Late 2012 iMac: Ridiculously Slow (Unusable) - Please Help

Discussion in 'iMac' started by legaleye3000, Jun 2, 2015.

  1. legaleye3000 macrumors 65816

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    Jul 31, 2007
    #1
    I have the latest updates for everything (running Yosemite). I'm using this for office work. Just opening the web browser, open Microsoft Word. Its painful, like its from 2005 rather than 2012/2013. Its using a tradition HD rather than SSD, but still... This is bad.

    Any ideas why it would be doing this? I did a repair disk and permissions and used OnyX for some cleaning and nothing... Startup items are only Dropbox and TotalFinder and iTunes Helper. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    You don't have an SSD, that's why.
     
  3. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I'm not doing anything crazy though ... I mean this computer is only 2.5 years old and I'm just doing web browsing and using Microsoft office type stuff.
     
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #4
    Your HDD is dying. Take this opportunity to throw the spinning drive out of the window and stick an SSD in.
     
  5. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Anyway to confirm if it's "dying"? Looks pretty tough changing the HD on this model.
     
  6. HobeSoundDarryl, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

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    #6
    Lots of possibilities besides dying hard drive. Run "Activity Monitor" in the Utilities folder and then try to do common things like you've been doing (open web browser, run Word, etc). Anything eating up a lot of CPU cycles? How's your RAM (memory tab in Activity Monitor)? Too little RAM will yield the symptoms you are describing.

    Would you happen to have backed up the old OS to a bootable drive? If so, try to boot with that drive and see if the system runs as you expect it.

    Have you tried shutting down, unplugging for 30 seconds or more, plugging it back in and starting up again?

    As a precautionary move, I would back up your hard drive right now. Consider backing it up to a bootable external drive. Then boot with that backup drive and see if it replicates the slowdowns you are feeling. If the bootable backup drive isn't "slow" like the internal drive, it may be the internal drive. But one option could be to wipe the internal with a fresh format and then reinstall OS X and migrate your files from the bootable backup you just made. At only 2.5 years old, I'm doubting it's your hard drive.
     
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #7
    If your system has only recently slowed down, then the HDD is a good choice as the prime suspect. You can check if other issues, such as your software configuration, is pulling your system down. A good check is in your Activity Monitor. Have that open when you system is slowing down, and look first at the memory graph. If the Memory pressure is yellow, or even red, then you want to look at the list of apps and processes, and sort those by memory use. You may see some issues there that you haven't considered yet. If memory pressure is green and low, then check the CPU tab, sorting by CPU use. If you really don't see apparent problems there, that can eliminate software as an issue, and the HDD is your next likely suspect.
     
  8. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I did the wipe and reinstall a few months ago when it was slow, but it seems now that it is REALLY slow. I did the activity monitor and nothing seemed too crazy. I have 8gb ram so that is plenty for what I do. I'll try cloning to an external drive and see if that does anything; however, I think the external drive will run slow regardless because I believe the late 2012 iMac runs off of USB 2.0 instead of 3.0...(?)
     
  9. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #9
    The 2012 iMac has USB 3.0.
    Even better, if you have to use an external drive, the Thunderbolt bus is very good.
    There's also the possibility that a failing/failed HDD can interfere with other storage devices, so there's a good chance that you would still need to open your iMac, just to disconnect the internal drive. If you ever need to do that, then it would be a great opportunity to replace the internal drive - SSD would be ideal then :D
     
  10. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    I read the guide on ifixit. Taking it apart doesn't seem bad, but putting the screen back on seems tough :eek:
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #11
    The late-2012 iMac has USB 3.0 ports.

    How about this, just buy an external SSD (like the Samsung T1 or the Transcend JetDrive) and boot off it? It'll fly.
     
  12. stjames70 macrumors member

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    #12
    I have a 2011 suffering from similar problems -- but it was some process running in the background hogging up to 75% of my CPU under Activity Monitor. I have 32 Gb of Ram and after erasing that process, my computer runs just fine. You may want to consider additional memory -- iMac memory is usually cheap and easy to replace in your particular generation. And then again, your HDD may be dying. Test it with disk utility, but most importantly clone your drive using something like Carbon Copy Cloner. It will clone your drive so it is an exact bootable copy of your HDD and you will be able to boot from whatever cheap external drive you have lying around.
     
  13. andrewbuilder, Jun 2, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    andrewbuilder macrumors newbie

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    Sydney, Australia
    #13
    I agree with some of the other responses that it could be a number of issues other than your HDD.

    I am not certain how you might go about attempting to resolve those, but I can offer the following example.

    My 2008 iMac8,1 is standard except for the following...
    - About two years ago I removed the original 2GB SDRAM and replaced with 6GB. Immediate improvement.
    - About two weeks ago I removed the original Western Digital 320GB HDD and replaced it with a Seagate Hybrid Drive (Seagate SSHD 2TB model ST2000DX001, with 8GB onboard NAND flash memory). Extraordinary improvement. Cost AUD$133 delivered to my door.

    Without any modifications to anything else, the Seagate unit operates perfectly in a manner similar to (but as I understand it not identical to) Apple's own "Fusion Drive" solution.

    Comparisons... (all warm machine)

    BEFORE
    Machine restart with iTunes and Photos apps open and running - 8 minutes
    Start up Photos app, wait for on screen photos to load - 3 to 5 minutes
    Start up MS Excel spreadsheet containing data, wait for data to appear on screen - 2 minutes

    AFTER
    Machine restart with iTunes and Photos apps open and running - less than 1 minute
    Start up Photos app, wait for on screen photos to load - 15 to 20 seconds
    Start up MS Excel spreadsheet containing data, wait for data to appear on screen - 11 seconds

    I approached the entire process as an experiment, but as it turns out this has practically been an enormous success. I will now squeeze another twelve or so months out of this extraordinary piece of equipment.

    I too was worried about dismantling my seven year old machine. In hindsight it took me a lot longer to carefully vacuum all the parts and clean the fans while the machine was in pieces than it did to dismantle, swap the drives and reassemble. I understand the 2008 unit is easier than the 2012 unit so take this advice with a grain of salt.
     
  14. e93to macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    Toronto
    #14
    My late 2012 iMac is pretty snappy on Yosemite even with standard HDD...

    LIke someone posted above, I also suggest cloning the entire drive onto an external drive (maybe an SSD?) to see whether slowness also happens on that drive as well.

    I also suggest doing Apple Hardware Test.
     
  15. jacom700 macrumors newbie

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    Apr 3, 2015
    #15
    I have a 2012 Mac Mini and found it a little slow at times so added an external 120gb USB3 SSD, installed Yosemite and it starts up about 3 times quicker and everything runs a lot faster. I now use the internal 500GB drive mainly for storage but start from it occasionally to do updates etc.. If I have any trouble with the SSD I can boot from the internal drive and be up and running in a matter of minutes.
     
  16. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Haven't had a chance to try the external HD yet, but memory pressure is green and low. Less than 3gb used out of 8gb of ram. The highest thing using cpu is actually activity monitor and then Google Chrome Helper which jumps to 25% then can go back down to 7% or so. But I don't think this would be causing huge lag.
     
  17. joe-h2o macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 24, 2012
    #17
    It sounds like your drive is on the way out. Did you check how much free space you have? If it's less than a few GB then it could be down to disk thrashing or serious space constraints. If you have loads of space left then it's not this.

    If it is full then use one of those disk inventory apps to total up what's on there to identify the culprit. Common ones that go out of control are things like the Time Machine local backup, or your iPhoto library.

    If it's seriously slow now then I'd definitely consider the drive suspect. Even if the SMART status is listed as "ok" (check in Disk Utility) it might still be dying. If you take it to an Apple store they have software that will check the health of the drive, and if you're in AppleCare will swap it for you (and if not, they'll swap it for you but you'll have to pay).
     
  18. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I have TONS of space left. Like 850gb.

    Disk Util says Smart status is "verified". Is there a good app that can actually look deeper and tell if there's any issues with the drive? I have AppleCare good until Jan; however, its such a pain in the ass to haul the iMac to an Apple Store from my office. I would rather confirm that its a bad drive using an app before hauling it down to the store... Thanks.
     
  19. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #19
    It's already almost rock-solid confirmed that the hard drive is gone. Don't bother taking it to the store, just replace the drive with an SSD.
     
  20. TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

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    Jan 24, 2012
    #20
    There are a lot of things that could be causing that problem and a bad hard drive is only one of them. It could be a problem with a cable, the drive, the system, or an OS problem/conflict.

    You can read about a fair number of the problems at http://scsc-online.com in their how-to section. They also make the product Scannerz that can test most of the stuff on the system, not just issue a SMART status report.

    Personally, I suspect the problem is either software or Yosemite related. I've read reports of systems that were bottlenecking in 10.10.3 becoming faster with 10.10.4. I believe 10.10.4 is still public beta but you might be able to still get that if you don't mind reporting once in a while and having Apple's monitors running.

    For safety's sake, if you haven't done so, back up or clone the drive now, just in case. Blindly opening up a unit and throwing parts at it without knowing the cause of the problem is bad advice.

    You don't need an SSD to run Yosemite.
     
  21. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    I'm running a clone off of my Seagate srd00f1. It seems to be running the same if not a little slower. The external drive (not ssd) I believe is 5400 rpms (which is I believe the same as the internal 1tb hdd).

    Ran Scannerz on the drive and it said everything was fine...
     
  22. TheBSDGuy, Jun 4, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015

    TheBSDGuy macrumors 6502

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    #22
    …which is why you don't go out and start throwing parts at a problem.

    I have a neighbor with a 2009 MacBook, 4G RAM, and an internal HDD and it's running Yosemite on it just fine. That system is probably about 1/2 as fast as yours, maybe even slower. What I did notice was that their's was bottlenecking a little and had a few lockups on 10.10.3 so I installed 10.10.4 on it and that cleared it up. That's how I found out about 10.10.4 - I just figured what could they lose? They were already thinking about wiping their drive and putting Mavericks back on anyway.

    It's still a beta release, but the improvement was noticeable. Even then though, I wouldn't say it was like a night and day change. Yosemite should run just a little slower than Mavericks.

    I don't remember if you've tried the SMC reset or NVRAM resets, so here are links to them anyway:

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201295 (SMC reset)
    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204063 (NVRAM reset)

    NVRAM reset probably isn't needed but SMC settings can hit performance.

    Other things you might try or ask:

    1. Are you running anti-virus software? If so, disable it.
    2. Have you run any "clean up" utitilies? These can be notorious for deleting important files.
    3. Are you using wireless? If so try hard wired ethernet because there were bugs with wi-fi.
    4. Have you tried booting into safe mode? If the system runs normally in safe boot, there's something being loaded, either third party or some driver that's now locking up the system. Camera drivers, for example, may be causing the kernel to keep re-loading stuff it can't load in a loop.

    There are known problems with wireless on Yosemite. If you're using wireless, disable it and use a hardwired connection. I don't use wireless myself because I have a gigabyte ethernet connection and want the speed.

    That's all I can think of for now, and I hope it helps.
     
  23. legaleye3000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    I appreciate the reply. I can't remember if I tried NVRAM and SMC, so I'll try it again. I'm not really having internet speed problems; its the interface. Opening/closing windows, programs, etc. Apps taking awhile to launch. I'm not running anti-virus. I didn't run any cleanup utilities until yesterday (Onyx), but didn't see any results. I have NOT tried safe mode. So I'll give those a shot. Thanks again.
     
  24. kjm18 macrumors 6502

    kjm18

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    #24
    I Have a 2012 iMac with 10.10.4 (developer account) and can confirm that .4 is a lot snappier than .3 also have 24GB installed of ram that helps even though had 32GB installed before that but kept lagging constantly, changed to 24GB now it's a dream to use even with a standard HDD
     
  25. steve217 macrumors regular

    steve217

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    #25
    If you have AppleCare then I would face the pain and haul your iMac to the store. If your performance is that bad, then Apple should remediate under warranty.
     

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