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I have a 3 year old 15" 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo MPB that I upgraded to 4GB of RAM about a year ago.

Before I made the switch to Apple I used to feel the need to upgrade my Windows based laptops every 3 years, that's about when they started to feel sluggish. After paying double what I would pay for a Windows machine, I'd hoped I might be able to squeeze a bit more life out of my Mac, maybe 4 years. But it's coming up to its 3rd birthday and it's starting to feel a little sluggish at times. In fairness, it is mainly when using apps like iPhone 11 and Final Cut Pro X.

I replaced the 250GB drive in it with a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive about 18 months ago, so I sometimes wonder if that could have introduced a problem that might be causing it to run slow.

So my question is: is there a way to test the HD, RAM or other things to see if there's a problem with my setup that could be easily fixed, or am I just expecting to much of my machine?


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I think it's very unlikely that the hard disk could be the problem; a higher-RPM drive should only make things faster, and if the disk were failing it would cause a variety of problems, but probably not general sluggishness. However, if that is a concern of yours you could try the free trial of SMART utility, which can detect disk problems: – Mitch Lindgren Nov 6 '11 at 20:11
Are you sure you haven't dropped a year? I have a similar configuration (160GB original HD), and I bought it in January 2008. It's almost 4 years old. – Andrew Lazarus Nov 7 '11 at 4:31
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I can't say the drive would have caused issues, as MacBook Pro models form 3 years ago came with 5400rpm hard drives. What does your system say in Activity Monitor? Any additional overhead in CPU or Disk I/O? If it's just system strain, and you have the appropriate amount of RAM, a SSD is the only additional upgrade that comes to mind.

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