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HELP! New MBP runs very choppy on battery

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So, I have a new 13 inch 2011 MBP and for some reason, when I unplug the AC charger it completely bogs down. Plugged in it runs like a champ, but becomes almost un-usable on battery power. I have tried resetting the SMC, clearing the cache, repairing permissions and anything else I can think to try. It doesn't always happen and of course when I take it to Apple, I can never seem to replicate the problem. Anyone have any ideas? Thanks
post #2 of 14
Someone else had a similar issue here:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=128323

they noticed it after a logic board replacement. What kind of slowdown do you notice, is it graphics lag, process hangs, beach-ball showing a lot? Also, does the issue immediately correct itself on plugging in the AC adaptor or does it take a while to go back to normal?
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

Someone else had a similar issue here:

http://forums.appleinsider.com/showthread.php?t=128323

they noticed it after a logic board replacement. What kind of slowdown do you notice, is it graphics lag, process hangs, beach-ball showing a lot? Also, does the issue immediately correct itself on plugging in the AC adaptor or does it take a while to go back to normal?

Mostly just a graphics lag, very choppy dock animations and just an overall drastic performance slowdown. Yes, it immediately corrects itself upon charger connection, and I had made no modifications prior to it happening the first time. Since then, the only addition has been an upgrade to a 750gb hdd.

On an additional note, it doesn't seem to be as bad when I am running in safe mode. Obviously in safe mode the performance degrades, but it seems to be no worse when I unplug the charger.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

Mostly just a graphics lag, very choppy dock animations and just an overall drastic performance slowdown. Yes, it immediately corrects itself upon charger connection, and I had made no modifications prior to it happening the first time. Since then, the only addition has been an upgrade to a 750gb hdd.

On an additional note, it doesn't seem to be as bad when I am running in safe mode. Obviously in safe mode the performance degrades, but it seems to be no worse when I unplug the charger.

That's interesting because in safe mode, the graphics drivers are disabled so the graphics chip isn't being used. Perhaps on switching to battery power, it's trying to switch your GPU and failing and reverting to some software graphics mode.

If you go into system prefs > energy saver, is there a checkbox to disable automatic graphics switching? If so, try unchecking it and test jumping between AC and battery.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

That's interesting because in safe mode, the graphics drivers are disabled so the graphics chip isn't being used. Perhaps on switching to battery power, it's trying to switch your GPU and failing and reverting to some software graphics mode.

If you go into system prefs > energy saver, is there a checkbox to disable automatic graphics switching? If so, try unchecking it and test jumping between AC and battery.

No, there is no checkbox. I am wondering if I should restore my machine to the way it was when I bought it, and see if it was a piece of software I installed.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

No, there is no checkbox. I am wondering if I should restore my machine to the way it was when I bought it, and see if it was a piece of software I installed.

I just noticed, it wouldn't show on your machine as the 13" MBP only has one GPU, which rules out graphics switching. Can you try running Cinebench from here:

http://www.maxon.net/downloads/cineb...bench-115.html

and run both the OpenGL and CPU tests while plugged in and while on battery and note the scores.

If the problem is GPU related, I'd expect the CPU scores to be nearly the same and the GPU scores to be significantly different.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

I just noticed, it wouldn't show on your machine as the 13" MBP only has one GPU, which rules out graphics switching. Can you try running Cinebench from here:

http://www.maxon.net/downloads/cineb...bench-115.html

and run both the OpenGL and CPU tests while plugged in and while on battery and note the scores.

If the problem is GPU related, I'd expect the CPU scores to be nearly the same and the GPU scores to be significantly different.

Ok, so I downloaded and ran the program and t gave me the following info:

Open GL score - 12.32fps
CPU score - 2.58pts

I ran both tests unplugged (on battery) and plugged in, and received the same numbers on each test.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

I ran both tests unplugged (on battery) and plugged in, and received the same numbers on each test.

It's strange that only the OS X UI is affected and not the OpenGL performance. I wonder if it's Quartz that's messing up. There is a benchmark app called XBench here:

http://www.xbench.com/

Just leave the 3 right-most checkboxes checked and run them on both battery and AC. It tests the Mac UI drawing performance. Check if the Quartz and refresh scores differ for each.

If you load up your console in /Applications/Utilities, are any messages being logged whenever you switch over to battery power?
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

It's strange that only the OS X UI is affected and not the OpenGL performance. I wonder if it's Quartz that's messing up. There is a benchmark app called XBench here:

http://www.xbench.com/

Just leave the 3 right-most checkboxes checked and run them on both battery and AC. It tests the Mac UI drawing performance. Check if the Quartz and refresh scores differ for each.

If you load up your console in /Applications/Utilities, are any messages being logged whenever you switch over to battery power?

Ok, I have run the XBench software and have the following results:

Overall score on charger was 176.51 - Quartz 347.44

Overall score on battery was 95.67 - Quartz 325.52

I did not see anything for "refresh"

Does this seem to help any or at least begin to find where the problem is? I also looked in Console, and see messages, but they mostly seem to pertain to failed back-ups, etc. Nothing that really jumps out at me. Is there something specific I should be looking for?
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

Ok, I have run the XBench software and have the following results:

Overall score on charger was 176.51 - Quartz 347.44

Overall score on battery was 95.67 - Quartz 325.52

I did not see anything for "refresh"

On the right column, there is a user interface score with Krefresh/sec (thousands of refreshes per second). Your overall score has nearly halved on battery so one of the tests you ran has degraded significantly. Since the Quartz scores haven't gone down much, I suspect either the OpenGL test or User Interface Test must have lower scores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

Does this seem to help any or at least begin to find where the problem is? I also looked in Console, and see messages, but they mostly seem to pertain to failed back-ups, etc. Nothing that really jumps out at me. Is there something specific I should be looking for?

These tests help eliminate where the problem isn't. In safe mode with no kernel extensions (no graphics) and the performance being the same on battery or AC suggests that there's a driver or hardware issue and something that isn't repaired by rebuilding your kernel extension cache (something that safe boot does).

Doing the CPU tests and finding it's the same eliminates it from being an issue. Likewise with the OpenGL test regarding the GPU driver.

Quartz is a separate driver so could have been at fault but the quartz test showed no significant downgrading. If the OpenGL score degraded in XBench, it may still be the GPU. If it's just the UI refresh, that could be harder to track down but you can try doing an archive install to restore your system folder and extensions. If it behaves the same, it may be a hardware fault and would have to be taken to an Apple Store for repair.

The console is the system's error logging system - if you pull the left side of the window, you can see all of the log files. You should look for any logged messages on switching from AC to battery. If the system was aware of a failure, it would report a kernel message.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

On the right column, there is a user interface score with Krefresh/sec (thousands of refreshes per second). Your overall score has nearly halved on battery so one of the tests you ran has degraded significantly. Since the Quartz scores haven't gone down much, I suspect either the OpenGL test or User Interface Test must have lower scores.



These tests help eliminate where the problem isn't. In safe mode with no kernel extensions (no graphics) and the performance being the same on battery or AC suggests that there's a driver or hardware issue and something that isn't repaired by rebuilding your kernel extension cache (something that safe boot does).

Doing the CPU tests and finding it's the same eliminates it from being an issue. Likewise with the OpenGL test regarding the GPU driver.

Quartz is a separate driver so could have been at fault but the quartz test showed no significant downgrading. If the OpenGL score degraded in XBench, it may still be the GPU. If it's just the UI refresh, that could be harder to track down but you can try doing an archive install to restore your system folder and extensions. If it behaves the same, it may be a hardware fault and would have to be taken to an Apple Store for repair.

The console is the system's error logging system - if you pull the left side of the window, you can see all of the log files. You should look for any logged messages on switching from AC to battery. If the system was aware of a failure, it would report a kernel message.

Not sure if it means anything, but I did get this message tonight when I restarted my machine:


8/7/11 8:44:09.668 PM [0x0-0x7007].com.apple.iTunes: The plugin 'Quartz Composer Visualizer' failed to load because it has the wrong CPU architecture for this version of iTunes. (3585)
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

Not sure if it means anything, but I did get this message tonight when I restarted my machine:

8/7/11 8:44:09.668 PM [0x0-0x7007].com.apple.iTunes: The plugin 'Quartz Composer Visualizer' failed to load because it has the wrong CPU architecture for this version of iTunes. (3585)

You possibly migrated an older plugin over. PowerPC code won't work on the newer machines but this wouldn't cause the slowdown.

If you run the 3 graphics tests in XBench separately on and off battery, that will let you see which one is taking the largest hit. It seems that the last time you ran the test, Quartz didn't take a huge hit jumping from AC to battery.

If OpenGL isn't taking a hit either, that leaves the User Interface Test, which would mean that although the UI is using Quartz and OpenGL, those drivers probably aren't at fault.

You can try doing an archive install to restore all drivers to save trying to find which one if any is to blame. It could well be a hardware fault though in which case any software fixes won't help.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post

You possibly migrated an older plugin over. PowerPC code won't work on the newer machines but this wouldn't cause the slowdown.

If you run the 3 graphics tests in XBench separately on and off battery, that will let you see which one is taking the largest hit. It seems that the last time you ran the test, Quartz didn't take a huge hit jumping from AC to battery.

If OpenGL isn't taking a hit either, that leaves the User Interface Test, which would mean that although the UI is using Quartz and OpenGL, those drivers probably aren't at fault.

You can try doing an archive install to restore all drivers to save trying to find which one if any is to blame. It could well be a hardware fault though in which case any software fixes won't help.

So, I finally went into the Apple store and they had it diagnosed in 10 minutes - bad main logic board. They told me it would be 3-5 days, however they emailed me 6 hours later and said it was ready for pickup. Runs like the day I got it now, and I am super happy with Apple's service.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by escaplen View Post

So, I finally went into the Apple store and they had it diagnosed in 10 minutes - bad main logic board. They told me it would be 3-5 days, however they emailed me 6 hours later and said it was ready for pickup. Runs like the day I got it now, and I am super happy with Apple's service.

Good to hear it's all sorted out. Very strange behaviour from a bad motherboard. Thanks for updating the thread so that other people with this issue will know what to do.
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