Major drop in performance on 13" MBP SSD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mcs37, Aug 23, 2009.

  1. mcs37 macrumors regular

    mcs37

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    I've had my brand new 13" MBP with 128GB SSD for a month or so and love it. HOWEVER in the last day, performance has dropped dramatically while watching video. I was on Hulu watching a high-res show, and about 15 minutes in, it started getting very choppy -- audio was OK, but video performance dropped. I quit, restarted, tried again, same problem immediately. System load was around 2.79. I tried in both Safari and Firefox, no dice. YouTube seems to have dropped now as well (I'm playing a video in another tab now, and again the audio is great but the video is choppy). I'm currently hooked up to a 22" LCD through the DVI output (the laptop itself is closed).

    Is this normal? I mean I've got 4GB of RAM and 2.53GHz CPU with a solid-state disk! There should be 0 latency and this dual-core beast should tear through video no problem, and here I am closing off iTunes and other apps to try to spare some CPU (this doesn't work though). I've even switched to standard-res for both hulu and youtube but it's not much better.

    Did I do something wrong? I am shocked that a brand new 2.53GHz CPU with 4GB can't handle this.

    Update: oh yeah, I also installed and am now running Hulu Desktop to try to get better performance. Sorry, doesn't do anything. The really weird thing is a week ago I was a on a flight chewing through YouTube while on Skype and using Entourage and iTunes all at the same time, and it was blazing fast. Now I'm crawling along like an old 1.6GHz with 512MB RAM. WTF, mate?
     
  2. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

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    #2
    Maybe more to do with your internet/bandwidth than actual hardware?
     
  3. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #3
    ^^^^ Have you tried viewing a movie or video stored on the SSD? Could be a bandwidth problem. Use iStat to monitor network throughput while watching?
     
  4. mcs37 thread starter macrumors regular

    mcs37

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    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
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    #4
    Weirdness, my ethernet was actually removed from my system! I reinstalled it and initially, performance went up but then again after a few minutes, choppiness returned. I played a local 45min QuickTime video at full screen, no choppiness whatsoever. It just seems to be Hulu/YouTube.

    I also cached a full YouTube video at high def to test again, and it was choppy after a few moments. Initially it seemed super fast but it's almost like some daemon just starts eating up 100% CPU and killing it.

    This is indeed quite disappointing, it was so fast only a day ago. Right now it takes 2-3 seconds after I click the "pause" button on Hulu Desktop for the program to pause. Does it have anything to do with the fact that I'm hooked up to a 22" LCD? The USB mouse I'm using isn't as performant as it was when I was using it on my Dell, but it's overall acceptable.

    Update: OK I turned the bandwidth settings on Hulu Desktop all the way to LOW and it STILL is choppy. It looks and sounds like I'm receiving a transmission from deep space and only getting part of the signal. WTF? Something else must be afoot.
     
  5. analytical44 macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #5
    Here is a possible explanation. I'm not sure how much space you have left on the drive, but this certainly seems feasible given your description of the problem. If I'm understanding correctly, the only fix seems to be reformatting the drive.

    http://www.anandtech.com/storage/showdoc.aspx?i=3531&p=4

    Are you experiencing an overall degradation of performance or is it limited to watching video?
     
  6. mcs37 thread starter macrumors regular

    mcs37

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    #6
    I've got 13GB free (at 89% capacity right now). I can't believe I would have to reformat, I just bought this damn thing a month ago. If I already have to wipe out my drive and start over I'm going to be quite pissed, I didn't imagine that would happen for at least a year

    Right when I launch Hulu desktop, I see huge spikes in CPU on the Hulu Desktop threads and kernel_task (which takes up the majority of the system).
    Furthermore, nothing else seems to be that slow about the system, it's just YouTube/Hulu. It also doesn't seem to be writing that much anyway, it's just massive amounts of CPU usage.
     
  7. vant macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2009
    #7
    This doesn't sound like a hard drive issue. Your hard drive would more affect your loading times for launching programs, starting up OS X, etc.

    I would look into your video card stability/heat. CPU could also be the issue.

    Could you please take a screenshot of your activity monitor along with some temp readings?
     
  8. Andrew Henry macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #8
    You need to offload some of the crap onto an external harddrive, to have optimal performance on an SSD, I personally recommend have NO more than 60 - 65% filled.
     
  9. analytical44 macrumors regular

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    Mar 22, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #9
    I am far from an expert so I really don't know why you are experiencing slow down to be honest. Considering you only have ~10% free on your drive, it seems to mesh with AnandTech and LegitReviews findings but if you aren't experiencing slow down in any other areas then maybe not. Anyone with more knowledge than myself have any input?
     
  10. HLdan macrumors 603

    HLdan

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    #10
    Rule of thumb on hard drives is you need to have at least 25% available capacity left for system processing and memory swapping. I know you think 13GB is a lot but you're just over 10% capacity. HD movies in Hulu are going to use up a lot of resources.
    You can try resetting the PRAM first and if no go then you need to get an external hard drive to store larger files that you don't use consistently. 113GB on the SSD isn't very much.
     
  11. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #11
    Reformat? I'm not sure. I've had my MBA filled to 93% capacity on a stock Samsung/Apple 128 SSD for months and it hasn't seemed to have much effect on system performance. I've run X Bench to test SSD R/W and it's close to where it was when new with OS loaded only.
     
  12. vant macrumors 65816

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    Jul 1, 2009
    #12
    For reference, a stock 2.26ghz MBP13. No choppyness at all.
     

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  13. NC MacGuy macrumors 603

    NC MacGuy

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    #13
    If you also check the Activity Monitor while watching a Hulu vid, there's almost no disk activity going on. It's all CPU & GPU.
     
  14. mcs37 thread starter macrumors regular

    mcs37

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    Yes, it's almost entirely CPU -- both cores, in fact. I will test this later this week; just ordered a 1TB WD My Book external USB disk, and I'll offload a bunch of the stuff that's keeping me around 87% capacity. I didn't have any issues when I was down around 70%.

    128GB goes by SO fast! I can't wait until next year when a 256GB SSD costs < $300 so I can have some more breathing room.

    analytical44: overall performance is still pretty good, except Entourage which is a slow beast. I'm hoping Snow Leopard w/ Mail will be much faster (fingers crossed). In the meantime once my USB HDD arrives I can see if freeing up 20GB will help.
     
  15. klee1987 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2009
    #15
    I reckon it's to do with the problem that plague MLC SSD's - they*slow down as they become filled up.

    type ssd slowdown into google and you will find plenty of results

    There are two solutions:

    Get a SLC SSD or

    MLC SSD with the garbage collection feature (this is relatively new though, and it comes in the form of an firmware update)
     
  16. Andrew Henry macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #16
    Personally, if it were me, I would try and get 50% free, and stay right around that mark. If it's possible for you, I'd strongly recommend doing that.

    Good luck,
    Andrew
     
  17. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

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    Aug 2, 2008
    #17
    Since you could play video locally from your SSD and just having a problem with those site's you most likely can rule out the SSD as the problem. YouTube is one of most poorly made sites, movies get destroyed while uploaded and their server capacity is underdimensioned.
     
  18. p3ncil macrumors regular

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    Jul 6, 2009
  19. mcs37 thread starter macrumors regular

    mcs37

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #19
    Update (Sep 20 2009)

    After the Snow Leopard upgrade, where I went from 83% (19GB free) to 76% (28GB free), things sped up significantly and I haven't noticed the same issue -- even when using wifi to stream my hulu. Right now after deleting my Entourage account and switching to Mail, I'm rocking 73% (31GB free) and performance is overall great. Love my SSD MBP!
     

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