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Help me troubleshoot intermittent dreadfully slow MacPro 3,1

Hey, my MacPro 3,1 is great but at times it slows to a crawl to the point where the mouse pointer struggles to move and sort of skips around real slow while something is happening and then things clear up and everything goes back to normal. I can't figure out what is causing this but it happens several times a day. Can someone help me figure out what I need to do to pinpoint the source of the problem?

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Comments
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A little more information would be nice

things like the version of OS X you are using.

What software you have running when this problem occurs.

P

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sl

running latest version of snow leopard. haven't paid attention to what software i've been running at the time as it seems to be inconsistent.

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Sounds like

Sounds like a failing HDD to me, but it wouldn't hurt to run Apple Hardware Test (extended) to see if maybe something else turns up.

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great

great. this is a brand new western digital 1tb WDC WD1001FALS-00E8B0 drive. it passes the onyx smart and verify tests... isn't there some way i can use activity monitor or console logs to pinpoint a problem?

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Then it is still under warranty,

what does Disk Utility say about the drive?
Have you tried Repairing the drive by booting from an outside source, like the OS X installation disk or the Restore disks that came with the machine?

P

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this sux

great. incorrect number of thread records, invalid leaf record count, invalid directory item count, incorrect number of extended attributes, volume bitmap needs minor repair for orphaned blocks, invalid volume free block count, volume header needs minor repair.

i'm installing applejack, gonna run that first.

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ummm

i just tried to run applejack and diskutility off the boot disk and now it doesn't detect ANY of those problems... i ran applejack and repaired disk anyways but it all seems to have dissappeared which is really weird.

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Sounds like a bad drive

Sounds like a bad drive. Send it back, get a new one. Or take it to some AASP, have them run some tests on it.

Or, if you had a spare drive sitting around, and you slapped it in, I would bet that your performance problems would go away, which would pretty much prove it as well.

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kernel_task

i just want to confirm this before i go through all the trouble as that's a lot of trouble if i don't have to... i opened up the activity monitor so i can see what's going on when it does it's think and noticed some CPU process called kernel_task jumps to the top when it starts up and then when it clears up it goes back down... is there a way to see what that task is associated with?

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kernel hell

you know, the more i look into this kernel thing the more i'm starting to think i might not be the only one experiencing this. problem is, cant seem to find a fix or figure out to confirm anything as i do not even know crap about kernels.

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No, that's normal

No, that's normal. That process is essentially the nerve system of the entire OS. You do NOT want to go messing with that process unless you are looking to compound your problems. Mess with that process, and the system will come to an immediate and abrupt halt in the form of a kernel panic message.

It's also totally explained by a bad HDD. With a HDD functioning normally, whenever kernel_task requests data, it gets it in a pretty short order of time, and then goes back to sleep. Your drive isn't functioning properly, so it takes longer for the data to get to kernel_task, so it keeps sending out requests for the data. Kind of like an impatient person saying, "Come on! Come on! Come on!" and tapping their fingers on the table.

Here's a quick facts of life chat about computer HDDs. They fail, and they fail quite often. I work as an Apple repair tech, I also dabble in Toshiba laptops, and before that I did Dell stuff too... HDD and PSU replacements are probably like 60% of what I do. HDD failures might well be the single most common failure of any computer failure. There are a bunch of moving parts, and then the read/write heads are only a tiny fraction of an inch above the platter, which is all kind of just tempting fate.

So, since you so far aren't really responding to the softly-softly approach, here it is straight up. You can continue wasting time, trying to find some reason why it can't be the HDD, meanwhile if it IS the HDD, it will continue to fail and you'll lose your chance to back everything up soon. The alternative, is you can stop wasting time and either install a new drive or take it somewhere for professional diagnosis. The sooner you get started on this, the sooner you'll be done. If I'm right, and you continue to wait, pretty soon you won't have the luxury of doing this on your own time. The drive will fail, all your data's gone, and until you get things fixed, you're dead in the water. Take your pick, because those are your options at this point.

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what a dream

ok, well i'm running superduper right now to backup to an external firewire... then i'm just going to contact the drive people and see what's up. ideally i could get a drive first so i'm not out of commission for weeks with my dinky other drives or running off a firewire but i'll just have to deal. i JUST moved all my files to this drive as I upgraded a computer and that took a week and was finally getting settled and now this.... total pain.

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Console Log

are there any console logs you would deem useful at looking at?

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ordered a replacement drive

ok, i ordered the replacement drive, i basically had to buy 2 so i can get the replacement before i have to can this drive and then send this one back to get the refund. i'm hoping these wd black caviar drives and mac pros aren't garbage together....

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The WD caviar drives

work just fine. All HDDs can and will fail. You can find up to 10% having an early death, the majority living on through thier expected lives, and around 10% living on into extended old age. In other words, you can get a drive from any manufacturer that will be DOA or die a quick death. This is life. It's not common, but it does happen.

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