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How To Speed Up Your Mac Laptop

written by: LE•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 12/9/2009

Is your Mac performing slowly? This article is about how to speed up your Mac laptop and some of the reasons that it may be performing slowly and some things you can do about it.

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    Three Ways to Speed it Up

    Here are a few ways to speed up your Mac laptop: 1. Get and install more RAM 2. Find old applications that might be taking up space on your system and delete them 3. Get your Mac serviced by a professional and install a faster hard-drive.

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    How Fast?

    First, ask yourself how much faster do you need your Mac Laptop to be? If you are asking yourself this question you are probably running Final Cut Pro with After Effects or some other memory and processor-intensive graphics or video app. This would be the one reason you might need to speed up your performance. This is where the Intel duo and the multi-core processors come into play.

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    Intel Core Duo is Faster than PowerPC

    Many of these latest applications require these super fast processors for video and graphics rendering. Filters and effects used to take minutes and even hours to render. Now these days with faster processors and more RAM these are rendered in an instant. These video editing and special effects suites will put your machine through its paces though. If it is graphics and video applications that are causing your machines to run slow then these will probably be the culprits. Most current Mac laptops come with at least 2 gigahertz of processor power (fast) and anywhere from 2 to 4 Gigabytes of random access memory or RAM (plenty); and thanks to Moore's Law the future should yield even faster and more portable machines. But the older PowerPC based Powerbooks are still plenty fast for most applications, depending on your everyday tasks.

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    It’s As Easy as RAM

    The easiest thing to do to give your Mac laptop a speed boost is to install more RAM. This is just a matter of the number of available RAM slots, finding the compatible size of RAM for each slot, preferably the same size for both slots to make it run smoothly (such as PC2700 1GB in each slot run side by side). This is easy enough to do yourself. You’ll need to remove a panel and carefully remove the installed RAM (say 512MB stick) and replace it with the other stick of RAM (1GB- 2GB or more). After this RAM is installed, your applications will perform faster and your machine will less likely be bogged down by tabbed browsing or switching from app to app. This is what RAM does.

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    It Depends on the Hardware

    Aside from that, much depends on the model number of your Mac and what is factory-installed inside it—for instance the Macbook Pro is faster than the Macbook, and both of these are faster than the first Clamshell models of the nineties, and the later Powerbook G4 Aluminums. You really have to do your research to figure out the difference. But it’s worth it to figure out what’s under the hood. This all comes down to processor speed, Gigahertz and RPM’s. Some processes may be faster than others. For benchmark tests, go to a bench-marking website and see how your make and model stands up to other models. Bench-marking is done for typical tasks such as disk-burning, rendering in a typical graphics program, web browsing, (word processing and e-mail usually don’t take up much processing power or memory.) The memory-intensive applications are going to be advanced imaging and graphics programs that use high-resolution video and effects as well as high-end memory-intensive graphics. Here is a link to a website that has already done the benchmarking for Macs.

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    Check the Model, Check the Apps Then Shop Online for RAM

    newegg logo tigerdirect logo ebay-logo amazon 

    Remember the only other two ways really to speed up your Mac is to replace the hard-drive with something faster and perhaps checking your hard-drive for outdated apps that are taking up space or processing power. Otherwise, maxing out your RAM slots will make your Mac as fast as it can be. Many of these Macs will now support up to 4 Giga Bytes of RAM and more. Try Amazon, eBay, TigerDirect, and Newegg to find the latest deals on RAM.