Will a faster hdd solve my beachball problem?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by acuriouslad, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. acuriouslad macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2008
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    Australia
    #1
    I have a Macbook Pro 15' i5 2.4ghz, that I only bought in June. I have VMware running constantly never turn it off as I always use the Microsoft Office 2010, it's running Windows 7 Professional 32-bit, from bootcamp. I run Win 7 in it's own space in full screen and often notice problems with choppy graphics when going back to iTunes from VMware and trying to scroll through album art, but the most annoying part is that I often get the cursor turning into a beachball fairly regularly, and it is very annoying. I was just wondering if there where anyways I could improve the speed and reliability of using VMware as people say that it is quite quick but I seem to find it a bit sluggish; as I already have 4Gb or RAM I thought that is might have to do with the speed of my hdd as it is only 5400rpm.

    Do you think if i was to upgrade my hdd it would improve the performance of my mac?
     
  2. thunderboltspro macrumors regular

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    Oct 4, 2009
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    Midwest
    #2
    No,You need more ram.
    Your page outs should be extremely lower then your page ins on your activity monitor.
     
  3. acuriouslad thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    Thank you for replying so quick :)

    Well the theoretical RAM limit of my Macbook Pro is 8Gb and I want to hopefully allow for a little more expansion later on if possible, so can you get 3Gb Ram modules? Also if it's not too much explain why should page in be so much lower than page outs?

    Thanks once again
     
  4. thunderboltspro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest
    #4
    I can only find 4gigs of ram so that is your best bet.
    you are running multiply operation systems, which take a certain amount of ram plus you are running applications. Basically you are choking your laptop. Basically page outs is when you run out of ram and it switches to using your hardrive, which is way slower. Page in are when ram is changed from inactive ram to active ram.


    more info on mac memory.
    1. all memory in OS X is "virtual". Some of that virtual memory is in RAM, some in system and application files on the hard drive, and some may be in swapfiles
    2. Wired RAM is memory that is pernamently "locked" by the OS and cannot be made inactive or moved to swapfiles. It must be there for the operation of the OS
    3. Active RAM is memory that is currently in use by either the system or an application.
    4. Inactive RAM may be thought of as a first stage swapfile. It contains instructions and data that are not currently in use within the OS or an application, but is left in RAM in the event it is needed again. If more Active RAM is needed, the Inactive RAM will be reassigned and if it contains data for a currently open application, that data will be rolled out to a swapfile. Otherwise the memory will simply be overwritten.
    5. Free RAM is just that. It is RAM that is currently not mapped into Wired, Active, or Inactive RAM. If more Active RAM is needed, the Free RAM will be the first to be remapped into Active status.
    6. Swapfiles are used to contain data being used by currently open applications for which there is currently no room in either Active or Inactive RAM
    7. System resources, fonts, application files, frameworks (shared libraries) are mapped into the virtual memory address space for each application whether they are in Wired, RAM Active RAM, Inactive, RAM, or in files on the HD, but these resources are never placed in the swapfile(s) because they are already available on the hard drive and there is no point in duplicating the code.
    8. Pageins occur anytime something is moved into Active RAM whether that is from Inactive RAM, the swapfile(s), or another file on the hard drive.
    9. Pagouts occur anytime anything is moved out of Active RAM which includes mapping into Inactive RAM, as well as writing to a Swapfile. Only data is ever written to the hard drive since instructions are already on the hard drive.
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    You could upgrade only one of your RAM sticks to a 4 GB module to get 6 GB... However prices are good now so you might as well go to 8 GB right away.

    B
     
  6. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #6
    I'm not convinced you need more RAM. Can you be clearer about your setup?

    You say:
    So are you running Windows 7 in VMWare inside OSX, or are you running Windows 7 from boot camp?

    Assuming you are running it in VMWare in OSX, what applications are you running in Windows, and what applications are you running in OSX? How is your memory being used in OSX? How much RAM do you have given to the Win7 guest OS?

    There are a lot of performance issues that can arise in a virtual environment that have to do with the VM configuration - especially graphics issues. I would check this out first. Unless you are doing some heavy lifting in either Windows or OSX, 4GB should be just fine for a basic VM.

    Edit: The most important factors for good VM performance (assuming there are no configuration issues) are RAM, multiple-core cpu, and HDD speed. I run a VM on my 4gb Lenovo laptop regularly, and the SSD made the biggest performance improvement since moving to a multiple-core processor - perhaps even bigger than that.
     
  7. MacSignal macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #7
    From previously checking out VirtualBox, I remember reading that one common set-up mistake is to allocate too much RAM to the virtual machine which consequently chokes the primary OS. You might try experimenting with your memory allocation to see if that improves the situation.

    If it takes more hardware to get better results, I would agree with the other posters that additional RAM will help more than a faster HD. Good luck!
     
  8. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

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    #8
    The only exception is going from a slow HDD to a fast SSD. As zhenya pointed out that can have a huge effect. Certainly going from a 5400->7200 rpm HDD will not have that kind of effect.

    B
     
  9. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    #9
    Windows 7 is resource intensive. XP much better for VMWare.

    Beachball is accessing harddrive, so SSD or try lowering VMware memory set for the virtual machine first.
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    Jan 6, 2005
    #10
    Not to the point that it matters on a modern machine. XP pretty much requires 512mb RAM and a 1ghz processor if you want SP3 and want to actually do anything with the system. Windows 7 requires about the same.
     
  11. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #11
    I agree. You would just end up spending extra money upgrading twice, so you might as well just go to 8GB now, especially since prices are very good.
     
  12. acuriouslad thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #12

    Well I have been really busy sorry for the late reply thunderboltspro, I just got back to my mac and it has 3.26GB in Page Ins and 934.9MB in Page Outs. I will definately consider upgrading RAM if this is the most problematic point on my system.



    Thanks for you suggestion :) I have heard that having to of the same modules however creates a better xperience like two 2GB sticks for eg.





    Sorry if I wasn't clear enough zhenya, I am running Win 7 Professional under OSX using VMware fusion 3.1 I put bootcamp on there in case having a partitioned hdd maybe of some sort of disadvantage as that is where I am drawing the Win 7 from. I run iTunes, SAfari and preview frequently, iPhoto whenever I sync my iPhone and a couple of smaller application like BetterTouchTool and Caffine. In windows I run Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Messenger and Office 2010, thats all. I have given the host 2 Processors and 1024MB of RAM, just a note to one of the comments above as I have professional it recommends 1GB unlike XP which only recommends 512MB. How is my memory being used? I'm sorry I don't understand. I have my graphics set to power save or automatic switching through my Mac.

    Thanks all for your input greatly appreciated.
     
  13. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #13
    Ok, I think I understand better - you have a Boot Camp partition, but boot that partition from VMWare within OSX. I did not know that was possible, but given that your usage is extremely light, I would consider the possibility that VMWare does not perform as well in that configuration as launching a virtual disk directly.

    In fact, I've done a bit of research for you, and it appears that this in fact, is often the case - see http://communities.vmware.com/message/622351

    You can check how your RAM is allocated in OSX through Activity Monitor - http://support.apple.com/kb/ht1342
    What you want to look at is how much Free system memory you have when you are using VMWare and all programs are launched. If there is plenty of Free memory, you don't need more RAM, and that's not where your bottleneck is. Some number of Paging will occur no matter how much RAM you have, so you can't go by that number alone.

    It's possible that Windows would benefit from more RAM, and that would be an easy thing to try, but I'd be willing to bet that your issue is running VMWare from Boot Camp, and the slow disk access caused by the translation necessary. If that's the case, a SSD would probably improve things greatly, but you could probably realize a major improvement by converting your Boot Camp partition to a VMWare disk.
     
  14. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    New England
    #14
    You also need to make sure that the VM isn't RAM limited at 1GB. If it's swapping out to disk that will also cause a major slowdown which could be alleviated by increasing the RAM allocated to the VM and also by increasing the system RAM. You can check this using Performance Monitor in your VM and look for Memory, Committed Bytes:
    If you starve either the VM or the host of RAM performance will degrade rapidly.

    B
     
  15. acuriouslad thread starter macrumors regular

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    Sep 28, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    Thanks for your info balamw, I'll look into it :)



    I may make a copy of my bootcamp into a virtual machine for VMware and see if the performance improves. Bootcamp is ultimately not my big issue as I like to use them side by side and thus having it completely virtual through VMware and located on my Mac disk may make my life better :) Thanks for your help zhenya
     

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