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Question: Is High Sierra more suited to Macs/MBPs with SSDs?

I am observing a lot of issues ever since I installed High Sierra on my Late 2011 15" MBP which was/is running a rotational hard drive that came with it; and then I tried a fresh install on another fully formatted rotational hard drive (both drives are the poor old 2.5" 5200 RPM). I also notice that my friends who have MBPs with SSDs have no issues with High Sierra, while my machine has suddenly started overheating, ending up with a blue screen of death or into a grey screen and restart loop before it just gives up and shuts down after a few tries.


When it does boot, just a hint of use (nothing compared to what I have put this machine through with previous OSs) just overheats it and it blips out of life. I am lost.

I just want to ask, even though SSDs are an obvious improvement over rotational ones, and I can understand that would be a number one recommendation, what I need to know is whether HS is specifically designed for SSDs and finally call rotational drives obsolete? Also, on a related note, are all the new MBP models being sold essentially come with SSDs?


PS: this would help me decide on whether I should fresh install an older OS on my MBP to keep it alive because in its current state, even with a fresh install on an empty disk, it overheated and died while just installing homebrew. It's unusable; and I cannot buy an SSD just yet.

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May 28, 2018 11:19 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Hi eskimo2018,

If you get a SSD, your boot and file opening speed should be faster. However if you want to be able to browse run games faster then you should consider doing getting more ram. In 2018, I would recommend you to get 8GB. Which is quite expensive but as prices will drop very soon. You should get your hands on one quicker. However, if you have the money, I would recommend you to get both. But if you don't have the money go back to EL Capitan or Sierra. They are both still supported by Apple and should run faster on your device. Hope this helps

Sharughan.

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May 28, 2018 11:20 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Doesn't seem like you have much choice, install the older OS.


I don't think anything is "designed" for one type of a drive or another, but what I can say is that by NOT using an SSD, that is the biggest bottleneck in a system these days.


We take old hardware and repurpose it all the time, add a bit more RAM and most importantly put an SSD in.


It will change your life.


8GB of RAM should be completely capable, but always better if it's dual channel (2 x 4GB).

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May 28, 2018 11:19 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Hi eskimo2018,

If you get a SSD, your boot and file opening speed should be faster. However if you want to be able to browse run games faster then you should consider doing getting more ram. In 2018, I would recommend you to get 8GB. Which is quite expensive but as prices will drop very soon. You should get your hands on one quicker. However, if you have the money, I would recommend you to get both. But if you don't have the money go back to EL Capitan or Sierra. They are both still supported by Apple and should run faster on your device. Hope this helps

Sharughan.

May 28, 2018 11:19 PM

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May 28, 2018 3:57 PM in response to sharughan In response to sharughan

Thank you so much for your response, sharughan.


I should have provided more details about the machine's configuration: it's running an Intel i7, and has 8 GB of RAM already. I cannot afford to buy an SSD just yet though. I am wondering if it will survive by the time I am able if the current issues continue though.

May 28, 2018 3:57 PM

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May 28, 2018 11:20 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Doesn't seem like you have much choice, install the older OS.


I don't think anything is "designed" for one type of a drive or another, but what I can say is that by NOT using an SSD, that is the biggest bottleneck in a system these days.


We take old hardware and repurpose it all the time, add a bit more RAM and most importantly put an SSD in.


It will change your life.


8GB of RAM should be completely capable, but always better if it's dual channel (2 x 4GB).

May 28, 2018 11:20 PM

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May 28, 2018 11:26 PM in response to roverny In response to roverny

Thank you for your response, roverny!

My RAM is dual channel indeed -- 2 x 4GB.


Looks like you've outlined my choices here then:

- upgrade RAM (I am not sure my machine supports it though, it said it was upgradable only to 8 GB); and

- upgrade to SSD; or

- try an older OS (guess I will have to go with this for now if the overheating problem persists, and see if that changes anything)


I have seen some other posts here about overheating and I am going to try to get some diagnostic info from http://etrecheck.com/tool and see if that leads to anything other than my hunch about the OS.


Thanks!

May 28, 2018 11:26 PM

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May 30, 2018 1:13 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

For my own record's sake, and if anyone enjoys any detective work with these reports 😀, I am just posting what etrecheck found on my machine below.


EtreCheck Report

EtreCheck version: 4.3.1 (4D024)

Report generated: 2018-05-29 17:39:11

Download EtreCheck from https://etrecheck.com

Runtime: 2:57

Performance: Excellent


Problem: Computer is restarting

Description:


Major Issues:

Anything that appears on this list needs immediate attention.


No Time Machine backup - Time Machine backup not found.


Minor Issues:

These issues do not need immediate attention but they may indicate future problems.


Upgradeable hard drive - This machine’s hard drive could be replaced with an SSD. This would dramatically improve your machine’s performance.

32-bit Apps - This machine has 32-bits apps that may have problems in the future.

Abnormal shutdown - Your machine shut down abnormally.


Hardware Information:

MacBook Pro (15-inch, Late 2011)

MacBook Pro Model: MacBookPro8,2

1 2.4 GHz Intel Core i7 (i7-2760QM) CPU: 4-core

8 GB RAM - At maximum

BANK 0/DIMM0 - 4 GB DDR3 1333 ok

BANK 1/DIMM0 - 4 GB DDR3 1333 ok

Battery: Health = Normal - Cycle count = 230


Video Information:

Intel HD Graphics 3000 - VRAM: 512 MB

AMD Radeon HD 6770M - VRAM: 1024 MB

Color LCD 1440 x 900


Drives:

disk0 - Hitachi HTS547564A9E384 640.14 GB (Mechanical)

Internal SATA 3 Gigabit Serial ATA

disk0s1 - EFI (MS-DOS FAT32) [EFI] 210 MB

disk0s2 [Core Storage Container] 299.48 GB

disk1 - M****1 (Journaled HFS+) 299.11 GB

disk0s3 - Recovery HD (Journaled HFS+) [Recovery] 650 MB

disk0s4 - M********A (Journaled HFS+) 339.66 GB


Mounted Volumes:

disk0s4 - M********A 339.66 GB (338.94 GB free)

Journaled HFS+

Mount point: /Volumes/M********A


disk1 - M****1 299.11 GB (280.64 GB free)

Journaled HFS+

Mount point: /


Network:

Interface en0: Ethernet

Interface fw0: FireWire

Interface en1: Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n

One IPv4 address

2 IPv6 addresses

Interface en3: Bluetooth PAN

Interface bridge0: Thunderbolt Bridge


System Software:

macOS High Sierra 10.13.4 (17E199)

Time since boot: Less than an hour

System Load: 1.55 (1 min ago) 1.42 (5 min ago) 1.09 (15 min ago)


Security:

System Status
Gatekeeper Mac App Store and identified developers
System Integrity Protection Enabled


32-bit Applications:

One 32-bit app


System Launch Agents:

[Not Loaded] 7 Apple tasks
[Loaded] 184 Apple tasks
[Running] 101 Apple tasks
[Other] One Apple task


System Launch Daemons:

[Not Loaded] 37 Apple tasks
[Loaded] 187 Apple tasks
[Running] 110 Apple tasks


Launch Daemons:

[Running] com.cleverfiles.cfbackd.plist (Justin Johnson - installed 2018-05-29)


User Launch Agents:

[Loaded] com.google.keystone.agent.plist (Google, Inc. - installed 2018-05-29)


User Login Items:

SmartDaemon Application (Justin Johnson - installed 2018-05-29)

(/Library/Application Support/CleverFiles/SmartDaemon.app)


Internet Plug-ins:

QuickTime Plugin: 7.7.3 (installed 2018-03-28)


Time Machine:

Time Machine Not Configured!


Top Processes by CPU:

Process (count) Source % of CPU Location
sandboxd Apple 17
WindowServer Apple 10
kernel_task Apple 3
Google Chrome Helper (15) Google, Inc. 2
Google Chrome Google, Inc. 1


Top Processes by Memory:

Process (count) Source RAM usage Location
Google Chrome Helper (15) Google, Inc. 1.58 GB
kernel_task Apple 746 MB
mdworker (17) Apple 720 MB
mds_stores Apple 268 MB
Google Chrome Google, Inc. 237 MB


Top Processes by Network Use:

Process Source Input Output Location
mDNSResponder Apple 13 KB 12 KB
apsd Apple 4 KB 3 KB
SystemUIServer Apple 0 B 64 B
kernel_task Apple 0 B 0 B
Google Chrome Helper Google, Inc. 0 B 0 B


Top Processes by Energy Use:

Process (count) Source Energy (0-100) Location
WindowServer Apple 4
Google Chrome Helper (15) Google, Inc. 1
Google Chrome Google, Inc. 1
launchd Apple 0
watchdogd Apple 0


Virtual Memory Information:

Available RAM 3.17 GB
Free RAM 72 MB
Used RAM 4.83 GB
Cached files 3.10 GB
Swap Used 0 B


Diagnostics Information (past 7 days):

2018-05-29 17:20:03 Last Shutdown Cause: 0 - Power loss



End of report

May 30, 2018 1:13 PM

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May 30, 2018 2:07 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Try this: open your Macbook Pro.

You may find out that there is a lot if dirt inside. If that prevents proper airflow, it will overheat. Another possibility is that one or more of the fans may not be working fully, but that is less likely.

If a good cleaning is all it takes to avoid crashes due to overheating then upgrading the drive to an SSD will be a great idea. It is like getting a new mac for $100 or so.

May 30, 2018 2:07 PM

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May 30, 2018 2:12 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

Hello eskimo2018,

Maybe your hard drive is just dead. Those 2.5" drives only last about 2-3 years. Testing utilities don't have much value for a mechanical hard drive. If they report the drive is failing, then it definitely is failing. But an obviously failing drive may have no errors. Just the other day I tried to configure an old 160 GB drive for testing EtreCheck under adverse conditions. I can't even get Mountain Lion installed on it. I can hear the drive struggling. Any attempt to restore a boot image to the drive just stops after a day or fails entirely. Yet all diagnostics report no errors.

May 30, 2018 2:12 PM

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May 30, 2018 2:46 PM in response to Luis Sequeira1 In response to Luis Sequeira1

Hey Luis Sequeira1, thanks for responding. This is the first thing that I did when I replaced the original hard drive suspecting it to be the culprit for the initial restart-loops + lack of any UI on boot-up.


The only thing I didn't open up was the keyboard. I removed the logic board and gave everything a thorough clean-up from any dust particles or dust bunnies sitting in there. Also cleaned up the contacts on the RAM sticks, and refitted both. The fans are running smoother since the cleanup. One thing I noticed since installing HS is that the fans do not make as much noise as they did before under load, even when the body is getting super hot. It would be great help if someone could suggest a good tool to monitor fan speed when things start heating up under the hood. I have performed an SMC reset after cleaning everything up and doing yet another fresh install of the OS (earlier it failed beyond repair as soon as I applied a security update; and on this new install I have disabled automatic updates for now and did not apply any updates on top of 10.13.4; pleased to report that I have been able to use the machine a bit since making that decision. I have no idea how much that is relevant, it's just based on general observation of two consecutive failures immediately after applying automatic updates that arrived on top of 10.13.4.


The machine started working a bit in cooler weather and gives me a couple of hours of working time during cooler nights since the cleaning operations. But it's still unreliable. I believe the only thing left to be done to prolong its life would be to try an SSD upgrade, I guess, but that will have to wait for some time until I can buy a reasonable sized SSD.

May 30, 2018 2:46 PM

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May 30, 2018 3:00 PM in response to etresoft In response to etresoft

Hi etresoft, thanks for responding. I suspected my original mechanical HDD as the source of the problem when the machine first went dead -- reason being it was beginning to make some crackling noises off late and it has been in service since early 2012, has seen quite a few incremental OS updates and the OS environment was crying out loud to be rejuvenated with a fresh install but since everything was just working I just couldn't bring myself to do that; but the same thing happened when I replaced it with another hard drive (mechanical still); wiped it clean and did a fresh install of HS. After this point, I have tried connecting the original drive to see if I can salvage data from it and to my pleasant surprise, that drive still holds all my data and it is easily accessible as long as I have a way to connect it to the computer, but refuses to boot from it. The only thing that wasn't working was the the bootup from that drive for whatever reason.


I don't know what are odds of both HDDs going bust consecutively. But I do accept that OSs these days are getting more and more demanding and mechanical drives seem like dinosaurs already. I am willing to try SSD on this machine and report back on this thread whenever I am able. BTW, I haven't read too deeply into it but I just happened to stumble upon this article which seems relevant to my OP: High Sierra's APFS optimized for flash storage & SSD, incompatible with legacy HDDs and possibly Fusion Drives; of course, this is more about APFS and my drives were automatically formatted as HFS+ (IIRC), but I am beginning to see a pattern of preferring SSDs for newer software updates.

May 30, 2018 3:00 PM

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May 30, 2018 4:47 PM in response to eskimo2018 In response to eskimo2018

You specifically said that you were aware of the performance benefits of an SSD, so I didn't mention it again. The truth is, macOS effectively died sometime in 2013. Your High Sierra operating system is just a jacked-up version of iOS. iOS was designed for a memory-contrained device with flash storage. This is why modern versions of macOS never have any free RAM. It is also why a Mac with OS X 10.10 or later and a mechanical hard drive will stop dead in its tracks as soon as you hit swap space in virtual memory. If you have a lot of RAM, and don't mind long boots, it should run about as fast as it did before. But modern OS version use much more of that extra computing power available in Intel machines. Most people don't notice because the chips are really fast. But everyone now lives much closer to the edge. It takes less now to push a machine over.

May 30, 2018 4:47 PM

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Question: Is High Sierra more suited to Macs/MBPs with SSDs?