Problems with Referb. iMac recently purchased from Apple

Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
It runs slowly and often freezes. I get the beach ball a lot. I ran disk utility first aid and it said things were okay. But, when I run EtreCheck, it says I have an older hard drive that appears to be failing. I talked to apple representative about this because the computer is new. They viewed my screen and confirmed things were taking too long and that "something did not look right." After running Apple scans of speed and other things, they said "all the numbers check out so there's no problem." I noted the slow speeds they were observing and the EtreCheck that I ran. They said "you know EtreCheck is not an Apple product and could damage your system." I noted that I did not install EtreCheck until it looked like my system was having problems that Apple products could not detect.

My only option was to return the machine which I did in exchange for another refurb. It's having the same problem. Does anyone have any insight into this? Is there something I'm missing?

Thanks for taking a look

EtreCheck version: 5.1 (5020)

Report generated: 2019-02-25 18:16:17

Download EtreCheck from https://etrecheck.com

Runtime: 13:21

Performance: Poor

Sandbox: Enabled

Full drive access: Disabled


Problem: Beachballing


Major Issues:

Anything that appears on this list needs immediate attention.


Failing hard drive - This machine has an older, mechanical hard disk that appears to be failing.


Minor Issues:

These issues do not need immediate attention but they may indicate future problems.


Out of RAM - This machine is running short on RAM and has a mechanical hard drive, reducing the speed of the virtual memory system.

32-bit Apps - This machine has 32-bits apps that may have problems in the future.

Abnormal shutdown - Your machine shut down abnormally.

Limited drive access - More information may be available with Full Drive Access.


Hardware Information:

iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2017)

iMac Model: iMac18,2

1 3 GHz Intel Core i5 (i5-7400) CPU: 4-core

8 GB RAM - Upgradeable

BANK 0/DIMM0 - 4 GB DDR4 2400 ok

BANK 1/DIMM0 - 4 GB DDR4 2400 ok


Drives:

disk0 - APPLE HDD HTS541010A9E632 1.00 TB (Mechanical - 5400 RPM)

Internal SATA 3 Gigabit Serial ATA

disk0s1 - EFI (MS-DOS FAT32) [EFI] 210 MB

disk0s2 [APFS Container] 1000.00 GB

disk1 [APFS Virtual drive] 1000.00 GB (Shared by 4 volumes)

disk1s1 - Macintosh HD (APFS) (Shared - 593.62 GB used)

disk1s2 - Preboot (APFS) [APFS Preboot] (Shared)

disk1s3 - Recovery (APFS) [Recovery] (Shared)

disk1s4 - VM (APFS) [APFS VM] (Shared - 5.37 GB used)


disk2 - TOSHIBA External USB 3.0 1.00 TB

External USB 5 Gbit/s USB

disk2s1 - EFI (MS-DOS FAT32) [EFI] 210 MB

disk2s2 - T******************e (Journaled HFS+) 999.86 GB (763.93 GB used)


Mounted Volumes:

disk1s1 - Macintosh HD 1000.00 GB (400.23 GB free)

APFS

Mount point: /


disk1s4 - VM [APFS VM] (Shared - 5.37 GB used)

APFS

Mount point: /private/var/vm


disk2s2 - T******************e 999.86 GB (235.93 GB free)

Journaled HFS+

Mount point: /Volumes/T******************e


Network:

Interface en0: Ethernet

Interface en6: iPhone

Interface en5: iPad

Interface en1: Wi-Fi

802.11 a/b/g/n/ac

Interface en4: Bluetooth PAN

Interface bridge0: Thunderbolt Bridge


System Software:

macOS Mojave 10.14.3 (18D109)

Time since boot: About 2 days


Security:

GatekeeperEnabled

System Integrity ProtectionEnabled


32-bit Applications:

2 32-bit apps


Kernel Extensions:

/Library/Extensions

Fantom.kext (National Instruments, 1.1.1)


System Launch Agents:

[Not Loaded] 16 Apple tasks

[Loaded] 161 Apple tasks

[Running] 122 Apple tasks


System Launch Daemons:

[Not Loaded] 37 Apple tasks

[Loaded] 175 Apple tasks

[Running] 122 Apple tasks

[Other] One Apple task


Launch Agents:

[Other] com.adobe.ARMDCHelper.cc24aef4a1b90ed56a725c38014c95072f92651fb65e1bf9c8e43c37a23d420d.plist (Adobe Systems, Inc. - installed 2019-01-23)


Launch Daemons:

[Loaded] com.adobe.fpsaud.plist (Adobe Systems, Inc. - installed 2019-01-28)

[Loaded] com.adobe.ARMDC.Communicator.plist (Adobe Systems, Inc. - installed 2019-01-23)

[Other] com.ni.Fantom.plist (Apple - installed 2019-02-05)

[Loaded] com.apple.installer.osmessagetracing.plist (Apple - installed 2019-02-05)

[Loaded] com.adobe.ARMDC.SMJobBlessHelper.plist (Adobe Systems, Inc. - installed 2019-01-23)


User Launch Agents:

[Other] com.google.keystone.agent.plist (Google, Inc. - installed 2019-01-01)


Internet Plug-ins:

Silverlight: 5.1.41212.0 (installed 2019-02-18)

AdobePDFViewerNPAPI: 17.012.20098 (installed 2018-12-19)

QuickTime Plugin: 7.7.3 (installed 2018-12-24)

AdobePDFViewer: 19.010.20069 (installed 2018-12-19)

Flash Player: 32.0.0.142 (installed 2019-02-12)

FlashPlayer-10.6: 32.0.0.142 (installed 2019-02-12)


3rd Party Preference Panes:

Flash Player (installed 2019-01-28)


Time Machine:

Time Machine information not available without Full Drive Access.


Performance:

System Load: 3.80 (1 min ago) 3.24 (5 min ago) 2.42 (15 min ago)

Nominal I/O speed: 0.15 MB/s

File system: 120.85 seconds (timed out)

Write speed: 30 MB/s

Read speed: 44 MB/s


CPU Usage:

Type Overall

System 3 %

User 5 %

Idle 92 %


Top Processes by CPU:

Process (count) CPU (Source - Location)

Other processes 16.35 % (?)

Mail 10.05 % (Apple)

EtreCheck 2.87 % (App Store)

com.apple.WebKit.WebContent (3) 0.50 % (Apple)

SafariBookmarksSyncAgent 0.04 % (Apple)


Top Processes by Memory:

Process (count) RAM usage (Source - Location)

com.apple.WebKit.WebContent (3) 566 MB (Apple)

EtreCheck 483 MB (App Store)

Mail 190 MB (Apple)

Safari 114 MB (Apple)

suggestd 84 MB (Apple)


Top Processes by Network Use:

Process Input / Output (Source - Location)

mDNSResponder 22 MB / 7 MB (Apple)

Mail 3 MB / 43 KB (Apple)

com.apple.WebKit.Networking 2 MB / 863 KB (Apple)

apsd 158 KB / 325 KB (Apple)

netbiosd 28 KB / 19 KB (Apple)


Virtual Memory Information:

Available RAM 1.78 GB

Free RAM 16 MB

Used RAM 6.22 GB

Cached files 1.76 GB

Swap Used 21 MB


Software Installs (past 30 days):

Install Date Name (Version)

2019-02-12 Adobe Flash Player

2019-02-18 LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Home Edition

2019-02-18 LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3

2019-02-21 Gatekeeper Configuration Data (163)

2019-02-23 MRTConfigData (1.40)


Diagnostics Information (past 7 days):

2019-02-23 19:22:02 Last Shutdown Cause: 0 - Power loss


Directory /Library/Logs/DiagnosticReports is not accessible without Full Drive Access.


End of report
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,278
2,574
The hard drive in that computer is extremely slow. Apple really has no business selling computers that use them. if your budget allows, I’d return that computer and get one that has an SSD in it, or at least a Fusion Drive. This particular computer will always seem slow unless you attach an external SSD and set that up as your boot disk.
 
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Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
And you got the message the drive is failing and is in fact a mechanical hard drive. Is this correct?
Yes...I see that. When apple looks at the computer remotely, they say everything is fine. When I reference the report, they say "that's not an apple diagnostic...it's not valid."

Is there a way to detect the problem with the hard drive through apple scans or diagnostics? Disk utility first aid reveals nothing.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,297
8,947
California
/Library/Extensions

Fantom.kext (National Instruments, 1.1.1)
You do have some third party launch items and this kext installed that may be causing a conflict.

Try holding the shift key at startup to start in safe mode. That will stop all third party items from running so you know if that is the problem.

Give that a try and come back and tell us if that fixes it.

The hard drive that comes in that iMac is not the fastest drive ever, but it would in no way cause the issues you are seeing. The fact you are seeing this on two new iMacs makes me think you have installed something causing this.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,392
5,627
OP:

You must realize that the platter-based hard drive in the "base models" that Apple sells is woefully slow. That's why you're living in "beachball city".

You have a couple of choices that I can see:

Choice #1:
Return it for a replacement. If you DO return it, I suggest you request a refund and then buy an iMac that has an SSD inside. It will cost a little more, but it will run MUCH faster.

Choice #2:
Buy an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD such as one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-1TB-Extreme-Portable-SDSSDE60-1T00-G25/dp/B078STRHBX/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1541356729&sr=1-2&keywords=sandisk+extreme+usb+3+portable+drive

512gb will be "all you need".
You can even get by with 256gb, if the 512gb is too expensive.

Then...
Put the OS, apps, and basic accounts on it.
Leave "large libraries" (such as movies, music and pics) on the internal HDD (they don't need "much speed").

Do this, and I predict you will become MUCH HAPPIER with the overall performance of the iMac.

This is very VERY easy to do. You will come back here and tell us you are amazed at the performance increase!
 

Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
You do have some third party launch items and this kext installed that may be causing a conflict.

Try holding the shift key at startup to start in safe mode. That will stop all third party items from running so you know if that is the problem.

Give that a try and come back and tell us if that fixes it.

The hard drive that comes in that iMac is not the fastest drive ever, but it would in no way cause the issues you are seeing. The fact you are seeing this on two new iMacs makes me think you have installed something causing this.

I restarted in safe mode (It took almost 20 minutes to reboot - black screen, apple logo and progress bar at bottom). In safe mode, loading applications seems a little snappier.

I looked for fantom.kext and I can't find it in applications or anywhere. Is there a way to identify and remove this?

Thanks for looking at this.
[doublepost=1551630515][/doublepost]
OP:

You must realize that the platter-based hard drive in the "base models" that Apple sells is woefully slow. That's why you're living in "beachball city".

You have a couple of choices that I can see:

Choice #1:
Return it for a replacement. If you DO return it, I suggest you request a refund and then buy an iMac that has an SSD inside. It will cost a little more, but it will run MUCH faster.

Choice #2:
Buy an EXTERNAL USB3 SSD such as one of these:
https://www.amazon.com/SanDisk-1TB-Extreme-Portable-SDSSDE60-1T00-G25/dp/B078STRHBX/ref=sr_1_2?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1541356729&sr=1-2&keywords=sandisk+extreme+usb+3+portable+drive

512gb will be "all you need".
You can even get by with 256gb, if the 512gb is too expensive.

Then...
Put the OS, apps, and basic accounts on it.
Leave "large libraries" (such as movies, music and pics) on the internal HDD (they don't need "much speed").

Do this, and I predict you will become MUCH HAPPIER with the overall performance of the iMac.

This is very VERY easy to do. You will come back here and tell us you are amazed at the performance increase!

Thanks - adding the solid state would be easiest. But, I don't want to do this only to have the internal hard drive fail soon. Is there anyway to know if they HD is broken or breaking or just slow?
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,278
2,574
I restarted in safe mode (It took almost 20 minutes to reboot - black screen, apple logo and progress bar at bottom). In safe mode, loading applications seems a little snappier.

I looked for fantom.kext and I can't find it in applications or anywhere. Is there a way to identify and remove this?

Thanks for looking at this.
As I wrote earlier, the root of your problem is that the disk in this computer is very slow. There’s no combination of software that’s going to fix this problem. If you feel the performance is inadequate (the computer’s performance is truly crippled by this terrible drive), you should either return the computer or get a faster external disk to use to boot the computer.
 
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Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
As I wrote earlier, the root of your problem is that the disk in this computer is very slow. There’s no combination of software that’s going to fix this problem. If you feel the performance is inadequate (the computer’s performance is truly crippled by this terrible drive), you should either return the computer or get a faster external disk to use to boot the computer.
I can’t tell if the HD is slow or broken. I don’t want to get the SSD only to have the internal HD break soon. Do you see evidence that the drive is fine but just slow?
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,278
2,574
I can’t tell if the HD is slow or broken. I don’t want to get the SSD only to have the internal HD break soon. Do you see evidence that the drive is fine but just slow?
I have a lot of experience supporting people who use those computers and suffer with nearly unusable performance even though the disk is performing as fast as it can, but there’s no way for me to know how your particular disk is performing. If it passes Apple’s diagnostic it’s not likely faulty. If you’re still in the return period with Apple, I’d suggest just sending it back. The computer does not need to be defective for you to do this. You will be much happier with a different computer that has a faster disk.
 
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Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
I have a lot of experience supporting people who use those computers and suffer with nearly unusable performance even though the disk is performing as fast as it can, but there’s no way for me to know how your particular disk is performing. If it passes Apple’s diagnostic it’s not likely faulty. If you’re still in the return period with Apple, I’d suggest just sending it back. The computer does not need to be defective for you to do this. You will be much happier with a different computer that has a faster disk.
Cool...thanks for your insight on this.
 

Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
It is in the folder /Library/Extensions. Make sure you are in the base /Library folder and not the user ~/Library folder.



Also get rid of this plist in the folder /Library/LaunchDaemons.
They're gone...thanks.
[doublepost=1551632452][/doublepost]I'm past the 14-day return window and also past the time I can talk with a rep. So...I think I'll try the external SSD and see how this works.

Thanks everyone - I'll let you know how it goes.
 

jtara

macrumors 68000
Mar 23, 2009
1,826
433
I would assume that when Apple sells a refurb, they erase the hard drive and load a fresh OS.

But that doesn't appear to be the case here, based on the installation dates.

Did you install Silverlight and Adobe Flash player? (If so, please don't!)

National Instruments makes specialized data acquisition equipment. Fantom.kext is likely a driver for their products.

I would return it. Just on the chance that it was in e.g. a scientific/industrial laboratory, might have been exposed to a corrosive environment, etc. Just a SMALL chance of that. The main reason for return is that it should have come with a pristine filesystem, not with junk installed by the previous owner.

It sounds like Apple did not properly "refurbish" this iMac. If they failed to wipe the hard drive and install from scratch, what else did they miss? Did somebody at Apple just hurriedly slap a shipping label on it without the normal tests and refurbishing steps?

Edit: well a look back at your posts blows that theory. Fantom.kext is part of Lego Mindstorms. I presume you installed it. If you remove it, you will probably break Lego Mindstorms.

When you buy a refurb - or any computer - give yourself a chance to discover any issues without the added confusion of immediate loading it up with your own software.

Silverlight? Flash? Really? Friends don't let friends.... Is "Flash" really Flash?
[doublepost=1551633210][/doublepost]
Failing hard drive - This machine has an older, mechanical hard disk that appears to be failing.
... tells me NOTHING USEFUL. This is such a broad statement as to be useless. Others here can probably suggest hard drive test software that will give useful, specific results.
 
Last edited:

Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
I would assume that when Apple sells a refurb, they erase the hard drive and load a fresh OS.

But that doesn't appear to be the case here, based on the installation dates.

Did you install Silverlight and Adobe Flash player? (If so, please don't!)

National Instruments makes specialized data acquisition equipment. Fantom.kext is likely a driver for their products.

I would return it. Just on the chance that it was in e.g. a scientific/industrial laboratory, might have been exposed to a corrosive environment, etc. Just a SMALL chance of that. The main reason for return is that it should have come with a pristine filesystem, not with junk installed by the previous owner.

It sounds like Apple did not properly "refurbish" this iMac. If they failed to wipe the hard drive and install from scratch, what else did they miss? Did somebody at Apple just hurriedly slap a shipping label on it without the normal tests and refurbishing steps?

Edit: well a look back at your posts blows that theory. Fantom.kext is part of Lego Mindstorms. I presume you installed it. If you remove it, you will probably break Lego Mindstorms.

When you buy a refurb - or any computer - give yourself a chance to discover any issues without the added confusion of immediate loading it up with your own software.

Silverlight? Flash? Really? Friends don't let friends.... Is "Flash" really Flash?
[doublepost=1551633210][/doublepost]

... tells me NOTHING USEFUL. This is such a broad statement as to be useless. Others here can probably suggest hard drive test software that will give useful, specific results.
Yes...these were both in the mindstorm package and required for use (I think). I would like to not have these but I'm using Mindstorm for a class and have to have it.
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
29,297
8,947
California
hen you buy a refurb - or any computer - give yourself a chance to discover any issues without the added confusion of immediate loading it up with your own software.
OP if you are up for it, do a Time Machine backup then command-r to recovery and erase the whole drive then reinstall the OS and nothing else and see how that works just as a test.

I still suspect it is some or one of these third party items you have running causing your issues.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68000
Oct 19, 2007
1,750
409
Nambucca Heads Australia
Did you actually buy this machine directly from Apple or a dealer selling second hand Macs as so called 'refurbished'?

Apple has a clean install of the current operating system and a full twelve month warranty. You can add AppleCare+ at anytime within 12 months of purchase for a further two years
 

etresoft

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2016
21
7
... tells me NOTHING USEFUL. This is such a broad statement as to be useless. Others here can probably suggest hard drive test software that will give useful, specific results.
The EtreCheck report includes the specific values which triggered that high-level issue:
Nominal I/O speed: 0.15 MB/s
No other nominal activity. There wasn’t any other process using the disk that could account for poor disk test results from EtreCheck.

File system: 120.85 seconds (timed out)
The file system test didn’t even complete. A normal machine should complete this test in 30-60 seconds. This test consists of creating, deleting, and moving a bunch of files and directories. It is designed to mimic, at a very intensive level, the crazy amount of file system activity that occurs every time you save a file on a Mac. In rare cases, low-level, disk-monitoring kernel extensions such as AV software can cause this kind of poor performance. I don’t think the Fantom extension is causing any problem. It appears to be too old to even load.

Write speed: 30 MB/s
Nothing fancy here. Just a straightforward disk write speed test. This disk is 100 times slower than a modern SSD. An iMac with a mechanical disk should report something between 70-125 MB/s here.

Read speed: 44 MB/s
Same as above, albeit not quite as awful as the write speed.

For the record, Disk Utility tests do not actually test the disk. They check the integrity of the file system, which is just the logical organization of data on the disk. If a Disk Utility test fails, then it could mean disk failure. But a test that doesn’t fail has no meaning.
 

Nilo36

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 18, 2008
13
0
Richmond, VA
The EtreCheck report includes the specific values which triggered that high-level issue:
Nominal I/O speed: 0.15 MB/s
No other nominal activity. There wasn’t any other process using the disk that could account for poor disk test results from EtreCheck.

File system: 120.85 seconds (timed out)
The file system test didn’t even complete. A normal machine should complete this test in 30-60 seconds. This test consists of creating, deleting, and moving a bunch of files and directories. It is designed to mimic, at a very intensive level, the crazy amount of file system activity that occurs every time you save a file on a Mac. In rare cases, low-level, disk-monitoring kernel extensions such as AV software can cause this kind of poor performance. I don’t think the Fantom extension is causing any problem. It appears to be too old to even load.

Write speed: 30 MB/s
Nothing fancy here. Just a straightforward disk write speed test. This disk is 100 times slower than a modern SSD. An iMac with a mechanical disk should report something between 70-125 MB/s here.

Read speed: 44 MB/s
Same as above, albeit not quite as awful as the write speed.

For the record, Disk Utility tests do not actually test the disk. They check the integrity of the file system, which is just the logical organization of data on the disk. If a Disk Utility test fails, then it could mean disk failure. But a test that doesn’t fail has no meaning.
Thanks for your insight on this. Would you agree with some of the other posts that my best bet here is to boot from a solid state drive? Thanks again.
 

etresoft

macrumors newbie
Sep 12, 2016
21
7
Thanks for your insight on this. Would you agree with some of the other posts that my best bet here is to boot from a solid state drive? Thanks again.
That is my general recommendation for people who have:
1) a non-functional internal hard drive that can’t easily be replaced; and
2) a fast external bus.

With a 2017 iMac, you certainly qualify. That machine has USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, so you should be able to find inexpensive external SSDs.

You can test the performance by installing the OS on, and booting from, any USB 3+ external hard drive. If that is noticeably faster, then you can spend the money on the SSD. If this is going to be a full-time boot, I recommend using a true Thunderbolt 3 SSD. Thunderbolt is a more robust bus and passes information like solid-state media type/trim commands that USB does not. The operating system will treat an external Thunderbolt drive as an internal drive. USB is fine for occasional use or testing, but it will always be a 2nd-class citizen internally.

Normally I would give this advice to someone who has a 2011 iMac that is failing. It bothers me that you have a brand-new machine running this poorly. It doesn’t surprise me that Apple won’t look at an EtreCheck report. But they should be able to run their own tests to show that the hard drive is abnormally slow. For comparison, I have an old 2008 MacBookPro with a mechanical hard drive for testing. Its File system test result is 33.94 seconds. Its write speed is 58 MB/s and its read speed is 58 MB/s. Clearly there is something wrong with your machine.

But even if you did get Apple to fix it, all they would ever do is replace the internal hard drive with another one just like it. They won’t upgrade it to an SSD. You can get an OWC Thunderbolt 3 SSD for about $300-400. If possible, try to test first with a USB drive just to make sure.