rMBP 2012 - terrible performance, constantly having to reset SMC/PRAM, help needed

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macusertwenty14, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. macusertwenty14 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2014
    #1
    Hi all, new to these forums. Please forgive the length of this post, I've got 99 problems and my rMBP's performance is all of them.

    I have a mid 2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15" with discrete graphics (GT 650M), 16GB ram, and the 2.6GHz CPU. Performance on all graphics intensive applications has been steadily going down hill for the last year or so. About a year ago I had to have the screen and logic board replaced as my computer was unable to start up, would crash randomly if successfully started, or had a black screen while running. These issues seemed to stem from a problem with my graphics card, and once everything was replaced this was fixed somewhat.

    My replacement screen still has a big blotchy imperfection as I am aware a fair number of retina screens of a certain manufacture suffer. Graphics intensive applications as I said perform terribly for a machine of these components, even on very moderate or even low settings.

    Some examples are XCOM: Enemy Unknown on ~1200x800 resolution and medium/low settings, Dota 2 on similar settings, Hawken on even lower settings, and Battlefield Hardline's beta on minimum settings. All games perform to a middling to poor framerate, and experience inexplicable slowdowns where FPS drops to a near crawl seemingly at random, often not in conjunction with increased intensity of graphics on screen. I have a friend with a macbook air who runs these games with no issue, a friend with a macbook retina 2013 who does the same, and even a friend with a macbook 2010-ish that can run XCOM, Dota 2, and Hawken just fine. A $3000 computer should not have problems running old games on low settings, and it was not always like this, so clearly something with the hardware must be horribly defective.

    I've run graphics benchmarks software that seem roughly consistent with online results, and have taken my macbook in to the apple store many times, to the point that the OS has been reinstalled more than once and my boot camp partition eliminated to try to resolve these issues. No luck. I'm at wit's end and can't explain this computer's terrible performance. I have extended applecare so taking it in on warranty is not an issue but does not seem to resolve much aside from getting them to rip the guts out and replace them as I did a year back.

    I have gfxCardStatus v2.3 and have confirmed that it says the discrete GPU is switching on, and have tried these programs with the graphics mode set to discrete only rather than switching.


    Restarting, resetting the SMC, or PRAM will sometimes temporarily fix my issues and bring my FPS back from a ridiculous 15-20 on lowest settings in Dota 2 to an acceptable 30-40 FPS on medium-high settings, with similar increases from terrible to decent for other games. This fix however never lasts, and I'm out of ideas. I've googled and googled to no end but I have not found answers.

    This seems to me the most knowledgeable Mac based community, could anyone who has knowledge of similar experiences shed light on my problems?

    Much thanks for any help offered.
     
  2. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    Finland
    #2
    Have you checked if there's something hogging up memory and CPU time on the background? I've heard of similar cases where the culprit has turned out to be a crashed driver or program hogging up the CPU.

    This should be pretty easy to look up trough the Activity Monitor.
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    Boston
    #3
    Back it up and install a fresh copy of OS X. See if that clears things up.
     
  4. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Location:
    Atlanta
    #4
    Exactly. Do a fresh install of Mavericks. Don't install any extra apps or put back anything from a TM backup. If they problems persist, take it to the Apple Store and a list of the problems. Remind them of the previous problems.
     
  5. macusertwenty14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #5
    Checking activity monitor, no random tasks hogging all the CPU other than the game in question being run.

    Did that a month ago, problem reappeared immediately.

    I have reinstalled Mavericks multiple times. I have not tried running these programs with nothing else installed but having my information available to me is pretty important so having nothing on my computer is not a great option.
     
  6. duervo, Aug 18, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014

    duervo macrumors 68000

    duervo

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    #6
    I don't believe anybody is suggesting that you not reinstall your frequently-used apps ever again. They are suggesting a fresh install, and nothing else installed, as a troubleshooting step ... process of elimination.

    If the problem goes away with a fresh OS X install, and nothing else loaded (no third-party apps, no external devices connected, etc.) then logic would seem to suggest that the cause of your problem would be one of those excluded items. At that point, you would want to reinstall one app at a time, In between each install, run the system for a while until you are satisfied that the problem hasn't come back, then install the next app or attach the next device, etc. Repeat the process until you've determined the cause.

    I should probably add that if the problem is even there with just OS X freshly installed (and nothing else installed, or any external devices attached), then it's most likely a hardware-related issue. Given your symptoms, though, I wouldn't be surprised if your GPU is throttling due to high temps. If it is, it probably shouldn't be if your friend's systems run the same games without issue. In which case, bring it back to Apple for diagnosis/repair.
     
  7. macusertwenty14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #7
    After testing a while longer I notice that kernel_task is consistently using a large amount of power. At first I assumed this was just part of the program in question's CPU draw but I am not sure now. kernel_task may well be my culprit, not that I know how to resolve that.
     
  8. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    #8
    The kernel_task process handles a lot of things like interaction with various types of hardware, so it could be a crashed driver or bad piece of external hardware behaving in an unintended way.

    My recommendation would be to check if you can re-create the low performance by not having anything external connected and then if it works fine, add one piece from your external setup at a time until the problem arises again.
     
  9. ABC5S Suspended

    ABC5S

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    #9
    do this in bold ^^^
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #10
    Did you restore your apps from a a backup or used the machine without any apps to see if the problem returned?
     
  11. macusertwenty14 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 17, 2014
    #11
    I know that external hardware is not the issue as I typically do not have any externals connected to my macbook.

    I have read in some cases of this sort of issue that people suspect something with a failed heat sensor on the battery or some such, but I am by no means certain.

    I am somewhat hesitant to go about this route as I have over a hundred applications and to do this test would take an eternity between stacking down the sources of, installing apps, and testing the computer under load.

    I have always restored my data from a backup.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    Do a fresh install, your Mac isn't supposed to behave this way.

    And do what the other poster said, it's the only way to find the offending app that's hogging up your system.
     

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