imac sluggish

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by numlock, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. numlock macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006

    Ive got a late 06 c2d imac (2 gig ram and 500gig hard drive) and for some time its been acting real sluggish. I dont think I have a lot of programs running and the most cpu intensive thing I do is youtube and watch movies on the computer.

    Like now I have chrome open with 2 windows and around 30 tabs, adium, skype vox, textedit and movist and it was a real hard time just to open up iphoto when i connected my iphone and logging on here was hard work as well. Using expose isnt smooth and I tried launching itunes and that took over 30 bounces.

    Also when i sit close to the computer I hear sounds. I would think they are coming from the hard drive and they seem to come at the same time as the experience is at its worst.

    I know its not the latest machine but this isnt right.

    Are there any logs or anything I can post on here?

    thanks in advance
  2. #2
    Well, that might be your problem right there!

    Youtube videos on many Macs, even multi-core Intel Macs seem to make the machine break out and sweat like a madman, just trying to watch some crappy little video!

    Flash is most likely the culprit.

    Youtube is pretty damn CPU intensive, on many Macs, even modern ones!

    In regards to noise coming from your hard drive, there might be an issue there. Sometimes unusual sounds coming from drives can be a sign of trouble or even imminent death! Have you ever considered replacing your drive with a brand new one? It's not uncommon for old drives to eventually bite the dust. There's plenty of new, cheap drives out that you can get today. Also, I don't know how full your drive is, but it's not a good idea to fill a drive completely if it's a boot drive or system drive. Your system performance will suffer because of it.

    Also, if you're getting a ton of page-outs, then you should bump up your ram. To see how many page-outs you are getting, just go to Activity Monitor in Utilities.
  3. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    i dont use youtube or watch flash videos that much though. Nothing today. That might be an issue but i doubt its the issue as its not that much used.

    This hard drive was put in the machine when it went in for repair at the local apple store because the original one stopped working. I have around 70 gig free on a 500 gig disk.

    The page ins are 27,41 GB.

    Is there no check or test to run?
  4. #4
    Do you leave your machine on for days or weeks at end? Sometimes it's a good idea to reboot. There's also the basic Mac maintenance stuff like repairing permissions every once in a while. Also check for programs that might be running in the background and even activated at startup that might be eating up resources. Do you have and use a ton of widgets? Every small thing adds up and will lead to slower performance.

    When you have many programs running at the same time and your system is slow, then you could open up activity monitor and find out which program is the worst culprit that is eating up the CPU power.

    The ratio of page outs to page ins is what's important. Too many page outs relative to the page ins will cause slower performance. For every page out, the computer has to write to the hard disk instead of to Ram, and that's way slower.

    Here's a picture of a very healthy page ins/page outs ratio, as the page outs are virtually non-existant.


    You could test your performance by running a test like geekbench and then compare your score to others who have the same machine as you. If your score is way lower, then something might be up.
  5. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    Like a week at a time before restarts. Regularly run maintenance tasks. Rarely use the dashboard although 6 widgets are always running. All this is pretty much the same as before when there were no performance issues.

    The uptime now is 5 days and 14 hours.

    Here are screenshots of activity monitor

    I ran geekbench and got a total score of 2811 while the "same" computer gets 2842 on their site
  6. #6
    Your geekbench score is totally fine and close enough to the other score, so there's no problem there.

    I'm not sure why your system would be more sluggish compared to before if you are doing the exact same things, and all other variables are the same such as free hard drive space capacity etc.

    It does seem like you're maybe pushing your system a bit and asking too much from it. RAM would definitely help you out, because it certainly looks like your system doesn't have enough to cope with the amount of stuff that you're running.

    There's almost no free memory left in the activity monitor, the computer is writing more than 10 gigs of slow page outs to the hard drive over the course of 5.5 days and you do seem to run quite a few different things at the same time, robbing and using up your entire RAM. Also, as the hard drive gets fuller and fuller, some people might see some sort of performance decrease, but in my opinion, it definitely seems like more RAM would be helpful.
  7. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    But I dont understand why this would be pushing it as its pretty similar to what I have been doing before. And there were no issues then

    I dont think I have that many apps running or that I am running intensive tasks. If I cant have 20 tabs open, audio player, video player and adium then something isnt right imo.

    Before I had azureus and later transmission running alot or some kind of video compression.

    Now its rather basic and boring.

    I also feel like pretty soon after I restart that the memory is at least 50% in use even though safari or chrome only has a few tabs open.

    I have a similar imac at work (1,83 ghz 17") which has 2 gig memory as well and I have to run vmware with windows. The computer has less hard drive space and no more memory available yet it dosent suffer from this sluggish performance or makes these sounds
  8. forcefieldkid macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2010
    If many of the 20-30 tabs you have open contain flash content then you're going to see problems. Is that the case? Maybe the sites you regularly have open have added more flash content recently? Also, 20-30 tabs on 2 browsers open at once? I would imagine maybe one of your habits have changed and you haven't noticed it?
  9. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    Just one browser. And its either safari or chrome.

    I have a flash blocker enabled in both and only load it if I have interest in the content.

    If my habits have changed then its become less intensive with time if anything.

    Is it possible one memory stick isnt working properly even though its reported i have 2 gigs?

    I mean yesterday I was deleting 3 pictures that I imported from my iphone. This is something that be instantaneous yet I was sitting here and looking at the progress bar even though the pictures had been moved to the trash a few seconds earlier
  10. Laurencia7 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    That is all great advice, you cannot have 30 tabs open to videos at the same time...your CPU is stressed. But also I had a similar problem with my Macbook, turns out all those videos were making double hidden files in the hd, so I bought CleanMyMac, and it stopped. I have gotten rid of 16gb of useless cache files that were stressing my hd.

    Try it, it's like 15 dollars...but it only clears the cache and other hidden files, not your main files.

    either that or try surfing less videos at a time.
  11. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    I was using chrome when I started this thread but am now using Safari again.

    The page ins arent an issue anymore but the computer continues to be sluggish.

    I only have safari (14 tabs and no flash), itunes, adium, skype and cog open.

    This dosent feel right to me.
  12. forcefieldkid macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2010
    hey man, did you never try just re-installing?
  13. UpQuark macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2002
    Zushi, Japan
    I would pick up Onyx.. is is free. Therein, clean your caches and reboot. Also, clean out your log files too.

    Lastly, check your console and see if there are any entries there that might help.

    I looked at your screen shots of activity monitor and there is only 16M of free ram left. Which means any other application started or moved to the foreground (where you actually work on it) is being loaded into RAM as the previously foreground application is being moved to swap. Also, you swap (VM) is 190Gig. That is huge!

    I know this is tedious, but if you run you machine with only 2 browser tabs and the other applications open, how is the performance? if you slowly add browser tabs, do you notice the slow down occurring then? This is an issue of a HD getting full, but really no free RAM.
  14. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    I run maintenance regularly but as soon it restarts and a few programs (not 10-20) are running the computer becomes slow and unresponsive. Should snow leopard be worse than leopard?

    I thought chrome and all of the extensions i had was the issue and switched to safari but while there are less entries in the activity monitor its not much better. Safari with a few tabs is using over a gig in ram in less than a day. The uptime now is 2 and 1/2 days and i have 1 window and 15 tabs and safari takes 15% cpu and 1,4 gb in memory.

    I have close to a 100 gb of hard drive space left on a 500 gb disk.

    I havent reinstalled now but im considering it seriously.
  15. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    When you mention no Flash, do you have a flash blocker? Or you THINK you don't have flash?

    Btw, select "All processes" not "my processes" for activity monitor screenshot.
  16. UpQuark macrumors member


    Jan 8, 2002
    Zushi, Japan
    Memory and reinstalling

    If you reinstall, you will run into the same issue.

    I have a 2006 C2D 2.16Ghz, 3 Gig of ram machine. Same class- I would strongly recommend more RAM if you can swing it. I stand by that you don't have enough as your swap file is 190Gig and you only have 16Meg free.

    But up to you! :)
    Good luck!
  17. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    Regarding flash. I know if I am running sites with flash or not and it could have been the simplest site in the world and soon Safari would be using 1gig of ram and the computer feeling much slower than I think is normal.

    I bought 2x2gig ram and installed that and while it was faster the computer acted the same so I have tried re installing sl. After installing sl I notice the computer acting faster and better but now I run into another issue. I dl the latest combo update and get the following error

    Does anyone know what that means?
  18. bigus7674, Dec 3, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010

    bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    Ram, ram, ram

    I used to work at an Authorized Apple Reseller and I'd say that for 90% of the time, when a customer would bring their system in and complain about system performance lag, it was because they didn't have sufficient RAM installed.

    You mention that it wasn't this lagged before, but keep in mind that although your habits may not have changed, system requirements (i.e. RAM used) for programs have. Almost every updated or upgraded program one can expect an increase in RAM usage because of changes in the code resources due to new features, etc. So, say for example...maybe a year ago Safari open with 20 tabs was maybe using 500MB of RAM; but now with updates to both Flash and Safari, that same scenario might require 750MB or even 1 GB of RAM resources.

    RAM is so cheap nowadays, I'd start there, though the noises coming from the HD are definitely in need of being checked as well as that's usually an indicator of not-so-fun things to come.

    Go here:

    and locate your iMac from the list.

    I've used them for my RAM needs for years and have had great success. They are also one of the cheapest on the market, usually beating out Crucial and Other World Computing's prices. They also offer Lifetime warranty on the RAM module so if it ever "goes bad" you can replace it at no cost. In the 10 years that I have been buying from them, I had one 1GB module "go bad" by only showing up as 512MB in System Profiler - called them, they sent out a new one, I packed up the defective one in the same packaging and sent it back to them - voila!
  19. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    like i said in my last post i already purchased more ram and it performs better in 10.6.0 than in 10.6.4 (maybe it wont after i upgrade though) but I get this error when I try to run the combo update
  20. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    sorry about that...

    You must have been posting your last reply as I was typing out my mini-novel =)

    So, it's 10.6.5 that you're trying to install when you get that error? What's the processor speed of your iMac?

    Maybe trying a previous update..such as 10.6.3 or 10.6.4 to see if either of those install properly(?)

    Did you reinstall SL directly from the DVD, or did you reinstall Leopard and then upgrade it to SL? If you installed SL directly, did you do an archive and install or a reformat and install?

    Also, are you doing the install through software update? If so, I'd recommend trying to download it directly from Apple's website - I've had issues running an update through software update so I always download it directly from Apple's website and install the upgrade that way.
  21. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    I have tried 10.6.4 as well and same results.

    I have combo updates of both on the computer.

    its 2.16 ghz c2d from late 06.

    Its a clean install from an sl dvd.

    If I run system update now I get nothing of importance ie backup, remote desktop client and airport base station. And I even get an error when I try to install that.
  22. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005
    can try these...

    I found these:


    1. Run drive checks.

    The first thing to do is run Disk Utility or, even better, run a third-party utility program to check out the drive to ensure it is functioning correctly. Fixing any errors may require booting off a volume other than the boot volume (i.e., the Snow Leopard DVD or a Drive Genius DVD), and performing the fixes from there.

    2. Repartition the drive.

    This problem might happen even if the drive checks out with various disk utility software. The way around this is to have Disk Utility repartition the drive, which, luckily, can be done without having to format the drive. To do this, boot from the Snow Leopard DVD and select your language. Then launch "Disk Utility" from the "Utilities" menu and perform the following steps:

    Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the "Partition" tab.
    Resize the partition by selecting the volume name in the rectangular volume representation and drag the bottom-right corner of it to change its size.
    Click "Apply" to change the partition's size.
    Revert the change by dragging the same resizing corner back to the bottom, and click "apply."
    After this is done, quit out of Disk Utility and try installing Snow Leopard again. Since you are booted from the Snow Leopard DVD you should be able to continue immediately without having to reboot your system.


    1. Format and install.

    If you have a full system backup via Time Machine or a drive clone, you can format your boot drive and do a clean install of OS X. To do this, first be sure your backups are complete and accessible, and then boot off the Snow Leopard DVD (click the "Utilities" button instead of "Continue" in the Leopard installer, or reboot and hold the "C" key to boot off the CD/DVD drive). When the installer loads, select your language and then launch "Disk Utility" from the "Utilities" menu and perform the following steps:

    Select your boot device (the device above the boot volume name), and select the "Partition" tab.
    Select "1 partition" from the drop-down menu, and then give the partition a name and format it as "Mac OS Extended (Journaled).
    Click the "options" button and select "GUID" for the partition table.
    Close this window and click "Apply" to repartition the table.
    Close "Disk Utility" and continue with the Snow Leopard installation.
    When the installation completes, migrate your data from your backup to the new system.
    In this procedure, you can migrate from either your Time Machine backup, or from a cloned drive. Keep in mind that when you do this you may need to reinstall some programs since a clean install may break some application dependency links to system files.

    **NOTE: You won't necessarily have to do ALL of the steps mentioned above...**
  23. numlock thread starter macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2006
    If I run disk utility from the sl disc I get the following

    Verify permissions for “Macintosh HD”
    Missing file "private/var/run/.scratch".
    Missing file "System/Library/CoreServices/AirPort Base Station".
    Missing file "System/Library/Keychains/Anchors".
    Missing file "System/Library/Keychains/Anchors/X509Anchors".
    Missing file "System/Library/LaunchDaemons/".

    Permissions verification complete

    That dosent go away if I repair disk permissions. I already have installed twice
  24. bigus7674 macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2005

    What if you do a full format and reinstall, but with Leopard. Then make sure the computer boots up properly in 10.5.x and once you confirm that it does, then run Snow Leopard as an upgrade and see if that fixes the issue.

    Not sure why all of those files are missing, but something obviously isn't right.

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