Macbook air mid 2009 very slow

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by tz4bu, May 19, 2014.

  1. tz4bu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    #1
    Hello,
    I recently bought a Macbook Aid mid 2009 with 2 GB ram, 120GB Sata and 1.86GHZ Core2Duo.
    I'm running on OS X 10.9.3 since I bought it.

    The laptop is loading very slow many times and I noticed 'kerner_task' taking alot of CPU and RAM.
    I'm wondering if my laptop is not good enough for OS X 10.9.3 (this is my first Mac).

    Ia there anything I can do?




    Thank you
     
  2. SRLMJ23, May 20, 2014
    Last edited: May 20, 2014

    SRLMJ23 macrumors 65816

    SRLMJ23

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #2
    I would say with those specs that Mavericks is probably a little to "needy" for your machine. I think your machine was probably shipped with OS X Snow Leopard. I would say you go to OS X Lion but probably no more than that.

    That being said, you could have a bad install of OS X, which is rare but maybe try doing a "Fresh/Clean" install of Mavericks if you really want to try it. I have a Late 2010 MacBook Air with a 1.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 2 GB of 1067 Mhz DDR3 RAM, and Mavericks run absolutely fine on my MBA 11 inch. I also have a 2013 MacBook Air but that is not as close to specs as my Late-2010 to your Mid-1009 MBA, so that machine is not relevant here.

    What is the type of your RAM, click on the Apple Logo and click on "About This Mac" and it will list your CPU and RAM specs. You already said what processor you have but I am curious as to what type of RAM you have.

    A fresh install can fix A LOT of issues, but make sure you back up any files you want saved because your entire hard drive will be erased.

    My MacBook Air has a Solid State Drive (SSD) which helps mightily in performance while you have a traditional hard drive with moving parts, and much much slower read/write performance. Their are some other things you can try to do but get back to me about the RAM and any third party applications you have installed. Thank you.
     
  3. SRLMJ23 macrumors 65816

    SRLMJ23

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #3
    I looked up your specs on Apples Website, we pretty much have the same specs EXCEPT for the solid state drive. That may be the big difference here. Also your machine shipped OS X Leopard. I know your machine can handle OS X Snow Leopard, which many consider to be the best version of OS X. You may want to go that route, or as I said OS X Lion.

    I would try a total Clean Install. It seems something is not right with your Kernel.

    Somethings you can try, is open the disk utility and verify the disk, and verify the permissions, and fix the permissions if there are any problems there. Here is a link from Apple on how to do that.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1452

    Try that and see if that helps. If any other members have tips please post and try to help this fellow member out, as he is new to Macs and OS X. Thanks guys.
     
  4. tz4bu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    #4
    Hello,
    Thank you very much for your time.

    The OS had a fresh install just 3 days ago.
    I just verified the disk (it was ok), verify the permissions (2 permissions were not good but nothing important -ibooks and printer) and also repaired the permissions.

    I have 2 GB 1067 DDR3.

    I have installed on my Mac only VLC Player for movies, uTorrent, Skype and Google Chrome.

    I also noticed (but maybe Im wrong) that the laptop is running smoother when it wakes up from sleep (when is not hot), but anyway it is not overheating that much (is a bit more hot when I play 720p movies, but not very hot).

    I found odd that the laptop is running slow even if I'm running only one application, so the possibility of running slower because of too many apps running is out of discussion.

    Also, I don't know if is relevant but when I did the fresh install I couldn't create only one partition. When I bought the laptop it was running with OS X and Windows 7 in dual boot. I erased both partitions but I couldn't delete the Windows 7 partition (it was showing an error 'disk could not be unmounted' or something like that) so I have 2 partitions now: one of 40.35GB (where the OS is installed - 16.50 GB FREE) and one of 78 GB (where I store my files - 54 GB FREE).


    What should I do?
    Try re-install the OS or try to downgrade to Lion or Snow Leopard?



    Thank you very much!
     
  5. SRLMJ23 macrumors 65816

    SRLMJ23

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #5
    Download SMCfancontrol, which lets you control your Macs fan(s) and you can crank them to full speed when you are doing very intense things. It will also tell you your current temp. of your CPU.

    Maybe your fan is clogged a little and your Mac cannot cool itself like it should, which can definitely effect performance. A hot Mac or PC is bad, computers do not like to be hot at all, hot=bad.

    Download that see if it helps, it is free. Just search google and it will take you to the website.

    Note: It is not available on the Mac App Store, you have to download it from the site.
     
  6. jmazzamj macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #6
    As someone mentioned Snow Leopard is probably the best OS X ever, so I would give it a try. If you don't want to go all the way back to 10.6, you could try installing Mountain Lion, I remember it being way smother than Lion, even on my sister's 2010 Air, which I recently sold. That Air was running quite well with a fresh install of Mavericks, the main difference being the built in SSD, which your Mac lacks.

    I am not considering upgrading your machine as an option, installing an SSD would really make it way faster.

    I would also suggest to boot your Mac from an external HD in order to erase your drive and repartition it again.
     
  7. tz4bu thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 19, 2014
    #7
    I installed SMCfancontrol. The temperature is about 60 Celsius and the cooler RPM about 3000-4000 (I finished watching a 720p movie 10 minutes ago).

    Perhaps the SATA hdd is the one slowing me down.
    So, should I try a downgrade? But which version is best for use? Snow Leopard? Mountain Lion?



    Thank you very much guys for your time!
     
  8. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #8
    It's time to upgrade your hardware. :)

    You have the 1st generation MBA using Core 2 Duo and HDD. I had one; it became very slow and ran very hot. Not a very good machine. It is the 2nd generation MBA (late 2010) that truly shines out.

     
  9. SRLMJ23, May 22, 2014
    Last edited: May 22, 2014

    SRLMJ23 macrumors 65816

    SRLMJ23

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Location:
    New York
    #9
    If you can get a SSD installed in your machine, you will see a HUGE improvement in performance. The Intel Core 2 Duo is a very good chip, your RAM is good, except you only have 2gb which is a bit low.

    On my Late 2010 MacBook Air, with a SSD and a Intel Core 2 Duo, and 2GB of Ram I am running Mavericks and it runs amazingly well, and very cool except when doing something very intense, which is where SMCFanControl comes into play. I crank the fan up to the highest it can go and that prevents the system from getting so hot it cannot perform well.

    OWC has SSD options, though I am not 100% sure if you can get one because you have HDD. I believe it is possible, here is a link:

    http://www.macsales.com (It's OWC's Mac Store)

    Here is the specific link for your machine and SSD's, which when you look at prices, it is MUCH cheaper than buying a new Mac! :

    http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/SSD/OWC/Air-Retina/Apple-MacBook-Air-2009-Drive-Internal

    Here is a video from OWC, showing you the difference a SSD can make vs. a traditional HDD:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/owcpages/ssd-bootest-electra-110113.html

    It's either you do that, or buy a new a Mac. However, I sincerely believe if you install a SSD your system will undoubtedly perform extraordinarily better, and cooler.

    My opinion is you get a SSD installed from OWC (if you have the money) which is much cheaper than buying a new system. Also, when you send your Air out to OWC for the install they will clean the interior if your system, like your fan which as I said in a previous post that could be clogged a bit. It is very important to keep the fan, and the vents very clean for maximum cooling. Also, a cheap option to help is to use a cooling board, which you can buy at any Best Buy etc...

    If you have anymore questions, just ask me and I will respond as soon as I can.

    Hope this helps!

    Edit: Snow Leopard is the best OS X made, but as someone else said you should be able to run Mountain Lion decently well. Also, get some canned compressed air, and spray it around your cooling vents, you might be able to get some dirt out of the way. The vents are hard to see but they are there.

    Here are some links to articles about cooling on your Mac:

    http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/7319/what-areas-of-the-macbook-air-should-i-keep-clear

    http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4543

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1310635

    http://t-machine.org/index.php/2010/12/25/how-to-cool-down-a-macbook-air-fast/comment-page-1/

    Also, NEVER try opening your Mac unless you truly know what you are doing, and even then it is risky to do so. Always have a professional that is trained to do this kind of thing perform any thing like this.
     
  10. yosemit macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2013
    #10
    I had a 2008 MBA (1st generation), a 2010 MBA, and now I have a 2013 MBA. I suggest not to waste time and money on 2008/2009 MBA. The Core 2 Duo processor used in 2008/2009 MBA is 65nm Merom type (Intel's code name). The one used in 2010 MBA is 45nm Penryn type. The former overheats a lot, which affects performance because of thermal throttling. That's why the 1st generation MBA had a fame of overheating. For reference, Sandy Bridge uses 32nm fabrication, and Ivy Bridge and Haswell use 22nm fabrication.
     
  11. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020

    TacticalDesire

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Location:
    Michigan
    #11
    Not sure how far you should downgrade because that depends on what you need. 10.6 is getting quite old at this point though. For me personally I wouldn't go any further back than Lion but that's just me. A clean install might help smooth things out. That machine is pretty old at this point and upgrading it would be a challenge. I would see if you could get an SSD for it. Not sure about the upgrade ability of that model but I believe your model shipped with a dog slow 4200rpm drive if I remember correctly. The drive could definitely be holding you back.
     

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