My MBP is getting slow

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Tanax, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. Tanax macrumors 6502a

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    Stockholm, Sweden
    #1
    I'm experiencing some issues with my MBP.
    It's a 2009 model so it has the C2D CPU and it's the 13" version.

    It has come to the point where I can't even load www.engaget.com frontpage without the browser freezing for a while. Having a bunch of tabs in the browser open also seem to make things slower. Occassionally the computer also gets really slow, i.e. the entire operating system.

    I'm wondering if this could be because I only have 2GB of RAM-memory. Would an upgrade to 4(or 8)GB make things faster? And if you recommend this upgrade, is it only possible to get the 1067MHz memories or can I go with 1333MHz memories?
     
  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #2
    RAM is absolutely the medicine you need. 8 GB is very cheap now. In the mean time, reset Safari from the file menu, clean out your disk drive if it is full, and restart. Maybe you haven't restarted in a while! ClickToFlash also helps immensely. It is in the Safari Extensions Gallery.

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    Only 1066
     
  3. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #3
    Without seeing a screenshot from your activity monitor, my bet is not enough RAM or a failing hard drive.
     
  4. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I am using Firefox so all of the Safari suggestions you pointed out will unfortunately not be of any use. When you say "restart", do you mean turn off the computer and then turn it on? Or do you mean actually clicking the "restart computer" from the Apple Menu? I always turn my computer off when I'm going to bed or going out so I never leave it on for long periods of time while only closing the lid to put it in power-saving mode. I always turn it off.

    On my HDD I currently have 64GB of free space. Is that too little?
    I am working on transferring all my data to an external drive so I can completely wipe this drive and install Lion(using SL right now) but not really ready yet with all the transferring.

    Upgrading the RAM is really the only thing I can think of that would boost the performance. It's not really unbarable yet but it's getting there..

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    Failing hard drive? How do you mean?
     
  5. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    #5
    One of the symptoms of a failing drive is frequent lockups and hangs and random freezes and beachballs. I could be off, but keep a backup, just in case.
     
  6. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #6
    4 gigs should be minimum. I don't think I have ever been using less than 3, at any point in time.

    Don't worry about the stuff on the HD; if there are a ton of video files or whatever that you aren't using, then yea, go ahead and move those; however , as long as you have ~10 percent of the HD free, you shouldn't see slowdown from that.

    Get 8 gigs of RAM (or the highest your MBP supports) online and you'll be good to go.
     
  7. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Yeah, I'll just upgrade the RAM and see if it helps. I have plans on selling this MBP in a while though and get the newest MBP(might wait until MBP 2012 model is released, depending on when it gets released) but I figure since RAM memory is so cheap anyways it won't hurt to install more memory even if I'm selling it.

    Thanks for the help guys.
     
  8. lamboman macrumors 6502

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    Aug 13, 2011
    #8
    Memory might not be your problem. 2 gigs isn't much, but it is certainly enough if you're just web browsing.

    An upgrade would help, but I'd look more into background processes that are slowing things down, or a failing drive.
     
  9. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I've tried with 2 different HDD's. I doubt both are failing.
    How do I check background processes?
     
  10. corsica macrumors newbie

    corsica

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2010
    #10
    did you try repairing disk permissions with disk utility?
    also, did you try clearing your firefox cache? (To do so: On the menu bar, click on the Firefox menu and select Preferences....Select the Advanced panel. Click on the Network tab. In the Offline Storage section, click Clear Now.)
     
  11. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    I have no idea what disk permissions are. What would that do and how could that cause a problem?

    I don't think I've ever cleared my Firefox cache. It says the cache size is currently 800mb. Is that much? :p Should I clear it? A bit concerned though, what does the cache contain? Will I lose stored passwords and stuff?
     
  12. corsica macrumors newbie

    corsica

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    Jul 7, 2010
    #12
    Clear the cache on Firefox. You will not lose any passwords. You will lose browsing history and other things I doubt you care about anyway.
    To repair the disk permissions, open Disk Utility (do a search for it in the Finder if you don't know where it is), click on your hard drive, then click on First Aid, then click on Repair Disk Permissions. May take a few minutes. You should repair your disk permissions regularly.
    Finally, since you seem to be new to macs, I'm wondering about your post where you say you tried two different hard drives. I just want to clarify that you mean you installed a different, second hard drive inside your laptop and tested it, and had the same problem?
    I'm only asking cause your problem ultimately sounds like a hard drive failure to me...
     
  13. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #13
    This bit is interesting as well; simply throwing another HDD in the machine won't work... so unless you restored the 2nd with the disks and used it...

    But with a new HD and 2 gigs of RAM, the machine shouldn't be slow, especially if you're only running Firefox or something.
     
  14. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    I will clear it then. Thanks for the tip!

    I'm not new to Macs, I've been using this MBP since I bought it 2009 so soon 2 years. I just haven't used any of those Utility-programs much .. or anything at all.

    I'm wondering though what the Repair Disk Permissions will do? Will I lose any data? Do I need to back anything up before doing it? Or is it more like.. cleaning the room -type of organization?

    Yes, I have installed another harddrive inside of the MBP and used that for about a half year until I reinstalled the first harddrive again for various reasons that doesn't matter. Both of these harddrives I had the occassional freezing while loading certain websites.

    The most logical reason would be that it is the RAM that is just not enough. 2GB isn't THAT much and when loading websites with large amount of content it's quite reasonable to assume that it is the RAM that is running out of space.

    I will clear the Firefox cache and see if that helps some and run the Repair Disk Permissions. Otherwise I'll upgrade the RAM. 2GB just isn't enough these days and even if I install 8GB of memory and it turns out that it in fact was the harddrive that was spooking out, it won't hurt with some more memory in the computer in any case :)
     
  15. corsica macrumors newbie

    corsica

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    #15
    Yes, you could compare repairing disk permissions to cleaning your room. It will not change any of your files, applications, or settings. If you have never repaired your disk permissions in the two years you have had the laptop, this could very well be the problem. Restart after the permissions repair and see if things are better.
    If not, the next thing I would try is backing up the hard drive with Time Machine (since you are having problems in general, I would be backing up regularly anyway), reinstall your ox (snow leopard, lion or whatever you are using), and transfer your backed up times from Time Machine.
     
  16. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #16
    When you're browsing the web, you don't need more than 2 gigs. I regularly have 15+ high content tabs open and Canary/Firefox never goes over 1 gig.

    Just saying; if it wasn't enough, Apple wouldn't sell the MBA with it as the baseline, and you'd see more threads about a complaint with size.

    It isn't a lot but you shouldn't see slowdown like you do with it. I can easily run a VM of Windows 7, only give that machine 1, and get great performance out of it running 10+ pages.
     
  17. corsica macrumors newbie

    corsica

    Joined:
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    #17
    Yes, I agree. I really doubt this is a memory issue if all you're doing is browsing the internet.
    If the things I suggested don't work, I'm guessing is is probably your hard drive after all. You said you tested it with two hard drives, but it sounds like they were both old, no? Old hard drives can often run slow.
    Also, did you try running the Techtool diagnostic software? It probably came with your laptop. This will often identify hard drive problems.
    Another software that has done me well in the past - even when Techtool has failed to find the problem - is DiskWarrior.
     
  18. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    I have run the repair and restarted. I am seeing a noticable difference. It still freezes though when opening a website with a lot of content for a second but it definitely loads faster now. I also cleared the cache.

    Since it's still lagging, I checked the Activity Monitor. With 4 tabs open(all of them different sections of macrumors) and only Firefox running I am using just above 1 GB of memory according to the System Memory -tab in the Activity Monitor. Is that normal?

    That's weird. I can't even have 4 fairly low-content tabs open with Firefox without having it go over 1GB of memory-usage.

    What could be the cause of this?

    That is true, they are both old. I bought the second harddrive at the same time when I got the MBP back in late 2009 so both the harddrives are 2 years old. Both are 5400rpm I think. Could this be the problem?

    Calling it harddrive failure sounds so serious, like it's going to crash any second XD

    I do not find any Techtool diagnostic software or DiskWarrior. Are these tools free to download from somewhere?
     
  19. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #19
    I'm referring to the actual usage of the program; what you're looking at is the aggregate of all of the open programs that are using up RAM; for me, I can't have anything less than 4 gigs as I often have 7 or so applications open all of the time.

    If you look in the Activity monitor, it shows you the actual RAM that the program is using. If you don't have anything else running, Firefox should be using way less than a gig itself (independent of other applications anyway)

    The OS allocates RAM as it's needed; what are your page ins and page outs? (Found in the activity monitor)
     
  20. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Oh, right. Sorry!
    When loading a large news-website in Sweden(www.aftonbladet.se) it is using almost half a gig of RAM(says so to the right of the firefox application in the activity list). It did however say it was using 101% CPU power and 31 threads. Is this something to be concerned about?

    Page ins is at 185MB and page outs are at 44 K.

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    Oh and I also have a "Firefox plugin process" activity that used around 40% of CPU usage, 34 threads and 150MB of memory.
     
  21. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #21
    Ah. 1) Page ins and page outs show how much data is being written to the hard drive due to the RAM not, in lamens terms, being large enough. I would suggest using the machine for an entire day, maybe two, and reporting what the numbers are.

    Because they are so small, it indicates that the RAM is doing its job. My in is 3.37 gigs and the out is 5.8 megs. Of course, that's going to differ between users.

    You can easily buy RAM for cheap though; I would suggest you do that and see if the problem clears up. If not, hard drives are easily found for under 100 bucks.
     
  22. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    I did recently restart the MBP right after I had used the Repair Disk Permissions so that is probably the reason why it is so low right now then. I usually keep the MBP on for an entire day so tomorrow evening I'll be able to post some more accurate numbers.

    Just to make sure I got this right, you said that the page ins were how much the computer is writing to the HDD instead of to the RAM. So the most optimal value would be to have page ins at 0MB then since you don't want anything written to the HDD but rather have it only use RAM?

    Or is it like.. it's alright as long as page outs are larger than the page ins?

    I'll buy new memory ASAP and see if that makes things better. If not I'll get a newer HDD and hopefully that'll make things better!

    Got any tips on RAM and HDDs ??
     
  23. Young Spade macrumors 68020

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    #23
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paging

    Excuse any false or incorrect information I might have given :)

    But overall, it's somewhat correct.

    And search the forums for the answers to your two previous questions. You'll find what you're looking for and more.
     
  24. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    No worries. I had a bit of a readup and it seems that it is the page outs that I should be worried about. Seeing as I quite recently restarted the computer the computer haven't yet run out of RAM. It is however building up slowly.

    I'll probably have some more accurate numbers tomorrow evening after using it during the entire day. Hopefully that'll rule out any HDD issues.

    Thanks for the help once again!
     
  25. Tanax thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    Even now my page ins are 239MB while my page outs are 134MB(!!) which is very high ratio. Looks like I'm going to need some more RAM after all.
     

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