General computer slowness - troubleshooting?

Posted:
in Genius Bar edited January 2014
I have a 1.5 GHz 15" PowerBook G4 with an 80 GB drive and 2 GB of RAM. One thing I've noticed every so often - and lately more than usual - is that after some use, certain parts of the UI will slow down quite noticeably. Here's an example:



If I do a clean boot and open Mail, iChat, iTunes, and Safari, it takes about 15 minutes of light browsing before things slow down. This is most evident with visual effects, for instance, minimizing apps, invoking Dashboard or Expose, or even just mousing over the dock. These things render at maybe 1 fps, skipping through and showing maybe 2 or 3 frames instead of gliding smoothly. Switching applications also slows down, as does clicking on basic UI elements (menus, buttons, lists..) Even typing gets sluggish.



The weird thing is, Activity Monitor shows a CPU load between 10 and 30%, with no spikes. I have half a GB of available RAM and 30 GB of free space on my drive.



This is not an entirely subjective drop in performance as my 2 roommates also have G4 machines (an older PowerMac and a 12" PowerBook from the same series as mine) and working on theirs feels much faster, even on the 12" with 512 MB of RAM. I have more Adobe apps (all of CS2) but they have others (video-editing apps mostly).



So, what's going on? What would you try cleaning up? I try to care really good care of my machine so I'm out of obvious ideas.



Thanks!

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    How many fonts do you have active?



    Are you using Suitcase or Font Book etc.?
  • Reply 2 of 7
    I have about 30 fonts on top of the default set. I'm using Font Explorer X.
  • Reply 3 of 7
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    If the default set is the basic seven system fonts, then 37 fonts isn't ideal but it isn't unrealistic either.



    The only reason I ask about fonts is that the ATSServer is responsible for proving type to all of the applications and if you have a large number of fonts open, or a font that's playing up, it will have system-wide repercussions.



    By far the most common cause of performance degradation that I see on a daily basis is designers who open up loads of fonts and leave them open after they've finished with them.



    But it sounds as though your problem lies elsewhere... \
  • Reply 4 of 7
    I doubt that it's the fonts - the ATSServer is at 0% CPU and 16 MB of real memory even during slowdown times.



    That's the one thing that has me worried - nothing appears to be hogging my resources when this happens, and even if I quit all processes (except for the necessary ones) the sluggishness persists until I reboot.



    I've run all the disk utilities I can think of and they found no problems. I'm wondering if it might be a problem with RAM freaking out. The other day OS X acted goofy all of a sudden, drawing only parts of windows and forgetting to redraw. This has happened only a few times, but the slow-motion visuals happen every now and then.



    Right now it's been running smoothly for about two days. Oh well.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,673member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nevenmrgan View Post


    I doubt that it's the fonts - the ATSServer is at 0% CPU and 16 MB of real memory even during slowdown times.



    That's the one thing that has me worried - nothing appears to be hogging my resources when this happens, and even if I quit all processes (except for the necessary ones) the sluggishness persists until I reboot.



    I've run all the disk utilities I can think of and they found no problems. I'm wondering if it might be a problem with RAM freaking out. The other day OS X acted goofy all of a sudden, drawing only parts of windows and forgetting to redraw. This has happened only a few times, but the slow-motion visuals happen every now and then.



    Right now it's been running smoothly for about two days. Oh well.



    My ex-wife had some similar problems with an ibook. It turned out that it was the HDD failing. I tried reinstalling, disk utilities, etc. Once I replaced the drive it was fine. I would back up your data right now and consider replacing the drive.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    You aren't running any third party software like Shapeshifter are you?
  • Reply 7 of 7
    messiahmessiah Posts: 1,689member
    Do you have any iDisks mounted? And if so, are they set to update automatically?
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