Suddenly Sluggish Powerbook G4
June 14, 2006 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Why is my Powerbook G4 slowing way down every two or three hours?

My 1.5 ghz 15" Powerbook G4 with 1.5 gigs of RAM and OS X tiger is doing something strange. Suddenly, the cursor becomes less precise, as if the trackpad sensor were refreshing less often. Then, almost immediately, the airport signal goes dead and the CPU seems to be operating at a slower speed. In these instances, applications do work, however. I do not see the dreaded spinning beachball.

All I have to do is restart, and everything's fine again (until the next time it happens, which is once every two or three hours of use). It often happens when the computer is relatively hot, so temperature may have something to do with it. However, it has happened a few times when the computer wasn't hot, so that can't be the only factor.

Does anyone have any idea what could be going on? Is this phenomenon built into OS X tiger to prevent a meltdown, or is it some sort of malfunction?
posted by umbĂș to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Next time it happens, check the Activity Monitor for processes monopolizing your processor. Do you have any Energy Saver Preferences set different than default? Does it happen on battery power and when plugged in?

I suspect you are running something like Tivo desktop or a media server that is bogging down the system.
posted by mzurer at 12:11 PM on June 14, 2006

Have you done a software update (from the Apple menu) recently?

If you churn a *lot* of files, or haven't done an update in weeks, you'll benefit from the disk optimization that the update performs at the end.

This "fixed" my SO's G4Book just last week.
posted by Coax at 12:46 PM on June 14, 2006

"...disk optimization that the update performs at the end. "

That's not disk optimization. It's updating the prebindings at the end of an installer run. The prebindings only affect the launch time of applications, however, not the overall performance of the system.

The symptoms describe do sound a lot more related to overheating than the dynloader.
posted by majick at 2:39 PM on June 14, 2006

Try cracking open the case, finding the CPU heatsink, and blowing out all the dust.
posted by flabdablet at 8:43 PM on June 14, 2006

your hard disk might be going bad... check disk tools to see what it says about the SMART status of the disk.
posted by joeblough at 11:48 PM on June 14, 2006

I bet you are just running out of disk space, and that the virtual memory files are being written all over the disk when it's getting slow. This will be the case if you have less than 10-15 GB at least.

You might want to run the full jobs of something like Yasu to clean up a bit.
posted by KimG at 10:20 AM on June 18, 2006

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