iMac speed question

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jazzer15, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. jazzer15 macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    I have a one month old refurbished Late 2009 i7 quad core iMac that came with a Hitachi 2TB hard drive. I am new to Macs and I am wondering if the machine is performing as it should. It just feels a little sluggish to me, and I am coming from a 6 1/2 year old Dell running Windows XP.

    I am not referring to the processing speed, but to the general opening of programs and windows, which I guess is more a function of the hard drive.

    Whenever I have been at an Apple store or watched videos demonstrating the iMac, it seems as though most programs open very quickly and windows just pop up. When I open garage band, iMovie, iPhoto, I get a number of "bounces" (5 seconds or so perhaps?), before the program opens. When I open a window, such as in Finder if I am looking at the documents in a folder, it takes a couple of seconds for the icons to draw on the screen. The feeling of sluggishness is compounded, I think, because I can hear the hard drive working (a sort of soft, but noticeable, crunching or rumbling while reading/writing) None of this is terrible, but it just doesn't feel quite as quick as I would expect.

    I wonder if I am expecting too much. Is there a way for me to get a sense of whether the operation of my computer is "normal" compared to other similar machines?
  2. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    Perhaps you are expecting too much. Opening programs and the like are mostly restricted to hdd speed, and in that way, your new iMac won't be any faster than your old dell.
  3. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    It sounds to me that there may be a slight issue with the hard drive. Although 5 seconds isn't very long, most programs shouldn't take even that long to open.

    I have a slightly older model than yours with a 3.06GHz C2D and mine rips right along real fast. Plus if you're hearing any sort of grinding from the hard drive that is usually an indication of a looming problem.

    Sometimes there is a reason for a refurbished machine other than the "I just didn't want it after all."

    Perhaps you should bring it to the Apple store and have them look at it.

    The Dock icons bouncing several times while you wait is what tips me off to a problem along with the noise you are hearing. Now there is a normal amount of noise you can hear from a hard drive while it works, and you have to be able to tell the difference between normal and abnormal.
  4. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    The applications on the Macs in the Apple Store get opened several times on a daily basis, maybe even more, thus they most often open faster than when opening for the first time.

    To make the drawing of the Finder window faster, you could deselect the following:
  5. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    The average time it takes my 09 i7 iMac to open those iLife applications is about 3 bounces of the icon in the dock, and then another 2-3 seconds of the window being a white/black square and then loading its gui up. So around 5 seconds total for me as well.

    The low level grumbling sounds you're hearing are also normal for the hard drive. Overall you're just experiencing normal behavior. If you want faster speed, get an SSD.
  6. Brian33 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 30, 2008
    USA (Virginia)
    From your description and the behavior of my 2.8GHz C2D iMac, I don't think there's anything wrong with your machine. It sounds about like mine, and I wouldn't expect your faster processor to make much difference on these sorts of things.

    You should notice that the second time you open a particular application, it opens much faster. For example, on my iMac, opening Pages the first time after logon takes about 5 seconds, but opening it the second time takes less than 1 second. Similarly with finder drawing the icons... the second time you visit a particular folder, the icons and sizes should appear right away.

    Do you always logoff or shutdown your Mac when you're done using it? If so you'll get a lot more of these slow "first time" openings. I rarely log off or shutdown, instead I put it to sleep or let the machine sleep on its own. Since I use mostly the same apps and folders each day, everything is really quick to open. (You can require a password when waking from sleep if you desire, though I've forgotten where that option is set.)
  7. MacAndMic macrumors 6502

    Jun 4, 2009
    I would run a disk permission repair program. I like to use Onyx as it gives me a bunch of other options to clean things up.

    Your performance sounds like it should be better, bad permissions and a bloated cache can really slow a mac down. The machine I am on right now is a Core 2 Duo Macbook and those program open faster on this than what you have indicated on yours. Not alot faster mind you but still, it is not the caliber of machine yours is.

  8. jazzer15 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 8, 2010
    Thanks everyone.

    I was assuming the machine was operating properly, but you never know, so I figured it made sense to see what the experience of others was like. I am probably a bit over sensitive because the machine and Macs are new to me. I don't think the sound the hard drive is making is an abnormal noise based upon my experience with other drives, although I have had drives that were quieter.

    Thanks for the information about speeding up the Finder window access.

    Brian, yes I leave my computer on or in sleep mode -- I don't typically log off or restart. Some programs seem faster when I restart them a second time than others. I also find that the longer it has been since I used the program the slower it is to restart. I assume this is because after time the hard drive cache is cleared or overwritten.

    troutspinner -- I'll have a look at Onyx. Thanks.

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