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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 22, 2013
I have an old-ish iMac (an early 2008 with 3.06GHz processor and 4 GB RAM) which over a period of about 12 months has just been getting slower and slower, with frequent periods of un-responsiveness lasting maybe 30seconds during which I get the spinning ball.

I have tried checking the disk (all ok there), re-set the PRAM, I don't use Bootcamp so Spotlight isn't trying to index it, RAM is generally about 40-50% free, and disk has 58GB free (of 500GB).

I do have over 40,000 photos so a substantial iPhoto library, but even when iPhoto is not launched, the mac can still be very slow.

My ask is for a check-list of areas to try to see if I can find the problem, or something I can use to analyse the mac. Or are any of these 'Mac running slowly" adverts/products worth looking at?

I'm running 10.8



Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
Disk speeds slow as the disk gets full, so that may be slowing you a bit.

Also, try launching whatever apps you normally use then look at the CPU tab of Activity Monitor and see if anything is chewing up CPU cycles abnormally.


macrumors 68000
Mar 20, 2009
Near London, UK.
Try a complete fresh reinstall wiping out what's there, then restore user data.
My 2009 iMac had a huge boost in speed when I did this (as prep to selling it, not sure I'd even have sold it had I known it would get this new lease of life :eek: )

It wasn't as bad as yours seems to be, but for comparison, apps would take 10 or so bounces to start, and that became 1.

Make sure you have at least two backups in different formats before doing this. For example one TM backup one CCC clone.


macrumors 65816
Apr 30, 2008
USA (Virginia)
I've got an Early 2008 24" iMac, 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo as my daily user. I just wanted to say I don't think your should feel that slow the way you describe, and it's probably fixable.

Now I admit mine now has an SSD/home-made Fusion Drive setup, and 6 GB of RAM, but even before I made these upgrades, I wouldn't have called mine as feeling slow. (I've got < 8,000 photos in iPhoto, though.) The only time it really felt slow (before my upgrades) was logging onto my user for the first time after a reboot. Applications would be slower to load the first time, a little bit annoying. But generally I just left myself logged on and used screensaver and sleep modes -- then coming back to it everything was quite snappy.

I did have a few annoying glitches on 10.6.8 that a fresh install of 10.8.5 fixed, so a fresh install may make some sense. It's not too painful if you use Migration Assistant to copy all your apps, files, docs, and settings from your backup to the new installation.

You do sound a bit cramped for disk space, too, which I've also heard can decrease performance.

Hope you get it figured out. I still love my old machine!
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