Extremely slow HDD (iMac 21 late 2013)

Discussion in 'iMac' started by peass, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. peass, Jun 7, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014

    peass macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2010
    I have a late 2013 iMac: 2.7 i5 8gb(serial number C02LN7HDF8J2)

    It runs games fine, but the startup process of any application is *extremely* slow. I can open any application on my 2012 mac book air in a snap, but on my iMac it takes several, several seconds.

    I know there is a huge difference between SSD and a HDD, but it makes me really uncomfortable. Take a look at my Black Magic Disk Speed Test results:


    Any hints or ideas? I dont want to swap my HDD for a SSD because they say it is not so simple on an iMac.

    There is no strange application installed, anti virus and so on.

  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Several seconds to open an app? You have a real problem there. I went for the fusion drive to get the best of both worlds.
  3. poematik13 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2014
    Friends dont let friends use spinning disks

    Your best bet is to make a full backup of your computer ASAP
  4. macuser453787 macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2012
    Galatians 3:13-14
    Well, really several seconds to open an app isn't at all out of the realm of what's normal for a HDD. And around 100 MB/s sounds about right for a standard HDD which usually has a max data transfer rate of about 150 MB/s, even on a SATA III connection.

    If you're saying that it recently has been opening apps slower than usual, then that could indicate an issue. However if you're just seeing the difference between app launch speeds on SSD vs. HDD then that's probably all it is. I suspect that's what this is: that you're seeing the performance difference between the two types of hard drives and it just makes the standard HDD seem much slower. And that's because it is much slower. :)

    Before you go trying anything major in your troubleshooting efforts, you might consider defragging your HDD. Though Apple says it's not necessary to do that anymore, I have (and I'm sure others have) noticed better overall system performance post-defrag. (And in case you're not aware, Drive Genius is a great program for defragging.)

    Also just FYI, you're correct about the SSD upgrade - it is complex. I very recently did that to two (2011) iMacs and it was the most detail-oriented upgrade I have done thus far. But there are companies like OWC who can do it for you for a fee.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Well there's nothing wrong with your HDD. The performance is very normal.

    And there are no aftermarket SSD upgrades for late 2013 iMacs as they use PCIe SSDs.

    Perhaps you should've bought a Fusion Drive variant or a 256GB model? That's what I did for my late 2013 21.5", with a 256GB SSD.

    I could never stand the performance of a HDD.
  6. insane79 macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2008
    well 100mbps is normal for a 5600rpm drive in the 2013 iMac, only the 27" come with a 7200rpm drive that to the performance is different from drive to drive e.g. seagate vs WD. Its fine just get use to it.
  7. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2013
    That speed test is right on par for an HDD. Sometimes, the speed of your disk can vary from boot to boot, but in general, the HDD will be significantly slower than an SSD, especially for reading data (e.g. booting and launching apps).

    Your best option at this point would be to get a TB enclosure and a 250 GB Crucial M500. Create an external boot for Mavericks on the SSD and that should fix your problems. In the future, get an internal SSD.

  8. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    Agreed with this. It's likely not slower than it should be, but your perception of acceptable has changed now you've experienced an SSD.

    Hindsight is great, but the 256GB/Fusion Drive would have been a much better option.

    External SSD might be the way to go. USB3/Thunderbolt are rather speedy, and other threads on here have recommendations for good enclosures etc.
  9. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Those speeds are correct for a HDD (I have the Late 2013 iMac with a 1Tb HDD and I get 102Mb read and write). Once you have had an SSD, a HDD will feel slow in comparison (especially if it was PCIe based).

    Little tip for you though (and the reason I chose the HDD over a FD or SSD): when you open an app (and you say this takes a few seconds) then close it, that application is now cached in RAM. This means it will open up considerably faster (almost instant, pretty close to SSD speeds for most apps). Hope this helps you out :)
  10. FreemanW, Jun 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2014

    FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    You have a 21.5" iMac with a HDD that is a 5400 rpm spinning platter.

    Party like its 1999 :cool:

    /a Quaalude and a couple of beers and the rig will scream like a delta rocket on launch
  11. Stuke00 macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2011
    I have the same iMac, Late 2013 model and my results are no where near that. I am thinking my HDD might have an issue?

    Attached Files:

  12. FreemanW, Sep 12, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2014

    FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    Well, I could not find any DiskSpeed Test on a late 2013 21.5" iMac, but here is one on a late 2012 model.


    . . . . and/or this one . . . .


    Given that yours is a late 2013 with a Haswell chip, it should be at least as fast.

    So . . . . yeah, your suspicion that something is amiss seems justified as you should be pulling scores in the neighborhood of 100 for both reads and writes.

    Maybe check your Activity Monitor just to ensure that something is not causing excessive disk access in the background?

    Or, press Options + Command + esc to bring up "Force Quit Applications" and see what is running.
  13. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020


    Sep 27, 2013
    Restart and don't use Chrome. I read that chrome seems to affect the scores.
  14. Stuke00 macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2011
    Even in bootcamp for Windows, it goes very slow. I will do a test there to confirm. It has been slow ever since I bought it. I put in an external thunderbolt SSD and that gets 200-300. I am really thinking its a bad drive. If I take it into the Apple Store, do I need to restore it back to its original configuration? Is it easy to get them to replace it even tho nothing is 'failing' as of right now?
  15. FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2012
    The Real Northern California
    If you take it for service, your only concern and consideration is YOUR data.

    As to the ease or difficulty in getting them to act on the suspicion of a failing (but not yet failed) hdd is one of those . . . . you will find out soon enough.


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