iMac G5 extremely slow even after OS reinstall and despite good hardware

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by fns, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. fns macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012
    Hi! please please please help, I have no idea what to do...
    ok, here's what's wrong (basically everything..):

    bought a used mac. g5 but a little upgraded (see specs below, they're in polish but you should still be able to figure)


    worked smoothly until upgrade from 10.7 to 10.7.5 (started lagging)
    had to downgrade to snow leopard anyway, thought the lagging should go away after reformat and reinstall..
    i did reformat a few times (interrupted it cause i thought it froze midway)
    now, that with the installation ... took literally 1.5 day. the OS installation itself started at morning one day, and finished afternoon the second day, no kidding. I have a log file to prove it

    here's what i tried:

    • checked the HD - mac says it's ok
    • checked the disk permissions - ok
    • reset the PRAM (a few times even)- seemed to help a bit, but not fully and just for a little time..?
    • reset the SMC - idk if anything changed..
    • checked the processes - seems okay
    • the HD is basically empty
    • can't run a hardware test because I didn't get the cd..

    now it seems like things are getting worse and everything's just collapsing - yesterday my skype stopped working (can't login, some error pops out), same error after reinstall...

    i honestly have no idea what to do, from hardware it seems like everything is (should be okay) and this machine should handle everything so I'd guess it's not a hardware problem, but then again, I switched systems, reformatted, reinstalled and it didn't do anything...

    please help, thanks ; (
  2. haha4fun macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2012
    my imac running slow to

    I have the same system and it started running slow. I did a complete re-install and it took over 8 hours to complete. Now it takes about 10 min to start and if I am lucky it will run an app in about 4 min. The whole time my processor is at about 98 percent idle. Can any one help us with our slow old imac's? I ran all the checks and the hd is good or at least no errors came up. Ideas?

  3. fns thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012
    yeah, mine takes 6 minutes to start up.
    i run a novabench test and it said that my hard drive write speed is 0mb/s.
    wanted to run a more detailed one using xbench to see what's exactly the speed (i'm guessing the 0mb/s means under 1 mb), but i followed a stupid advice and told my mac to install a system upgrade (1.6.3->1.6.8)
    it's been installing since yesterday afternoon and i can't even tell if it's still installing, or froze..
    i honestly know nothing about macs, other than what i learned through past 2 weeks of trying to fix it, and i don't know what causes the low write my HD dead, or just some settings went wrong?
    starting to think to buy a new HD and check if it fixes anything, because so far i've lost so much time (and thus money, it's my working computer) that buying a new HD seems cheaper than sending it to service. :Z
  4. haha4fun, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012

    haha4fun macrumors newbie

    Nov 2, 2012
    Well My hd is new 2 months ago. I am not sure why it is so slow. Cpu is at 98% idle and almost nothing is running. If I run an application it is pointless because it takes over 5 min to start and then if I click on anything all I get is the wheel of death. If anyone has an idea I would love to hear. I even tried to boot from my install disks but even doing that takes about 10 min. Nothing i have tried has any effect to speed it up but I do not know a lot. Puzzled.....
  5. fns thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012
    i had a constant beach ball of death on every app too, and very random - sometimes would freez up on me trying to type in something to a browser, would freeze on finder etc...
    except for me the CPU usage was at low percentage, the data writing stats were super high though and like i said - found out that the writing speed was nearly 0.
    i'm afraid i completely butchered that hd meanwhile though, cause i hard rebooted while it was upgrading the system (after 20 hours, if that excuses me at all...) and then wanted to wipe the HD and try to install snow leopard on it again - now it either doesn't see the HD at all, or sees it as an external and i can't even wipe it.
    which for me now means getting a new HD asap ... it better help.

    only advice i can give you is to run a benchmark test and see what's wrong exactly? but i'm the last person to advise you really , so i can just share your misery...and wish you luck again!
  6. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Check your ram.

    How is your video? Those cards were known to fail, too.

    Your hard drive, even if new, still might be failing.
  7. kgs macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2012
    I'd argue it's the hard drive.

    You can check in Activity Monitor, Disk Activity at the bottom.

    This will give you some general data on whether the drive is working hard. If the lines are flat across the entire time it is starting an app, that would indicate the drive is having a very difficult time reading the data.
  8. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    A good friend has the same machine, though he recently upgraded the video card at Apple to the better one.

    He has matched two gig pairs of ram. Do you?

    He put in a new hard drive 1 TB, fast running great. What size speed is yours?

    He said Apple guy told him NOT to run Lion on it, but I see you already got that.

    Don't know what to tell you but agree with previous poster, your hard drive might be failing . I know it's not easy opening those 24" iMacs up but you might have to do it. Try booting from an external and see what happens. Even try going back to Leopard. Your machine originally came with Tiger I believe
  9. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    I'm sorry, you call it a G5 iMac [G5s can't run Lion] and then list it as an Intel Core 2 Duo, your post is very scarce on details...
    I say either wipe the hard drive and install Snow Leopard, or skip to buggy crap that is Lion and go straight to Mountain Lion.

    And as far as slowdowns, more detail <3
  10. fns thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012

    can't check anything anymore because my mac stopped seeing the HD at all, or sees it as an unformatted external one. can't boot it at all. but it makes sense because i've rebooted while upgrading the system (yeah, i know...)

    anyway, before that happened i did run a benchmark test and only thing that had a problem was disk write speed, so i don't know..
    seems like i have to buy a hd now anyway, and i really hope it won't fail :1

    (edit: i did check the ram earlier too and the activity monitor, it would use 1 gb of ram and 3 gb still left, no problem here. disk writing bars were super high)


    like i said am not able to boot anymore, but when i still could, the lines (the red one especially, if i remember correctly) was super high. i think that was the writing speed..
  11. fns thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2012
    ummm... i've read that this imac is recommended to take up to 3gb ram, but i got it with 4gb ram already. originally those models had 1gb if i'm right. seemed to work, cause i'd check the ram activity and it would show me 1 gb used and 3 gb still available.

    as for the HD, it's a WD 250 gb i *think* 7200rpm/32 mb cache, but can't check it now as i don't have access to it (my imac stopped seeing it at all)
    i'm pretty sure that's the original HD this mac came with, which i guess makes sense why it would fail . i want to buy a 750 gb one and asap - looking into it now. even if it wasn't a HD issue , 250 gb is still pretty little anyway..

    and yeah, i got the mac shipped with lion installed on it. and honestly, the only time i actually remember it running smoothly, was the first ~week, when it was on lion 10.7, prior to 10.7.5 upgrade. after that everything went cuckoo.

    btw it's a 20'' imac, not a 24''. fortunately seems "easy" to open (only 3 screws to unscrew, not that i've ever done it before)

    and yeah i tried to go back to snow leopard and like i said in my original post, it took 1.5 day to install and didn't change anything.


    i'm sorry, i'm completely new to macs. never owned an apple product before even (not even an ipod, yeah). is imac5,1 something different than a g5? anyway, like it says in the screenshot, the identifier is iMac5,1 . it's from late 2006, and has a intel core 2 duo 2.16 ghz processor.
    4 gb ram,
    250 gb hd (WD)
    i'm not sure what else to list...?

    and yeah like i just replied to California, i tried to install snow leopard, it worked super slowly, just tried doing it again (wiping disk and reinstalling it) but all the disk utility options were grayed out, couldn't check the disk, couldn't erase it, nothing. listed the disk as an external and unformatted, or didn't see it at all.

    today when i turned it on to check if anything changed it actually saw my disk again and even the partition i made previously, but when i try to erase it, it just stops seeing it again.

    maybe it's a mounting problem...?
  12. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Pretty sure your hard drive failed. It's not that expensive to get a 1 or 2TB brand new hard drive, it will speed up the system as well. I didn't know they even sold 250gb hard drives any more, but if you bought it new, it is under warranty. Get a big hard drive in there. Take it to an Apple Certified Tech. Also you might want to upgrade the internal optical disc, my friend who had your same machine did these things.

    *He also got the faster video card for this machine from apple.

    But in the very least, get a new hard drive. It sounds like it's dead. Also, I believe you have to have a matched pair of ram sticks for the most benefit in this machine. Doublecheck your ram, too.

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