as HD failing