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Mac Pro CHURNING!

2454 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Jul 26, 2012 1:27 PM by wmd4u RSS
Hotwheels22 Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
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Feb 22, 2011 6:46 AM
I have a first generation MacPro and it is now a year since I have converted over to mac software now that I have a new mac laptop. Previously I ran bootcamp on the Mac Pro.

In this year I have noticed a relatively loud (for mac) CHURNING sound coming from my MacPro. Oftentimes this is happening when I wake up in the morning. Oftentimes it is almost impossible to get work done due to slowness and pinwheel hangs.

Can anyone recommend some zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance type steps for me to solve this?

Sometime I Cancel Time Machine Backup and it fixes it.
However I also have a Parallels install to access the XP drive in this machine and I notice there is a prlvm that seems to be taking up some CPU.
Now I am using Dropbox to transfer files from the laptop to the desktop and vice versa and I notice this takes up some CPU.
This morning I noticed Carbonite online backup was taking up a lot of CPU.
On top of this I am backing up to secondary external drives using Deja Vu (software is fantastic but tech assistance needs a bit of a jumpstart).

Thanks for any guidance and wisdom.
Mac OS X (10.6.3), Mac Pro, MacBook Pro
  • T5GP5Ox32 Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 8:10 AM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    What exactly do you mean by churning? May sound like a stupid question but there are several components that can be making noise as well as noting an issue.

    Does it sound like it's a fan making the noise? Maybe running faster than it should be.
    Possibly the Hard Drive cranking itself up? This will sound similar to a fan but may also vibrate the machine slightly and sounds a bit heavier.
    Maybe even the CPU? This sound is somewhat distinct and is more of a rapid ticking or crackling noise than something cranking or winding.

    You also noted that stopping Time Machine helps the issue. So any or a combination of the above 3 could be the point or something else entirely. You may want to check Activity Monitor as well to see if any applications are using up more CPU and Memory.

    Also may want to think about cleaning out the dust from the inside and around the fans. Always good to keep things clean.
    Macbook Air 11", Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 8:11 AM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    How much RAM do you have installed?
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09 w cheap SSD, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • T5GP5Ox32 Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 12:25 PM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    Your idle % for your CPU should be above 80 unless you're actively doing something. Finder taking more than 10% consistently could be that it's indexing Spotlight, check the upper right to see if the icon has a dot in the center of it, or that there may be an issue somewhere. You could also try relaunching Finder with Force Quit.

    If there's any application besides Finder using more than 15% of the CPU consistently you may want to try quitting it temporarily and see if the noise ceases. Some heavy applications like Photoshop, Parallels, etc. that do large amounts of processing can normally take high amounts of CPU. Up and above 40% CPU usage for these types of applications isn't uncommon and doesn't necessarily mean anything bad. Something like TextEdit, Address Book or Finder using 35-55% CPU would be abnormal and cause for some concern.
    Macbook Air 11", Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 12:27 PM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    You said you used Activity Monitor to look at stuff. On the Memory pane, are you seeing any PageOuts?

    A PageOut happens when you are out of memory, and you are out of unmodified pages that can just be marked as "paged-out" and re-loaded later. To make room you need to actually write a modified page OUT to the Hard drive to make room for something to be paged IN. More than a handful indicates you are starved for RAM memory.
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09 w cheap SSD, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • T5GP5Ox32 Level 3 Level 3 (590 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Feb 22, 2011 12:55 PM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    You can't use over 100% of your CPU. A single app like Photoshop or something 3D can take up 35%+ on it's own but your total will not be above 100%. Number of processors doesn't matter. It's a percentage of the total CPU computing power you have that's in use. Basically any single app that is using more CPU than it should can alert a problem. Again though it is very normal for apps like Photoshop that are very intensive will generally use a high % anyways.

    You can find the idle % on the bottom if you click on the CPU tab. It will be the black number in the bottom left. Same with your available RAM under the System Memory tab in the "Free" grouping.
    Macbook Air 11", Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • The hatter Level 9 Level 9 (58,535 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 1:16 PM (in response to T5GP5Ox32)
    You realize that "Apple math" is somewhat unique (or weird) as each core can 'show' 100% and sometimes more.

    A Mac Pro with 8-cores can have 800%.
    Hyper-Threading shows 'virtual' or logical cores, actually threads.

    100% is not equal 100%.
    Mac Pro 8800GTX Corsair SSDs, Mac OS X (10.6.5), 3.2GHz 10K VelociRaptors Win7 GTX 460
  • Grant Bennet-Alder Level 8 Level 8 (48,110 points)
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    Feb 22, 2011 1:21 PM (in response to Hotwheels22)
    Look at the quiet stuff in the bottom margin. Ignore the big table for the moment.

    A Pie chart of how much memory is used for what, and eight or so percentages and counters. How much of the Pie is green? One of the eight or so counters is Page Outs.

    Message was edited by: Grant Bennet-Alder
    Beige G3, G4/867, G4/dual 1.25 MDD, MacPro'09 w cheap SSD, Mac OS 8.6 or Earlier, and 9.2, 10.5 and Server - LW IIg, LW 4/600, ATalk ImageWriter LQ
  • wmd4u Calculating status...
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    Jul 26, 2012 1:27 PM (in response to Hotwheels22)

    Sometimes my MacPro churns uncontrollably for lengthy periods of time bringing everything to a crawl. 

     

    It happens when I have too many browser tabs open in too many browser windows.  If say by chance you have to close out of Firefox or Safari and the browser is set to remember tabs, when you open the browser back up again it will churn away as it tries to open all those resources at once.

     

    If I hear the churning and open up Activity Monitor, inevitably a browser is hogging upwards of 80+% of the CPU.  Eventually the pages load and the churning stops, or force quitting the browser (Quitting usually doesn't work one the churning has begun) will kill it.  I am now better at bookmarking what I didn't finish reading, and closing out browser tabs.

     

    I also notice "churning" when Spotlight is indexing the computer.  Go into system preferences and find Spotlight.  Turn off anything you don't care to be indexed, like webpages.

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