Benefits from RAM upgrade to Late 2009 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by dina002, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. dina002 macrumors newbie


    Jan 9, 2017
    With the latest upgrade to macOS Sierra the performance dropped dramatically , responses are sluggish and hesitant on regular basis without operating any graphical loads.
    Will extra RAM solve the problem ? (now it runs with 4GB and 2 empty slots that can be filled with 4GB each which will give a total of 12GB RAM).
    HD is pretty free with 80/500 usage.

    Thank you.

    Attached Files:

  2. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    It may not solve it entirely, but it should help a good bit. We have an early 2009 that was very draggy with El Cap and 4 Gb, adding another 4 for 8 Gb made a big difference. Of course, the next upgrade, trading out the hard disk for an SSD, was the big winner.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It will help but I would think if it's still on the original hard drive that could just be starting to die, that will slow it down and it will show odd behaviour!!

    Back it up as soon as you can.

    Then run a disk repair in disk utility this may sort out your issues. If not it may be worth considering replacing it with an SSD this will make your Mac better than new.
  4. RUGERMAN macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2010
    I have the same model and with 8 gig it runs great, like getting a new Mac. I still may get an SSD but for now it made all the difference in the world. If your HD is going that's fairly cheap to fix.
  5. bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011
    It is definitely the first and easiest step.

    The iMacs come with a hard drive that focuses on being quiet and efficient. I swapped out a drive on a 08 or 09 machine that had I think a WD green drive. This iMac was really sluggish after the Apple recommended update to Yosemite. So I swapped out original HD with a Western Digital Black WD2003FZEX and did clean install of Yos. The WD Black, although not an SSD, was much faster in transfer and access speed and the machine ran like a top, night and day difference. The user did mention that now he could hear the hard drive accessing, where as before he heard nothing, but he did not want to go back!

    For us this was a cheap way to get the machine useable again with a huge amount of storage. SSDs have come down in price though so that also a good option.

    Do the RAM first though.
  6. FilipH, Jan 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017

    FilipH macrumors regular

    May 19, 2008
    Apple Land
    On my imac 2009, I have replaced the HD with an SSD and upgraded the ram to 8 GIG. It now runs like a new machine. It makes a huge difference and i can highly recommend it. Replacing the HD is fairly simple. I just watched a youtube tutorial and did what they suggested.

    Edit : This imac is the family used one. My wife use it mostly to view and backup pictures and some light browsing. I'm waiting for an updated imac to be released. Then i'm going to buy that one, give my current one (2013) to my wife and sell the 2009 one. Because the 2009 runs so smooth, i am confident to get at least 550 euros for it. Without the upgrade, it was so slow that nobody would want it. In my opinion, the resell value has increased more then the extra cost + we can use it and enjoy it untill we sell it. THIS is why i love apple products. they work great, look beautiful and you can always resell them.

    (English is not my first language, therefore i apologize for the grammar mistakes)
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The OP only uses 80gb of the hard drive a 256gb SSD is less than $100 these days so it seems like the cheapest upgrade that will give more value than more ram. Hell yeah add more ram if they want but the SSD is a better boost overall and will replace a part destined to die.
  8. dina002, Jan 10, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017

    dina002 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 9, 2017
    Thank you guys.

    how are these options ?

    1. SanDisk SSD PLUS 240GB (any problem with SATA II/III compatibility ?)

    2. (2X)Transcend JetRam 4GB DDR3 SO-DIMM 1333MHz (same here, any problem with 1066/1333 compatibility ?) JM1333KSN-4G

    those are pretty cheap here.

    p.s. : the two 1333MHz can work together with the two that are already installed (1066) ?
  9. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    The SanDisk is SATA III and would be compatible with SATA II (it just runs at the slower speed). I don't know if there are better deals. I'd look at before you commit, they often have good SSD pricing.

    The Amazon memory is fine but you can do better price-wise, e.g. which many of us have used, and I expect that there are other quality online vendors at similar prices. You can install a 1333Mhz part that is otherwise compatible, it will just run at the slower speed.
  10. bernuli macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2011

    I would take out the factory RAM, keep it for troubleshooting, then install 4 4GB DIMMS from . That would put you at the max supported of 16GB and you would not have to worry about upgrading ever again. Do that first and see if it makes a difference.

    Swapping out HD is a much bigger project with migration or clean install. Clean install better. I do agree though that upgrading to a SSD would give the most noticeable difference.
  11. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I would just add 2x4 RAM for a total of 12gb. Its unlikely you'll notice a difference passed 8gb even then I'm only saying that because I never ran MacOS on 4gb.

    Faster storage will make the biggest difference in day to day use once you have 8gb or more of RAM.
  12. Glockworkorange macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    SSD will make a much bigger difference. EL Cap and previous (and I think Sierra) has a minimum RAM of 2g. 4 should be fine for most tasks. Slow spinning HD is the biggest bottleneck.
  13. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    I think we're all in agreement, mostly. El Cap doesn't like 4 Gb, it pages a lot, and if it's paging to a hard disk the result is slow at best. I would never run a 2 or 4 Gb machine with El Cap unless it already had an SSD in it. SSD is the most effective upgrade but RAM is by far the simpler to do. Hence the suggestion to do the RAM upgrade, see if that satisfies, then do the SSD upgrade if and when desired.

    I don't think going beyond 8 Gb will make a huge difference doing web, email, office stuff. In this particular case, simply adding 2 4Gb sticks takes the OP to 12, which will be more than enough to decide whether to stop there for now, or go on to the SSD right away.

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