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Ask Max: Why is my dual G5 2.3GHz slow?

Asked on 02/27/2007:

Recently (6 mos ago) bought a G5 2.3 dual from PowerMax. Currently it has 4.5g of ram, 250 internal HD, NVIDIA 6600, running 10.4.8Used for photoshop work; optimizing and processing large numbers of raw files, graphic designAttached to the computer:23" HD cinema screenLaCie d2 CD/DVD burnerLacie porsche 160 ext HDLaCie d2 250 ext HDLaCie d2 500 'big disc' ext HDUSB hubEpson 2000CF readerThe computer has been a dog lately, relatively slowWhat I've done:Techtool proDisk Permissions repairResetting appl. preferences on slow appsTried resurrecting an old G3/400, installing the basic 10.3.9 system and using it to manage the external HDs, but then a new issuepopped up; the network would recognize the internal HD on the G3, but none of the ext HDs. File sharing etc was turned on but no ext HDs.So: looking for suggestions on getting the G5 to work faster.And, was it just a pipe dream to think that hooking the ext HDs up to a separate computer in the network would speed things up? and why wouldn'tthe network recognize the ext HDs through the G3Thanks, I appreciate any info / advice that you can give


Many things can cause a system to slow over time. There is even a term: "Bit Rot," which describes the way data on a hard drive goes bad over time. Data on a drive, including the operating system files, will become corrupted over several years of operation. Your computer is not old enough for this to have happened but reformatting your hard drive every year, then reinstalling software and files, would prevent Bit Rot.Your problem is most likely do to a full drive. When you tell me that you have 4.5 GB of RAM and many external drives, I think that your swap file could be constrained. Every Mac user needs to keep two times their RAM capacity available on the boot hard drive. That means that you have to have at least 9 GB of drive space available. As you know, RAW photo files are large, and when you open many files at a time it fills up your Swap file, which is where your RAM stores data it needs but ran out of room for. When one Swap file fills up another is created. This means that you could need even more free space on your hard drive. For you I would recommend leaving 40 GB free on that 250 GB internal drive. Also you may want to reboot your system every day or whenever you notice it getting slow. That will reset your Swap file and let you start fresh.As for you network problem... You should have been able to see your attached drives when connected to your old computer over the network. You have to login with the administrator's user name and password. Once you enter the correct info it will ask you what volumes to mount over the network. Just select the external attached drives connected to you old computer.Hope that solves it for you. Good luck.

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