Slow 2008 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by manipulator, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. manipulator macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    #1
    I recently bought a 2008 iMac (2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT 128 MB) and have found it sluggish. Whenever I try watching video using VLC it stutters. I was using an older 2006 MacBook Pro (2.16Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3GB RAM) which felt quicker. I suspect the internal HDD (which has never been replaced) is the problem but I'm only going by gut feeling. Should I just go ahead and order a new drive? I'm looking in activity monitor and everything looks fine. I'm only running basic applications like Firefox, iCal, and VLC. When I verify disk permissions in disk utility it comes up with a few errors, and when I try to repair those errors they just reappear again. Any suggestions? I know it's an old machine, but all I need it for is web browsing, video playback, iTunes, etc. Surely it should run better than my old MacBook Pro. Also, I have done a clean install of Lion.
     
  2. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #2
    Order a new drive.
    Now days 1TB only cost about $100.
    So buy maybe 500 or 750GB HDD @ 7200rpm.
    IF you have bit more money, install SSD!
     
  3. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    #3
    IMO, you MAY NOT have enough RAM for LION. Look on the Activity Monitor in the System RAM section and see how many Page Outs you have. If you have a large amount, then you need more ram for the operation.
     
  4. Jduncan0392 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    #4
    he has 4gigs of ram, that's more than enough for lion. windows 7 is a "hog", and it only requires 2 gigs of ram to perform well. what it is, is that Radeon HD 2400 XT, and like you said the drive is probably failing, it could be a number of things. just try running some tests on it and see if you come up with any bad sectors, then run a program to repair them.
     
  5. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    #5
    This may be true. But using SL running on 4 gb of ram, with a 2.5 ghz quad 4 Sandy Bridge mid 2011 model, I found that the machine could get pretty sluggish if I ran too many programs at once. With SL the kernal size jumps to more than 900 megs, and I hear that with Lion it goes even higher.

    However, if he has lots of page outs on Activity monitor, then he has a ram issue for the software he is running at the same time. Since Lion requires more RAM than SL, he may be running too many applications at once for the RAM he has available. The test is the Page Outs. He can also test his HD.
     
  6. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    #6
    SRLY? I have 2GB of ram on a base MBA 11" running fine with Lion.
     
  7. Snowguy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    #7
    It sounds like you're using a mid 2007 iMac, not the 2008 model. I have a 20" Mid-2007 iMac 2.4 GHz C2D with the ATI HD 2600 Pro (256mb) card with 4GB RAM. I'm running Lion and WinXP (bootcamped).

    While this computer is not nearly as zippy as the new iMacs, it still runs very nicely.

    I'd say that your problem would either be the hard drive, or, frankly, a lackluster video card. That, along with VLC not always being the most stable of programs anyway... is your problem.

    Otherwise, Lion should run just fine under 4GB Ram on your system. At the moment my system is running top notch and I'm only using 1.8GB of my RAM. When I run Civ 5 under my Mac partition, about 3GB are used. I've never actually really maxed it out.

    A few things you can do to aid performance:
    Clean up your desktop. Move any stray files into a folder. If you can live with having to click on the desktop background and holding down cmd+n to bring up a new finder window and select your hard disk, de-select the "show internal hard drives" and "external hard drives".

    Go into your dash board. Remove all widgets you don't regularly use. That language translator widget might be better off gone and replaced with a quick bookmark link to an online translator in your web browser.

    Go into system preferences and under the "System" tab, click on "Users and Groups". In that window, select "Login items" at the top. Any programs that you don't use regularly or don't necessarily need to be loaded upon startup should be selected and removed from the list. These programs take up valuable memory and can hog processor function as well.

    A nifty little hint I got from somewhere is to open Font Book. Make sure "all fonts" are selected in the left hand column. Under the file menu, click "validate font"... it will bring up a list of any fonts that are corrupted. Because every program or application you use uses fonts, a corrupted font can slow down your system. Delete any corrupted fonts and close Font Book.

    If the system is still very laggy after this, I'd go for the new hard drive. I've replaced the drive in my own iMac, which is probably almost identical to the one you have. If you have any questions on how to go about it, feel free to ask. There are also multiple guides online that detail the process step by step.

    You can also increase your RAM to 6GB. This is not supported by Apple, but you can install a 2GB and a 4GB 667MHz module. Mismatching the size of the modules can mean a slowdown in memory performance, but is more than made up for by the extra memory if you are using a lot of memory intensive applications.

    If you're not using most of your RAM much of the time, 4GB should be plenty.
     
  8. zarathu macrumors regular

    zarathu

    Joined:
    May 14, 2003
    #8

    Running what software at the same time?

    Besides that, what is one person's sluggishness, is another person's "whoa this is slow!". Despite what people are saying here, when I had only 4 gb running Snow Leopard, on a mid 2011 machine, there are times when I thought it was sluggish, especially when I had several applications running at the same time.

    I'd like to hear from the thread starter.
     
  9. aziatiklover macrumors 68030

    aziatiklover

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
    #9
    mail,ichat,itunes,Chrome with around 20tabs open,words, ebay app, and facetime sometimes!
     
  10. Snowguy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Northern Minnesota
    #10
    Your'e benefiting from having flash memory. It's much faster than a spinny drive so if you're using a large amount of virtual memory, it's going to be faster on a MBA than it will be on an iMac with shoddy spinner upper.
     
  11. manipulator, Sep 6, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2011

    manipulator thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    #11
    I looked in "About This Mac" and it's the 2008 model.

    I doubt RAM is the issue; I only run one or two applications at a time. Free memory at the moment is nearly 3GB. Page outs is 0 bytes. I've done a clean install of the OS and only installed Firefox and VLC.

    I noticed messages like this in Console:
    6/09/11 8:58:24.000 PM kernel: HFS: Very Low Disk: freeblks: 0, dangerlimit: 35

    I've ordered a new drive so hopefully that improves things. Like I mentioned before, this machine has better specs than my laptop, and is a newer machine, so I'm surprised it runs slower. My laptop was also running Lion. The internal HDD is over 3 years old and is too small for me anyway.

    Isn't the ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT 128 MB about the same, if not better, than the 1600XT 128 MB in my MacBook Pro?
     
  12. Stan Mikulenka macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2009
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    #12
    Hi manipulator,
    from this warning:

    "HFS: Very Low Disk: freeblks: 0, dangerlimit: 35"

    I would recommend to use your iMac as little as possible before you have time to change the HD.
    Some users reported that their computer wouldn't start after similar warnings & it's almost impossible to fix this (= get rid of some items) if you can't start from another (external) HD.
    The modern OSes (Mac or Windows) need 10 ~ 20% (10% min.) of free space in order to operate properly...
     
  13. manipulator, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011

    manipulator thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2011
    #13
    That's strange, I have over 230 GB of free space!
     
  14. darster Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
  15. Trudy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    #15
    Disk Utility will probably also tell you your hard drive is dying. This same thing happened to me, and it felt like a new machine with the 1.5 TB HDD I put in.

    Get an external USB or Firewire drive now and crank up Time Machine. It will make the restore of your account and data on the new HDD very easy.
     
  16. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    #16
    I had a sluggish 2008 iMac after installing 4GB ram (doubled from 2GB). The HD was almost "full" at around 450gb of 500gb.
    It eventually crashed a few times on an iPhoto/shutterfly plugin and then stopped starting up.

    Took it in and had the HD replaced with a 1TB one. Up and running again. Was thinking it might be from hard drive space but you seem to have plenty at 300+gb. Hopefully you figure it out.
     

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