Why does my new 2012 15" cMBP seem slower than my old 2009 13"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by luis.s, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. luis.s, Jun 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2013

    luis.s macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    New Zealand
    I recently upgraded from a mid 2009 13" cMBP (with a liquid damaged keyboard) to a refurbished base 2012 15" cMBP off the Apple website. I'm really happy with the laptop, especially having a working keyboard and power button :p. In general it's been a big improvement, especially gaming in boot camp. However, in my general day to day usage on OS X, it often feels slower than my old one. I often get beachballs for a few seconds at a time, especially in Safari. Otherwise it just feels a bit stuttery sometimes.

    Old specs:
    13" mid 2009
    C2D 2.26 Ghz
    8GB RAM aftermarket
    500GB 7200rpm WD Scorpio Black aftermarket
    Nvidia 9400m

    New specs:
    15" mid 2012 non-retina
    i7 QC 2.3 Ghz
    4GB RAM
    500GB 5400rpm stock
    Nvidia GT 650m 512mb + HD 4000

    I have a feeling it might be the RAM, but wondered if there was anything else that might be a problem.

    In my typical OS X usage I leave the following open at the same time:
    Safari with roughly 5-10 tabs
    often preview with a pdf or two

    To me it seems like 4GB would be enough for this.

    On top of those I sometimes run guitar amp/effects modelling software and/or GarageBand.

    Is the decreased RAM the likely culprit for slower performance, or could there be something else going on? I don't want to just upgrade the RAM if it wont make much of a difference, especially considering 8GB costs more than when I upgraded my old one in 2011.

    Typical RAM usage from activity monitor has a small sliver of free, with roughly a third between wired, active and inactive. I've never completely understood if inactive can should be thought of as used or unused.
  2. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Could be the RAM or the slower drive.
    If you aren't seeing a lot of page outs, perhaps the later.
  3. luis.s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    New Zealand
    Thanks for the reply.

    I didn't notice that much of a difference between the stock drive and the 7200rpm when I upgraded my old one.

    Currently in activity monitor it has Page ins: 4.93 GB and Page outs: 2.02 GB. is that considered "a lot"?
  4. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    I'm a newbie a far as OS X goes, but if any of the Unix/Linux servers I work with were paging out like that (we are talking 50% of physical RAM here), I'd call it a lot.

    Do a search for "mac page outs" and you should find some more pages and discussions with examples. If it were mine I'd get more RAM.
  5. Yahooligan macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2011
    That is indeed quite a lot, but it also depends on how long it's been since the last boot (What is the laptop's uptime?). 2GB over the course of an hour is a lot, 2GB over 2 weeks isn't as bad but it's still "bad."

    The 5400RPM drive isn't doing you any favors either, memory that gets paged in lands on the drive. Memory paged out is read from the drive. The OS is basically using the drive as memory because it doesn't have enough to do everything you want, so it has to make choices about what to keep in physical memory and what to page out. Since you have less memory and a slower HDD that is a double whammy. The beachballs are likely happening as the OS pulls the pages off the disk and back into memory.

    Memory is cheap, so I would either upgrade to 8GB or 16GB. Memory is cheap, so if you think you might need it then now's the time to jump to 16GB.

    For reference, my 16GB cMBP has been up for 11.5 days and has only paged out 9MB.
  6. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
  7. luis.s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    New Zealand
    Thanks for the explanation of page outs, it's much simpler than what I found by googling.

    I last restarted my laptop nearly 24 hours ago switching back from windows. Page outs are now at 2.26 GB. The laptop has probably been awake for 4 or 5 hours in that time.

    I think I will upgrade the ram, I was slightly concerned about going from 8 to 4 GB when I bought it, but figured I would use it for a bit and see if it was enough. Looks like it's not. I guess now the decision is whether to get 8 or 16. Not sure if I can justify the money for 16. The best prices I have found are about NZ$90 (US$70) for 2x4GB and NZ$170 (US$133) for 2x8GB.

    As for 5400rpm vs 7200prm, I didn't notice much of a difference when I switched on my last laptop. At the time it was running on 2 GB of RAM. Maybe my usage was less then.
  8. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    Where are you looking to get your RAM in New Zealand?

    I'm in NZ too and considering ordering direct from Crucial, who seem to have a good reputation for Mac memory. I'm also running 4GB and plan to run some virtual machines, so I think I'm going to need more than that soon.
  9. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Were you using ML on the old laptop? ML (and the latest version of L) hog more RAM than SL or the earliest versions of L.

    2GB of page-outs in a day is A LOT. You really need the RAM. You'll probably be fine with 8GB, unless you also run Windows in a VM, in which case I'd recommend 16GB. I bought 16GB of Corsair from Amazon US for $59 on sale. Note that you don't need "mac-specific" RAM, just make sure that it's the same spec as what you have.

    Also, either a hybrid or an SSD will make a big difference too. After going with a hybrid in the uMPB-15, the old 5400rpm HDD in the kids' iMac feels like a 3.5" floppy!

  10. MikesGravity macrumors 6502

    Oct 29, 2008
    Southeast MI
    My guess would be

    A.) You didn't have ML on the old computer and ML seems slower than say Snow Leopard for some stupid reason.

    B.) You aren't used to the automatic graphic card switching since the 13" only had an integrated card.
  11. Interstella5555 macrumors 603


    Jun 30, 2008
    4GB RAM
    500GB 5400rpm stock

    You're halving the memory and your HDD is running at 5400rpm rather than 7200 RPM. The processor upgrade can only do so much, and to be honest I've never seen anyone upgrade their overall machine while downgrading those components.
  12. luis.s, Jun 27, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013

    luis.s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2010
    New Zealand
    I just checked PriceSpy and new items on TradeMe to get an idea of prices, I don't know what particular retailer yet. Last time I bought it off OWC, even shipping from the US it was cheaper, but this time it doesn't seem to be the case.

    That's a good point, I was running Snow Leopard on my 13" when it had 2 GB. I upgraded to Lion when it came out, and that's when I started to notice slowdowns (especially when the dock process used all the available RAM, never figured out what was up with that) and upgraded to 8 GB, as RAM was so cheap then. Lion > Mountain Lion improved performance if anything.

    For non-graphics intensive tasks, I would have thought the graphics chip only affects power consumption, not performance. I just have it set to the default automatic switching.

    And I would buy 16gb for US$59 without evening thinking about it. I haven't seen anything cheaper than US$120 that is eligible for International shipping on Amazon though. I could wait for a sale, but it seems the general consensus of the internet is RAM prices are only going up in the near future.

    500GB is the bare minimum for me, and SSDs of that size are out of my price range. Hybrid drive could be a good compromise though. Or a small SSD in the optical drive for the OS.

    I factored in the cost of potentially upgrading RAM and HDD on this machine, and I still felt it was the best value for money for me. For some reason the base 2012 15" cMBP is much more heavily discounted on the NZ refurb store. It was NZ$2069 vs NZ$2799 for the 2.6/8GB/750GB/1 GB GT 650m model. So even if I spend NZ$300 upgrading RAM and HDD to 16GB and 1TB 5400rpm or 750GB 7200rpm (which is more than it will probably cost me) that would be NZ$430 (~US$334) for 0.3 Ghz processor, 512mb VRAM and less RAM and HDD.

    Thanks again everyone for you replies, and sorry for my long ones! :)
  13. mudsoma macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2008
    New computer slower than old?

    It's due to software bloat. ML needs like 2 gb of ram to function normally leaving only scraps for actual applications
  14. torana355 Suspended

    Dec 8, 2009
    Sydney, Australia
    I would upgrade the HDD to an SSD, im running 4GB or ram on my 2011 MBA and it flys.
  15. iRacer macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2010
    Have you tried PB Technologies? I bought a Kingston 8gb (2x4mb) 1066Mhz kit from them for under $100 during one of their sales. It looks like their ram prices have gone up quite a bit, as the same kit is now $160.

    1 x 8gb Kingston ram is $125.

    NZ Post now offer a new service, where you buy stuff in the US and get it shipped to an address in the US and they then on ship it to NZ. The website below has all of the details.

  16. TRAV9614, Jun 27, 2013
    Last edited: May 15, 2017
  17. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    You definitely need more memory. If you only run Mac apps then 8 gb should be enough. Only time I get page outs is when I run Windows in Parallels. If I get stuck running Windows more due to a possible project, I plan to upgrade to 16.

    A SSD makes a huge difference. It has been the best upgrade I've ever made to a computer. I will never buy another computer without one.

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