I have a Macbook white (2010) and I'm facing an annoying thing since I'd bought it.

I've already re-installed the system some times, but the fact is that I got short freezes for 2-3 seconds when saving common text files in all editors (TextEdit, MacVim, TextMate, Sublime Text 2). The system freezes and shows that color spinning ball. These freezes also occur in Terminal app, when I push the up arrow key to get the last command entered. Looks like the OS is trying to achieve something else while I'm typing, like a search for example.

I disabled the Spotlight, because I've read that it's what was causing the same issues for many users, but it didn't work for me.

Also, I checked the disk permissions, and made everything that has to be made (including fsck on single user mode), but the problem still continues. I installed Debian once, without any issues of this type.

My HD is a Western Digital 5400 320GB.

Someone having the same problems? I'm almost backing up all my stuff to go back to Linux... I'm very frustrated because I'm a programmer, and such a unresponsive system can drive you nuts when you're having intensive saving/testing debug routines.

  • The problem only occurs with text files? Or with all files/writes to disk? – Hennes Apr 12 '13 at 16:38
  • I can notice particularly with text files, not only when writing, but sometimes when opening it too (I saw it trying to edit a file on MacVim). Looks like a very small lag on system... Another detail: I have 8Gb of RAM (2x4). – tom335 Apr 12 '13 at 16:49
  • Anything in log files (not sure where OS X stores those, since it is unix-like I would guess /var/log). Any suspicious values in the SMART report for the harddisk? – Hennes Apr 12 '13 at 16:50
  • Yes, the log folder is /var/log, and OS X have an application (Console) to check all logs. No error messages, as well. Now I realized something: typing <tab> twice on terminal (to display available commands/files), cause a delay on the first time. I suspect that is the same delay for opening / saving files. Something like OS X "is not prepared" or "nothing cached" for that command you typed. – tom335 Apr 12 '13 at 17:07
  • One more thing: I also see this "unresponsiveness" sometimes when I click to minimize or close a window. The system stops for a while, to "think" on what to do. I'm starting to believe that it is something related to the processor task, maybe? – tom335 Apr 12 '13 at 17:16
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Well, surely it may have a precise answer or reason for the slow behavior on OS X, but I will answer this question just to close this matter based on my current experience.

Probably I'm just looking for a "faster response" due to my intense routines of saving / debugging code, and I will put the cause relying on hard disk writing operations and caching. I tried to disable swap and journaling, as well; nothing shows significant changes on that short hangs when saving files or doing some tab completion.

It's not a serious matter, so I have installed a Debian system on my Macbook to be sure I'll have better results (or different, at least) using a different filesystem. Installing Debian was also a journey for me on this week, enough to make me write a short guide for those who wants a little bit of adventure.

It is on my blog at installing Debian: from one partition to another

I'll be glad if this helps someone else to share experiences about the performance across UNIX systems.

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