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Darkthing#1 - Z68XP-UD3 + i7-3770 + EVGA GT 210

Joined
Jul 11, 2012
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462
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA Z68XP-UD3
CPU
i7 3770
Graphics
GT 210
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Yes, as I just wrote, it seems to benefit a lot from an i7 compared to an i3 — that's when you regret having bought an i3 to cut the costs... :mrgreen:

HFS+ was considered as an ancestor filesystem, and its replacement was well overdue — risks of data loss on copy or when the support starts to fail, etc. Read anything about "ZFS vs HFS" — Apple have considered switching to ZFS a long time ago, then abandoned the idea, probably because they wanted to develop their own filesystem.
 

UtterDisbelief

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As an ooooold Mac user, I've learnt sometimes the hard way that even security updates can break things... (it happened to me once to destroy a friend's firewire drive because of a known bug: that friend was editing a film and he lost everything he was working on! :banghead: — the worst and stupidest thing of it is that I had read about that bug before but forgot it when I confidently applied the &@$£§ing update... :mrgreen: )
So, I got used to wait a few days/weeks after an update publishing, reading if everybody was satisfied with it. Same thing for a new OS version, even more cautiously, especially since I went the hackintosh route!
Anyway, since the first OSX, nearly each new version brought new bugs while curing old ones (only Tiger and Snow Leopard were quite clean!) — actually, I've waited 10.3.9 before switching from OS9. ;)
Also, reading how Mac users are generally disappointed at each new 10.x makes you even more cautious...

Some hints:
1) I have a secondary clean current OS partition where I make any test prior to apply them to my main OS partition
2) in case of switching to a new OS version, I completely clone my current main OS partition (actually using Migration Assistant) to the new OS and try for some time to work with it and nail down any compatibility issue, etc.

Fine tuning MacOS with the help of Activity Monitor and Console seems essential to me. The hardest part is learning how to tell the normal clutter in the Console from abnormal one... But seeing the same lines or bunch of lines repeating endlessly even when you're not doing anything is an unmistakable sign.

In High Sierra, I've noticed the amazing quantity of processes running behind your back, connecting to plenty of servers for any useless reason (stock exchange, weather, etc.), many of those are useless to the average user — at least, they don't need to be running all the time!
Also, those OSes are conceived to never shut down, that's why they are so slow to become usable after a normal boot.
One more interesting thing is that they seem to fully use the power of say an i7 compared to an i3: my Darkthing #2 has a HDD but Apple Mail runs normally while the same El Capitan with the same 8 mail accounts on Darkthing #1 is crawling (even after the usual maintenance practices (deleting Enveloppe files, rebuilding, etc.)

As for APFS, it should be a better choice than HFS+, security wise, but it looks it's at the cost of some speed. It's been 3 years now that I use ZFS which is considered the best filesystem on earth, but the development of the Mac port is very slow: I must say that if APFS was backward compatible, I'd use it instead...

In conclusion, I can only encourage you to have a look at the Console (and Activity Monitor) and search the Internet for any strange message. Then it's a bit of work, using LaunchControl (or Lingon) to disable launchagents that you don't need — as I told you before, I never had issues disabling apsd, apsc, anything with blue(tooth), airplay, airport, cloud or wifi in its name, if you don't use them. If you do it methodically — maybe first on a test partition ;) — you could gain a few CPU cycles.

Ah, I appreciate your guidance. :thumbup: I came to OS X around the time of Jaguar and was intrigued by the possible dual-boot into OS9. Before that I had looked at Macs but only used Windows (and CCPM and MS-DOS before that!), so I didn't actually have much experience of them. The great thing with OS X was I didn't have to spend my time digging around to keep things running smoothly, like I did in Windows. And Wow! didn't OS X look modern?! Clearly things have changed and the lean-and-mean OS X has evolved into something guilty of "bloat". I am no expert on the inner workings of macOS but enjoy learning. Console is something I need to study more about.

As for disk reliability, well I frequently had to use TestDisk to repair external HDDs that were being shared with Windows. The trouble stemmed from the need to store very large files on a format that both OS's could read and write. I learned the hard way that Windows HFS drivers can be very unreliable - even TestDisk struggled to recover everything.

:rolleyes:
 

UtterDisbelief

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Apple wants everything they make, phones, tablets, AppleTVs etc. to all be using the same file system. What this portends for the future I'm not sure but at least they are phasing out mechanical HDDs and fusion drives in the Mac line. I'm using HFS+ in High Sierra on a mechanical drive with an older i7 and it really flies. Other than the boot time, it doesn't seem slow at all. It's a secondary machine (Dell Optiplex) so I'm planning to stay with HS for a few years for the backward compatibility it offers.

That's worrying, isn't it? Given that Microsoft didn't make a success of combining everything. I guess Apple must have some future goal they are aiming for, but mending things that aren't broken, or change for change sake, goes against the grain for me. Maybe they want to show competitors how it's done?

I understand though that SSDs are becoming so much more reliable that they are a natural way forward. The manufacturers have done so much work in ensuring SSDs look and act (to the OS) just like an HDD, so that they are compatible, that an OS doesn't really need to do so much work. For example Trim is something most modern SSD firmware includes and I fail to understand why, nowadays, the OS has to waste time repeating this. Since disabling it, rather than enabling it, in my recent builds, things have been perfectly fast and reliable. (I now await catastrophe - :lol:)

Interesting your experience with the i7. I've never owned one but would like to! I totally agree - an HDD once it's loaded the OS is still a fine data storage medium. The 5400rpm 2.5" HDD in my old Mac mini isn't that bad once the machine is up and running. It's just the start-up that is markedly different. What's more I don't think I've ever had an HDD actually fail. Get corrupted, yes, but never break-down. Mind you, I don't throw them across the room! Currently I'm using WD Black SATA HDDs and they are very fast and reliable - for HDDs.

As for the filesystem, I too have gone back to HS with HFS+ for my main machine. Though as well as older software compatibility, I can also manage my iPhone using iTunes 12.6.5. Having checked it seems I can actually go back as far as Yosemite and still run this version and thus update iOS12. Of course this will probably change with iOS13 ... o_O
 
Joined
Jul 11, 2012
Messages
462
Motherboard
Gigabyte GA Z68XP-UD3
CPU
i7 3770
Graphics
GT 210
Mac
  1. iMac
  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Ah, I appreciate your guidance. :thumbup: I came to OS X around the time of Jaguar and was intrigued by the possible dual-boot into OS9. Before that I had looked at Macs but only used Windows (and CCPM and MS-DOS before that!), so I didn't actually have much experience of them. The great thing with OS X was I didn't have to spend my time digging around to keep things running smoothly, like I did in Windows. And Wow! didn't OS X look modern?! Clearly things have changed and the lean-and-mean OS X has evolved into something guilty of "bloat". I am no expert on the inner workings of macOS but enjoy learning. Console is something I need to study more about.

As for disk reliability, well I frequently had to use TestDisk to repair external HDDs that were being shared with Windows. The trouble stemmed from the need to store very large files on a format that both OS's could read and write. I learned the hard way that Windows HFS drivers can be very unreliable - even TestDisk struggled to recover everything.

:rolleyes:

Computer science is really a vast subject... ;)
As for drives, you must distinguish between mechanical defects (typically bad blocks — of which TestDisk can do nothing about, AFAIK) and logical/structure issues. While TestDisk, TechTool, DiskWarrior and the likes deal with HFS structure, (B-Trees and so on), only reformatting the drive puts physical bad blocks aside for not using them.
I had a few dead HDDs, even in real Macs, it can happen even after a few days of existence, but usually it either happens very soon or very late... Anyway, if you begin to have bad blocks, and the number of them increases in the next days/weeks, it's time to replace the drive before it's too late.
Run some SMART utility from time to time to check your drives. :thumbup:
(that's were filesystem is important: ZFS and APFS have some form of security, duplicating files before actually copying it, checking data integrity, etc. that HFS+ has not)

As for learning the guts of MacOS, you first need to understand its structure, it's not that complicated once you get it, and I'm sure you already know the basics.
To summarize a few things:
1) you have more or less the same folders at System level (System/Library...) which are used for the overall working order, then in /Library which apply to every user once they log in, then ~/Library which loads for that specific user only
2) in any of those /Library folders, there are LaunchAgents and LaunchDaemons folders that contain any kind of processes — you can create your own for mounting a disk image at login, launch a particular app when a particular event happens, set variables for an app, change your monitor calibration, etc. It's really powerful!
3) the captain of your OS is launchd, a daemon that runs constantly and is in charge of loading quite anything: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Launchd
You can ask him not to load useless or faulty processes, or only load a kext when you need it, etc.
There's a lot more to say and it would need a big tutorial that exceeds the scope of this discussion (every folder has a role, and I don't know them all... :oops: ), but once you understand those basics, you understand better what we do with our hackintoshes with kexts, etc. and maybe feel that you can optimize things a bit by getting your hands in those muddy folders. :D

How recent MacOS optimizations for SSD and multicore CPU work, I have no idea, but it's plain to see when you compare things. I think it's a bit expensive to change my i3 for a 300$ i7, though, just for the sake of installing the latest OS or having a snappier Finder... :crazy: Especially for an old build like mine where the mobo could die even before the new CPU is delivered... :mrgreen:
Hence my optimizing as much as possible what I have.
 

trs96

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I have no idea, but it's plain to see when you compare things. I think it's a bit expensive to change my i3 for a 300$ i7, though, just for the sake of installing the latest OS or having a snappier Finder
Don't forget that Sandy Bridge Z68 motherboards can use Ivy Bridge chips if your BIOS is up to date. Purchase an i7-3770 for under 100 USD on Ebay and replace the i3. Solves most all of the compatibility and lag problems. If you have to upgrade to Mojave at some point in the future, HD4000 is fully supported, the GT210 is not. With the 3770 /HD4000 you will also triple your vRAM to 1.5 GB so you could run a monitor at 1440p IPS monitor via HDMI with no problems.

Look for the 3770 CPU prices to go down even more as they age some. The i5-3475s has 4 cores but no HT. It's a lower cost alternative that also has HD4000. I've seen them as low as $35 on Ebay.com.
 
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Joined
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Motherboard
Gigabyte GA Z68XP-UD3
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i7 3770
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GT 210
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If you have to upgrade to Mojave at some point in the future, HD4000 is fully supported, the GT210 is not.
Don't you think the GT210 might run in Dark Mode? From what I've read, it seemed that only in classic mode non-supported cards have issues... — of course the problem would be to switch to Dark Mode without being able to boot in classic mode... :rolleyes: (can it be set in Clover config?)
 

trs96

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  2. Mac mini
Mobile Phone
  1. Android
Good point. Yes, that was indeed of an Ivy Bridge I was thinking about. :thumbup: I found one at Amazon.
I'm not very keen on buying an used CPU, but I'll definitely consider your suggestions!
Since Intel CPUs don't have pins it's nearly 0 risk of getting a used one that won't work. Better yet, you can buy a low cost refurb Dell or HP business desktop with the chip you want, remove the CPU yourself and install the old i3-2100 in that and resell it with Windows 10 installed. I've seen failures in most all PC parts but never had an Intel CPU fail. I've used PCs since about 1994.
 

trs96

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Don't you think the GT210 might run in Dark Mode? From what I've read, it seemed that only in classic mode non-supported cards have issues... — of course the problem would be to switch to Dark Mode without being able to boot in classic mode... :rolleyes: (can it be set in Clover config?)
Apple removed all support for the GT210 in Mojave. It's not Metal 2 capable. Only the 710 still has support. The 610 also doesn't work in Mojave.
 

UtterDisbelief

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Since Intel CPUs don't have pins it's nearly 0 risk of getting a used one that won't work. Better yet, you can buy a low cost refurb Dell or HP business desktop with the chip you want, remove the CPU yourself and install the old i3-2100 in that and resell it with Windows 10 installed. I've seen failures in most all PC parts but never had an Intel CPU fail. I've used PCs since about 1994.

That is a good idea :)

In replacing hardware with second-hand items, my mantra is: if it has a fan on it, leave it alone unless it's a common type. They rarely are these days.

Having said that, ironically, the only item I've bought from Ebay that failed was a simple BlueTooth USB dongle. It stopped working about a week after I bought it.
 
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