Mid 2010 White Macbook Performance Issues

apizz
Valued Contributor

In our environment we have a small number of white Macbooks which for financial reasons we could not replace this year. They have 2.4Ghz procs w/ 2GB of RAM and 5400rpm drives.

After imaging several of them with 10.10.4 Yosemite, we're noticing a VERY noticeable drop in performance. Just last year using Deploy Studio w/ 10.9.4 Mavericks the OS was much more responsive. Just from the time I click to access items in the menubar from when it actually opens takes over 5 seconds. The Macbooks obviously aren't the most powerful machines, but comparing several Macbooks with our old image from last year on them they are at least usable. After imaging with Casper they're essentially garbage. There are no drastic changes in terms of software that is being installed on the Macbooks, only that we're using Casper to image.

I'm wondering given that we used an early 2015 MBA with 10.10.4 Yosemite to create our base OS image if I should create a new Yosemite base OS made from a white Macbook. Does this seem like a good strategy? Ideally, we want all our Macs on the same OS.

Are there other things I should examine or try to make our Macbooks usable?

14 REPLIES 14

apizz
Valued Contributor

Just confirmed it's not a function of insufficient RAM. Was able to get a hold of 2 x 2GB and noted the same very poor performance issues. Going to try building a new base OS ...

Just finished installing a fresh copy of 10.10.4 and is it a world of difference! Nothing on it except that, but still everything is incredibly responsive, even with only 2GB of RAM!

Look
Valued Contributor III

Did you look at the activty monitor with all processes visible when it was performing badly?
Judging by just how bad it was it would almost have to be something chewing up CPU in an abnormal manner.

calumhunter
Contributor III

or spotlight was indexing after imaging.... mds process going 100% CPU and thrashing the disk
This is pretty common. In fact I think someone on twitters/slack was looking into delaying or renice'ing the process

RobertHammen
Valued Contributor II

Has to be something with your image or software loaded onto it... had an edu client run benchmarks on Mavericks and Yosemite, and Yosemite was faster/more responsive.

Strongly suggest using AutoDMG to create up-to-date never-booted base OS images... and make your images modular (no baking-in packages, installs, or accounts)...

CasperSally
Valued Contributor II

We have a few of that model and they're slow. RAM is a cheap upgrade that helps a lot in our env, not sure why not in yours.

I also customized via custom launch daemon to start sophos on few minute delay. This helped a lot at least with login times because the other login items could complete before sophos attempted to take up its resources.

1 more year and we'll finally be done with them...

htse
Contributor III

you should also examine your console logs for anomalous errors and activity, that's consuming system resources. If it's responsive on a known good system, there's likely a runaway process.

bryce_carlson
New Contributor III

@aporlebeke I am with @RobertHammen on this one. You should really look at AutoDMG https://github.com/MagerValp/AutoDMG it makes imaging easy.

apizz
Valued Contributor

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! I'll take a look at AutoDMG, I've just been swamped with getting everything online and working.

boberito
Valued Contributor

We saw the biggest performance increase when we started swapping out the 5400/7200 RPM drives in Macbooks and Macbook Pros with SSDs. They're just as dirt cheap as RAM. So if you have to keep these older ancient white MacBooks, spend $100-$150 and get some nice SSDs in them.

apizz
Valued Contributor

@boberito, I mean at this point these computers are out of warranty, so our view is not to throw $$ upgrading drives or RAM in machines when they're just going to get replaced with new and significantly better ones next year. Just trying to figure out how to improve performance without putting more $$ into these things.

One of the things we've been looking at recently, because all our laptops with spinning drives are experiencing some level of performance issues, we installed Sophos AV on all our computers this year. So we're thinking there are some settings there that are negatively impacting overall performance. Sophos AV thread here.

bentoms
Honored Contributor III
Honored Contributor III

@aporlebeke As @bryce.carlson & @RobertHammen both recommended, start with a clean Base OS using AutoDMG.

It's very possible that the image that's been deployed to these old MacBooks contains some hardware specific config for the MBA.

apizz
Valued Contributor

After going back and forth for a couple months now, we got Sophos engineers in the UK to acknowledge a known issues with computers running Sophos AV with 2GB of RAM. Might be the source of the overall issues we were experiencing, but have since removed Sophos from all our white Macbooks.

r0blee
New Contributor II

Using an image of a newer machine is not a good idea when rolling out to multiple models of machine, especially a model that is a few years older than the one you took the image from.

Reason being the newer machines will require different drivers/kernel extensions for their hardware and the OS installed on the machine when you buy it is not a generic build and so more than likely isn't going to work well on a different machine.

If you download the Yosemite installer from the App Store you should be able to use Casper to create a generic Yosemite installer as the base build.

Hope that helps.

-Rob

ivanlovisi
New Contributor III

I would check for security harddisk . after five years it becomes slow . you could fit a SSD for testing?