White late 2009 Macbook veeeery slow

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by illjazz, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. illjazz macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    I just noticed my mom's white late 2009 Macbook has become very slow. She complained of it being slow to start up/shut down but now that I've taken a look I can conclude that the entire system has become extremely slow. Clicking on any app's menu items on top often comes with a delay and opening apps has them bounce for ages before they actually open.

    Is there a definitive go to performance tuning resource I should be aware of?

    The software is completely up to date. It's running the very latest version of Lion (10.7.3) and I just installed the latest version of Safari that came out only days ago.

    It's got a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 2 GB of RAM. Could it simply be its age that's making it run this slow? I'd find that hard to believe, but who knows?

    Just switching to the Finder using its dock icon takes a good 5 seconds and presents me with the spinning beach ball for about a second...

    I'd appreciate any tips. Thanks!
  2. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
  3. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    Many thanks to both of you! I went through that least and tried to follow everything. I have to do a bit of testing but it does feel a bit snappier already.

    I'm also considering simply reinstalling Lion to get rid of a ton of cruft and old unneeded stuff. May be the most effective, simplest solution.

    Also, I'm getting the impression that 4GB of RAM would go a long way to breathe some new life into this white baby.

    Thanks again!
  4. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    To determine if you can benefit from more RAM, launch Activity Monitor and click the System Memory tab at the bottom to check your page outs. Page outs are cumulative since your last restart, so the best way to check is to restart your computer and track page outs under your normal workload (the apps, browser pages and documents you normally would have open). If your page outs are significant (say 1GB or more) under normal use, you may benefit from more RAM. If your page outs are zero or very low during normal use, you probably won't see any performance improvement from adding RAM.

    Mac OS X: Reading system memory usage in Activity Monitor
  5. AcesHigh87, Mar 13, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012

    AcesHigh87 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2009
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Use the above instructions to check first but I have a feeling more RAM certainly couldn’t hurt the machine any. The machine can hold up to 8GB of RAM so at least getting it to 4GB would be a good start. An SSD is also a possibility but I highly doubt her usage is enough that the RAM wouldn’t be plenty. Especially given the cost of an SSD.

    Pretty much all 204 pin DDR3 RAM will work but if you want some that’s guaranteed for that machine check out:

    Searching on newegg.com for the same specs will also get you some that will work and usually cheaper. The warranty just isn’t as good.

    Sorry for the long link, hyperlinking won’t work for me for some reason...
  6. illjazz thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2008
    I did look at that when I first went through the performance tips list and the page outs were at 1.20 GB, but that's before a reboot. I didn't think to check after rebooting. It's a good metric. I'll have to check again tomorrow after a fresh reboot and some normal usage.

    An SSD in this case would be a waste of money, honestly. She's the typical computer using mom. Knows barely what she's doing only half the time and her most used app is Google Chrome, closely followed by Skype.

    Two 2 GB sticks of RAM should do the trick. But again, I'll check the page outs first after a reboot.

    Thanks again for your help, everyone!
  7. minifridge1138 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2010
    A SSD would be a waste of money until you find and fix the problem.

    I'm always surprised anyone suggests doing that without diagnosing the problem.

    Imagine your car had a 4 cylinder engine and one day you noticed that it was accelerating poorly and wouldn't go faster than 55 mph. You know that it used to be faster and have no idea why it slowed down.

    Your mechanic says you should put in a V8 to make it go faster.
    Now it goes up to 85 mph

    Did you actually solve the problem?

    Not if a V8 should go 180 mph
  8. AlexJaye macrumors regular

    Jul 13, 2010
    My late 2009 Mac screeched to a halt after installing Lion with 2 GB of ram. When I upgraded to 4 GB, it sped back up to regular speeds. I'd definitely say to try that.
  9. jacob74155 macrumors newbie


    Jul 9, 2015
    just upgrade the ram, i had 2gb of ram, and then upgraded it to 8gb, and it runs like new.
  10. toddzrx macrumors 6502a


    Nov 20, 2012
    I'd make sure that the HD is ok by going to Disk Utility and checking it. That's a 7 year old computer and the HD's plenty old. First symptoms of a dying drive are that it starts getting slow, just like you describe. Make sure you back up the data too.
  11. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    I don't think the OP is still looking for answers 4 years later.
  12. reddrag0n macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2007
    Maybe not, but I myself am buying one of these MacBooks, and the seller who has it is saying the exact same thing, it's running poorly, so i will be cramming 6GB ram in it just to speed it up
  13. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    The RAM will help but an SSD will help even more...even at the reduced SATA speed of that model.
  14. reddrag0n macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2007
    I took out the dual 1gb sticks and put in dual 2gb sticks and the laptop feels 110% faster. No sluggishness in Sierra at all. Still has the original 250gb hard drive fyi

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