Should I replace my 2009 iMac?

washy21

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
6
0
Hi All

I have an early 2009 2.66 GHZ 24inch Imac running 10.8.32 but it's kind of very slow at the moment. It only has 4GB or Ram and it seems that whilst I don't get the spinning ball it does make that noise whereby the processor (or is it the disc) is grinding away and can take a while before clicking on something and it actually happening — frustrating. And the screen has some fading issues which I could live with if the computer was quicker.

I'm not great on upgrades and so any advice/opinions would be appreciated:

Would upgrading the RAM to 8GB help with the speed and/or should I do a clean install.

Or should I call it a day and get a new machine?

Many Thanks
 

Attonine

macrumors 6502a
Feb 15, 2006
715
44
Kent. UK
It's difficult to diagnose over the internet, but the noises, grinding and clicking, could be the HDD failing. This can also cause slowness. I vote for doing all the upgrades you can, so max the RAM and if you can stretch to it maybe a SSD, but certainly try a replacement regular HDD if a SSD is too expensive atm.

There's no real reason why your computer should be slow, unless you are doing heavy duty graphics/photo/video work. For everyday surfing, word processing, iApps etc it should still be running just like new.
 

Shane1905

macrumors regular
May 21, 2012
203
0
UK
It's difficult to diagnose over the internet, but the noises, grinding and clicking, could be the HDD failing. This can also cause slowness. I vote for doing all the upgrades you can, so max the RAM and if you can stretch to it maybe a SSD, but certainly try a replacement regular HDD if a SSD is too expensive atm.
Maybe even try installing OSX on an external hard drive if you have one laying around spare, may help narrow down whats holding it back.
 

rei101

macrumors 6502a
Dec 24, 2011
976
1
Internet wise... delete cookies, all of them.

For the rest... you can sell it because still valuable and get a new one if you wish.
 

washy21

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
6
0
Many thanks for these replies. I do use Adobe products but mainly design and photography and rarely video.

I'll take on board the advice so far and perhaps check out RAM upgrade from crucial. I might think about a clean install as well but really hate doing that because of the time aspect.

And yes, I will try deleting cookies. :)
 

Shane1905

macrumors regular
May 21, 2012
203
0
UK
I'm not sure if this is correct? I thought that 8GB was the max RAM on my 24inch model ?

Regards
My apologies, you are correct, here are the details for your iMac being a 24"
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-2-duo-2.66-24-inch-aluminum-early-2009-specs.html

I wrongly assumed it was a late 2009 27"
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-i5-2.66-27-inch-aluminum-late-2009-specs.html

You should find only 2 RAM slots that can take a maximum of 2x4GB for a total of 8GB

After reading your original post again I must have missed 24inch, My mistake :/

----------

I also can not praise the new 27" enough if you do consider upgrading your machine. It really is a beast and will not likely see a major upgrade of specs this year, If you can afford one now I wouldn't worry to much about waiting for the 2013.
 

FuriousGreg

macrumors member
Nov 11, 2011
89
0
I agree with Attonine, HD or fan may be failing. Replacing the HD will usually run $40+ the cost of the new drive and the fan about the same.

So basically for a few hundred you can get more ram, a new likely quicker HD (or even an SSD for a little more) and get another few years out of the machine.

I had a late 08' model and just upgraded in Jan (I'm very happy with the new machine) but I did it because I like to game occasionally and I do work that benefits from the faster GPU. I also used it as an excuse to give my old one to a friend who need a computer for school and didn't have much cash.

In my opinion if you don't game much or do graphics heavy work you should spend the few hundred to refresh the one you have and hold on to it as long as it does what you need it to.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
Hi All

I have an early 2009 2.66 GHZ 24inch Imac running 10.8.32 but it's kind of very slow at the moment. It only has 4GB or Ram and it seems that whilst I don't get the spinning ball it does make that noise whereby the processor (or is it the disc) is grinding away and can take a while before clicking on something and it actually happening — frustrating. And the screen has some fading issues which I could live with if the computer was quicker.

I'm not great on upgrades and so any advice/opinions would be appreciated:

Would upgrading the RAM to 8GB help with the speed and/or should I do a clean install.

Or should I call it a day and get a new machine?

Many Thanks
Upgrading the RAM and replacing the disk and fan if needed would certainly speed your computer up but before you spend the money, there are 2 things to consider:
  1. What does the screen fading portend? It sounds like the screen or backlight may be failing as well. You might be better off just getting a new system.
  2. Will the next version of OS X still support your system? The answer is maybe. That won't matter if you don't care if you upgrade.

With the age of your system and the issues as you've described them, I would strongly recommend you just get a new system.
 

CalebLevArn

macrumors member
Mar 15, 2013
50
0
United States #
I'd also get a new machine if possible.

Usb 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt ports are awesome.

And whenever the new machine starts to act up, you don't have to take it apart if the hdd dies because you can boot right from an external thunderbolt ssd.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
I'd also get a new machine if possible.

Usb 3.0 ports and Thunderbolt ports are awesome.

And whenever the new machine starts to act up, you don't have to take it apart if the hdd dies because you can boot right from an external thunderbolt ssd.
More importantly a new machine has a warranty and you can add AppleCare to it for 3 years of coverage.
 

washy21

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
6
0
Well I must admit I am leaning towards a new machine. I called into the Apple store today and checked out the 27inch Imac. I guess my only concern here is if I buy now and then they upgrade very soon.

I could probably live with this machine until later this year but I have some thinking to do.

Thanks all for adding your comments.
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
Well I must admit I am leaning towards a new machine. I called into the Apple store today and checked out the 27inch Imac. I guess my only concern here is if I buy now and then they upgrade very soon.

I could probably live with this machine until later this year but I have some thinking to do.

Thanks all for adding your comments.
Just make sure you have backups of your data. Also, most of us aren't expecting a new iMac until the end of the year. Apple could surprise us, but I doubt it. It's your call how long you can wait, but it sounds like you current iMac may not give you much of an option. Look at the refurbished iMacs as well, you can save some money that way.
 

Shane1905

macrumors regular
May 21, 2012
203
0
UK
Also, if you sell your current iMac now whilst its still working, you'll have more money to put towards your new one. Only you can tell whether you think you can wait or if your current machine will make it till the end of the year or not. Whatever decision you make I hope it goes well for you. Good luck
 

thedeske

macrumors 6502a
Feb 17, 2013
963
58
washy - I had a 2009 machine and just sold it. I will say that it was just fine after I upgraded the ram and added an SSD (not a hard process on a machine from that year)

If things didn't line up the way they did for my upgrade, I would have been just fine for the coming year. Agree, the new iMacs are fantastic. The next version will be close but not a big upgrade from late 2012 as usual. Long experience helps with the old upgrade urge. 2-3 years is a good swap point, but a little longer won't kill you if money is tight.

Good luck
 

toddzrx

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2012
722
258
You've gotten lots of replies, but I'll throw my 2 cents in for what it's worth.

I had a 2006 17" MBP that was getting pretty slow back in late 2010, but instead of buying a new machine, I maxed the RAM and dropped an SSD in it. Bam! Felt like brand new. My screen died a few months later, so I got a cheap (~$100) external monitor and turned it into a desktop machine; fortunately I didn't need the portability anymore. I got another 2 years out of it, and it worked just fine until I sold it for parts.

I don't know what your usage scenario is, but if you're the typical consumer, you probably just spend a fair amount of time surfing the web on it, and you've got a bunch of music and photos on there too. My recommendation is that if you need storage, go with an external HD for your music, photos, and movies. The internal SSD contains OS X, all applications, and any non-media data (which for most consumers isn't a lot; for example, I have things like my personal finances on my SSD, but they don't take up much room at all). In this way, you'll have a speedy machine without spending a (relative) truckload for a new one. And I would bet that, being a 2009 iMac, you'll probably be able to install the next 2 versions of OS X, given that the oldest iMac that OS X 10.8 works on is the mid-2007 model.

It's your choice, but I would recommend at least considering breathing new life into your older machine. It'll be fairly economical to do, and you'll find that the increased performance will eliminate any "new tech" envy you might be suffering (we all do from time to time :)).
 

freeuser

Suspended
Apr 8, 2013
112
12
option

I have an inXtron SK-2500 FireWire 800/USB 3.0 Case 2,5" with an Samsung SSD and it is faster than you will think! Had it on my old 24" iMac via FW800 and it is much faster than any internal harddisk - ok, FW800 limits transferrates, but accesstimes are blasing fast! And you don't have to open your iMac :).
 

Bear

macrumors G3
Jul 23, 2002
8,089
4
Sol III - Terra
...
It's your choice, but I would recommend at least considering breathing new life into your older machine. It'll be fairly economical to do, and you'll find that the increased performance will eliminate any "new tech" envy you might be suffering (we all do from time to time :)).
The main reason I recommended against replacing parts is the display is starting to fade which indicates another failing component. The other reason is I don't expect C2D processors to be supported much longer as in they'll get dropped in one of the next 2 major versions of OS X. And some people care about being about to run the latest OS X.
 

washy21

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 9, 2009
6
0
I thought I would update:

I decided to upgrade the RAM to 8GB and hang onto the machine until it breaks (I have good backups of data). In all honesty the screen is perhaps not as bad as I have described, and having run the screen saver on flurry overnight a lot of the ghosting has gone.

But get this: I ordered the RAM from crucial yesterday (Sunday) and it arrived this morning and is in my machine now — wow!

Is it any faster ? Yes — noticeably so, and now photoshop opens really quickly and the whole experience is so much better. The strange 'straining' noise mentioned has also dissapeared and to be honest it feels like a new machine.

So I will upgrade but probably wait until the end of the year before doing so.
 

peglegjack

macrumors 6502
Jul 30, 2011
377
108
Brooklyn, NY
I'm in the camp of throwing in 8GB of Ram and a SSD.

Did the same for my mid 07 iMac (except my limit being 6) and it runs perfectly and does anything I ask of it. The most intensive thing would probably be music production, which isn't a big deal because I use outboard effects that cuts down significantly on the processor.

I mean I could go buy a 12 Core Mac Pro right now if I wanted to, but it's wasteful spending. The only question should always be do you NEED to get a new computer.
 

Shane1905

macrumors regular
May 21, 2012
203
0
UK
I thought I would update:

I decided to upgrade the RAM to 8GB and hang onto the machine until it breaks (I have good backups of data). In all honesty the screen is perhaps not as bad as I have described, and having run the screen saver on flurry overnight a lot of the ghosting has gone.

But get this: I ordered the RAM from crucial yesterday (Sunday) and it arrived this morning and is in my machine now — wow!

Is it any faster ? Yes — noticeably so, and now photoshop opens really quickly and the whole experience is so much better. The strange 'straining' noise mentioned has also dissapeared and to be honest it feels like a new machine.

So I will upgrade but probably wait until the end of the year before doing so.
Awesome news :) glad it seems to have worked out well for you. Money dependant, an external SSD using firewire 800 will be the thing to give you your next big performance boost. Just use it for software and the OS and use your internal for data (pics and vids etc)

Here's an example of costs, depending on your needs, a 120gb would probably do.
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/firewire/on-the-go/
 

toddzrx

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2012
722
258
The other reason is I don't expect C2D processors to be supported much longer as in they'll get dropped in one of the next 2 major versions of OS X. And some people care about being about to run the latest OS X.
.....which I addressed in my post? A RAM and SSD upgrade will only give you another 2 years (plus/minus) on a 4 year old machine. After that, you'll probably want to upgrade for a number of reasons. Still, getting 2 more years out of a computer and extending it's life by 50% for $200 or less (assuming a 256GB SSD or smaller) is an excellent cost savings, even if you're able to sell your 4 year old machine after buying the new one.

Just trying to give options to the OP.