MBP 13" (July 09) freezing up often

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KrazzJoe, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. KrazzJoe macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    Hi there!

    So I've had this gorgeous Macbook Pro for under a month and this problem has actually been happening since the beginning. I thought maybe I just expected too much finally getting a decent machine after coming from an old Toshiba laptop, but this is definitely worse than the performance on my black plastic macbook from 2007.

    I'm seeing beach balls once every five minutes at least but often once a minute, sometimes even when I'm just watching a YouTube video or reading a text document in Safari.

    Sometimes the lockup is with a beach balls but often everything just stops and a beach ball isn't even shown.

    I heard about the recent firmware update but I just have the standard 160gb 5,400 rpm drive.

    Any ideas?

    I'm also having trouble deleting some files. Whenever I plug by 1TB external in some files appear in the trash that cannot be deleted (not even with option or fancy terminal tricks). But the problem persists even when the drive isn't plugged in. Recently, this has happened with a folder on my main drive to. Where I will delete it and it will disappear but wont delete and eventually it just ends up back on the desktop.
  2. knownikko macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2009
    I've been having similar problems with my 13"MBP. Just this morning I tried the SMC reset procedure detailed in this post:


    ...and have been working all day today without a single beachball/freeze.

    Knock on wood I guess, but this seems to have addressed my issue, at least temporarily.
  3. EMKarelia macrumors regular


    Jun 22, 2009
    Maybe it's something with the the 13" macbooks I hear that happened to my co-workers 13".
  4. Jigga macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2009
    It's unbearable.
    The freezing has made the computer nearly unusable.
  5. Bigabouli macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2008
    Try these 3 procedures

    1. repair permissions
    2. reset pram
    3. reset smc

    Usually fixes any problems

    Hope it works for you
  6. henry72 macrumors 65816


    Jun 18, 2009
    New Zealand
    Sorry... I didn't get it~
    What does it mean??
    1. repair permissions
    2. reset pram
    3. reset smc

    PS: I have no problem of my MBP 13" with Apple SSD :p

    Did u change your hard disk or RAM??
  7. three macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Washington State
    My friend (zoolaine on the forums) has the same problem with her new MBP. She figured out if she shut it down and kept it off for the entire night, it'll not freeze or anything for about 2 weeks.
  8. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    AFAIK, it's mostly people with SATA 3.0 Gbps HDDs who experience this problem.

    This is because the MBP 13" supports no more than 1.5 Gbps.
  9. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I can speak to the files in the trash can...

    Those are on the external drive, and the external drive was formated for Windows or created in Windows. You can connect it to a Windows machine, go to the trash there and delete the files for good.

    You may want to backup those files on drive, and partition and format it with your Mac... BUT only if you plan to use it only with your Mac. If you plan to use it with both, you need to format in FAT I think. I would guess it's in NTFS or the wrong FAT now (I don't remember for sure how that worked). Just read about it by searching on Google. You will find an article somewhere that tells you what to partition and format it with if you plan to use with both Windows and OS X.

    Anyways, the beach ball issue. Do you have a lot of files and programs open? Check how much RAM you're using with Activity Monitor. Also check the swap. If both of those are fine, and you're not using a bunch of apps, it's a drive problem. It could be the cable, the drive, or the mechanism that allows the drive to stop spinning when dropped/moved.

    Good luck.
  10. smellysmells macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2009
    The pram reset has saved my life. Thanks. How do you check if the smc reset has worked?
  11. KrazzJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    On the hard drive issue this is what I vaguely figured and after doing some searching it was confirmed basically in the way you did. Thanks a lot. It's annoying as hell in the back of my brain to have a trash that's never empty.

    And on the Beach Ball the three step thing seems to have worked though it is doing some locking up at the moment that's worrying me. I really don't want to have to restart and do that every day. This isn't my enthusiast windows machine :)

    On the issue of a hard drive again. If it's formated for the mac does it work faster and more seamlessly with the machine?
  12. KrazzJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    Just realized the answer is of course here, because this trash issue probably wont happen. Other than that?
  13. Shaduu macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2007
    The SATA bus on my 13" MBP is 3Gb/s. Just thought you'd like to know.
  14. reservedegotist macrumors regular

    Aug 19, 2009
    Same here; in fact mine was already shipped with the 1.7 firmware update.
  15. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009

    haha, the ignorance is quite funny.

    Even if you have an SSD you're going to have a hard time on most of them saturating the 1.5 GB/s range as it is. If you don't have an SSD you're not going to get close anyway.

    And a firmware update a couple weeks after the 13" MBP got released upgraded the interface to 3.0. It was a driver not being ready by launch issue, and it was resolved rather promptly. Funny how so many people still bash the 13" because of its supposed SATA ineptitude.

    My 5400 rpm 250 GB stock hard drive will do me just fine for another year or so until SSD capacity and price reaches a range that I can afford. After that, a 8 GB ram upgrade will happen when the price is reasonable.

    I wouldn't be surprised if I had this machine running just fine 5 years from now.

    Attached Files:

  16. KrazzJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    I seem to be having to do this every day. This is not Apple-like
  17. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    The intermittent random beachball terror is a widespread problem that affects all the 2009 MBPs (13", 15" and 17"), not just the 13". I have the same on my MBP 17". On Apple's forums there are several threads about this issue, one is over 120 pages long.

    Basically what happens is that the whole system becomes unresponsive for 20-30 seconds with varying intervals (typically a few times / hour) and the hard drive goes quiet. Once this happens you can do little but watch the spinning beachball, until the HDD starts chattering again and everything unfreezes.

    Here's a video showing what it looks like: http://vimeo.com/5854152

    At first it was thought to affect only users of Seagate 7200 RPM drives, but it'll happen with all drives, stock or custom. It was simply more noticeable with the Seagate drives because when they were hit by the random freeze there'd be a loud click + beep. Apple later released an update that removed the weird noise, but the random 20 second freezes are still there.

    Here's one thread about it (it's over 120 pages long... it starts with the HDD beep + click thing but later evolves into being about the random 20 second beachball terror (which ironically happened to my MBP moments ago as I was in the middle of typing 'beachball').


    Another related thread


    Another one about MBP 13" freezing up...


    Yet another, this one about the MBP 15"...


    The only known workaround is to downgrade the EFI firmware from 1.7 to 1.6, which will also downgrade the SATA speed from 3.0 Gbit/s to 1.5. On the June '09 MBP 17" there is no workaround because it had 3.0 Gbit/s SATA from the beginning so it didn't need the update that fixed the 1.5 Gbit/s limitation.
  18. KrazzJoe thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2009
    Well this is ****ing lame.

    It's exactly what's happening to me. Something better be done. I guess I'm glad it's a firmware issue (maybe) but I'm worried if it's taken so long.

    thanks a lot for the resources
  19. felt. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 13, 2008
    had the previous non unibody 17" which was fine, this new one is definitly beachballing alot..using stock 500gb 5400rpm hdd, what gives :confused:
  20. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008

    What?! Is the 17" really affected? I purposely got the 17" because I knew the 17" wasn't plagued with beachball syndrome.

    I had the Jan 09 unibody 17" 2.66 that was smooth sailing and without frequent random beachballs (with a 500GB Western Digital Scorpio hard disk). Then swapped over to the June 09 17" 2.8 a short while later and while briefly on the stock 500GB Hitachi drive also didn't notice any inordinate beachballing. I later installed the 500GB Western Digital Scorpio and all's still fine. Beachballs are a rare sight and not random - starting 5 apps at once can give the beachball but that's to be expected.

    The mid 09 17" should not be lumped together with the 13" and 15" because while those two got a firmware update that is probably the cause of this freezing, the 17" never had that update.

    But to answer the OP, yeah, it's probably the firmware update that's giving you grief. Or at least the interaction between the firmware and the hard disk installed.
  21. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    Thinking about returning my new MBP because I"m having this very same issue. Beach balls occuring during normal web use in Firefox with few app's open and one or two tabs open. This is unacceptable. My previous MBP (15" Penryn edition) never did this. Shame because I love my 13" MBP, but this is just unacceptable. So frustrating to see the beach ball for no reason.
  22. uv23 macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2003
    Calgary, AB
    I only get freezing while watching video, usually in QT. There is a multi-page thread on the Apple forums as well. We've been collecting data during the freeze and sending it to Apple techs. Hopefully something will come of it.
  23. blairh macrumors 68040


    Dec 11, 2007
    Just returned my 13" MBP. It's a shame because it's a great laptop. But this issue is a very real one and it's complicated. I've come across a series of threads regarding it both here and on Apple's discussion boards.

    Surprised the big tech sites have yet to report it. Hopefully Apple will address it in the near future.
  24. Anuba macrumors 68040


    Feb 9, 2005
    Seriously, why isn't this issue getting more publicity? It seems to be very widespread. When it was discovered that MBP 13/15 had a crippled SATA interface with 1.5 Gbit/s, it took about 48 hours before it made headlines on every damn Mac site on the planet. With a few million MBP owners staring at a beachball all day long, this should be frontpage news and Apple should be responding.
    Oh, it is. I have it on my MBP 17" from June '09 and plenty of MBP 17" owners have posted similar stories on Apple's forum. It could be a different issue with the same symptoms, though, but I doubt it... the behavior is exactly like in the videos posted by owners of the smaller systems.

    I had it for weeks, then I followed some advice on the Apple forum to do an SMC reset, a PRAM/NVRAM reset and switching to 9600M permanently... it's been working great for a few days, but it's a dumb method because there's no telling which of these things that helped. If it's related to the 9400M, good luck to MBP 13" and entry level MBP 15" owners...

    (...you bought the MBP 17" specifically to avoid a bug?!)

Share This Page