Options: Be Patient or Get new Mac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by timtunes, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. timtunes macrumors newbie


    Mar 25, 2018
    I have a late-2013 27" iMac. 3TB fusion drive, 32GB memory. Uses mainly music (1.7TB) and photos (0.7TB)

    All good until 2 weeks ago (seemed to be at the same time as MSOffice autoupdate but maybe coincidence). Then it just sloooowed. Beachball all the time.

    Via Applecare :-
    - standard safe reboot, PRAM etc
    - then Time Machine restore - 3 days later, still all jammed up
    - then disk erase, fresh install. OK at first then crashed as data was copied across folder by folder. restarted and copied across music folder - took 4 days. When finished machine crazy slow. Applecare couldn't connect
    - they suggested i do a 'data capture' to send them, that'll take forever
    - I did another disk erase & restore which seems OK and just accessing the key Time Machine folders to copy them elsewhere

    So, what next?

    Should I be patient? (that will take weeks I guess to copy files, get feedback and then see if it works)

    Or get a new one?

    If a new one - same again or is there an argument for SSD with Thunderbolt attached music or NAS? I want super speedy access but like iTunes - I have 14 years of ratings stored in that .itl.

    Any ideas suggestions appreciated
    --- Post Merged, Mar 25, 2018 ---
    Please let me know if this is the wrong Forum for this question, cheers
  2. fathergll macrumors 65816

    Sep 3, 2014
    Can you try installing and using OSX on an external SSD?
  3. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009

    What is your back up drive and how is it connected? Ancient slow USB 2.0 drive? If it is a decent USB 3.0 drive then there is a decent chance you have storage device problems in your iMac.

    You could try copying some largish folders over from this external drive to the iMac with Activity Monitor open. If you consistently have write speeds that are sub 1 MB/s range ( like 10kb/s or lower ) then there is pretty good chance that your HDD is dying. ( could be the SSD as Fusion uses it too, but more likely the HDD. )

    If the "data capture' Applecare is suggesting is running a hardware diagnostic tool to gather up the SMART info from your HDD (and run some read/write benchmarks) then it would be an even more informative. IF there are any "corrections" or "data failed" events in your SMART log then even if the drive is limping along it is simply just time to "shoot the horse". Even with no SMART events is all you can get out of the drive during a copy when there is no other activity going on is kb/s then it is pragmatically dead even if "SMART" doesn't indicate it yet.

    If it is the hard drive, then should be a relatively modest cost to getting that replaced ( hundreds of dollars, probably more in labor than the drive) relatively to the cost of a new iMac. The 2013 27" model was 'retired' by the 2015 model so only 3 years into a Apple Vintage designation countdown.

    You can check to see if there is an Apple certified support location nearby that can do a local drive pull if don't want to deal with Apple shipping it off to a depot . ( e.g., https://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIMACHDD12/ and a drive )

    If it is just a very large music library USB 3.0 should be plenty. Get an enclosure that can do UASP and a direction connection and should be able to keep up with a single HDD spindle data transfer rates. You can abandon the HDD in place ( erase and just don't format it again. ). If macOS never mounts it, the HDD should managed to put itself back to sleep after a while. If it does nothing, then being broke in read/write won't be a issue.

    Getting an external SSD (thunderbolt ) and external USB 3.0 HDD may not cost much less than replacing the broken HDD though.
  4. timtunes thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 25, 2018
    Thankyou deconstruct60 for the very full reply

    It is a Thunderbolt drive (8TB)

    Good idea, will try

    Sorry, not quite sure what you mean?
  5. mikeboss macrumors 65816


    Aug 13, 2009
    AFAIR the 3.0 TB drives tend to fail. wasn't there a replacement program from Apple? I'd check the drive with DriveDx and see if the HDD is still OK or not.
  6. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I'd do a backup then check the status of the drive. Just look for external storage for booting from and for your data. You don't have a massive amount of data so it shouldn't cost too much. Get an external SSD as a boot drive, connected over Thunderbolt.

    I wouldn't bother using the internal disk any longer if it is faulty, and it will cost more than it's worth to get it fixed. just live with the external storage.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I second mikeboss' post above.

    3tb fusion drives often came with a Seagate 3tb HDD that was prone to failure.
    You should investigate this further.

    One other thing to try:
    Can you go into the "Users & Groups" pref pane, then create an entirely new user account for test purposes only?
    Then, log into that account.
    Do things still run at a crawl?
  8. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    For a Thunderbolt (TB) drive not to copy less than 3TB in a day is exceedingly bad. It is hard to fathom it is is the "read" write so iMac is likely having problems writing.

    that was all in the context of not buying something new and just leaving the HDD in place. For streaming music to 1-2 people off of a single hard drive USB 3.0 is enough as long as you get the USB overhead down. USB Attached SSCI protocol (UASP) is a more efficient protocol to deal with external hard drive than just plain USB 2.0 era protocols. USB 3.0 is 5Gb/s. Even if USB overhead takes that down to 3.5Gb/s that is still approximately 400MB/s. No single hard drive can keep up with that and it is more than sufficient to stream audio data. In short, Thunderbolt is overkill for a single hard drive if budget constrained.

    If you drop out of using Fusion you may need an SSD OS/Apps/User drive that is bigger than your internal SSD and an external hard drive . [ while you might be able to hack up a temporary inside/outside combo of Fusion with your internal SSD and an external Thunderbolt HDD I suspect that work well past updates etc.] So splitting means somewhat loose the internal SSD even if it isn't broken. ( you could find some use but at some point Apple turned the SSD on the larger HDD combos into something lame in size. It is a somewhat decent cache size but putting full OS on with Apps is a stretch. ). If you just have an external hard drive then loose some of the performance of Fusion. ( there are hybrid/SSHD drives but they aren't as robust at caching as Fusion is. )

    If you erase the HDD [ or perhaps format it as something that macOS can't mount] then macOS will just ignore it. If a 'broken' HDD just sleeps inside your iMac you can probably get by for an extended period of time. If the drive is up and spinning it may turn into a noise rattler after a while. And you probably not want stuff like Spotlight or some other background process roaming around the drive. If the operating system doesn't mount the drive for active use, then it will be ignored. Ignored drives should go to sleep by themselves (or at least put the read/write head into some nominal position where it isn't doing anything; park ).

    That would be a quick reformat ( don't zero out the whole drive) which just writes over the initial boot sectors and the top level partition metadata. ( that isn't much data to write over so even if slow as molasses it won't take too long. ). Side effect should be that the SSD and HDD become decoupled. ( If the GUI Disk Utility won't do that then the command line version will. )
  9. timtunes thread starter macrumors newbie


    Mar 25, 2018
    Yes, they did (before this latest restore)
    --- Post Merged, Mar 26, 2018 ---
    Great advice - never thought of that. A few options to try, good job it's a long weekend coming up
  10. Shivetya macrumors 65816

    Jan 16, 2008
    I have late 2013 as well, it tends to shut down at odd times playing one game... but otherwise is fine. seeing that the 20th anniversary of the iMac is coming I am going to see if they do something special
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Sounds like a dying HDD to me, get it replaced, maybe with an SSD and re-fuse as an all ssd fusion drive.

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