how to improve MAC speed...

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Cbdboz, Aug 24, 2015.

  1. Cbdboz macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    I have an old 2008 iMac that I have just tried to clean up so the kids can use for games and homework.

    Previously I made the error of filling up the hard drive completely..and it was painfully slow. I have since removed a lot of the media Files that were clogging up the hard drive and copied to my new RiMac....however there is NO improvement in the processing speed on my Old Mac.

    does anyone know how I can make further changes to my old 2008 iMac to improve speed and get rid of that infernal spinning wheel.???

    p.s. this is not a heavy duty processing machine, just usual internet, email, a bit of minecraft and the odd word / excel or powerpoint use...

    Help please.
  2. dan1eln1el5en macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2012
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Onyx, it can help you clean up old log files and caches.
  3. chasemac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2005
    In a house.
    Instead of spending time trying to figure out how to clean it up, why not just backup what you need and do a clean install? Maybe add some RAM.
  4. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    Given iMacs age fastest OS X version you can use is 10.6 Snow Leopard. If some of the software you use requires newer OS X I would recommend 10.8 Mountain Lion or 10.9 Mavericks.

    Upgrading RAM to 4 GB will help and it´s inexpensive.

    Yosemite is much slower on old Macs, once El Capitan is released it might be faster but I am bit sceptical because METAL isn't supported on old Macs.
  5. s0nicpr0s macrumors regular


    Sep 1, 2010
    I'd also recommend a clean install for improved performance.

    I do have a question though, are you still using the hard drive that came with the machine? And as Ebenezum suggested, how much RAM do you have in your machine?
  6. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013

    Thanks for this and other responses...

    iMac is early 2009
    2.66ghz core 2 duo
    Ram 4gb (2x2 )
    OSX 10.9.5
    HD 560gb (original)

    I recently bought a new iMac but didn't do the initial migration assistant as was worried that there may be inherent issues on the old 2009 iMac files... So am now copying media and files that I need (mainly pictures, videos, music and docs etc) to my new I Mac, and then deleting from old 2009 IMac to make space.

    I have noted the comments of doing a clean install, and/or maybe even replacing the 2009 iMac hard drive.... But not totally sure how I would do this... And don't have any real experience of opening up macs and changing components etc. ... I was hoping it may be something simple as clearing the HD space and things would improve.... But so far, it has not. :(

    Let me know if you need any further details of the 2009 iMac.

  7. chasemac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2005
    In a house.
    Here is how to do a clean reinstall Mavericks.
    Here is a link to buy reliable RAM for you iMac. Recommend 8GB. 4GB x 2 kit.

    If you are not comfortable replacing the HD yourself then don't. It may be fine for a number of more years.
    Eventually though you may need to have it replaced.
  8. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013


    Is there any analysis tool I can use to test performance and identify where the problem may be before I do a full clean reinstall.... And presumably on the install I can do Mavericks or Yosemite?

    As for the Ram... Didn't realise I could go up to 8g... So will definitely try that
  9. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    Note... I did try activity monitor, with following findings (not sure how to upload a screenshot or pic :( )

    Physical memory 4gb
    Memory used 3.96gb ( could that be the issue right there??)
    Virtual memory 5.88gb
    Swap used 16.3mb

    Memory pressure graph is flat and half of box is green ??

    Biggest memory users;
    Java 600mb
    Kernel task 470mb
    Dropbox 60mb
    Windows server 55mb
    Safari 50mb
    Finder 50mb

    System 4%
    User 17%
    Idle 79%

    Reads in 2,100,000
    Reads out 1,100,000

    Packets in 14m, out 14m

    .... In case this helps?
  10. vkd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2012
    Yes, immediately put more memory and you will instantly alleviate the bottleneck.
  11. Cbdboz, Aug 28, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2015

    Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    - will order the ram straight away.

    Also thinking of replacing the hdd with a ssd.... Tho I couldn't seem to find any instructions for doing this on a iMac 9.1. Is there any special type of ssd that I need to buy, and is it possible to put a ssd inside this Mac?

    Is there an "ideal" size ssd I should look for, and anything between crucial or OWC that I should consider other than price for the same spec?

    Also, can I then use an external hdd to divert files to, and just keep the OS and key applications on the ssd?

    If so, are there any instructions or handy videos that explain how to do this ( not just the replacement but also putting the appropriate programs and files on the ssd, and pointing everything else to an external hdd?

    I am actually getting keen on the idea of experimenting but don't want it to end up as a Disaster .....

  12. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    Any 2.5 inc SATA SSD will work as long as you use 3.5>2.5 adapter, which will cost about 5-10€.

    Read these instructions and follow them if you are certain you can do the switch. Cables are fragile so be careful!

    Before installing SSD clone your hard drive with SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner. Then place it into external enclosure and boot your iMac from it while pressing option key. If everything works normally you can instal it into iMac. If it doesn't work you can boot your iMac from hard drive and figure out what is wrong with the SSD.

    Given the age of iMac I recommend purchasing cheapest SSD you can find, more expensive and faster models provide no benefit because iMac has slower SATA interface compared to newer models.

    Your iMac has USB2 and Firewire 800 connections. USB 2 is very slow. Firewire 800 is faster but obsolete. Personally I would keep only OS X, user accounts and software on SSD and copy all other files to external hard drive.
  13. old-wiz macrumors G3

    Mar 26, 2008
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    Look in iFixit for tutorials on replacing part.
    I have an almost identical 2008 iMac, and it runs 10.10.5 Yosemite with no problems. It would be faster with an ssd, but it's no longer my main machine.
  14. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Incorrect. The memory pressure graph is green. OS X will use all the available memory to increase performance. Please learn how to interpret memory usage on OS X.

    I'd fit an SSD as a first step if the Mac is running OS X 10.9 or later.
  15. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks. When you say user accounts... Does this also include files saved by the user when in an application (eg iPhoto or PowerPoint etc?)

    Also... Would it not make sense to put the applications themselves on the ssd so that they load faster and are quicker to work with

    I will look into SD and CCC.... Heard these mentioned many times and I guess a useful back up strategy anyway...

    Will also get a cheap ssd and enclosure..... 250g.... Or would you suggest smaller?
  16. glenthompson macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2011
    A SSD is usually the best upgrade you can make on a computer. Price difference between a 128 and 256 drive is so small that it makes sense to go with the larger drive.

    I decided that the SSD install on my wife's 2011 iMac was more than I wanted to try some had a local authorized Apple repair center install it for me. I think they charged about $140. The install on my MBP was very easy.
  17. iCyprus macrumors member


    May 23, 2015
    Amsterdam, NL
    Why 8GB and not 16GB?
  18. Cbdboz thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 31, 2013

    From crucial and OWC, the max Ram for this model is 8g
  19. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    It depends on the kind of applications you use and what kind of storage requirements you have. 250GB SSD is currently best option on price versus capacity.

    If your applications are massive 205GB will likely fill quickly, especially if you use it for file storage. Remember not to fill it to capacity, about 10% free will give both SSD and OS X breathing room.

    If you are not certain that you can install SSD its better to pay professional to do it for you. Broken iMac cost a lot more to repair...
  20. chasemac macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2005
    In a house.
    Because the Early 2009 iMacs from March only have two RAM slots for a maximum of 8GB. The late 2009 iMacs from October had 4 RAM slots for a maximum of 16GB.
  21. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    I'm sure the 8GB RAM and an SSD will help tons with responsiveness. Both RAM and SSDs are cheap enough nowadays that they are pretty much no brainers for just about everyone. Personally, I wouldn't want to run Yosemite on any Mac with less than 8GB.

    After installing an SSD, you can enable TRIM with the following Terminal command:
    sudo trimforce enable
    Terminal will then ask for your password. Enter it. Then the system will reboot and TRIM will be enabled.

    In regards to doing a clean install, unless you install all sorts of junk on your computer all the time and it doesn't sound like you do, I don't know how useful a clean install will be. I haven't done a clean install since I transitioned from PowerPC to Intel Macs way back around 2006. I have upgraded to every version of OS X since then, never doing any clean installs. Even when I upgrade computers, I just transplant my old drive to new computer and continue rolling along.
  22. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    You probably don't want to spend much money on a 2008 vintage Mac.

    One of the problems that "slows down" a Mac over use is that the HDD inside becomes increasingly fragmented (and by "fragmented", I mean not only the files themselves, but that thousands of portions of "free space" get left -between- the files, as well).

    The best way to restore the internal drive "to health" is to save what you need from it, then re-initialize it, then install a new OS "from scratch".
    And then, re-create accounts you need, re-install apps, etc.

    Also, I will go against the grain of almost everyone else in this forum, and suggest that you DO NOT install an OS onto it "newer than" Mountain Lion (10.8.5).
    It will run much better with 10.8.5 than with Mavericks or Yosemite.

    For a 2008 iMac, I wouldn't bother with an SSD installed internally -- a considerable amount of work, and if you "keep it lean" with Mountain Lion, you won't really need one.

    4gb of RAM is enough with 10.8.5.

    My opinion only.
    Others will disagree.
    Some will disagree vehemently.
  23. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    I am surprised at how many here suggests more RAM for a 2009 machine with 4GB already, that will only be used for games and homework. It will not help at all to upgrade it. An SSD would help though, but RAM? Geez. There's sure is a lot of users who don't know what they are talking about.
  24. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    This page does a great job of explaining why defragmenting is not necessary in OS X:

    Defragmenting a Mac Hard Drive: Is It Necessary?

    The original poster's usage is:
    For this type of usage, his 2008 iMac should be fine. I feel that spending a little bit of money on an SSD (approx $85 for 256GB) and RAM (approx $55 for 8GB) can help improve his everyday usage of the computer and keep it usable for a few more years, it's worth it.

    As for versions of OS X, I also prefer the newer versions of OS X over older versions, but that's personal preference.
  25. pastrychef macrumors 601


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
    Best way to determine if you need more RAM is to watch your paging and and how big your swap memory is. On my 2008 MacBook with 4GB running Yosemite, with about half dozen websites open in Safari, and the system will already start using virtual memory. With the prices of RAM being so low now, why not give yourself a little headroom?

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