2013 iMac and Beachballs Galore

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Bbeelzebub, May 7, 2019.

  1. Bbeelzebub, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019

    Bbeelzebub macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    So... I've had my iMac since late 2013. Everything has been perfect for the most part until this week. I know it's nearly summer, but I'm not a fan of beachballs.

    Every single thing I did on the computer would trigger a beachball and a wait. I wiped the drive and did a clean install. While I was there, I noticed my drive (Well, not the entire drive, but the Macintosh HD section was now in APFS format, while the other portions were still MacOS Journaled Extended or whatever they were originally. Anyhow, I left it as it was and continued on.

    Most of the beachballs are gone, but I still get them when first loading anything for the first time.. (IE: First time I loaded system settings, 1st time I accessed safari prefs, if I type too fast (which is ridiculous as there is no such thing as typing too fast), etc.) but then they go away I also get it when closing Safari everytime. Occasionally one is popping up here and there, but it's more than I've ever had. I've done a diagnostic check on boot up using the D on the keyboard. No problems. I used disk utility and first aid to check the disk, no problems. The ram looks fine... I will take it out in a bit and reseat it to see if that fixes anything.

    Any other ideas on how to find out what is going on? If I have to replace the hard drive or something, it's not the end of the world. I just want to be sure I'm addressing the actual problem and not playing a guessing game. I don't feel like spending 4 or 5 grand on a new iMac anytime soon, so I'm looking to just remedy the situation and get another few years out of it.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!
  2. Neo_Hunt, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019

    Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017
    Hi there! It would be nice if you could list your Storage setup, better yet your whole iMac specs.

    I've just moved from my original 20" iMac7,1 onto a mint condition 21.5" iMac14,3, complete in box.
    Before upgrading the "new" 2013 iMac itself (details below), it seemed it was always playing Beach Volley!

    The 2007 iMac was bought new, configured with a 2.4GHz Merom C2D, an ATI HD2600 and a 320GB 7.200rpm HDD.
    In 2012 the original WDC HDD went bye bye and I installed a Samsung SSD 840 500GB (the original, not EVO one).
    Even considering the iMac7,1 have only a SATA II (300MB/s) interface, it always worked pretty well for me.
    I remembered I could not believe how better, snappier, faster the computer behaved with an SSD installed.
    I tried an Intel T9500 Penryn CPU as well, but I did not notice too much of a difference to keep it there.
    I started persuading my relatives and friends to upgrade old computer with SSDs... And they loved it!

    When I first got the 2013 iMac I could not believe how bad it ran, moreover comparing it to the 12 year-old iMac.
    It was the up tier 21.5" iMac (ME087LL), with an i5-4570S, Nvidia GT 750M and an 1TB 5.400rpm HDD.
    It is my understanding that every iMac14,3 (not the 14,1) has an PCIe Blade SSD slot built in.

    I bought an original Apple SSUAX 512GB SSD, an i7-4770S, a Corsair 16GB Kit and a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD.
    All things considered it cost me much less than moving on to a 4K iMac (I can't go 5K/27" for space constraints).
    Notwithstanding the fact that only the 2017 and 2019 have real CPU upgradability and discrete GPUs.

    Anyways, I myself installed the upgrades and realized what I was missing using my beloved original Aluminum iMac.
    Now I don't need to close my Parallels' Windows 7 VM, nor some of the 10 Safari Tabs, including a Slingbox/Player.
    Both drives are APFS formatted and configured as one 1.5TB Volume Fusion Drive.
    And now this very 2013 iMac goes 4500 SC /14750 MP on Geekbench 4.

    The thing is... if you are still relying on a Hard Disk Drive, I'd strongly recommend you upgrading to an SSD.
    It doesn't even need to be the Blade SSD, since this first PCIe version from Apple is not much faster than SATA.

    If you don't feel comfortable enough to install one yourself, ask someone who knows how to do it.
    Last case scenario you can bring your iMac to an official provider, since the 2013 iMac is still officially supported.

    Hope my 2 cents can help... Cheers!
  3. fisherking macrumors 604


    Jul 16, 2010
    ny somewhere
    reset nvram. reset the smc. run the hardware test... some places to start...
  4. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015

    Well, when I got mine, I had everything upgraded on it when built. These are my specs:

    iMac (27-inch, Late 2013)
    5 GHz Intel Core i7
    16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
    Macintosh HD
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4 GB

    Hardware Overview:

    Model Name: iMac

    Model Identifier: iMac14,2

    Processor Name: Intel Core i7

    Processor Speed: 3.5 GHz

    Number of Processors: 1

    Total Number of Cores: 4

    L2 Cache (per Core): 256 KB

    L3 Cache: 8 MB

    Memory: 16 GB

    Boot ROM Version:

    SMC Version (system): 2.15f7


    Available: 3.1 TB (3,097,280,851,968 bytes)

    Capacity: 3.12 TB (3,121,506,295,808 bytes)

    Mount Point: /

    File System: APFS

    Writable: Yes

    Ignore Ownership: No

    BSD Name: disk2s1

    Volume UUID: C80CEBC6-60C3-4237-8611-790E6F66AA96

    Physical Drive:

    Device Name: APPLE SSD SD0128F

    Media Name: AppleAPFSMedia

    Medium Type: SSD

    Protocol: PCI

    Internal: Yes

    Partition Map Type: Unknown

    S.M.A.R.T. Status: Verified

    You wouldn't believe how maybe beach balls I got just now trying to copy paste that.

    I'm going to reset the NVRAM and SMC per the post below yours as well I forgot about that and I did have to do that once a couple years ago when I had random beeping during use.

    I have a one year old MacBook Pro as well and I know how sweeeeet the latest SSDs are. That is definitely something I should look into anyhow, but I'd really like to solve the problem now as well.
  5. Neo_Hunt, May 7, 2019
    Last edited: May 7, 2019

    Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017

    I believe you! For I saw a 12yo computer outperforming a 4yo one (my iMac was bought new in 2015)!

    Another way to test it is to SPLIT your Fusion Drive.
    This way you'd be able to isolate the probable issue (HDD).

    Hope you fix it with NVRAM/SMC resets. But I'd give a chance to an all SSD iMac if you plan to keep it for some time.
    I don't like external drives, but around these forums it seems people are really pleased using them, including SSDs.
    If it were for me, and the budget was not that tight, I'd go for a Samsung 860 QVO to replace your ageing HDD.
    Since you have the FD with a 128GB Blade SSD, to replace the 3TB I'd go with a 4TB SATA SSD.
    You could start using it externally and then one day let it in your iMac's 3.5" drive bay.

    Since we're talking about the 27" iMac, I suppose you'd need something like the OWC 3.5" to 2.5" Kit as well.
    I've read conflicting reports whether the Temperature Sensor is actually needed to keep the fan slow/silent.
    I can confirm in the case of the 2013 21.5" iMac the Temperature Sensors work ok, including with iStats.
  6. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    You might want to try DriveDx by Binary Fruit ( https://binaryfruit.com/drivedx), install, and run this and it may give you a better idea of what is happening with your Fusion Drive. I have the exact same configuration except 32 GB of DRAM. Those 3TB drives are not noted for their reliability. Mine was a refurb which is supposed to have a new 3TB Drive after the service advisory that Apple had on those drives a few years ago - https://www.macrumors.com/2015/06/19/apple-27-imac-3tb-hdd-replacement-program/

    Hope it works out for you!
  7. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Thanks for the responses guys. I NVRAM, etc... to no avail. Just quitting Safari each time the beach ball comes up for 20 seconds... When I open it, the screen is blank for 10 seconds. So odd.

    Well... I think I know what I need to do. I'll take it into the local computer guy tomorrow and see how much he'll charge me to swap the drive inside to a 4tb SSD. I'm not going to bother with an M.2, as I really don't think I need anything that fast. I'd rather pay somebody to take it apart and put it in rather than do it myself. On any other computer, I'd do it myself, but not an AIO like this.

    In addition, If I'm spending money I don't want to, I may as well toss in another 150 and swap out my 16gb of ram and put in 32gb of ram.

    I figure between the two, it'll get me another three or four years on this puppy.
    --- Post Merged, May 7, 2019 ---

    It's funny, I ran Etrecheck as well and it didn't find any issues at all. I'll try this one tonight and see if anything different comes along. I'm not sure if it is because I always assumed this drive would fail, but even without any type of evidence, it's like I'm convinced it must be the HD.
  8. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    Everything you have described screams failing HDD based on my experience...hope it works out for you, no data loss...
  9. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Eh, the data I lost ( I just chose not to backup again before I formatted) was nothing important. Already had backed up the important stuff.

    I've no clue what the connections inside are, but I'm wondering if I can just add a 2TB SSD and a 1TB NVME M.2 inside. I had no clue that anything over 2tb was so rare and expensive.
  10. spiderpumpkin macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2014
  11. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    You could get an EXTERNAL SSD and use that to be the boot drive.
    They're getting cheaper -- I just saw a 500gb HP SSD over at dealnews for $50 this morning.
    You'd need an external 2.5" enclosure or a USB3/SATA adapter dongle.

    Or... buy a "ready-to-use" USB3 SSD, such as a Sandisk Extreme or Samsung t5.

    A 2013 is now 6 years old, so I wouldn't put much money into it -- a cheaper fix will keep it going a few years longer and a USB3 SSD should give you 85% of the speed that an internal drive provides.

    Then, when you get a new Mac, it's a simple matter to just unplug the external SSD and "move it right on over" to the new Mac.
  12. Zdigital2015 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2015
    East Coast, United States
    I agree with @Fishrrman that unless you have a burning desire (and the skill), to crack open your iMac, you would be better off getting a decent 2.5" SSD (I won't suggest a brand, as it is up to personal preference) and an external enclosure (I have a Vance Nexstar that I like quite a bit - https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B072YLWP4Z/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 - Also, the Samsung T5 or a Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD are good choices as Fishrrman pointed out and can be found pretty economically online.

    Good luck!
  13. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Thanks again guys. My local non authorized guy around the corner from my house is going to do it for me and is charging me so little to put in a 2tb Samsung EVO that I'm just going that route.
  14. Bbeelzebub thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 7, 2015
    Okay, so I had a discoloration on my screen and I have lived with it for months... Today, they messed up my display when putting it back together and are replacing it at their cost. Doh! I felt bad that I offered to pay the guy an extra 150 for the new display. Apple would charge me 600, so it's still a savings. Still.. I won't be spending another penny on this computer. I'm happy though.... It should easily last me another five years.
  15. Neo_Hunt macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2017
    Hey... Great news!
    I see myself using my "new" 2013 iMac for five years as well.
    Unless I can find a nice and cheap 2017 4K iMac in the meantime.
    The thing is Mac prices here in Brazil are two to three fold the US prices.

    Anyways... Let us know how everything went after testing and using your renewed iMac!

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14 May 7, 2019