Mac woes

May. 6th, 2009 04:19 pm
tikibar: (Default)
[personal profile] tikibar
Anyone out there with a Mac Pro running 10.5.6? I've got one with 2x2.8GHz quad-core and 6gb of ram and half the time I might as well be trying to work on a brick. At the moment I've got Safari running - though this is only as a test against Firefox - with three tabs: pandora, gmail and a random other. Every few minutes pandora will grind to a stutter and I'll get the Beachball of Doom trying to do anything to Safari. And lest you think it's pandora or the network, it'll happen to Firefox even more regularly without pandora open. If I happen to be running iTunes, it'll get choppy too.

I've installed this thing countless times and poked at it with every stick I could find and it still sucks the most of out any desktop system I've ever had. Has anybody else seen anything like this or am I just fucked?

Edit: I should also say that Activity Monitor doesn't show anything particularly amiss. Plenty of free memory, little disk activity, no network errors. CPU will sometimes spike when it goes tits up, but that's no guarantee (especially with Safari).

Date: 2009-05-06 08:53 pm (UTC)
cos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cos
Activity Monitor? feh! :)

Open up Terminal, three windows, run "top -o rsize" in one, "vm_stat 60" in another (yes they stuck an underscore in the name, I don't know why), "iostat 60" in another. OS X is unix, you know how to poke around!

Also, and this is OS X specific, do an occasional ls -l of /private/var/vm to keep track of when it's creating new swap files, and how many there are. If there are a lot then OS X will do a lot of paging (even if it doesn't need to) and I'd recommend rebooting. It does sometimes dynamically remove these virtual memory files, but I've never been able to get it to remove more than two (so if you have 10 now, for example, I doubt you can get it below 8 without rebooting).

Date: 2009-05-06 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
ZOMG it's unix?!?! :-P None of the *stat's show anything unusual, nor does top other than the occasional cpu spike. There's also no paging going on (hi, 5gb free memory). It does clear up for a little while after rebooting, but no more than a day and usually less.

Date: 2009-05-06 09:09 pm (UTC)
cos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cos
vm_stat's pagein and pageout counters don't increase steadily during the slow times, yet you're getting the spinning circle mouse pointer? In my experience that always means I/O wait, and if there's no paging in or out happening, I'd suspect a bus. Could be something on your firewire or USB, does it happen if you have nothing attached? (and no CD or DVD in the drive)

Date: 2009-05-06 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Initially, I thought it was due to mirroring the internal drives (2x500gb) but it persisted after reinstalling onto one drive only. There's an external disk but I had issues before I got it (in fact, I got it to back up data before breaking the initial mirror).

Date: 2009-05-06 08:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am having that same problem increasingly. I traced it down at one point to some font rebuild process, but haven't been able to fix it.

Date: 2009-05-06 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Do you have MS Office installed? If so, what version? If prior to Office 2008, try moving the "Times New Roman" font out of /Library/Fonts, and /Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Office/Fonts.

Date: 2009-05-06 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I do and I had a feeling it was an M$ font. Bastards!

Date: 2009-05-06 09:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not going to guarantee it is that. I just know people have seen performance issues with 10.5.6 related to those fonts. Normally with network-based home directories, but could potentially affect normal users too.

Date: 2009-05-06 11:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's intensely weird.

Date: 2009-05-06 09:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
o.O That would be incredibly rude... I'll look into it.

Date: 2009-05-07 01:20 am (UTC)
ext_8707: Taken in front of Carnegie Hall (bofh)
From: [identity profile]
My wife saw some freak-ass performance problems due to old fonts, but these were pretty old (i'm thinking maybe back to OS 9).

Date: 2009-05-06 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How old are the drives in it?

What third-party apps do you have installed?

Anything in the system.log file? You might want to add a line into syslog.conf to create a debug.log and capture everything. Might be a message not getting into the other logs that would help.

When you installed 10.5.6, was it with a combo updater or delta?

Date: 2009-05-06 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's a relatively new machine, no more than 6 months I think. Currently almost no extra apps since I just reinstalled a week or so ago (from the 10.5.1 disks and then updated). I'll poke at the logs and see what's there.

Date: 2009-05-06 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What is the list of "almost" no extra apps? I know you said Firefox. Any others?

Date: 2009-05-06 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty sure it happens after a fresh install but now I doubt myself. I do have Office '08 installed and will try your fix above, but I'm not sure if the problems came before or after installing it... Maybe I'll start all over again next week while the boss is away.

Date: 2009-05-06 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you just have office '08, it wouldn't be the issue. Office '08 put in a fix for it, actually.

Date: 2009-05-06 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ran the hardware test ? Sounds not unlike when I had disk woes, but they reported themself quite vocally into syslog for me; by extension, a troublesome dimm could give you much the same. If there's nothing obvious from syslog and if disk util says your platters are sound, I'd try running with 4gb, swap the dimms if things still aren't happy.

the hatter

Date: 2009-05-06 10:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've long suspected the memory but for no good reason. I keep wondering if the dimms are mismatched or something...

Same machine I have

Date: 2009-05-06 10:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I find that Pandora makes any machine I run on a brick :(

If you want to test things on my machine let me know.

Date: 2009-05-07 02:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

Hey, brutha....

Wanna get some dtrace, cheap?

Oh. Crap. You already have dtrace. You're a lucky man, my brother.


tikibar: (Default)

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