Advice on best version OS for my Mid 210 iMac?

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
I have a Mid 2010 iMac 27 which I have owned for around three years. I put a SSD in there and upgraded ram to 8GB and generally speaking it has always run just fine. Recently though it has become quite slow, not all the time but there is often a delay when clicking on something, dragging files etc. Sometimes I get the old spinning pin wheel on doing the simplest of things.

I am running High Sierra 10.13.6
CPU is 3.2GHz i3
Graphics is ATI HD5760 512MB (hence no update to Mojave)
HD is 240GB Crucial SSD

I can no longer work with it as it is so I thought I would reformat and revert to an earlier OS. Something that the spec of my machine can more easily cope with?

So question is, what do you think would ideally suite my Mid 2010 Mac? Ideally I need a newer mac but can't afford one right now so have to make the best of what I have. Any suggestions?
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,614
5,754
How much space is "used up" on the internal drive?
I would think 240gb "formats out" to about 235gb or so.
There should be at least 10gb of space, preferably even a little more (12-15gb) "free" for the OS to use for VM swap files, temp files, etc.
 

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
Hi and thanks for the reply. There is 140Gb free at the moment. The only heavy hitting software I use is Final Cut Pro but that is only every couple of weeks and I keep all the files on an external drive. Everything else is pretty much browsing, email and editing websites.

Oh and I just ordered another 8GB of ram so that should help.
 

wardie

macrumors 6502
Aug 18, 2008
356
113
I have a Mid 2010 iMac 27 which I have owned for around three years. I put a SSD in there and upgraded ram to 8GB and generally speaking it has always run just fine. Recently though it has become quite slow, not all the time but there is often a delay when clicking on something, dragging files etc. Sometimes I get the old spinning pin wheel on doing the simplest of things.

I am running High Sierra 10.13.6
CPU is 3.2GHz i3
Graphics is ATI HD5760 512MB (hence no update to Mojave)
HD is 240GB Crucial SSD

I can no longer work with it as it is so I thought I would reformat and revert to an earlier OS. Something that the spec of my machine can more easily cope with?

So question is, what do you think would ideally suite my Mid 2010 Mac? Ideally I need a newer mac but can't afford one right now so have to make the best of what I have. Any suggestions?
I’m about to get hold of an unmodified late 2009 iMac with 1TB HDD and 4GB RAM I suspect. Looking to pimp it up cheaply similar to yours like +8GB RAM and maybe a 256/512GB SSD. Was planning to get it into High Sierra but a bit concerned about your comments. Was is only after the upgrade to HS that you noticed problems? From what I’ve read most people with that era iMac seem to say HS works OK and better than Sierra for example or earlier OS’s not getting updates.
 

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
I’m about to get hold of an unmodified late 2009 iMac with 1TB HDD and 4GB RAM I suspect. Looking to pimp it up cheaply similar to yours like +8GB RAM and maybe a 256/512GB SSD. Was planning to get it into High Sierra but a bit concerned about your comments. Was is only after the upgrade to HS that you noticed problems? From what I’ve read most people with that era iMac seem to say HS works OK and better than Sierra for example or earlier OS’s not getting updates.
Actually my iMac was working fine up until a few weeks back when we had a power outage. It was only for a fraction of a second but the mac did shut down. I wasn't writing files or anything at the time, just browsing and it turned on fine however it now takes ages to boot..at least a couple of minutes and I have these glitches with delays on clicking, dragging files and sometimes writing, where I will be tapping away and nothing appears on screen for a while.

Not big things really but makes the mac feel old and sluggish. I don't think it is a High Sierra problem.

A late 2009 iMac won't be that much different to mine. Replacing the hard drive with an SSD should give it a massive boost. It made a huge different to my machine and it was almost like new for a long time.

It has got to the point now though where I have tried all the fixes and suggestions people have made and the only thing left to do now is reformat and go from there.

Apple removed High Sierra from the app store so I have no choice except to load an earlier version and see how that goes.
 

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
Here is the High Sierra link (see Step 4 for a link that opens the App Store):
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208969

Here is the Sierra link (see Step 4 for a link that opens the App Store):
https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208202
Yeah tried that High Sierra link before but it is just the installer not the whole thing. So you can't use it to install from a flash drive.

The Sierra link works though and so you can download that, install from flash drive and then update to High Sierra.
 

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
Thought I would post an update on this. I reformatted the drive and installed Sierra then upgraded to High Sierra and everything is working fine. I was also going to add more memory but the 8GB stick I ordered would not work in my Mac. It just kept going into a reboot loop, no matter what configuration of memory I used so went back to my normal 4 x 2GB and that worked.

Will still upgrade the memory but will order 2 x 4GB sticks that are guaranteed to be compatible.

Still got 215GB free on the SSD at the moment and will make sure to keep a large chunk free from now on. I understand SSD's require more free space to work than a standard HDD?

Anyway thanks for your help.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,606
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The Sillie Con Valley
Upgrade RAM—you need more. Lots of it on eBay for the 2010–2011 (It's interchangeable). The pricing at the above link is great, however.

I won't have less than 32G on my 2010 but I run 150 browser tabs on 3 monitors as part of my day gig. Were I not to have that much, memory leaks would kill my iMac by the end of the day. My wife has 20G (8+8+2+2) running Office 2008 (with memory leak issues of its own) on her 2011 and never seems to have an issue.

Do you have TRIM enabled? If not, run sudo trimforce enable in Terminal, enter your admin password and click through all the CYA nonsense. This will have your SSD running at peak efficiency. If you don't have TRIM enabled, this could be the problem.

Are you formatted APFS or HFS+? APFS is much better for High Sierra and if you don't have it formatted, very easy to do without data loss (APFS back to HFS+ requires wiping the drive first).

Never ever, ever, run any file maintenance or disk optimizing utilities on an SSD. These will slow your system down by interfering with garbage collection and TRIM.

If your not losing your settings, probably don't have to replace the NV RAM battery but, if you go in for any reason, it's a good idea. Unfortunately, the 2009-2010 27" iMacs have it on the back of the motherboard (all other years have it on the front where it's easy to replace). A CR2032 medical battery is fine.

Your SSD could be having problems. Apple Disk Utility only gives overall Pass/Fail on SMART tests. There are many problems that can be occurring while still allowing DU to give it a passing grade. In the last couple of months, I've sent a Crucial MX300 and a Samsung 850 EVO back to their manufacturers under warranty — both passed SMART in DU but failed other tests. Here's the Crucial:



I use TechTool Pro to diagnose such problems. Notice that SMART shows as Passed. This drive was absolutely unusable.



This is what they should look like:



[doublepost=1550961699][/doublepost]BTW, I run OS 10.13.3 on my 2010 only because 10.13.4–6 disables DisplayLink drivers, without which, I cannot run two external monitors. There's no workaround for this.

My wife's runs 10.13.6 just fine.
 
Last edited:

thebluecat

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 18, 2019
6
1
Upgrade RAM—you need more. Lots of it on eBay for the 2010–2011 (It's interchangeable). The pricing at the above link is great, however.

I won't have less than 32G on my 2010 but I run 150 browser tabs on 3 monitors as part of my day gig. Were I not to have that much, memory leaks would kill my iMac by the end of the day. My wife has 20G (8+8+2+2) running Office 2008 (with memory leak issues of its own) on her 2011 and never seems to have an issue.

Do you have TRIM enabled? If not, run sudo trimforce enable in Terminal, enter your admin password and click through all the CYA nonsense. This will have your SSD running at peak efficiency. If you don't have TRIM enabled, this could be the problem.

Are you formatted APFS or HFS+? APFS is much better for High Sierra and if you don't have it formatted, very easy to do without data loss (APFS back to HFS+ requires wiping the drive first).

Never ever, ever, run any file maintenance or disk optimizing utilities on an SSD. These will slow your system down by interfering with garbage collection and TRIM.

If your not losing your settings, probably don't have to replace the NV RAM battery but, if you go in for any reason, it's a good idea. Unfortunately, the 2009-2010 27" iMacs have it on the back of the motherboard (all other years have it on the front where it's easy to replace). A CR2032 medical battery is fine.

Your SSD could be having problems. Apple Disk Utility only gives overall Pass/Fail on SMART tests. There are many problems that can be occurring while still allowing DU to give it a passing grade. In the last couple of months, I've sent a Crucial MX300 and a Samsung 850 EVO back to their manufacturers under warranty — both passed SMART in DU but failed other tests. Here's the Crucial:

My wife's runs 10.13.6 just fine.
Thanks for your input on this. Very much appreciated.

Max memory in my mid 2010 iMac 27 is 16GB. Doesn't seem much these days but I guess back in 2010 it was more than enough. Definitely need to up mine from 8GB though and the only way I can max out is to buy 4 x 4GB ram and that is relatively costly here in the UK if you buy new. Used is an option and probably worth a go.

I do have TRIM enabled.

The drive is also formatted as APFS.

I don't use any file maintenance tools. I don't see the need on a Mac. They are pretty efficient with files.

Not losing any settings but if I needed to replace the battery it is something I can easily do. I am well versed in taking Macs apart ;)

Drive is not showing any signs of failure. The reformat seems to have sorted out whatever the issue was and the Mac is now flying along like new again.

So, more memory is the first thing on the list and then I will probably also move to a larger hard drive. That or just buy a newer Mac. There are some advantages for me in buying a newer Mac as some software I use will no longer run with my graphics card and although, technically I could replace just that, the cost is prohibitive. Money would be better spent on maybe a 2014/2015 iMac.
[doublepost=1551005815][/doublepost]
The? No, that won't work. You need two for an iMac and they must be installed in the correct slots.
Yeah this is what I though but I had read of people using 8GB modules and wanted to give it a try. Will now just go for 4 x 4GB modules.