RenegadeMonster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
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My iMac has been running very slow the last 3 years and it's only getting worse. Hoping I can find some advice on how to get it more tolerable for the time being until I can buy a new Mac. Just went on a big vacation two months back so I'm hoping I can push of spending money / buying a new Mac until I get next years tax return.

After booting I find that launch pad takes 20 minutes or more to show my applications and not just say "Loading Applications"

If I right click on say a image in Chrome and pick save as I get a spinning pinwheel and it takes a couple minutes for the "Save As" dialog to open.

Lately browsing the internet has become incredibly slow. Chrome is always "Waiting on the cache".

After a couple days of uptime my mac slows down the point where everything gives a spinning pinwheel. I can type, get the spinning pinwheel and the text doesn't appear for 30 seconds. The mouse will be come periodically unresponsive and every last program decides to not respond when trying to reboot and has to be force quit.

If I run a system scan everything comes to a crawl.

Antivirus says there is no virus / adware. Repairing permissions does not help.

Backing up my files to a external hard drive and doing a complete clean install of Mac OS results in the same issue right from the get go.

I have done hardware checks, and the hard drive, memory and everything all checks out as good. No issues found.


Looking at the system activity monitor, I'm often finding the CPU and HDD just idling / no activity when there should be.



Does anyone have any ideas as to what the rout cause of this slowness might be, and if there is anything I can do to address it or at least make things better to buy some time until I can afford a replacement mac?

Thanks
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
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hmm. Could it be failing even if the hard drive health checks out?

And would this be what I would want to purchase? https://eshop.macsales.com/shop/ssd/owc/imac-21.5-inch/2013-2014 and is this the same thing as a cheaper price? https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076L2L536/ref=twister_B076KW4SSL?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Yes. My iMac said the same even though the hard drive was *****ing out.

I would not get the OWC SSD. It's expensive any not very fast.

Here are some of the SSDs I would recommend:

SanDisk Ultra 3D/WD Blue 3D (they are identical inside)

Samsung 860 EVO

Crucial MX 500
 
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RenegadeMonster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
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Thanks, those drives look a lot better.

What do I need to get for tools though to pry off the screen to access the HDD and reattach it?

Also, any memory recommendations, as it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to upgrade from 8GB of ran to 16GB while I have it open.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Thanks, those drives look a lot better.

What do I need to get for tools though to pry off the screen to access the HDD and reattach it?

Also, here's the OWC General Service Kit (without the SSD):

https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIYIMACGEN/

Also, any memory recommendations, as it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to upgrade from 8GB of ran to 16GB while I have it open.

Well, you need to look for DDR3/DDR3L 1600 (PC3 12800) SO-DIMM.

I like to buy from Crucial, but other brands would work.
 

chscag

Contributor
Feb 17, 2008
4,391
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Fort Worth, Texas
The folks at www.ifixit.com sell a kit including the adhesive tape that you will need to re-attach your screen. They also sell the tools you will need. You can watch their videos or go thru their step by step instructions on how to remove your screen, replace the drive, and re-assemble everything. Be sure to go over the steps first and video before you decide to do the work yourself.
 
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tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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The folks at www.ifixit.com sell a kit including the adhesive tape that you will need to re-attach your screen. They also sell the tools you will need. You can watch their videos or go thru their step by step instructions on how to remove your screen, replace the drive, and re-assemble everything. Be sure to go over the steps first and video before you decide to do the work yourself.

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2638+Hard+Drive+Replacement/28781

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2638+RAM+Replacement/28795

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2638+Adhesive+Strips+Replacement/28778


 
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RenegadeMonster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
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I've recently upgrade my iMac (27-inch, Late 2013), so you can check out the pictures.

Note: for the 21.5-inch iMac, you do NOT need a digital thermal sensor cable nor a 2.5" to 3.5" hard drive bracket

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/imac-27-inch-late-2013-hdd-ssd-upgrade.2122595/


Thanks

One more question. How do you install Mac OS to the new drive. Can it auto download / install? Or do I have to get it to a flash drive / external drive to install.

Right now as far as I know, it's on the HDD I'm replacing.
 

tubeexperience

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Feb 17, 2016
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Thanks

One more question. How do you install Mac OS to the new drive. Can it auto download / install? Or do I have to get it to a flash drive / external drive to install.

Right now as far as I know, it's on the HDD I'm replacing.

You can either install macOS from a flash drive or from recovery mode (over the internet).

Install from a flash drive:

https://www.macworld.com/article/32...otable-macos-high-sierra-installer-drive.html

Install from recovery mode (over the internet):

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201314

I chose to install mine from a flash drive.
 
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RenegadeMonster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
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But wouldn't Recover mode already require MacOS being installed on the system. Will it work if you just stick in a blank hard drive?



As for the Flash drive, I might have to buy one. I think my largest one is 4GB.
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
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But wouldn't Recover mode already require MacOS being installed on the system. Will it work if you just stick in a blank hard drive?



As for the Flash drive, I might have to buy one. I think my largest one is 4GB.

If your Mac can't find the recovery partition on your hard drive, it will download one from the internet.


If you can't start up from macOS Recovery
Newer Mac computers and some older Mac computers automatically try to start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet when unable to start up from the built-in recovery system. When that happens, you see a spinning globe instead of an Apple logo during startup. To manually start up from macOS Recovery over the Internet, hold down Option-Command-R or Shift-Option-Command-R at startup.
 

Guy Clark

Suspended
Nov 28, 2013
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London United Kingdom.
I would say it is almost certainly the Hard Drive which is failing. First carry out a Time Machine Backup to an external drive (this is essential)
It is most likely your 2013 21.5" was shipped with a 5400rpm HDD so you will have poor performance from the outset. Others here have suggested an SSD which would increase performance dramatically. The problem with SSD is they are expensive and low capacity.
I thoroughly recommend a Seagate Hybrid Drive SSHD which provides excellent performance, higher capacity at a lower price. For the 21.5" 2013 iMac you will need a 2.5" Drive. I have these fitted to both my iMacs.
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/solutions/solid-state-hybrid/

You can fit the Hybrid Drive following the excellent iFixit tutorial. Be sure to order the adhesive strips and iMac opening tool which cost $19.99 from the iFixit store linked in the tutorial. If you are in Europe you will be directed to the iFixit Europe Store
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2638+Hard+Drive+Replacement/28781
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
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I would say it is almost certainly the Hard Drive which is failing. First carry out a Time Machine Backup to an external drive (this is essential)
It is most likely your 2013 21.5" was shipped with a 5400rpm HDD so you will have poor performance from the outset. Others here have suggested an SSD which would increase performance dramatically. The problem with SSD is they are expensive and low capacity.
I thoroughly recommend a Seagate Hybrid Drive SSHD which provides excellent performance, higher capacity at a lower price. For the 21.5" 2013 iMac you will need a 2.5" Drive. I have these fitted to both my iMacs.
https://www.seagate.com/gb/en/solutions/solid-state-hybrid/

You can fit the Hybrid Drive following the excellent iFixit tutorial. Be sure to order the adhesive strips and iMac opening tool which cost $19.99 from the iFixit store linked in the tutorial. If you are in Europe you will be directed to the iFixit Europe Store
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+21.5-Inch+EMC+2638+Hard+Drive+Replacement/28781

...not that expensive

~$100 for 500 GB SSD and ~$200 for 1TB SSD

I would not recommend hybrid drive. It only has 8GB NAND on-board.
 

Guy Clark

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Nov 28, 2013
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And very worthwhile. And yes we know you push Seagate's barrow on antiquated technology, as is Apple's Fusion Drive. Just go with an SSD of your choice.
As I have stated previously I am going by experience I have had with Hybrid Drives in both my iMacs and therefore making a personal recommendation.
In a previous conversation to a related thread in attempting to calling my recommendation in to question you supplied a link to a negative thread specifically relating to Hybrid Drives with a certain model of Dell machine which does not provide an overall picture of the reliability and performance of Hybrid Drives.
Sure Hybrid Drives have been around for a while but Hybrid technology works and works well so that is the reason I have no hesitation in personally recommending it.
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
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As I have stated previously I am going by experience I have had with Hybrid Drives in both my iMacs and therefore making a personal recommendation.
In a previous conversation to a related thread in attempting to calling my recommendation in to question you supplied a link to a negative thread specifically relating to Hybrid Drives with a certain model of Dell machine which does not provide an overall picture of the reliability and performance of Hybrid Drives.
Sure Hybrid Drives have been around for a while but Hybrid technology works and works well so that is the reason I have no hesitation in personally recommending it.

Not my experience of them they provide marginal benefits at an inflated cost and have suspect longevity. As you say you are just stating your experience of them and that is mine.

Apples fusion drive is a much larger SSD portion (32gb for the 1TB and 128gb for 2TB and 3TB fusion drives) PCIe connected for massive bandwidth and real performance gains and a filing system that actually does optimise speed, I would still recommend a pure SSD if at all possible but at least this is a hybrid system that works well and can hold all your most used apps along with the OS on the SSD portion.
 

Guy Clark

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Not my experience of them they provide marginal benefits at an inflated cost and have suspect longevity. As you say you are just stating your experience of them and that is mine.

Apples fusion drive is a much larger SSD portion (32gb for the 1TB and 128gb for 2TB and 3TB fusion drives) PCIe connected for massive bandwidth and real performance gains and a filing system that actually does optimise speed, I would still recommend a pure SSD if at all possible but at least this is a hybrid system that works well and can hold all your most used apps along with the OS on the SSD portion.
In one of my iMacs I have had a Hybrid Drive installed for 4 years and DriveDX still reports it as being 100% healthy so that would suggest longevity is not an issue and performance is extremely good. That being said the performance of Hybrid or Fusion Drives will never equal that of pure SSD.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
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In one of my iMacs I have had a Hybrid Drive installed for 4 years and DriveDX still reports it as being 100% healthy so that would suggest longevity is not an issue and performance is extremely good. That being said the performance of Hybrid or Fusion Drives will never equal that of pure SSD.

Fusion drives can rival it on many workloads especially the 2-3TB drives with 128gb PCIe connected SSDs. You are right though hybrids are nowhere near and weren't even close in 2010.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
22,218
8,266
OP:

As everyone has said, it's the internal platter-based hard drive that's slowing the iMac down.
There's no question about that. You need to replace the HDD with an SSD.

My standard, boilerplate recommendation:
DON'T pry open the iMac unless you know what you're doing.
It's VERY easy to break something inside.

Instead, buy a Samsung t5 USB3 EXTERNAL SSD, or perhaps one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ZTRY5IW?tag=delt-20&th=1

Then, initialize it with Disk Utility.
Then, install a clean copy of the OS onto it.
At this point, you can either set it up manually or use the setup assistant to "bring your stuff over".

You'll see read speeds around 430mbps and writes around 300-350mbps with an external USB3 SSD.
Just use some velcro to attach it to the back of the iMac's stand, out-of-the-way.

Faster, easier, SAFER than prying open the iMac.
Are you sure you want to do that?
 

RenegadeMonster

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 10, 2018
12
0
Just ordered the following:

Just one to confirm before they ship that these will work. As far as I can tell there are no issues and I should be fine.

Also, will this service kit work? https://www.amazon.com/OWC-General-...OWC+General+Servicing+Kit+for+all+Apple+iMacs

I couldn't find the iFix It one on Amazon and I want free / 2 day shipping.

Thanks
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,895
Just ordered the following:

Just one to confirm before they ship that these will work. As far as I can tell there are no issues and I should be fine.

Also, will this service kit work? https://www.amazon.com/OWC-General-...OWC+General+Servicing+Kit+for+all+Apple+iMacs

I couldn't find the iFix It one on Amazon and I want free / 2 day shipping.

Thanks

Yes, those would work.

The OWC kit that you need is this one:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J42HP9O

It has the In-line Digital Thermal Sensor Cable.
 
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