iMac 24" starting to lag... thinking of upgrades...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by applegenius83, Apr 27, 2011.

  1. applegenius83 macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2011
    So I have a 24" iMac I use at home for multiple purposes. It's a 24" 9,1 2.66 C2D 640GB HDD 4GB RAM model.

    In short, I'm thinking upgrades. What kind of stuff can I get to beef this machine up to lasting another 3-4 years and staying current?

    I thought about SSD, I've already done that with several of my computers and it seems to work very well. I want to get something good for the money as well as performance though. Which SSD would be best for my money with a capacity around 400-500 GB? I know my 24" iMac only has 3.0/Gps SATA II, so I would need it too fast?

    What about RAM? Should I go for 8GB? How much does that really help? Where to buy?

    What about the CPU? I am aware that my model has P socketed processors. Can I upgrade from Core 2 Duo to Core 2 Quad Q9100 (also P socketed)? I know where I can get this for $120 from a friend, I just don't know if it'll work with my iMac. Here's a link to the Q9100:
    Has anyone tried this?

    Any other suggestions? Basically I'm looking for inexpensive (sub $500 except maybe SSD) options that will boost my computer's performance up to par with my 27" i7 or my MBP 15" i7 2.2Ghz 2011.
    What about software that could boost me? Anything out there?
    Thanks for your helpful responses in advance.
  2. iLucas macrumors 6502

    Feb 5, 2011
    Yes, definitely go for 8GB. I myself think it helps a lot.
    A good place to buy is here
  3. 0815 macrumors 68000


    Jul 9, 2010
    here and there but not over there
    Best update I ever did to my machine was putting a SSD in it. It is amazing how much faster the machine feels now - for some applications the startup time fell from 10-15seconds to <1sec. I can strongly recommend that update if you have the money for it - probably better upgrade than getting the latest machine with old fashioned harddrive. I bought mine a while ago - and didn't follow up what is now on the market - but you can go to OtherWorldComputing ( - that have fantastic advice on what to select.

    As mentioned by the previous poster - Main Memory upgrade also helps a lot and I would go with the maximum you can go.

    Just as a side note: My other Mac at home (without an SSD) was also starting to lag - that one I fixed by cleaning up the harddrive (deleted 70GB of junk I had collected over the years) ... it is recommended to have >10% of the harddrive size as free memory (but you have a fairly big harddrive, so probably not the issue)
  4. applegenius83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2011
    Thanks for the info guys, I'll definitely look into the RAM and the SSD:

    Is the OWC Mercury the best for the price? What about speed caps, I've heard that SATA 2 only goes up to 300 MBs, so I don't need to get anything faster than that?

    What about the Quad core CPU? Will it work?
  5. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    You can, they are socketed, but the upgrades that work are limited. AFAIK, no Core 2 Quad has been made to work in an iMac. I think it's the firmware.
  7. applegenius83, Apr 27, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2011

    applegenius83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2011
  8. archer75 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2005
    No, the OCZ vertex 3 is slightly faster and slightly cheaper. Check newegg.
  9. Blue Fox macrumors 6502a

    Blue Fox

    Apr 13, 2009
    That computer will last you another 4-5 years just as it sits right now, but if you want to speed things up a little, SSD is going to be the most noticeable difference. I upgraded my iMac to SSD and it's an absolute speed machine now. Boot times are down to around 9 seconds, programs open up almost instantly too.

    What I did is just get a cheap Intel 80GB SSD, and replaced my internal drive. I only have the OS and programs on it. I changed my root user folder to point to my external 2TB drive connected via FireWire 800 to keep all my documents/music/video/etc. The perfect setup if you ask me.

    Adding RAM only helps if you are currently maxing out your current RAM. A good way to tell is to open Activity Monitor, and see how much you are "Paging Out". If you are "paging out" a good amount (more than Page-Ins), then you could use more RAM. 8GB should suffice just fine. I'm currently maxing out my 8GB as I work on huge projects in Photoshop and that eats RAM like crazy. Looking to upgrade to 16GB here pretty soon, especially since it's so cheap now.
  10. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    People have tried but I have not heard of any successful attempts. They all end in failure, AFAIK. It's likely the firmware is not set up to handle 4 cores but can handle 1 or 2.
  11. applegenius83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2011
    Apparently someone swapped a Core 2 Duo for Core 2 Quad, not in iMac though: "Tested this Core 2 duo and core 2 Quad processor, not on an Imac though, both processor can be swapped as long as its the same socket type. Both working fine."

    My question is, what would stop it from working in the iMac? Firmware, yes, but is there some way around that? Basically, this processor is 30-40% faster than my current, I'd love that extra umph.

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