Old Macbook has gotten slower, now unusable!

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by eobet, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. eobet macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #1
    Hello!

    My wife got a Macbook three or four years ago and has used it until today (it's still on Leopard).

    However, about two years ago, she noticed that it was becoming slower and slower, with the harddrive (and beach ball) working more and more.

    She stopped using Photoshop, and then had to stop using InDesign as well (ie, she cannot work on the computer at all since over a year ago back).

    Today, she stopped watching movies, and is on the verge of having to stop even web browsing because of constant harddrive rattle and the computer just being unbearably slow.

    She switched from a Windows machine because I told her that OS X didn't get slower over time, but that is apparently not true in this case, even though she hasn't installed a single new program in over two years.

    Is there anything that can be done, apart from a complete wipe (which I guess I should have done long ago, but we haven't found the time)?

    EDIT: Oh, and I tried to install 2gb of RAM in it, but apparently it's the "fake" 64-bit one which can only take a maximum of 1.5gb RAM, so that's what it's got now.
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    All MacBooks can use 2GB of RAM or more. All models since Late 2007 can use 6GB or more.

    For performance issues, there are a few things you can check:
    • Check your Login Items under System Preferences > Accounts to see what you have automatically launching.
    • Also check /Library/LaunchAgents/ and /Users/yourusername/Library/LaunchAgents/ for items launching at startup
    • Look at what widgets you may have running.
    • Launch Activity Monitor and change "My Processes" at the top to "All Processes". Then look to see what may be consuming system resources.
    • Take a look at the System Memory tab at the bottom of Activity Monitor to see if you have excessive "page outs", a sign that you may benefit from more RAM.
    • Make sure you're not running any 3rd party antivirus app, as many of those will drain resources, reducing performance. They're not needed to protect your Mac.
     
  3. eobet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #3
    Sorry, that should have been "tried to install 4gb" but it's the weird version that can only use 3gb.

    She has no login items, doesn't use any widgets and naturally we don't use any anti-virus on our Macs.

    As I said, she used to use Photoshop and InDesign, and can now barely use Safari or Firefox, and that's pretty much the extent of installed software (that, and Skype plus an old version of RealPlayer).
     
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #4
    Did you check Activity Monitor to see what processes are running? Did you check page outs?
     
  5. fenderbass146 macrumors 65816

    fenderbass146

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    #5
    BAD HD???? That would be my guess if you looked in startup programs and activity monitor and saw nothing.
     
  6. eobet, Nov 9, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2011

    eobet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #6
    [​IMG]

    She recently restarted (a constant ritual these days), and though it says zero page outs, the performance is still absolutely utter ****.

    ----------

    Hmm... would this work in this old computer?

    http://www.dustinhome.se/ocz-agility-3-25-60gb-ssd-sata-600-mlc/product/5010594230
     
  7. wrinkster22 macrumors 68030

    wrinkster22

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Toronto
  8. fenderbass146 macrumors 65816

    fenderbass146

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northwest Indiana
    #8
    Yea Solid State is way to to and any 2.5" SSD will working your macbook. As far as I know anything that uses intel uses sata for hard drives
     
  9. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
  10. apunkrockmonk macrumors 6502a

    apunkrockmonk

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #10
    I would agree that it sounds like a bad hard drive. We haven't been given enough info to say for sure though.

    From what you've said it doesn't sound like the hard disk would be full but if it is it can also cause these types of slowdowns.
     
  11. eobet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #11
    The harddrive is not full, it has about 30gb free.

    Would this brand new SSD with Sata 600 interface work in this old machine, though? I've found no info on this...
     
  12. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #12
    That's probably your problem. Your HDD is likely dying and needs to be replaced. Obviously, there's no way for me to say for sure that that's the problem, but it definitely sounds like it. If this is the case, then you're blaming OS X for a hardware problem. OS X generally doesn't slow down over time, but if the HDD starts to die, then it will get slower. That's just a physical issue.

    Replace it with a 7200 rpm drive, or an SSD if you can afford it. Assuming the issue really is the HDD, either one will boost your performance significantly, with the SSD making it feel like a brand new computer.

    I think you mean SATA III, or 6 Gbps SATA. I've never actually heard it called SATA 600 before. The answer is yes, SATA III is backwards compatible with all other versions of SATA.

    However, before you go spending the big bucks, try reinstalling the OS (and upgrade to Snow Leopard if nothing you have requires Leopard, it's inherently faster than Leopard). If the OS is still slow on a virgin system, then you know you've got a hardware issue, not a software issue. You mentioned your wife likes to use Photoshop and InDesign. Those can potentially take up large amounts of storage space with the files you create, so keep capacity in mind when picking an SSD or HDD.

    If you get a HDD, make sure it's 7200 rpm. I recommend WD Scorpio Black models.
     
  13. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #13
    Replace the hard drive. Do a backup (TimeMachine/CarbonCopy/Whatever) and restore to the new drive.

    ----------

    What model is it? Try going to http://www.everymac.com and see what drive connections it utilizes. It might be to old to support Sata/SSD.
     
  14. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #14
    If you have an Apple Store nearby, you can make an online Genius Bar reservation, and they will look at the machine for free (regardless of its age/warranty status).
     
  15. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #15
    All MacBooks use SATA, therefore all MacBooks can utilize an SSD.

    I already answered this question anyhow...
     
  16. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #16
    Sounds like the HDD is going, but humor me and try repairing permissions.
     
  17. BrianBaughn macrumors 601

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
  18. eobet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #18
    Thanks for all the tips!

    Interestingly, nobody recommended Lion. Any particular reason?
     
  19. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #19
    Upgrading the OS isn't a cure for performance problems. If you've got performance-related issues, it's very likely you'll have the same issues on a new version of the OS, if that's all you change. A better approach is to diagnose the source of the problem and fix it. I only upgrade to a new OS version if it offers something I need or want that my current OS doesn't. So far, I've seen nothing in Lion or Snow Leopard that motivates me to upgrade from Leopard.
     
  20. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #20
    GGJ's response is very good. I'd just add that I recommended SL solely on the basis that it's cheap and a bit faster and smaller than Leopard, plus it's much more recent. But if you're happy with Leopard, you don't need to upgrade and, as GGJ said, upgrading the OS won't fix whatever issue you're having.
     
  21. M Quick macrumors 6502

    M Quick

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2011
    Location:
    Stockholm, Sweden
    #21
    Definitely sound like a hard drive problem, i'm sure.
    Get it replaced and you'll have a macbook that is up to par once again!



    Ps. Det är precis så hårddiskar reagerar när dom dör, blir slöare och slöare och börjar låta en hel del. Inte så konstigt att datorn är så seg! :) Lycka till.
     
  22. brassguy98 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    #22
    Snow Leopard runs really well on a Macbook. My original 120 gb HDD was getting close to full and slowing down a bit. Upgraded to a 500 gb 7200 Western Digital and it was like a brand new computer out of the box. Also upgraded to 4 gb of RAM. Have seen the average life on a HDD is about 3-4 years.

    A lot of the benefits of Lion won't be available on the Macbook b/c it does not have the multi-gesture trackpad like a macbook pro. If you picked up the external pad then you'd be good to go. I'm still on Snow leopard though, I use Lion at work.
     
  23. mwhities macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #23
    Apologies. I didn't notice it. I also never owned a Macbook before this one so, I had no idea.
     
  24. iThinkergoiMac macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2010
    Location:
    Terra
    #24
    Could have looked at the very link you provided ;) It's all good, everyone misses stuff :)
     
  25. eobet thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #25
    Hello!

    This is the thread starter with an update:

    Brand new Intel 320 series 80gb SSD installed.

    Clean Leopard installation, no backups used.

    Only transferred a few documents, downloaded most apps again to get latest versions (Firefox, Skype, Realplayer, etc).

    Ran the machine for a week seemingly without problems.

    But now the problems are beginning to creep back...

    Two days ago, Firefox beachballed for about a minute.

    Just now, it was impossible to watch a Youtube movie (audio did the slow-motion thing again) and the computer had to be restarted to make it normal.

    Big sigh. :(
     

Share This Page