1st Gen. MacBook Pro + Leopard = stuttering and pinwheel

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
I had pre-ordered Leopard a couple of weeks ago, and it arrived on Friday from Apple.



I have a 1st Gen. 2ghz 32-bit MacBook Pro 15" with 2gb RAM and a 7200rpm 100gb HDD.



Now, it's always been a toasty laptop, a fact well documented on the internet, but this is worrying.



Firstly, the Leopard installation didn't go smoothly. The first attempt on a freshly partitioned and formatted HDD left me with a grayscale flashing screen with the mouse flicking between a pointer and the pinwheel.



I called my local apple support center and they told me to start again and 'zero' the hard drive using Disk Utility when you boot from the Leopard DVD, and then install Leopard. This worked OK, and Leopard installed and seemed to let me configure accounts etc.



By the time I was staring at the spangly new Dock etc etc I was itching to get going with Leopard, only to find a significant performance issue. Basically, anything I click or load results in a pinwheel (A.K.A. spinning beachball of death!!) for between 5-10 seconds.



Nothing cures it - battery or AC power, quiting all software etc, rebooting etc. Nothing.



You load software and after about 40 bounces of the icon in the dock, it loads. You click a menu item, 20 seconds go by. It's ridiculous.



So, I dropped the laptop in to my local support center expecting the worst. They called me about 30 minutes ago to tell me there was nothing wrong with my MacBook Pro, other than the 'usual heat issues'. Apparently Leopard does more background processing than Tiger, and therefore the CPU is more active, generating more heat.



Now I'm not the most technical guy in the world, but one thing is for sure - this sounds like a load of shit. How can a laptop run perfectly under Tiger, and then be too hot for Leopard? I've just spent £85 on this software or whatever it was and I feel cheated right now.



Does anyone have any ideas what else could be causing the stuttering, or have an input on reducing heat for my MacBook Pro?



THanks in advance.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freshness View Post


    I had pre-ordered Leopard a couple of weeks ago, and it arrived on Friday from Apple.



    I have a 1st Gen. 2ghz 32-bit MacBook Pro 15" with 2gb RAM and a 7200rpm 100gb HDD.



    Now, it's always been a toasty laptop, a fact well documented on the internet, but this is worrying.



    Firstly, the Leopard installation didn't go smoothly. The first attempt on a freshly partitioned and formatted HDD left me with a grayscale flashing screen with the mouse flicking between a pointer and the pinwheel.



    I called my local apple support center and they told me to start again and 'zero' the hard drive using Disk Utility when you boot from the Leopard DVD, and then install Leopard. This worked OK, and Leopard installed and seemed to let me configure accounts etc.



    By the time I was staring at the spangly new Dock etc etc I was itching to get going with Leopard, only to find a significant performance issue. Basically, anything I click or load results in a pinwheel (A.K.A. spinning beachball of death!!) for between 5-10 seconds.



    Nothing cures it - battery or AC power, quiting all software etc, rebooting etc. Nothing.



    You load software and after about 40 bounces of the icon in the dock, it loads. You click a menu item, 20 seconds go by. It's ridiculous.



    So, I dropped the laptop in to my local support center expecting the worst. They called me about 30 minutes ago to tell me there was nothing wrong with my MacBook Pro, other than the 'usual heat issues'. Apparently Leopard does more background processing than Tiger, and therefore the CPU is more active, generating more heat.



    Now I'm not the most technical guy in the world, but one thing is for sure - this sounds like a load of shit. How can a laptop run perfectly under Tiger, and then be too hot for Leopard? I've just spent £85 on this software or whatever it was and I feel cheated right now.



    Does anyone have any ideas what else could be causing the stuttering, or have an input on reducing heat for my MacBook Pro?



    THanks in advance.



    for reducing heat use smc fan control which can be found here this is a very handy ap which allows you to adjust the speed of your fan. i use it primarily when gameing because my macbook pro can get pretty toasty when it's under all the stress. i hope this fixes your problem. i havn't had any issues with leopard yet. i've had a few beachballs but they only lasted for a bit and were because i was looking at stuff on a cd i believe. good luck!
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Thanks for the smcFanControl tip - I'd used that in Tiger to great success, but when I tried it in Leopard, it didn't seem too happy. Kept Crashing. Mind you, I suppose it's not a fair test of the software until it's brought the temps down.



    Do you think I should attempt to go down the Arctic Silver reapplication route? I've heard people reporting good things with that... and it is out of warranty!
  • Reply 3 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freshness View Post


    Thanks for the smcFanControl tip - I'd used that in Tiger to great success, but when I tried it in Leopard, it didn't seem too happy. Kept Crashing. Mind you, I suppose it's not a fair test of the software until it's brought the temps down.



    Do you think I should attempt to go down the Arctic Silver reapplication route? I've heard people reporting good things with that... and it is out of warranty!



    works for me in leopard.
  • Reply 4 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rich-Myster View Post


    works for me in leopard.



    Ok, I'll try it again tomorrow when it's back from the shop



    This shuoldn't be happening though, right? I mean, my laptop shouldn't be getting so hot that it can't process information>
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freshness View Post


    Ok, I'll try it again tomorrow when it's back from the shop



    This shuoldn't be happening though, right? I mean, my laptop shouldn't be getting so hot that it can't process information>



    no, it shouldn't. but it might get a bit slower. but not extremely slow.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    I'm not surprised at this at all. Leopard and Tiger are two different OS's that have different ways. 1st gen. MacBook what did you expect? I have an absolute minimum 867 SP quicksilver, and I'm not going to attempt to use Leopard on it no matter what Apple says. Sure it runs Tiger fine, but I don't expect anything more from this machine.

    There is an OS gage that I go by, which is also a gage to know when you need to buy a new computer. It goes like this. If computer processors have doubled in speed over yours get a new one. It also applies to OS's. If your processor speed has been doubled. Don't install a new OS.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    1st gen. MacBook what did you expect?



    It was a first gen Macbook Pro and it's still a dual 2GHz machine, which I doubt is all that much slower than the new ones.



    OP: did you run Leopard for a while before putting it into the service center? Just after Leopard installs, it has a lot of cache building and drive indexing to do. The drive indexing would kill your computer until it's finished and the drive would generate a lot of heat especially being a 7200 rpm drive.



    That may be why the center said your machine was fine - the indexing maybe finished by then.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    I have a first gen MBP (2 GHz, 100 MB HD) , and Leopard feels much faster than Tiger on it. It seems to run slightly cooler also; SMC shows it hanging around 58 deg C, where Tiger was usually around 61 deg C. SMC seems to work fine on it also.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    SMC worx great for me in leopard. How full is your 100 GB HD? I noticed that leopard uses a LOT more Virtual memory (almost 32 GBs for me!!) instead of the 10 or so used in tiger. If your HD is relatively slow, you will not be able to have much VM space available which could slow your comp down drastically.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    londorlondor Posts: 256member
    I have just checked the VM size in Activity Monitor and it says 39.80GB . Is that normal? Is it really taking up 40GB of my HD?
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Quote:

    I'm not surprised at this at all. Leopard and Tiger are two different OS's that have different ways. 1st gen. MacBook what did you expect?



    @ onlooker: Well, that's an interesting take on the situation. From my point of view, I have one of the fastest apple laptops money can buy in terms of GHZ with an abundance of RAM. Leopard is still based on the same underlying technology, and is without a doubt more complex, but should still run, surely? CPU speeds haven't doubled in 18 months for the MacBook Pros...



    @ bobmarksdale: SMC reports temps of between 60-75 degrees C and the HDD is empty because it's a clean, zero-ed out installation of Leopard



    @ Marvin: It's a possibility. Right now, I'm re-installing Leopard and will leave it running for several more hours this time (before it was running for maybe 1-2 hours before calling tech support at most). Hopefully this will eliminate the disk caching element.



    Overall, maybe it is actually the case that as an early adopter of the MacBook Pro, some of the issues that result from new technology are only just becoming a problem for me? \
  • Reply 12 of 23
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,195moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Londor View Post


    I have just checked the VM size in Activity Monitor and it says 39.80GB . Is that normal? Is it really taking up 40GB of my HD?



    It's not using that much, those VM stats are not particularly meaningful. If you want to see how much space is being used exactly, use the Finder go menu and go to folder /private/var/vm. I removed the virtual memory column from the Activity Monitor because it gives me no useful info at all. Stick with real memory and the real memory is high, it's likely the virtual memory is too but usually it's no more than about 2-3 GB total.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    londorlondor Posts: 256member
    @Marvin



    Thanks for the info. I just checked and it is 2.06GB.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    Hi guys.



    I've just had a possible breakthrough.



    Whilst installing Leopard on previous attempts, it had occurred to me that I had done a custom installation, removing language packs to save disk space.



    So, I zero-ed my HDD again and installed Leopard. This time, I left all the options on. Now, I've booted back into Leopard and even though my mac reports that it is running at 75 degrees C using SMCFanControl, I'm not getting the same level of freezing or stuttering.



    In fact, at the time of writing, my mac is running at toasty 82 degrees whilst it indexes my hard disk! Ouch!



    I'm not sure how or even why this has made the difference, but I'd recommend anyone having performance issues in Leopard to try a Zero HDD install and just do a default install with everything on! That'll teach me for trying to save HDD space...!
  • Reply 15 of 23
    londorlondor Posts: 256member
    ^ While 82ºC is quite hot for humans is well within the Intel specs for that chip (normal operation is up to 100ºC).
  • Reply 16 of 23
    [QUOTE=freshness;1164914]@ bobmarksdale: SMC reports temps of between 60-75 degrees C and the HDD is empty because it's a clean, zero-ed out installation of Leopard/QUOTE]



    That's me showing off my reading comprehension skills.



    As for SMC... if it's running above 70ºC, you might want to turn the fan speed up a bit to cool it down.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by onlooker View Post


    I'm not surprised at this at all. Leopard and Tiger are two different OS's that have different ways. 1st gen. MacBook what did you expect? I have an absolute minimum 867 SP quicksilver, and I'm not going to attempt to use Leopard on it no matter what Apple says. Sure it runs Tiger fine, but I don't expect anything more from this machine.

    There is an OS gage that I go by, which is also a gage to know when you need to buy a new computer. It goes like this. If computer processors have doubled in speed over yours get a new one. It also applies to OS's. If your processor speed has been doubled. Don't install a new OS.



    What a load of shit.



    OS X has got faster and faster with every release. The RAM usage tends to go up, but that can be solved quite easily (buy more RAM for your machine).



    John Siracusa at Ars Technica has been running Leopard on a 1 GHz PowerBook G4 (amongst other machines) for months and says it runs faster than Tiger.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    Well, I feel like I'm getting somewhere now.



    It turns out I have an issue with Spotlight whereby it is constantly trying to index my HDD. Constant disk use on a 7,200rpm drive increased the temps. in my MacBook Pro, and I had noticed degraded performance and the 'stutters' mentioned before starting to rear their heads again.



    To get around this, I ran the following in the terminal:

    Code:


    sudo mdutil -i off /







    This has disabled Spotlight for the time being. I also tried the -E switch on this command, supposedly deleting the drive index, but this had no effect and the drive kept on reindexing, spotlight unable to give me ETA.



    So, now my temps are between 50-60 degrees. A little more comfortable.



    However, it does make me wonder what's going on, because I've noticed some apps crashing on use. For example:
    • Preview

    • Activity Monitor

    • Application Installers from mounted DMG files

    Anyone else had any problems with apps 'unexpectedly quitting' on launch? I'm wondering if this is connected to the spotlight issues.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,698member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by freshness View Post


    Well, I feel like I'm getting somewhere now.



    It turns out I have an issue with Spotlight whereby it is constantly trying to index my HDD. Constant disk use on a 7,200rpm drive increased the temps. in my MacBook Pro, and I had noticed degraded performance and the 'stutters' mentioned before starting to rear their heads again.



    To get around this, I ran the following in the terminal:

    Code:


    sudo mdutil -i off /







    This has disabled Spotlight for the time being. I also tried the -E switch on this command, supposedly deleting the drive index, but this had no effect and the drive kept on reindexing, spotlight unable to give me ETA.



    So, now my temps are between 50-60 degrees. A little more comfortable.



    However, it does make me wonder what's going on, because I've noticed some apps crashing on use. For example:
    • Preview

    • Activity Monitor

    • Application Installers from mounted DMG files

    Anyone else had any problems with apps 'unexpectedly quitting' on launch? I'm wondering if this is connected to the spotlight issues.



    Something is definitely not right. Have you installed any third-party apps yet? Because if spotlight can't index a disk on a completely clean 10.5 installation, something is wrong.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


    Something is definitely not right. Have you installed any third-party apps yet? Because if spotlight can't index a disk on a completely clean 10.5 installation, something is wrong.



    This is a completely fresh installation. I wonder what the problem could be though? Is it likely to be hardware? Maybe hard drive?



    All I have installed at the mo:
    • Creative Suite 3 Design Premium

    • Mailserve for Leopard

    • smcFanControl

    • Transmission

    • Textmate

    • Stuffit 12

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