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doesnotcompute 08-04-2013 08:32 PM

Best way to reduce lag?
Hi all,

Long time listener, first time caller.

I have a 2.66 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon MacPro, with 8 GB ram (1066 MHz DDR3), running OSX. It's a few years old now, but I can't afford to upgrade just yet.

Lately it's started to lag somewhat, particularly when I'm editing video - what do you think is the best way to speed my machine up? More ram? A fusion drive? Is it possible to upgrade the processor at all?

Your suggestions would be appreciated!

bobtomay 08-05-2013 07:30 AM

What size drive - how much free space - and I "assume" you do video editing &/or move other large files on and off the drive with some regularity?

doesnotcompute 08-05-2013 10:57 AM

You are correct, I move big files back and forth constantly! The drive is a 639.79GB capacity drive, (so 650GB total I'm guessing), with 65.5GB free space currently.

harryb2448 08-05-2013 05:41 PM

Not sufficient free space. Suggest leaving at least 15% free, and some will suggest up to 25%. A 650GB drive is not huge by today's standards. A faster graphics card such as an ATI Radeon HD 4870 or 5870 will help. What is fitted the old standard 7300GT? Yes you can pop Intel Xeon 5355 CPU's in to make it into a genuine quad core. Do a Google as there are many sites devoted to this. Here is one:-

cradom 08-05-2013 06:51 PM

Moving large files like that, probably wouldn't hurt to defrag the drive occasionally either.

bobtomay 08-05-2013 08:20 PM

Yep both the above pretty much hit it. 10% is just way too low related to free space.

You are one of those that could definitely benefit from defragging the drive.

Harry's mentioned some hardware upgrades that would speed things up.

But, if you just want to get your machine back to working as fast as new and maybe a little faster:

With the work you're doing, would recommend getting your drive up to and maintaining 35-40% free space. It will make a difference. Anytime you're using the 2nd half of the drive it's going to be slower.
For less than $100, I'd put in a 2TB drive as your OS drive rather than trying to free up that much space.
Not only will that give you the free space, but the current gen 7200 2 TB drives will greatly outperform that 650 GB drive you have.

If you decide to keep your existing drive and free up some space, I highly recommend iDefrag.
Even if you go with a new drive and end up running it at 50-75% free space - I found an occasional run between Onyx and iDefrag could result in up to 20% speed improvements in boot and application launch times.

The issue with those that move large files around, OS X is excellent about keeping files defragged. It does that by using the entire drive and it does nothing about defragging the free space to keep it contiguous. When you start accessing files that are stored at the end of the drive - it's slower, accessing files that are scattered around the drive - it's slower. And when your free space is not contiguous, then those large files end up being written to several areas of the drive - again, slowing it down when you need to access them.

I've even tried iDefrag on a clean install of OS X 10.6. Boot time with clean install - 28 seconds. Boot time after iDefrag - 23 seconds. That was an almost 10% improvement on a clean install. It felt like my apps also launched faster, but that could have been only my perception.

(I do admit, I'm at the extreme related to the amount of free space recommended and I don't recommend it to everyone. But, if you want to keep your machine running top notch, as fast as it can; 40% free space and running iDefrag on occasion will help greatly toward that end. 35% free space is where I have consistently noted a slow down that could only be solved by freeing up more space. Will also note, these are my exact same findings using that other OS.)

(Oh, and have to add - you do have a backup, right?)

doesnotcompute 08-05-2013 10:27 PM

Thanks so much for your replies guys, looks like step one is a new hard drive.

@harryb2448 - that all makes sense, thanks. Nope - the video card is a NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 - is that good/bad?

@cradom & bobtomay - Thanks so much, that's all super helpful. I think I'll start by upgrading my hard drive. I'll download and run iDefrag too. And yes, all backed up! Thanks again.

harryb2448 08-05-2013 11:18 PM

Reasonable card the GT120.

You did mention an SSD. Set up in bay one use an Icey Dock and pop the operating system onto that. Video applications etc can be left on the current drive in bay two.

doesnotcompute 08-05-2013 11:28 PM

great advice, thanks again.

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