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ydono

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2017
7
0
I use my macbook with multiple applications open: photoshop, Firefox, Nikonnx software; lots going on. And I use it with capture control to capture images. For over a year it sometimes comes to a halt - and typically moves slow. Rainbow ball. Arghhh. Not always though. I wondered if it is just low on RAM but I watched the activity monitor and the RAM graph is green. Both RAM slots are full with 2GB each. Was wondering about switching to 4GB each but with the activity monitor not showing RAM as an issue I am not sure if that is the answer. I update software all the time. Any suggestions what the problem might be?
 

ReanimationLP

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2005
2,773
28
On the moon.
Possibly decaying / defragmented / dying hard disk drive.

Have you considered replacing the RAM with larger modules then purchasing an SSD? You can do both easily for around 100 or so and it'd feel like it's brand new again.
 
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jorgk

macrumors regular
Mar 20, 2013
105
23
Wasn't that model, apart from "Radeongate" (just google that word), also sensitive with respect to the hard disk cable/connection?
 
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ydono

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 3, 2017
7
0
Possibly decaying / defragmented / dying hard disk drive.

Have you considered replacing the RAM with larger modules then purchasing an SSD? You can do both easily for around 100 or so and it'd feel like it's brand new again.
I mentioned in my original post that I had considered increasing ram but am not seeing issues while using the activity monitor.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,498
7,758
OP:

Do you have the original, factory-installed, platter-based hard drive inside?
If so, THAT'S what is "slowing everything down".

REPLACE IT with an SSD.
It's so easy a job that ANYONE can do it -- this means YOU. (and yes, I'm pointing my finger at you)

You want a 2.5" SSD, same size (or larger) than your internal.
Many out there, I like Crucial and Sandisk.

You should also spend an extra $10 or so and get a USB3 2.5" drive enclosure, like this:

You can use the enclosure to "prep and test" the SSD BEFORE you install it, so you know beforehand that everything works.
Once installed, put the old drive into the enclosure and it will become a backup or extra storage drive.

TOOLS:
You will need a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6.
These can be found at hardware stores or online.

Go to ifixit.com to see what's involved.
Again -- it's EASY.

Prep work:
Put the SSD into the enclosure
Connect to Mac and initialize/erase it with Disk Utility.
If you're using High Sierra or later, choose APFS.
If you're using Low Sierra or earlier, choose Mac OS extended with journaling enabled, GUID partition format.

Now, download CarbonCopyCloner from here:
Use CCC to "clone" the contents of the internal drive to the SSD.
It will take a little while, be patient.

When done, the SSD is an EXACT COPY of the old internal drive, but will run MUCH faster.

DO A TEST BOOT:
Reboot and hold down the option key CONTINUOUSLY
When startup manager appears, select the SSD with the pointer and hit return.
You should boot from the SSD.
Get to the finder and "look around".
If everything looks as it should, now POWER DOWN.

NOW ... do the drive swap.
When done, reboot with the "option key trick" one more time.
Select the SSD again (even though it's installed internally).
Do you get a good boot?
One more thing:
Open the startup disk preference pane and re-select the SSD to be the new boot drive.
Close startup disk and reboot one more time.
Get a "good boot"?
You're done.
 
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randolorian

macrumors 6502
Sep 3, 2011
329
587
^^^ This is the right answer. The only way to meaningfully improve performance is to replace the spinning hard drive with an SSD. This will be the single most effective thing you can do.
 
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Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
672
266
US
That SSD (excellent guide by Fishrrman above) will add new life to this 2011 MBP at reasonably low cost. Until something dies - GPU or anything else, for that matter. Keep very good backups (at least TimeMachine, but preferably something more like routine Carbon Copy Cloner backup) and save money for a new computer. You may need it soon.
Looking at the just released 2020 MBA, it would perfectly replace this aging MBP at around $1k.
 
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Guan01

macrumors newbie
Mar 15, 2020
5
1
I am still using the 2011 MBP 15, upgrade to 16GB for around $70, and old 256 ssd. The GPU is dead, so I disable and use the integrated intel 3000, want to get 1-2 more years out of this thing. Selling it is not my intention, do not want to pass the GPU issue to the next user. UNLESS, the 2020 Air with 16GB i5 drop about $200.
 
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