Will SSD stop beachballs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by whitedragon101, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. whitedragon101 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #1
    I run a lot of Safari Windows and apps. My system beachballs all the time even though I have 8GB RAM. I suspect its because for some reason OSX loves using the swap file even with RAM available.

    Has anyone had experience of switching to SSD, does it stop the beach-balling?
     
  2. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #2
    i don't want to flat out say yes, considering there could be other variables at play, but on my system I noticed a moderate decrease in beachballs moving from 5400rpm to 7200 and then a near elimination of them when i returned the 7200 for an SSD.
     
  3. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #3
    It depends on the reason behind the beachballing. It won't cure beachballs any more than having kids cures a married couple that don't like each other. If there are problems related to the OS installation, they'll be there whether it's installed on a HDD or an SSD.

    I think you should figure out what's causing the beachballs first. Beachballs aren't the problem; they're a symptom of the problem. Could very well be that the problem is your HDD, but that's something you'll have to figure out.

    If you've got 8GB of RAM, it's hard to believe it's a page-outs issue. Have you run a disk-check to see if your HDD is healthy?
     
  4. satchow macrumors 6502

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    Jul 11, 2011
    #4
    Beach balls would make me pull my hair out when I had an HDD. It was HORRIBLE. Then I got an SSD and I dont think I've been beach balled since.
     
  5. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #5
    Disk utility -> verify = says disk ok

    Swap file = 8.4gb / 9.0gb
    Page ins = 9 million
    page outs = 3.3 million

    Ram = 1.65gb wired, 3.92gb active, 1.42gb inactive, 0.99gb free
     
  6. riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 29, 2011
    #6
    your active is a bit on the high side and is probably the reason for all the page outs. do you have anything besides safari open that might account for high usage?
     
  7. ratzzo macrumors 6502a

    ratzzo

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Madrid
    #7
    Yeah I agree. Beachballing is probably occurring to you because of a memory hog program which is doing an excessive amount of page ins with the hard drive. For 8GB RAM, having 1/3 of page ins seems a bit high. I have 8GB RAM and to put an example, at the moment my system looks like this (MBP Lion, though not all that different from SL):

    Page in - 21.87 GB
    Out - 4.8 MB
    Swap: 22 MB

    Free 4.79GB; Wired 1.11GB; Active 1.60GB; Inactive 518MB; used 3.20 total.

    Are you running many applications simultaneously, use Safari as your main browser, ...?
     
  8. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #8
    Activity Monitor (real memory usage)

    Safari = 2.27gb
    Safari (flash plugin) = 227mb
    Chrome = 198mb
    Netbeans = 190mb
    Skype = 97mb
    Open office = 90mb
    Mail = 87mb
    VLC = 83mb
    Finder = 78mb
    Steam = 72mb
    Text Edit = 48mb
    ICal = 41mb
    Preview = 40b

    The rest is nominal system processes.
     
  9. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #9
    I run a lot of things simultaneously. The above is a very light workload.

    Normal is:

    Safari 20 windows 60 tabs
    Chrome 5 windows 30 tabs
    Dreamweaver 8 tabs
    Open Office 6 docs
    Text Edit 5 docs
    iCal
    VLC
    iTunes
    Mail
    Skype

    with occasional iPhoto, steam, photoshop
     
  10. greythorne macrumors regular

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    Mar 10, 2008
    #10
    get rid of Safari!! it's a memory hog!!

    2.27gb? Safari is a joke!
     
  11. Synergie macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 15, 2011
    Location:
    Halifax, Canada
    #11
    20 Safari windows and 60 tabs open at once!???? I have a hard time keeping track of 4 things open at once!! Why so many things open at the same time? You can't possibly concentrate on that many things at once!
     
  12. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #12
    I have various projects going on at once usually so I use spaces and leave them open so I can quickly flip to them. For web development I may need 10 -12 tabs just to monitor the database and CPanel of just one site.

    This is why I am thinking that maybe an SSD will reduce the beachballs. I have seen others that simply opened a terminal and turned off the page file so OSX has to use real memory. But that sounds a little risky if memory runs out.
     
  13. vitzr macrumors 68030

    vitzr

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #13
    The nature of my work requires I use a lot of tabs for research. Usually i have 60 + open. My new 8GB SSD BTO MBP only displays beachballs in Safari. Therefore, my browser of choice is the latest rev of Opera 11.xx. Next best and a very close second is Chrome. Both of these two are updated very frequently. Opera has improved dramatically over the last six months and I couldn't be happier.

    Hopefully this helps you :)
     
  14. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #14
    Like others have suggested, with that amount of browser tabs, I wouldn't be using Safari. It just doesn't manage memory worth a poop. An SSD would help. Big help.
     
  15. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #15

    Thats very interesting. I never considered that Safari would have poor memory management as Apple make the OS as well you'd think they'd be better at it than anyone.

    Thanks for the heads up.


    I think I'll do a head to head test and see what happens. I'm going to open a lot of identical tabs and windows in:

    Safari
    Chrome
    Firefox
    Opera

    I will report back here on memory usage. Could prove interesting :)
     
  16. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #16
    There is something wrong with what you got. With at least 2 gigs of unused ram, your MacBook should not be swapping or paging out that much.
    What I suggest you do first is disable paging on SL or Lion whichever one you're using first in order to force the system to use all available ram.
     
  17. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #17
    My thoughts exactly. I find it very strange that SL just loves the page file. It starts piling things in there will loads of RAM free. I'm just not sure how OSX will react to turning off the page file completely (i.e if it will do anything nasty or corrupting).
     
  18. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #18
    I performed the head to head test.

    Method

    Restart the MBP (8gb RAM, SL) with only a couple of default programs running (skype, mail, textedit). Copy and paste links into the browser then measure the RAM and swap usage.

    Webpage load = 9 windows 56 tabs

    Results

    1st Place
    Firefox
    531mb RAM

    2nd Place
    Safari
    794mb RAM

    3rd Place
    Opera
    859mb RAM

    4th Place
    Chrome
    1547mb RAM


    Notes : No real page file use was measured. Chrome memory usage was much higher as each tab had its own sand-boxed renderer using between 30-40mb per tab.

    Strangely this is the exact set of tabs that Safari required 2.27gb before the reboot (I had not rebooted for a few weeks). I think after a while memory garbage collection gets confused and gives up.
     
  19. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #19
    That won't quite get to the heart of the matter. Safari's issue is a memory leak (or more specifically a memory suck). Over time it just keeps chomping more and more and more of your memory.

    If you close safari (I mean actually shut down the application) every time you use it, and if you reboot your system every day you'll mitigate the problem. But if you have many windows and many tabs, and you rarely shut down Safari, and if you even more rarely reboot your system. Well....
     
  20. Vader macrumors 65816

    Vader

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Charles, MO
    #20
    If you are opening and closing a lot of tabs, I think Safari caches everything. Using Chrome may help this since each tab is its own thing and will give you back ram when you close a tab.
     
  21. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #21
    Yes that was my note at the bottom :

    "Strangely this is the exact set of tabs that Safari required 2.27gb before the reboot (I had not rebooted for a few weeks). I think after a while memory garbage collection gets confused and gives up."

    I think a test for the long term memory management of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Opera may take a bit more time. I think I'll just try using each for a week or so, check how much memory its using restart and then see the difference for the same tabs.

    Is this known to be an issue with just Safari or is it OSX itself than doesn't clean up the memory for any program?
     
  22. negativzero macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    #22
    turning off the page file is awesome, i've got mine turned off and my MBP is faster cus it doesn't need to retrieve stuff from hard disk all the time.
     
  23. whitedragon101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #23
    Restarting and launching the same apps gets rid of the swap file and cleans up the memory. But there is the hassle of closing and opening everything as it was. Does restarting with resume in Lion give you a fresh RAM profile like a normal restart?
     
  24. Ronnoco macrumors 68030

    Ronnoco

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Location:
    United States of America
    #24
    Guys, if someone could answer this question I'd be very appreciative.
    What are "stuck processes"?
    My 15" i5 MBP is reporting 79 processes: 2running, 3 "stuck", 74 sleeping with 401 threads...
    :confused:
     
  25. holmesf macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    #25
    To inject a little bit of technical knowledge into the thread:

    Mac applications are centered around something called the "run loop". The run loop handles input which comes from timers, mouse clicks, key presses, etc, passes control the application which typically does some computation and then passes control back to the run loop. The "beach ball" appears whenever an application takes more than a few seconds to pass control back to the run loop. This can happen for example when an application has entered an infinite loop, is waiting on data from the hard disk, or is simply doing an inordinately long computation which should have been moved off the main thread.

    Often times this is the application programmer's fault: they wrote inefficient software or they failed to move long computations or blocking operations on the main thread.

    As a user a number of things can be done to help remedy it, but it depends on the cause. Long computations -> get a faster CPU. Lots of paging from RAM to DISK -> get more RAM. Waiting on hard disk -> get a faster RPM higher capacity drive or an SSD.
     

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