Mac Pro 1,1 Feels Sluggish - shouldn't be. How to diagnose?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Sean Dempsey, Apr 20, 2013.

  1. Sean Dempsey macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #1
    I have a mac pro 1,1.

    It has a, OWC Electra 6g 120gig SSD with system and apps and home folder on it, 8 gigs of ram, and a 2TB WD Black storage drive.

    I do have the 7300 GT card which is terrible, but seems like that should handle 2d graphics just fine??

    It runes Lion since MtnLion will not install.

    The thing just responds so slowly. Windows drag slowly, folders take a long time to open, generally things just respond with notable latency.

    I know that when I bought the computer, I would have noticed such OS slowdown. Combined with the SSD and RAM, I don't really get how there could be latency with everything I do.

    One idea I do have is that the computer has been upgraded from Tiger, to Leopard, to Snow Leopard, to Lion. It's never had the drive wiped. There's no real logical reason this would cause things to be so slow, but maybe it is.

    How can I maybe benchmark or test things to see just what is going in?
     
  2. justperry macrumors 604

    justperry

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    Location:
    In the core of a black hole.
    #2
    Open Activity Monitor, on top there is a drop down menu, select ALL and look if there are any runaway processes by clicking on the CPU tab, also look if there are page outs in the lower part.
     
  3. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #3
    There's nothing going on there. I use istat menus and can see my CPU all the time, and there aren't errant processes running. At times I've got my page-ins up into the multimillions with zero page outs.
     
  4. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #4
    One of the simplest and fastest ways to determine if it's a configuration/software problem or something hardware related is to do a fresh install on a different partition or drive. Don't migrate anything and don't mind is the apps you need to test only happen to run in demo mode. You should be able to instal 2 or 3 of the key apps you're seeing slowness in without a problem tho.

    If it's still slow then chances are very high there's some hardware troubles. 7300 going bad? RAM intermittently acting up, SSD needs Trim, something is overheating? etc. And heat can make a pretty huge different in overall system performance too. From around 30˚C my machine feels snappy and kinda fast (for a 2006 MP1,1 of course) yet after the SPUs have been sitting at 40 to 45˚C for more than about 45min. the same machine feels sluggish and tired. :)

    If it's noticeably faster after booting from the fresh install it's extremely likely that is's something software related. Either a combination of startup apps, some system modifications the installer made, or something the OS is doing on it's own because of environment conditions. One thing I've noticed that the OS does all by itself after it's been in use for a month or so (and even sometimes right after a fresh install) is to misuse the dynamic paging system. The dynamic pager tries to maintain large amounts of free ready to use RAM for apps can load a few micro-seconds faster or app requested allocations can perform a little quicker. The trouble is that the profile parameters created by Apple are stupid. They're probably great for 4GB of RAM but at 8GB and over it is just actually stupid. The good news is that you can turn off that dynamic pager all together if you like. Either just for testing or like me just leave it off all the time.

    Turn off the dynamic_pager with:

    • sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
    entered into the terminal window followed by a reboot. You can turn it on again with:

    • sudo launchctl load -wF /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.dynamic_pager.plist
    again followed by a reboot.
     
  5. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #5
    It could be your SSD. Try any disk speed test: AJA, xbench or BlackMagic.
     
  6. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    Aug 7, 2006
    #6
    Wow the SSD is slow. It's fairly new, maybe a year? It's a 6gb bus, same that OWC sells right now http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Mercury_Electra_6G

    It's only getting like 100MB/s write... which is the same as my WD Black and WD Velociraptor.

    Why would that be? Is the Mac Pro 1,1 SATA bus only SATA2? This is really disappointing if so. It doesn't seem like there should be any way that a new SSD would be the same as a 7200rpm drive. There's got to be something wrong, right? Even on SATA2 the drive should outperform a 7200rpm.
     

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  7. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #7
    Trim?
     
  8. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    Aug 7, 2006
    #8
    OWC says "If you have an OWC SSD, though, you don’t need TRIM. The SandForce controller in our SSDs takes care of this “garbage collection” as well as performs various other tasks that keep your drive running at optimal speed, without the drop-off that you see with other brands. "
     
  9. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #9
    How much free space do you have on boot drive? OS X needs minimum 10-15% free space on system disk to run smoothly.

    You can try to create new account, as Tesselator said, to rule out software problem.
     
  10. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #10
    So I enabled TRIM, there is no change. I also ran the terminal commands above for the dynamic pager, no change.

    EDIT: I also made a new account and tried it, a teeny bit faster from 107mbs to maybe 114mbs, but that's probably just due to background processes. BUT, this is still the same OS install from 2007 (Tiger->leopard-> snow leopard -> Lion). Maybe it's just a bunch of junk kexts and pref files...???

    Currently the SSD is using 45gb out or 120, so roughly 40%?

    I do have a external drive with the Lion installer on it, I could try making a fresh Lion install on a different HDD and testing the SSD.

    What is weird is that on Blackmagic, all the drives end up right at 107 MB/s, the drives are

    OWC Electra 6g
    brand new WD Black 2TB 7200rpm
    WD Velociraptor 10,000 RPM 15gig.

    All the exact same speeds. You'd think the Velociraptor at 10k RPM and a 2.5" platter would smoke the Black 2 TB. Reported Velociraptor speeds are around 120mbs, or even up to 140mbs. But even the WD black is reporting speeds around 120mbs for sequential.

    Maybe it's just OSX? I guess I can suffer through a new Lion install ;) and see what happens =/
     
  11. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #11
    Well, after installing Lion on a different internal drive and running the blackmagic tests on the SSD, the results are the same.

    I am just going to assume it's a limitation of the Mac Pro 2006 either having too slow of a logic board bus, or incompatibility of some sort. Makes no sense but oh well, not much I can do about it =/

    I wish there was some explanation though, so at least I knew.
     
  12. Tesselator, Apr 20, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #12
    Well, you're half way there. You installed new OS with no change in the slowness and even tried a few tricks. This isn't an inherent MP1,1 limitation so the next step is hardware.

    The first place I would look is the drive seatings and connections. Clean and seated nicely? How about running temperatures? Move it to a different bay. Back it up, format it, and restore. etc.

    Next maybe on to the 7300GT. Benchmark it and see how it's doing. Go to www.QuakeLive.com and install the free game. Play some practice matches with all the graphics on high or ultra and turn on the FPS Indicator in the HUD. You should be getting 60 to 80 FPS with that card in all maps with almost no CPU usage at all. Maybe run a BM that checks the card's RAM. Or even better if you have a different card you could install for a test.

    The next place I would look is to the system RAM. I guess you know how to run multiple instances or Rember and check all the memory - additionally without using any higher fan rates. Check those temps too.

    and so on and so forth. You should be getting extremely close to 300MB/s from most SSDs that I know of - and windows and icons should not be sluggish or slow.
     
  13. crjackson2134 macrumors 68020

    crjackson2134

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    Charlotte, NC
    #13
    Please don't give up until you get this solved, and post the solution.
     
  14. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

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    Aug 7, 2006
    #14
    I'm happy to keep trying this tomorrow. Gotta watch Doctor Who and then go to bed tonight =D
     
  15. hwojtek macrumors 6502a

    hwojtek

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    #15
    IMHO it's the 7300GT all the way. It supports just the basic set of hardware acceleration Lion can make use of. My 1,1 become instantly responsive when I switched to a proper GPU.
     
  16. brenden macrumors regular

    brenden

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    #16
    I have the 7300GT and my system is quite snappy. Maybe your 7300 is going bad?
     
  17. Sean Dempsey, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013

    Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #17
    I have 2 7300GT's in here. 2 monitors are hooked to one, and a single monitor on the other.

    I can't get the quaklive plugin to install properly. But I did load up minecraft, and on middle settings I get 17-20 fps. But the 7300GT has never been able to really do anything, has it? I tried minecraft on all 3 monitors (both cards).

    I ran REMBER on the RAM, no problems detected.

    A problem with the 7300GT wouldn't affect the SSD though, would it?

    The ram and drives are all seated properly. Heat isn't a problem, it's at 32c right now. I am going to try and change the bays the drives are in. The SSD is in an ICY DOCK but I doubt that matters..?

    EDIT: drive bay changing did nothing. Here's a full blackmagic screenshot:
     

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  18. MyMac1976 macrumors 6502

    MyMac1976

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    Apr 14, 2013
    #18
    Feels sluggish is generally the result of a couple things; the first is generally the graphics card, second is generally the HDD. Your SSD is not performing at max but it's not you bottleneck either IMHO. My MP is not located close at hand but I do remember it being slower than my '09 Macbook Pro. The MBP has a SATA 2 drive and the MP a SATA three, I'm also using an Icy dock to convert. Here is the MBP
     

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  19. DPUser macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 17, 2012
    #19
    The whole "TRIM SandForce" thing seems to remain a mystery to many, myself included. I have been researching... If you have filled your SSD too full, it may be backed into a corner or, since you turned TRIM on after the data was written, it doesn't know what to trim. see Anandtech for information about the corner case with SandForce 6gb controller and failure to TRIM to restore performance.

    You may want to clone your SSD contents to another drive, then erase it with TRIM enabled. You should be seeing faster disc performance before you reinstall your system. Best to leave 20% or more free space on your SSD. Offload your photos, videos to another drive if necessary.
     
  20. Tesselator, Apr 21, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2013

    Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    #20
    Unless you are using a SATA III PCIe card to upgrade the MP then it too is SATA II... not three. All MacPro models are SATA II.


    OP:
    I dunno what to try next.

    While the 7300 GT is certainly no speed demon graphic performance should be adequate and not sluggish.
    I ran two 1080P monitors off a 7300GT for six years and anytime is was sluggish I knew the reasons why: Like too hot, a heavyish game/app, out of RAM, waiting on other subsystems (beach-balling) etc. I wouldn't call the 7300 performance "snappy" but it's pretty far from being sluggish too. <shrug.
    The SSD performance could be related to slow and sluggish displays depending on why the drive is being a butt.

    Anyway, the feeling I get from your descriptions is that something fixable or addressable is wrong with your system. At this point I can't venture to guess what it is though. It would seem hardware related to me. And I think whatever it is the biggest clue you have is the SSD performance.
     
  21. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2013
    Location:
    Delaware
    #21
    I too have a MP 1,1, with a 7300, and a GT430 and while I have a different setup, this is a common reading for my SSD's in a SATAII port.
    1st image is SSD
    Second is 2TB 7200 Rotational
     

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  22. Sean Dempsey thread starter macrumors 68000

    Sean Dempsey

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #22
    Ugh.


    With regards to the SSD and Trim; this SSD has never been more than 40% full, and in fact up until yesterday it was never more than maybe 20% full.

    So weird. I can easily erase it, test it, and clone the OS back over. But at this point, I am just going to figure it's an old machine and since it's just an iTunes server, not to really worry. I am only on it now because my laptop was broke, but I am getting it back today.

    Seems like I just need to replace it with a Mac Mini.
     
  23. TheEasterBunny macrumors 6502

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    Delaware
    #23
    I wouldn't replace it just yet. Try a clean install test and see.
     
  24. Mr. Zarniwoop macrumors demi-god

    Mr. Zarniwoop

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    #24
    What SSD do you have? That result seems much higher than I was expecting.
     
  25. Tesselator macrumors 601

    Tesselator

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    Japan
    #25
    He did that already.

    He said that already.
     

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