iMac lazy beach ball

Discussion in 'iMac' started by marysville, Jan 12, 2017.

  1. marysville macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #1
    I run a iMac that I bought in late 2009, running OS 10.12.2. For some time the dreaded beach ball has been spinning at almost all clicks. I've taken it in to local Apple people, first, the HD is ok. and it seemed to improve, but then the ball came back and at times, after multiply impatient clicks it would freeze, and I had to hold the rear buttin to shut down.
    After the second trip to the shop, they seemed to think that the latests OS does not function that well on a machine this old. I have learned to click only once, and just wait out the delay.
    Question: does the opinion that the latest OS does not fun well on a 7 year old machine make sense?
    If the consensus is yes, would remounting the previous OS get me back to better performance?
     
  2. Dsching Suspended

    Dsching

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #2
    Mavericks and newer do not like hdds.
    Time to run the OS from an external ssd.
     
  3. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #3
    That's an extremely bad idea on a 2009 imac. None of the ports are suitable for an external ssd.
     
  4. Dsching Suspended

    Dsching

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #4
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #5
    Replacing the internal hard drive with an SSD will have better effect.
    As thekev points out - a 2009 iMac will have only USB 2, or Firewire 800.
    Best choice between those two would be an SSD, from a Firewire 800 enclosure, if the OP already has one.
    Those are getting harder to find these days. OWC is still a good place to find those, if that's your choice.
    So, even better is replacing the internal HDD with an SSD. That's not a particularly challenging task on a 2009 iMac.
     
  6. thekev, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017

    thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #6
    A modern HDD can saturate FW800. The second benefit to an SSD is reduced seek time. It's true that FW800 is superior to usb2 in terms of latency and spikiness in throughput, but I think that author is a jackass. Well maybe that't not true, but his conclusion is certainly unsupported. He was dealing with a presumably older and mostly full (mentioned in the article) HDD. That was his problem.

    That would be a much better solution. External cases often come with poor power supplies and other cheap copouts, because they're mostly sold on thin margins. If the OP can get away with something in the realm of 500GB, you can find some decent SATA ssds in the $100-$150 range.
     
  7. Dsching Suspended

    Dsching

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    #7
    Yes, replacing the internal hdd would be even better. It's also quite a lot of effort.
     
  8. padams35 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2016
    #8
    HDDs work just fine if you have enough RAM installed to avoid swap files. With 12GB installed the only noticeable difference I saw on my mid-2011 iMac with El Capitan between the original 7200RPM and an SSD upgrade* was a faster startup time.

    Late 2009s can handle Mavericks (10.9) and earlier with ease, but I'd expect any newer OS to require hardware upgrades.

    *Personal experience: This is harder than the instructional videos imply. A 2nd pair of hands is recommended, especially if this is the first time the case has been opened and all the cables connectors are stuck fast from age.
     
  9. marysville thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    #9
    Thank you all for the replies, however no one truly addressed my two questions, 1) was the adviced that my iMac could not handle well the latests OS, and 2) would backing up to the previous OS solve my beach ball problem?
     
  10. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
  11. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #11
    1. Yes, that's true. Sometimes.
    2. Sure, you could try going back, if you have a decent backup that allows you to go back.

    Later macOS versions (since Mavericks) are more optimized (perform better) on an SSD, rather than a spinning hard drive.
    Also, you want to make sure that you have enough RAM memory installed. Either model can be upgraded to at least 16GB. That can also help, but the best advice that most give here is to upgrade a 7-year-old Mac to an SSD.
    Previous post from tubeexperience has some really good info, regardless of how you proceed with replacing your original hard drive.
     

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