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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
Not sure what I should do. I've got an early 2009 24" iMac with 8GB or RAM.

Problem is that I'm running quite low on disk space. I figured might try upgrading the hard drive, but I've been noticing a lot of ghosting on the screen lately. It looks a lot like monitor burn in, however I know it's heat related, as it goes away when the machine is off for a while, and when it comes back, it's always a different "burn in" than the last time. i.e. whatever happens to be in that spot on the screen when it heats up enough.

I've noticed that the "burn in" will both when the system is idle at the desktop, or if I've been playing video games.

My concern is that I don't want to spend the time/money to upgrade the hard drive if the machine just going to fail due to heat issues.

Has anyone else experienced similar issues? Did a Hard drive replacement help? Would swapping to an SSD help with heat? Or am I at the beginning stages of heat death?

The ghosting is around the upper left side of the screen if that helps. Also, I've blown the dust out of all the external ports and I've installed SMCFanControl and it has mitigated it somewhat, but the problem just returns.


macrumors 68000
May 17, 2012
Well, I do not think changing the hard drive is going to do anything at all for the screen issue nor have much impact as far as overall heat of the system goes.

My own tendency is to milk a system for all it is worth before I finally replace it. That's just me though. So I guess the thing is, how bad is the screen ghosting? Is it driving you nuts and making your experience playing games or doing other stuff suck? Is it a mild annoyance you can for now blow off? That for me would probably be the deciding factor between going to a new computer or not, given the age of the one you have and especially too that you like to play games on it as I do myself. A new one is always sweet where that is concerned of course.

I don't think I'd spend money upgrading a 2009 iMac myself. I'd save it towards its replacement instead. As for disk space probably your best best bet is to look for stuff you use rarely and remove it until next time you really want it for something. I am thinking particularly of games when I say that which can take a fair amount of space. Maybe keep some favorites installed and otherwise one at a time stuff you are actually playing? Just some ideas. A USB drive can be handy for offloading stuff but the important thing to remember there is anything you put on it better also be on something else too in case the drive ever fails or you will lose it. I keep 2 USB drives for that reason so I can have redundant copies of rarely needed files, just in case one of the drives ever bites the dust I still won't lose my stuff.


macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2012
Thing is, you've got a Core 2 chip under the hood instead of a Core iX, which Apple started installing on some of the late '09 models and all of the 2010 models and newer. If it was my money, I'd maybe buy a cheap external USB drive if it's just extra storage that's needed so that I could milk the machine for all it's worth (I tend to do that also), and use that drive on a new computer. But at this point I don't think it's worth putting money into the machine itself if you think the screen is about to die.

I sure do wish Apple would re-introduce the 24" screen though. :eek:


macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
Sol III - Terra
It sounds like the GPU is having issues possibly. I'd recommend an external USB disk for extra storage if you can't get a new system right away, but I wouldn't spend money on anything inside the iMac.


Nov 9, 2012
my iMac 2008 does the same thing. I changed the disk to a 1TB internal drive. I dont think the image retention will affect the computer long term. I mostly have that issue in the summer when it's warmer. Other than that it's fine. If the computer is running fine for you I would keep it and move some files over an external drive.

You can move your user profile to an external drive and keep the applications local.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 4, 2009
The ghosting on the screen is at the annoying stage at the moment. not too noticeable in games, but quite on the desktop. From what I can tell, the ghosting seems to be happening around where the video card sits behind the LCD panel, so it may be that the fan there is starting to fail.

Looks like it will be external storage until I can afford a new system.

Thanks for the helpful replies :)
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