Slow opening apps - poor read speed?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by iann1982, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. iann1982 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    #1
    Hi All,

    I'm finding my MBA rev b to be quite slow opening apps, I bought the 1.6 ghz 120gb model.

    It seems like everything's rather slow to open. I have 30gb free on the hard drive, iTunes, Safari (5 tabs) TextWrangler and mail open all day.

    If I ever need to go into Firefox it takes a fair while to get up and running. I ran some xbench scores and it seems very slow on the random reads, oddly it was much quicker writing to the disk than reading.

    Is their anyone in the know who can confirm that this is normal? Or if not, is there anything I can do to give it a boost?

    Please see attached for xbench results..
     

    Attached Files:

  2. n0de macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    #2
    Are you sure it is a Rev B, those scores look like a Rev A.
     
  3. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #3
    maybe you just need to clear some major cache on all your apps?
     
  4. iann1982 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    #4
    Yep, entirely only got it 4-5 weeks ago. I had a rev a before so well know the differences
     
  5. iann1982 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    #5
    Hmm, how would I go about that? Are these stats slowerthan to be expected? The whole system was a timemachine backup from my old MacBook, so it's an almost clean install..
     
  6. n0de macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    #6
    Download Onyx and clear out everything, user & system caches, rebuild everything too.
     
  7. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #7
    Cocktail is another utility that will help optimize your Mac performance.

    But even with the SATA interface in the new REV B MBA you are never going to get great performance out of a 4200rpm 1.8" HD. You want higher read performance you need the SSD.

    Being a RevA owner I've learned to optimize:
    a) Use a utility like Xslimmer on all your apps. It improves load speed significantly on most.
    b) Run a utility like Cocktail's Pilot screen regularly
    c) Very occasionally defrag your drive with a utility like iDefrag (OS X is very good at not fragmenting but idefrag optimizes more than file fragments).
     
  8. iann1982 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    #8
    Thanks for all of the tips,

    xSlimmer seems to have been a massive help, using that and Cocktail the memory footprint of my machine's dropped by 500mb, I've also shaved 10gb off used hard drive space using the apps and having a could clense of the apps that I don't need.

    Oddly, my xbench results are now even slower! Yet the machine feels a lot faster.. is xbench reliable?

    See attached...
     

    Attached Files:

  9. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #9
    Benchmarks in general are meant to give an unbiased comparisons of a machines performance. But benchmarks are not always a realistic indicator or real world performance.

    If you take a look at Xbench results (or many other benchmark utilities) you will see what looks like a huge variation in results in machines that seem to have identical hardware configurations.

    There are a number of potential causes for this - identical hardware actually performing differently, impacts of hardware not enumerated by the benchmark, and the impacts of software and configuration not enumerated by the benchmark. Many benchmarks are extremely sensitive to programs and utilities you may have running in the background or the state of the machine (freshly booted or been running for three weeks) when you run the benchmark.

    The bottom line is that often benchmarks are only useful as a very rough gauge when comparing and you have to realize that even if you optimize your machine to "score" better on a particular benchmark, that does not necessarily translate to any real world gain for your use.

    So if you are happy with your machine's performance, don't worry about it. And if not, there are often things you can do about particular issues, so keep asking.

    The MBA HD has some significant performance limitations and its never going to be a stellar performer, but there are things you can do to mitigate it.

    a) Xslimmer gives you a big immediate boost for a frequent activity
    b) Cocktail will roll over log file and clear caches that will prevent a slow performance decline over time but is not a big immediate boost for a machine only a few weeks old.
    c) iDefrag will place frequently accessed files on the sweet spot on your disk, optimize system files and OS resource files but its not something most will benefit from more than a couple times a year and is best run after a month or so of getting your machine set up the way you like. At that point you may get a significantly improved boot time and some operations may seem a touch faster but its not like Xslimmer.
    d) You could try a utility called SmartSleep to potentially save you a couple more gb of disk space and sleep much faster (provided you don't tend to let your battery run dry while sleeping)
    e) There's a utility called iFreemem that monitors memory usage and allows you to clean up unused memory manually before doing something significant like starting up a virtual machine on a MBA.
    f) There is another utility called Bokah that lets you adjust job priority so all your cpu can be focused on a particular foreground application or you can force individual jobs to a lower proprity so they don't impact your foreground.

    I've tried all of these and they work well to some extent but OS X does pretty well on its own for the most part and investing the time and money in these utilities is not for everyone. Also, it only helps to tweak an area you are having trouble with. Many may have trouble with the MBA's HD performance but fewer will likely encounter issues with memory and CPU.
     
  10. LKJR macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2008
    #10
    slow openings and Xslimmer

    I used Xslimmer this weekend....it definitely speeds up application openings...also has seemed to improve overall battery life too...is the later my imagination?
     
  11. iann1982 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2008
    Location:
    Leicester, UK
    #11
    Yea, that would make sense, it's using less RAM and there's less data so the hard drive won't need to be accessed so much. Makes you wonder why apps aren't trimmed routinely by the OS, I've never had a situation where I've needed multiple language support or PowerPC support left on my apps on the off chance that I migrate them.

    It's really quite nippy now, the biggest gains seem to be when I'm running XP through Parallels, happy times.
     
  12. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #12
    Glad that worked out for you. I originally found the revA MBA quite useable but sluggish (as is the case for many ultra portables) and the items I noted earlier in this thread helped it a lot. Now I'm pretty happy with performance but look forward to a future release that has capacities that could make it my only machine.

    If you are running PArallels 4, its VM compression is vastly improved over the previous version (much quicker and more effective) so you might get some gains trying that (as well as reclaiming some disk space).
     
  13. rhett7660 macrumors G4

    rhett7660

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2008
    Location:
    Sunny, Southern California
    #13
    Just wanted to put another thank you for the xslimmer program. Worked like a charm and man does it speed things up. Did a full clean with onyx and then went through and slimmed my program files. Big difference in response times when opening etc.

    Thanks again.
     

Share This Page