First gen aluminum iMac - Best performance addition?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Oshawapilot, Dec 10, 2010.

  1. Oshawapilot macrumors newbie


    Jan 25, 2007
    Courtice Ontario Canada
    Heya everyone. I'm still loving my first gen aluminum iMac, but as the years have passed I'm starting to yearn for a little more speed.

    I upgraded the ram to 4Gb a year or so back and have become aware of the machines ability to handle up to 6 despite it not being "officially" supported. I'm waiting for a deal on a 4gb SODIMM, however - currently still running 2x2 gb.

    Hard drive is still the factory ST3250820ASQ 250GB model.

    I'm wondering what the best bang for my buck would be with regards to increasing it's performance. Obviously money IS an object so as much as I'd like to, something like a SSD isn't in the cards. Very low WAF (Wife Approval Factor). ;)

    The two big bottlenecks I'm guessing right now is memory, and the hard drive..but which will be the best option to tackle first?

    I do a lot of HD intensive operations and I do notice that the factory hard drive really seems to drag when it's called upon to work I'm wondering if replacing the stock HD with something vastly faster would end up having a better performance result versus bumping up the ram?

    Thoughts? Opinions?

    Assuming I go with the HD first, any opinions? Is a 10K hard drive a waste of money (is it just going to be bottlenecked somewhere else), optimal cache size, etc etc?

    I'm looking for something in the 1tb range for the internal drive. I already have gobs of external HD space and although it's not fast it's just mass media storage and isn't contributing to the bottlenecks as it's rarely called upon.

    Thanks all.
  2. PurrBall macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2007
    Are you sure you have a RAM bottleneck?

    10K RPM hard drives get too hot to be safe in the iMac. I'd save up for an SSD.
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    The only thing you can really do is an SSD. That will also show you the most improvements in speed. If possible, I would consider selling your old one and buying a newer iMac.
  4. filfortugno macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2010
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Why does your wife dictate what you choose to do with YOUR money? if all the bills are paid and you're comfortable buy a ssd and let her talk. If it is your money that is.
  5. Capt Underpants macrumors 68030

    Capt Underpants

    Jul 23, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    You could put a 10,000 RPM hard drive in your iMac.

    It would help your HD bottleneck, and be cheaper than a SSD.
  6. dndlnx macrumors 6502


    Dec 9, 2010

    Couldnt that create extra unwanted heat?
  7. Oshawapilot thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jan 25, 2007
    Courtice Ontario Canada
    Again, if money was no object I'd put in a SSD or buy a new machine...but I was pretty clear mentioning that this isn't a budget free-for-all on this machine.

    To address other responses:

    1/ RAM use is always fairly high on my machine primarily because I (must to my disappointment) always have a bare-bones installation of XP running in Parallels to run some background software for home automation and power monitoring software. However, even with a lot of ram freed up it still seems to be bottlenecked somewhere.

    2/ Heat was one of my concerns with HD choice, but will the fans not spool up accordingly to keep heat under control?

    Accordingly, what is a good choice of HD that people have had success with, then?

    And lastly, a big shout out to filfortugno for his most helpful response. :rolleyes:

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