Mid-2007 MacBook performance issues

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by abstraction, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. abstraction macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    I just wanted to ask if anyone has any advice on boosting the performance of my MacBook. I got it in September 2007 - the model number is A1181, it's got 2GB RAM installed and runs on a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo processor. I'm running OSX 10.6.4.
    Here's the problem: lately I've noticed that it seems to be running a bit slower than I'd expect. I've been monitoring Activity Monitor and with Mail, 6 tabs in Chrome, iTunes and Skype open there's only around 20-50MB of free RAM, and about 500MB of inactive RAM most of the time. The CPU isn't under any strain though. It's not so much a specific problem, more that things seem to take longer to open/load/process than they should!
    Unfortunately, I'm fairly sure that I'm at the end of the upgrade path for this Mac. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or am I simply running too many things for it to cope with?!
    I've already tried repairing permissions, running disk cleaning utilities and such like, but no success yet.

    Thanks in advance,
    Ben
     
  2. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Whats your hard drive situation like? How big/how full?
     
  3. macbookairman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    #3
    I bought my MacBook at roughly the same time as you did, only mine has a 2.2GHz processor and 2.5GB of RAM (upgraded from 1GB).

    I'm also having some performance problems, and I have a few suggestions which have helped me out.

    1. (The same question as green86) How much space is left on your hard drive? If you're low on space that will really cause a hit to your performance. If you can clear any space up, do it. I suggest a program like Disk Inventory to help you visualize what is taking up lots of room. (http://www.derlien.com/ , free)
    2. If you're seeing poor performance at startup, definitely check your login items under System Preferences>Accounts>(your user account)>Login Items. These are the things that launch when you start up your computer. If you have too many things, it will slow things down a lot on an older machine so definitely remove anything you don't need or can do without. You can also help boost startup times by keeping your desktop clean. Having items everywhere on the desktop slows things down.
    3. Check how many icons are showing in the menu bar in the top right. If there are a lot, see if there are any you can do without. I discovered I had lots of programs running in the background that I had forgotten about, which the menu icons reminded me of. Many of these weren't needed anymore (for example I had iChat in the menu bar set to log me in at startup. I removed the icon and changed it to not open at startup) Keep in mind that removing things likes the bluetooth icon or Time Machine icon won't help performance.

    I hope that helps some. I have a few other tips which I'll probably post a little later. Can't right now though.
     
  4. hakuin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #4
    You could also remove any apps you don't need from the dashboard. Each running dashboard app takes up to 30 MB of memory (each appears on Activity Monitor as "DashboardClient").

    And when you see "root" processes edging into larger memory usage on Activity Monitor, rebooting the computer can help that. Similarly, restarting an app that has gone into stratospheric memory usage (Safari!) can help.

    Other options that need money:

    A bigger hard drive - if you really do need more space. USB case for the old one to use as external backup.

    A faster hard drive - if you buy a bigger one you may as well buy it faster if you can - you probably have 5,400 rpm right now, you can get 7,200 rpm. It helped me generally with startup/down and saving file times. (ps, SSD is another much more expensive option)

    Increase your memory - your macbook can actually use up to 3 GB of memory. You can replace one of the 1 GB sticks with a 2 GB stick.
     
  5. abstraction thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #5
    Thanks for all the advice guys, I'll give some of those tips a go and report back :)

    I upgraded the stock hard drive to a 320GB one, and currently have 20GB free - that seems like more than enough I would think? Also, on the RAM front, I heard that having a matched pair was faster/better than an unmatched? Or is that a myth?

    EDIT: Ah yes, dashboard items... those could probably do with a bit of a clear up!
     
  6. hakuin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #6
    True, I was not telling the whole story:

    http://guides.macrumors.com/Matched_RAM_on_Intel_Macs

    A relevant bit:

    Early-model Core 2 Duo Macs can only recognize 3GB of the total RAM due to chipset limitations. Nevertheless, installing 2 x 2 GB gives a small speed increase through the use of Dual Channel memory access, as opposed to 1 GB + 2 GB. This may be worth it while the cost of 2 GB modules remains low.


    Edited in:
    Also, this app helps graphics quite a bit. It is not permanent, needs to be run after every restart.
    http://www.gmabooster.com/download_mac.htm
     
  7. abstraction thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #7
    Thanks for that dude, I'll definitely look into GMA booster as graphics can often cause problems!

    I just looked up RAM on Crucial, and they're saying that it can only recognise up to 1GB per slot? Is this a mistake, as I too was under the impression you could install 2GB sticks, and it can use a max of 3GB?
     
  8. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #8
     
  9. abstraction thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #9
    Ah... looks like I need to try and clear some space then! What would you say is a more acceptable level of free space? 10%? 15%?
     
  10. green86 macrumors 6502

    green86

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #10
    I'd say at least 20 - 25%.
     
  11. abstraction thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #11
    Seriously?! A quarter of my hard drive should be empty? That's like 80GB - isn't that a bit excessive?

    (Please correct me if I'm wrong!)
     
  12. blackburn macrumors 6502a

    blackburn

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2010
    Location:
    Where Judas lost it's boots.
    #12
  13. abstraction thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #13
    Aha! I'd never actually thought about it before. Right then, major HD purge coming up!
     

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