iMac running very poorly...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Resoman, Aug 21, 2014.

  1. Resoman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    #1
    I'm trying to avoid buying a new computer just because my 27" iMac from a few years ago is running so poorly, but it's tough.
    Here's what I've got: 27" iMac, jOS 10.9.4, 2.8 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 6GB 800 Mhz RAM (maxed out). I also have three external drives for music and photo storage.
    Virtually every time I sit down to use this iMac I end up screaming at it. It seems the simplest tasks are enough to confound this machine. Today's example: I read my email successfully, and decide to create a Word .doc. I click on the Word icon in the dock and nothing happens (this is very typical). I double click the Word icon and am able to get the "Show All Windows" command to work. I click on one of the open docs to get to the toolbar to create a .doc and I get the spinning beachball. after a full minute watching it I decide to read more email to give the machine time to get itself together. I return to Word and the beachball is still spinning. I choose "Force Quit" and Word mercifully closes. I restart Word and this time I can successfully open a document and then create my new .doc.
    This is just one example of my problems. The beachball shows up for varying times on most any app. Often, I have to restart in order to get control of the computer. Restarting is never easy; several apps will refuse to close at all and, if I can't find a "Force Quit" command, I have to pull the plug.
    My 285 GB hard drive is mostly full, with about 30 GB available. I don't see why this would be the problem, but I can't think of anything else.
    Any suggestions?
    Gary,
    Iowa City
     
  2. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2012
    #2
    What's your memory pressure graph like?

    It sounds like you're running into heavy disk swapping that is bringing the machine to a crawl.

    Alternatively you could be having issues with Office. What version do you have? You might have a plugin that is messing it up (the Adobe plugins for office 2008 on the Mac were particularly bad).

    If you're clicking on Word and it's beach balling, then you're able to click "show all windows" are you sure you're starting it from cold? If it's running already and has a memory leak then your RAM could be filling up and forcing heavy swapping.

    Use the computer as normal and when it starts to show that slowdown, have a look at the memory pressure (it's in activity monitor under the memory tab). Also check how many page outs you have after a clean reboot and after you start seeing the slowdown.
     
  3. Resoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    #3
    Thanks, Joe!
    My MS Office is 2011, V14.4.3. I found the Memory Pressure gauge and, as I went from app to app, it grew from right to left in green, until the bottom half of the whole gauge was green. That's where it's staying right now; the machine is behaving fine, also (it knows it's being scrutinized).
    Gary
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #4
    Upgrade to an SSD - that's the biggest boost you can give to your Mac.
     
  5. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    U.K.
    #5
    The OP shouldn't need to upgrade to an SSD for what he's doing. That computer shouldn't even be breaking sweat. Theres's something afoot and I suspect it's software related.
     
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #7
    Gary, I'm guessing that you have a 2008 24-inch iMac (not a newer 27-inch)
    That would better fit your other specs (2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 6 GB of 800 MHz RAM)
    So, about 6 years old.
    Your symptoms sound like your hard drive is dying. 6 Y\years can be considered a good life for a hard drive. Consider replacing that hard drive. An SSD would be a wonderful thing to do to your iMac… :D but a new spinning hard drive would be just fine, I think.
     
  8. illusionx macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Brossard, QC
    #8
    Before considering the hdd is dying, maybe OP should try to reinstall the OS.
     
  9. toddzrx macrumors 6502a

    toddzrx

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    #9
    Actually, the very first thing the OP should do is make sure all his data is backed up onto a working, external drive.

    I would then consult disk utility to see if it is saying anything about the internal HD, then go for the clean OS X install.

    This sounds like classic HD failure to me.
     
  10. FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #10
    30GB free/available hdd space out of 300 or 320 GB (OP states 285GB . . . . of I'm guessing a 300 or 320 GB hdd) is too full. Your system is choking for hdd space.

    . . . . . and sure, the hdd could be failing . . . . also.

    Backup your system. Use SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner, but get your stuff backed up.

    Then decide whether you want to reduce the storage burden on your internal drive by changing it out for a larger drive and if you can spring for that larger drive to be an SSD.
     
  11. Resoman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    #11
    Thanks for all the thoughtful replies!
    I was wrong, I've got a 24" iMac 8,1 from early 2008 (it looks bigger than that).
    Regarding the SSD, how would I pursue that upgrade? Are we talking about an internal or external drive? Also, how does an SSD compare to the Serial ATA drive or Fusion drive I could get on a new iMac?
    Thanks in advance,
    Gary
     
  12. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #12
    I have a 2007 7,1 iMac, that I upgraded with an SSD. It flies!

    If you can follow detailed instructions, can obtain a couple of simple tools that you may not have, and you're not a klutz, you can replace your hard drive with an SSD. Back up your data, hopefully using Time Machine, get an SSD, find the instructions and photos online, then restore to the SSD and you'll be happy as a clam.
     
  13. FreemanW, Aug 22, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014

    FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #13
    Ah, so it is a 320 GB hdd with 30 GB of available space. Yeah, your hard disk drive may be okay, but it is choking on data.

    You need to (at the very least) do one of two things . . . . once you've backed up your stuff and determined that the drive is healthy.

    Reduce the quantity of storage the drive is holding, thus providing it with more free space, or replace it with a larger hdd, either spinning platter or SSD.

    . . . . and yes, removing and replacing the internal hard disk drive with an internal SATA SSD.

    ifixit is a very helpful resource . . . . . they also market replacement parts for Apple products. Other vendors would be Crucial, OWC, Newegg, and Amazon . . . . . , and of course, continuing to inquire on the forum. :)
     
  14. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #14
    I disagree. 30GB, even though it's only about 10% of the drive, is a TON of space. The drive isn't choking for lack of space, so I wouldn't waste the OP's time having him backup and restore and fiddle with this six year old drive, which has way outlived its expected life span.

    Unless he can/wants to spend money on a 500GB SSD, I would buy a 256GB SSD. Then he should wittle down his current stuff to about 150GB, do a back up, install the new SSD, and restore. If he really can't wittle down to under 200GB and doesn't want to spring for a 500GB SSD, he may have to replace his current HD with a fast 1-2 TB standard HD.

    Either way, unless there is some other hardware failure going on, his 8,1 should still have plenty of life to it.
     
  15. FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #15
    The existence of this thread seems to contradict your position.

    The OP came here to seek remedy for sluggish and lethargic performance.

    Increasing the percentage amount of free and available disk space is one potential solution to this performance symptom.

    You are free to disagree. :)
     
  16. mreg376 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #16
    I certainly can be wrong. I'm wrong plenty. :) But the fact that you're ignoring that the drive is ancient is what turns your advice bad. And since he has no less than THREE external drives for storage I doubt that he has been adding a lot of storage to his main drive recently -- no need to. So I glean the following -- a six year old hard drive, first running fine at 80-90% capacity, and then recently beach balling. My diagnosis remains -- drive is failing.

    You're free to disagree. :)
     
  17. FreemanW macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2012
    Location:
    The Real Northern California
    #17
    My first post in this thread addresses the health of the hdd:
     

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