Macbook Pro speed with numerous programs open

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cosmokanga2, May 20, 2008.

  1. cosmokanga2 macrumors 6502a

    cosmokanga2

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    #1
    I'm looking at buying a top of the line 15" MacBook Pro refurb and have a question.

    Am I going to experience system lags/hangs when running iTunes, Photoshop CS3 with a few files open, Safari, plus other numerous small apps and a couple Word docs? (I will upgrade the RAM aftermarket.)

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
  3. fishmama macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #3
    You might get some hang time if you have 50+ windows/tabs open in Safari and they've been open for several days.

    I regularly run word, itunes, illustrator (don't know the memory hog specs relative to photoshop, sorry), safari, ical, endnote... oh, and a couple other things. Like parallels hogging memory and disk space. Usually my problems are caused by imprudent safari use, though I do notice slower program switching if I have too many windows open in illustrator (and too much copied figures held in memory) and lots of stuff open in parallels.
     
  4. effer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2007
    #4
    Recently, I upgraded to 4GB RAM, and it made quite a difference with OS X.

    Safari is quite a memory hog, so when I leave it open, it usually eats half a gig alone! Pile on CS3 apps, Word, and some entertainment, and I rarely dip below 2.5GB of memory usage. When I only had 2GB, OS X managed things so that it appeared to never need more. This was quite misleading. I keep a better eye on my swap file now.

    The other factor in speed is the hard disk. I would upgrade to the latest 7200 RPM drive. Despite having plenty of free memory, there's still lots of HDD accessing and thrashing on my MBP. This is a bottleneck for sure.

    Since notebooks shouldn't have to be shut off or rebooted for days or weeks, I think it's only natural to leave apps running for the same duration. However, when opening an app that is loaded but I haven't touched for some time, it is pretty sluggish coming back to life. Not as slow as if it weren't loaded, but again, the HDD thrashes and there's a noticeable wait.
     
  5. cosmokanga2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cosmokanga2

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    #5
    Hey guys, thanks.

    I would only have around 10 or so Safari tabs open at once as I would only need it for google and such.

    Sadly, due to my budget, I was looking at picking up a refurb so a 7200rpm drive is sort of not possible. Would a 7200rpm external hard drive work or am I then limited by the USB or Firewire transfer rate?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. ben.mcmahan macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #6
    This page answers all your questions (i think/hope)
    http://www.barefeats.com/mbcd7.html

    This test is 1.5 years old, but they test 4200 vs. 5400 vs. 7200 in an MBP

    it would seem that the 7200 shows marginal improvement in speed, but takes more power.
    Also, that a firewire 800 drive is fast fast fast.
    USB2 is not, in my experience. Lots of technical reasons why, but firewire seems to be the way to go, especially 800!
     
  7. cosmokanga2 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    cosmokanga2

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    #7
    Thank You Very Much. It solved my question. Now, off to look at refurbs.
     

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