Tips on how to increase MBA performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by fixie701, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. fixie701 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #1
    Hi,

    I just got a MBA and was wondering what I could do to increase its performance? (without changing hardware such as getting a Runcore SSD)

    It's a secondary computer and only plan on using it for writing, browsing the web, and itunes music.

    Are there any programs I should install/delete?

    I just want to get rid of all the excess things I don't really need.
    (I guess this applies to any apple notebook)

    Thanks!
     
  2. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
    In your basement
    #2
    I dislike the iLife suite, so removed it. It doesn't slow the computer down or anything, it's just i never used it, and I thought the space could be better utilised.


    As for the rest of the apps, I was happy to keep most of them, I think. To be honest, you're going to get plenty of bang for your buck if you're only using the MBA for writing, browsing and music.

    I will add though, putting your music on an external HD can be irritating sometimes (this is tangential), especially if you're used to blistering speeds of the SSD
     
  3. fixie701 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #3
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yeah, I just think there are a lot of programs I'm not going to need so I could delete them for the extra space.

    I normally use an external hard drive for music. You're saying this isn't good to do?
     
  4. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #4
    well, it annoys me. I mean it works, but the external HD is slow compared to the SSD, which not unexpected. that said, I still keep it on the external hd, if for no other reason than because: a) i need the space and b) i'm a lazy **** who can't be bothered to wait for my external HD to copy back again.

    That said, if you have the non-ssd MBA, the difference would arguably be moot.

    And yes, there is a lot of crap you won't need, those "there is no bloat ware" ads are a little deceptive to most users, but some people like iChat (i got rid of that pretty quickly too)
     
  5. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Yay Area, CA
    #5
    Running music off the internal 4200rpm hard drive isn't slow. If I remember correctly, we had a DJ here on the forums who used his Rev A 1.6GHz/80GB HDD macbook air at parties and events.
     
  6. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
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    #6
    by slow, i don't mean, "the music will stuff up", i instead meant "it takes longer to load"

    that's right, i'm that impatient.

    it's just it takes 30s to load the album art and meta data, which ******* me. Apart from that it does work. And like I said, I still do it, I'm just having a whinge and wish to warn the OP (albeit not in the clearest fashion) of problems just in case he/she is as impatient as I am.
     
  7. fixie701 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    #7
    thanks for the replies.

    is there anything else i can do besides remove programs?
     
  8. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Location:
    Denver
    #8
    I learned a number of things from my MBA RevA 1.6/2/89 This assumes a HDD but everything except a defrag will offer some performance benefit on any flavor.

    1) Buy XSLIMMER and SLIM all you applications. Most will be about half the size and load twice as fast. I find this makes a big difference even on my Macbook.
    2) Download the SmartSleep preference pane. If you choose "sleep only" and delete the hibernate file you will save another couple GB of disk space and sleep will be instant. Use this on my Macbook too.
    3) Try a utility called iFreemem. It monitors memory use and allows you to force a cleanup at you convenience prior to running a memory hog like a virtual machine. Only needed if you find yourself maxing out memory and need to cleanup before running a memory hig - don't bother using on my Macbook.
    4) Perhaps quarterly to annually run a utility like iDefrag to optimize directory trees, file locations etc. This can periodically help any HD because of the directory and file optimization. OS X is pretty good at avoiding fragmentation on its own unless you run > 80% full. I use this once or twice a year on my Macbook to good effect.
    5) Try a utility like Bokah that allows you to alter program priorities and focus priority on a primary application. Better benefit for lower powered cpu's so I don't bother using it on my Macbook but did use on occasion on my MBA.

    Most of these offer a free trial and are inexpensive and all of them together are far cheaper than any hardware upgrade.

    Hope this helps
     
  9. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #9
    Hi fixie701,

    You can read my other thread about the difference an SSD made, but let me just say this. There is no software change you can make that will improve your Macbook Air's speed enough to match 20% of what an SSD can do.

    The Macbook Air's HDD is simply very very slow and it shows in the performance of your computer.
     
  10. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #10
    I tried iDefrag, didn't help me all that much, if you want to boost your performance on a quarterly/annually basis, try a clean install, do a CarbonCopyClone, and clean install then restore. Much better speed increases than a mere defrag...well i don't have any stats to back that up, but treat it as anecdotal advice.
     
  11. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

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    Denver
    #11
    The "free" version of iDefrag has limited functionality. Its really only the "full defrag" option that buys you a lot and requires the purchased version and a boot from a different device from the HD you plan to defrag. Its a lot less manual work and can produce better results because it optimizes file placement and directory organization with all you files already in place.

    A fresh copy of a large number of files is still not going to result in optimized directories and file placement although it does just as well fragmentation wise.
     
  12. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

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    #12
    ahh fair enough, well if that is the case, i might consider purchasing the full iDefrag license, though I don't feel any performance hit at the moment, might put it off till my computer feels like being a slug.
     
  13. jimboutilier macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 10, 2008
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    Denver
    #13
    Yeah, your "fresh copy" solution does every bit as well if not better than the "free" iDefrag. And you'll only see the benefit of the purchased full defrag if you HD is particularly slow (like the MBA) or if its in particular bad shape from running near full for a long time. I used it to good benefit on my MBA but on a 7200rpm MB drive its $29 price tag does not buy you as much.
     
  14. lucifiel macrumors 6502a

    lucifiel

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Location:
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    #14
    well, i'm running an SSD, so it may be even more moot, but if it does start sucking and my fresh copy doesn't work anymore, I'll bear iDefrag in mind
     
  15. jrabbit macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #15
    Xslimmer

    I'll second the recommendation to use Xslimmer.

    You get two benefits: first, faster load times due to smaller application size; second, saving precious RAM. Since the MBA is limited to 2GB, it really helps if you run a lot of simultaneous applications to keep their size down as much as possible.

    I also use iFreeMem; it does help to consolidate the unused memory before/after using memory-intensive applications (like VirtualBox).
     
  16. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #16
    Does Xslimmer even matter on Snow Leopard now that the PPC code has been removed from most of the applications?

    I know some third party applications haven't removed it, but how much are we really saving now?
     
  17. jrabbit macrumors member

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    Jan 30, 2008
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #17
    It's mostly 32-bit and 64-bit Intel code, along with extra language data. I'm surprised at how much some applications get slimmed -- Safari gets reduced by more than half, for example.

    I don't really know how much of any particular program is actually saved at launch (definitely some, though); the disk space savings is real, though.
     

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