View Full Version : Black Macbook running sloooowwww

4th June 2014, 05:13 PM
My who-knows-how-old C2D Macbook is old dog slow at the moment. Always giving me the spinning pin wheel of death when opening iphoto, Notebook (software that drives the SmartBoards at work) or heaven forbid I open photoshop!

I'd love to buy a new one, but not at the moment. Would adding more RAM help? I have about 20GB free on the HDD and istat nano says I have 53mb of free ram and 583 inactive (whatever that means) out of 2gb.

Any advice?

4th June 2014, 06:19 PM
Will caveat with not a Tech and sure someone on here who is will answer but my first thought is also the HDD may not be going well. The applications you noted are often heavy users of the HDD as well. As a first step I would back it up (even just time machine it).

How is the boot up time?

Overall more memory would help but if the HDD is the issue it would't solve it.

5th June 2014, 07:15 AM
Back up and restore onto an SSD, then pop that in for your current hard drive. You'll get much more noticeable gains in speed rather than upgrading the RAM. Depending on the age of your machine, you may only be able to have up to 3GB of RAM anyway.

5th June 2014, 08:02 AM
Put 6GB of ram (Depending on your Macbook model) and an SSD in and you'll notice a massive improvement.

15th July 2014, 10:43 AM
New non-NAND SSDs such as the Crucial MX100 can be had in large capacity 256gb for under $200. Once you've done that put 4GB of RAM in and upgrade to the latest OS you can support. In your case I'm pretty sure it's 10.6.8 which is fine, just don't use Safari as there's no updates for it.

15th July 2014, 01:47 PM
If you still love using it I'd buy some more RAM and a (cheaper) mechanical HD, as a SSD wouldn't really harness much "power" in a lowly Macbook. As it can't be upgraded past Lion (10.7), and is probably worth $200 as it I wouldn't spend much on it and save for a new portable.

15th July 2014, 06:33 PM
The thing you do by replacing the hard drive is remove the hard drive bottleneck. If you're coming from an old mac with a 5400rpm hard drive it'll be noticeable and its not a wasted upgrade when you can put it in your new mac. I agree it might not fix the problem overall, but it will get rid of the beach balls. It's just the fact right now that drives are extraordinarily cheap that you can treat a large capacity solid state drive as a consumable.

15th July 2014, 08:31 PM
When it comes to free HDD space, I find machines tend to get antsy when you drop much below 20% free and can become a nightmare below 10% due to fragmentation of files, especially with an old slow mechanical drive. How big is the current drive?

As I think has been hinted at, investing in an SSD and a RAM upgrade would give you the best chance of prolonging the life of the machine. BUT they also represent a large proportion of the machines current net worth unless you can pick them up cheap and/or second hand. (Note you could also use an optibay to replace the optical drive with a second HDD if you were so inclined).

(of course the drive itself could be failing)

Obviously the free solution is a clean install and hope for the best.

If you have the time and a spare HDD laying around you could pop out the current one and do a clean install and see if that significantly speeds things up (the spare drives means you don't need to spend the time backing stuff up just yet... not that backing up is ever a bad thing).

19th July 2014, 08:11 AM
Got offered a MBA at a very stupidly cheap price so I went that option and am starting a clean slate and not putting too much crap on it. The MBA is almost perfect for what I need to do on it which is mostly word processing, youtube and some power point type presentations.