Spinning Beachball of Death on MacBook Pro (Spring 2011)

Since I upgraded my MacBook Pro to Mac OS X Lion, I often encountered the Spinning Beachball of Death, especially when the computer screen wakes up from automatic sleep after some period of time. This happened even either the computer is connected to a power outlet or not. I’ve tried quitting resource hog applications (I don’t use Photoshop, iMovie, Dreamweaver, etc. that much) like Firefox, Google Chrome, and even iTunes, but the spinning beachball just randomly occur — the most frequent would be once a day.

Waiting for the spinning beachball to resolve itself, to eventually disappear and get it back to its working condition is of no help. It’ll stay at that state unless I force shutdown the computer by holding down the power button.

It was already getting on my nerves so I decided to do a little research.

The X Lab defines the Spinning Beachball of Death as:

The spinning wait cursor or spinning disc pointer — where your mouse pointer becomes the rotating color wheel or “spinning beach ball” seen above — generally indicates that your Mac® is engaged in a processor-intensive activity. For example, applying a Gaussian blur to an image in Adobe® Photoshop® is a processor-intensive activity.

In most cases, the “beach ball” disappears within several seconds. However, there are cases when the “beach ball” spins protractedly, a condition colloquially known as “The Spinning Beach Ball of Death” (SBBOD).

I stumbled into a PhilMUG thread where they suggested to upgrade my RAM to 8GB (2 x 4GB). They even recommended a cheap way to get one. I gave it a go and contacted Louie from TipidPC. For PHP2,200, I got my MBP’s memory upgraded to 8GB. Louie even offered free installation (just add PHP100 for delivery).

Now, it’s almost a month since my MacBook Pro was running on 8GB memory and everything appears to be working great — without a single glitch.

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