Terrible performance on Mountain Lion

in Genius Bar edited January 2014

I got a hand me down mid 2009 MacBook which is Mountain Lion compatible, so I decided to install Mountain Lion on it. The system was using Lion and it was quite quick. After putting on ML I'm getting spinning beach balls, apps are taking tens of seconds to load, etc. etc.


The performance was so bad I thought maybe the hard drive coincidentally had gone bad, so I ran some tests on the drive using Scannerz. Scannerz pretty much came back saying "you're drive is fine." I thought maybe the permissions were screwed up, so I repaired them using Disk Utility. I tried resetting SMC and NVRAM thinking that would help but it didn't.


Can this system really support Mountain Lion?


  • Reply 1 of 5

    Amount of RAM?

  • Reply 2 of 5

    I did a Google on "Scannerz" to see what they'd say just for kicks, and they have a page that might be of value to you about Mountain Lion performance. Here's the link:


    http://www.scsc-online.com/Activity Monitor.html


    Nice little tutorial on using Activity Monitor. That isn't just limited to Mountain Lion either. They focus on the mds process and mdworker threads (i.e. Spotlight). Take a look at it if you haven't already.


    That said, like the other guy said - memory. Free disk space will also be a problem if it's limited. I've found ML to be pretty abysmal with 2GB of RAM. I'd consider 4GB the bare minimum. I know other people running ML on MacBooks like that without any problem

  • Reply 3 of 5

    The amount of RAM is 4GB.


    I took a look at the Activity Monitor page linked above and discovered Spotlight has been indexing and indexing a large (1.5TB) external drive I have connected to my system.


    I'll be a little more patient and see if the problem continues. If it does, I'll be back, but for now I'll consider this problem resolved.

  • Reply 4 of 5

    Hey friend, I might not know too much about about OS X, but I was a PC gurue before I switched to my air, and trust me I'm running Mountain Lion on a mba 2010 1.3ghz 2gb ram is slow as hell, but I'm fine with it. I know its RAM issue for me but everything runs pretty smooth long as I don't have FLASH or HTML5 running (eats ram like crazy)


    This is my suggestion if you decide not to read the top part.

    Buy SSD. It sounds like you have problem with your current HDD. It's okay everybody does because the amount of speed that most OS runs these days just to boot is retarded. 


    You can just mirror your current drive and dont and have to reinstall everything unless thats what you want.

    Mirroring is very simple, google it and there are steps to follow

    One thing I will recommend that you need to have is HDD (any SATA ports and IDE port) USB connector, because it will be required to mirror!


    SSD should be a long term fix and RAM do so much in managing the OS, these days SSD are very cheap and you shouldn't have any problems snatching a good one. 

  • Reply 5 of 5

    The same site that "MaddogTurbo" linked has a product named SpotOff that might help you. You can enable/disable Spotlight on demand with it. I think the way it's supposed to work (check their website, I'm doing this from memory) is that when Spotlight decides to turn on at an inconvenient time, you use SpotOff to turn it off. Then when you have time to let Spotlight indexing do it's thing, you turn it back on again. It supposedly doesn't stop you from doing Spotlight searches, it just prevents it from doing updates, so you can still use Spotlight, just not on anything you've added to your system recently.


    I may buy the product because I have a MacBook Pro and with ML when it kicks on the system slows down and gets a little too hot. Plus it's cheap.


    Regarding relying on SSDs while using limited memory, I don't know if that's a good idea. SSDs have limited write cycles and the write cycles are going to be wasted on such a system because you're going to end up writing a lot of temp files as swap/page outs. However, I've run ML on a 4GB system I wouldn't think that would be much of a problem.


    It should be interesting to see how long SSDs actually last before they suffer from write cycle depletion. I know manufactures are now claiming they'll last a long time, but they also claim HDs last a ka-billion years before failing.

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