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Uridium

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 8, 2018
6
2
UK
I see a lot of customers complain their iMac is running slow. We get a lot in for this and they test fine - the issue is they are running Catalina on an APFS format HDD.
Plug in an ext SSD or replace the HDD for an SSD and they FLY!

I think Apple may be heading for another "Slowing down my hardware to make me buy new kit" lawsuit.

Even some their newer iMacs are sold with HDD's which I cannot understand why!

Explaining to a customer there is no fault - that the only way to improve the situation is to downgrade to an older OS or pay hundreds for an upgrade - neither of which goes down well.

Apple need to sort their ideas out - they are supposed to be the best kit out there!
 

PaulD-UK

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2009
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Juicy Box

macrumors 603
Sep 23, 2014
6,223
7,037
I see a lot of customers complain their iMac is running slow. We get a lot in for this and they test fine - the issue is they are running Catalina on an APFS format HDD.
Plug in an ext SSD or replace the HDD for an SSD and they FLY!
I have been staying a way from Catalina for now, but I plan on doing some experimentation sometime in the future.

I wouldn't call this a solution, especially as I have no idea if it will work, but I thought of trying to clone a drive with Catalina to a HFS drive, just to see if it would work and to see if it would improve HDD performance.

Even if it worked, it probably is not a realistic solution for a customer, as there could be things that break it.
 

Uridium

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 8, 2018
6
2
UK
I have been staying a way from Catalina for now, but I plan on doing some experimentation sometime in the future.

I wouldn't call this a solution, especially as I have no idea if it will work, but I thought of trying to clone a drive with Catalina to a HFS drive, just to see if it would work and to see if it would improve HDD performance.

Even if it worked, it probably is not a realistic solution for a customer, as there could be things that break it.

I use an external LACIE thunderbolt SSD on my 2014 iMac and it is roughly twice as quick as another 2014 iMac running the OEM HDD. - its an option that works well for me as it doesn't matter what mac I am working on, I can boot from that and its much quicker than the int HDD. Catalina and APFS are well worth the cost of the ext drive :)
 
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TwoH

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2019
383
224
Even some their newer iMacs are sold with HDD's which I cannot understand why!
Neither can I, it is absolutely stupid. They've struggled when it comes to storage on iMacs for quite a while now..
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
24,183
9,589
I'm thinking this problem may disappear with the next version of the iMac.

That version will probably include a t2 (or perhaps a new t3?) chip -- which will also mean a soldered-in SSD.

Even the low-end models may get it -- even if it's only 128gb in size.
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68020
Oct 19, 2007
2,024
510
Blue Mountains NSW Australia
Why install APFS operating systems on a platter drive? Lifewire article quotes only a very small improvement and why do Apple keep selling platter and Fusion drives? A matter of bucks competing with other brands in the market place.

Seems Apple Chiefs are quite happy unloading 1TB Fusion Drive with that 32GB blade drive.


 

migamotors

macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2020
3
0
OMG... I purchased a new iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2019) in early March, 2020, with Catalina 10.5.x installed. It was SO PAINFULLY SLOW, that I immediately began talking to Apple Support about what could possibly be wrong. My 10-year-old MacBook Pro was at LEAST 10x faster. I purchased yet another one, to try to restore applications one-by-one (per Apple Support recommendations), and that one is identically FANTASTICALLY SLOW!!!! After more than 7 months of devastatingly low productivity, and dozens and dozens of hours on the phone with Apple support, I decided to boot off my SSD Carbon Copy Cloner backup... one of the Oyen Drives recommended by Bombich S/W. It is FANTASTICALLY FASTER! That is when I found this thread, and yes... if Apple doesn't fix this, I will personally start that lawsuit. This truly has been the worst 7 months of my scientific career. Thanks to Apple!
 

TwoH

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2019
383
224
OMG... I purchased a new iMac (Retina 4K, 21.5-inch, 2019) in early March, 2020, with Catalina 10.5.x installed. It was SO PAINFULLY SLOW, that I immediately began talking to Apple Support about what could possibly be wrong. My 10-year-old MacBook Pro was at LEAST 10x faster. I purchased yet another one, to try to restore applications one-by-one (per Apple Support recommendations), and that one is identically FANTASTICALLY SLOW!!!! After more than 7 months of devastatingly low productivity, and dozens and dozens of hours on the phone with Apple support, I decided to boot off my SSD Carbon Copy Cloner backup... one of the Oyen Drives recommended by Bombich S/W. It is FANTASTICALLY FASTER! That is when I found this thread, and yes... if Apple doesn't fix this, I will personally start that lawsuit. This truly has been the worst 7 months of my scientific career. Thanks to Apple!

Well their latest iMac does not come with a HDD option. SSD only.
 
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migamotors

macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2020
3
0
Well their latest iMac does not come with a HDD option. SSD only.
Sorry but I don't get this. Do you mean the newest 2020 iMacs? I only purchased mine 7 months ago, and then 2 months ago. Both have spinning hard drives.
 

TwoH

macrumors 6502
May 19, 2019
383
224
Sorry but I don't get this. Do you mean the newest 2020 iMacs? I only purchased mine 7 months ago, and then 2 months ago. Both have spinning hard drives.
Yep, except for the 21.5" since they haven't had a proper refresh for 2020.
 

migamotors

macrumors newbie
Oct 10, 2020
3
0
Yep, except for the 21.5" since they haven't had a proper refresh for 2020.
Got it. Thanks. I can't believe that Apple didn't identify this as a disaster much earlier and FIX it. Not one of the tech support people I've worked with (until Robert today!) had any idea about what could be going on. And these were the top level support folks (I can't remember what they call themselves). They had me doing all kinds of crazy hours-long tests, uploading recordings, migrating apps one-by-one... so had no idea that the poor performance of my iMac was due to the **** hard drive! Also, BTW... huge shout out to the folks at Bombich Software. Carbon Copy Cloner is top!
 

nambuccaheadsau

macrumors 68020
Oct 19, 2007
2,024
510
Blue Mountains NSW Australia
Not a bad hard drive but a slow old 5400rpm notebook style of drive. This was odne to keep the price down to compete with cheapie Windows machines. Your best out now is an external SSD running selle ted a the boot drive in System Preferences > Startup Disc.
 

Mr.Fox

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2020
50
16
I see a lot of customers complain their iMac is running slow. We get a lot in for this and they test fine - the issue is they are running Catalina on an APFS format HDD.
Plug in an ext SSD or replace the HDD for an SSD and they FLY!

I think Apple may be heading for another "Slowing down my hardware to make me buy new kit" lawsuit.

Even some their newer iMacs are sold with HDD's which I cannot understand why!

Explaining to a customer there is no fault - that the only way to improve the situation is to downgrade to an older OS or pay hundreds for an upgrade - neither of which goes down well.

Apple need to sort their ideas out - they are supposed to be the best kit out there!
HDD is a stable,reliable storage medium for any information that can easily tolerate long periods of time without electricity. If of course they do not crack nuts. SSD is an extremely fast carrier,but with one big drawback - it does not tolerate the lack of electricity - glitches begin to get out.
During the year errors occur in the following sectors with different variable values and resets of some attributes :
(Raw Read Error Rate) – number of read errors,
05 (Reallocated NAND Blocks) – number of reassigned blocks,
(Program Fail Count) – number of write errors
AC (Erase Fail Count) – the number of data Erasure errors.
A9 (Bad Block Count)- reset the normalized value of the A9 attribute to zero
Despite all the charms of SSD, solid-state devices can not yet completely displace HDD from the market. And here's why: a
solid-state drive is many times faster than a hard drive, it doesn't make any noise, and its power consumption and heat dissipation are much lower. But in terms of price/amount of memory, an SSD drive is 3.5-4 times less than a hard drive.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,003
500
London, UK
Of course HDDs have their place still. Just not as boot drives in 2020. But for large amounts of storage (ie media), of course they can't be beaten on price.

I will however add that with so much of people's media consumption being on the cloud (Spotify, Netflix, iCloud photos etc), it is now possible for most users to get by with much less storage than in the past. Hence another reason why they are so attractive, especially at today's very cheap prices - £25ish for a 250GB SATA SSD was unthinkable even 3-4 years ago, when you were paying double that for half the storage.
 

Mr.Fox

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2020
50
16
Of course HDDs have their place still. Just not as boot drives in 2020. But for large amounts of storage (ie media), of course they can't be beaten on price.

I will however add that with so much of people's media consumption being on the cloud (Spotify, Netflix, iCloud photos etc), it is now possible for most users to get by with much less storage than in the past. Hence another reason why they are so attractive, especially at today's very cheap prices - £25ish for a 250GB SATA SSD was unthinkable even 3-4 years ago, when you were paying double that for half the storage.
It is better not to depend on cloud storage,but to use a personal home server. You can regulate its volume and purpose,and its working hours. I use a 200Tb server myself. And that place is coming to an end.
 
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r6mile

macrumors 65816
Feb 3, 2010
1,003
500
London, UK
It is better not to depend on cloud storage,but to use a personal home server. You can regulate its volume and purpose,and its working hours.

Sure, it may not be ideal for the reasons you describe, but I am simply describing 90%+ of people's current media consumption habits and why cloud storage, and especially streaming, is so popular. Most people just have a Netflix and Spotify account and that's where they get their music and videos. I have no stats on this but I am pretty confident few people still buy music and films from iTunes etc. to store locally, and even fewer actually buy physical media to then burn on their computer. Which is why you can get away with a lot less storage on your computer than a few years ago. And to get back to our question, why Apple should have made (ie 256GB) SSDs standard across their lineup a long time ago.

Of course, YMMV and more savvy users - like many on this forums - have other solutions, including a home server - I have one myself. But clearly this is the current trend.
 

Mr.Fox

macrumors member
Oct 9, 2020
50
16
People actively use physical media-whether it's a flash drive or HDD|SSD connected via the station.
You won't be able to use a minimum size HDD/SSD.
Now the situation in the software world has changed. The days when the program took up 100-200 MB of hard disk space are over. The programs are getting bigger and bigger every day.
256 Gb is not a standard ;) It depends on what conditions. I will say from personal experience - everyone who yells that 64Gb is enough for the operating system, they are generally right, but we'll have to squeeze . If you have a lot of programs,a lot of files, you will experience a constant lack of space. For comfortable operation of the OS and programs, 1Tb is enough ,if you like to play, then 20TB will not be enough
 

Nyy8

macrumors 6502a
Jun 12, 2011
515
134
New England
Of course HDDs have their place still. Just not as boot drives in 2020. But for large amounts of storage (ie media), of course they can't be beaten on price.

I will however add that with so much of people's media consumption being on the cloud (Spotify, Netflix, iCloud photos etc), it is now possible for most users to get by with much less storage than in the past. Hence another reason why they are so attractive, especially at today's very cheap prices - £25ish for a 250GB SATA SSD was unthinkable even 3-4 years ago, when you were paying double that for half the storage.

Working in IT myself, we rarely see users have anything more then 200GB or so on their personal workstation.

It's either stored on a server, or they use some type of website to access their applications.

The home is turning into more a streaming environment, like you are saying. a 256GB SSD can be had for $50 or less and it's more then most users will need.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
24,183
9,589
migamotors:

Don't bother with a lawsuit, you will spend money and get nothing for it.

I have THE ANSWER TO YOUR PROBLEMS.
If you do what I say, they'll be solved.

Here's the solution:
Go to amazon (they've got a 2-day sale going on right now) and buy an EXTERNAL USB3.1 gen2 SSD.

MAKE SURE that you PAY ATTENTION to that designation:
You want USB3.1 gen2 -- and NOT JUST "USB3".

The difference is speed -- a USB3 drive has reads around 430MBps.
A USB3.1 gen2 drive has reads about 965MBps -- twice as fast.

Get a 1tb drive size. Or, as an alternative, get 512gb.

Now, plug this into a USBc port (DO NOT USE the USBa ports for this).

Use disk utility to erase/initialize it to APFS with GUID partition format.

Then, download CarbonCopyCloner from here:
CCC is FREE to download and use for 30 days, this will cost you NOTHING to try.

Use CCC to "clone" the contents of the internal (slow) drive to the external SSD.

Now go to the Startup Disk preference pane, click the lock, enter your password, and click on the external SSD to designate it as the boot drive.

Then, reboot.
The iMac will now run much, MUCH faster.

If you do this, you'll come back here and tell us, "I never would have believed something as easy as this could make so much of a difference!"
 

G5isAlive

macrumors 65816
Aug 28, 2003
1,419
2,227
Of course, YMMV and more savvy users - like many on this forums - have other solutions, including a home server - I have one myself. But clearly this is the current trend.

This is a bit of a side comment (mostly to your use of savvy), but only because you seem to be savvy and if I replied to those that were not...

I have little to no sympathy for consumers that prefer to be uninformed and then blame the manufacturer rather than spend minimal time researching their purchases. Apple has been releasing computers with SSDs since 2008 with the clear and expressed purpose of 'speeding up' their computers outside of the MHZ cpu trap. 2008. For someone to say they are surprised in 2020 that computers are optimized for SSDs and run much faster with SSDs is hardly a savvy user, more like a clueless one that prefers to be clueless and buy the cheapest tech possible fantasizing they are getting a bargain when in fact they are getting what they paid for.

Just saying.
 

albertaka

macrumors newbie
Nov 26, 2020
7
0
I am in the same boat - installed first Mojave, went to APFS, then Catalina on my iMac 2017 4K + Fusion drive - and then the world stopped spinning. For example, starting Microsoft Word took 2 minutes. Booting did never accomplish anything faster than 3 minutes and best left alone for a certain time. Lightroom would be sooooo slooooow. 🐌🐌🐌🐌For more than half a year I have tried a lot, spent many an hour with Apple Techs on the phone (I had to make the conclusion myself that next time Fusion is a no-go). Reset VRAMs etc. Started in safe mode. Again. And more. My 2010 MBP was faster.

Anyway, I bought CCC, installed a clone on an old Samsung T5 (1Tb SSD@ USB-C) and it does now work. WORK. Word starts in 5 secs. Boot is still rather slow at 1 minute (there seems to be a 30 sec. lag before the T5 'starts' to respond).
So now bought a serious external drive: OWC Thunderbolt 1Tb blade. And I intend to replace the HDD part of the Fusion drive with a Crucial MV solid state disk soon (quite an operation and the repair ex hardware will cost $ 100-150).

My take away:
1) I will not upgrade to Big Sur from Catalina. Failed trust relationship, they made my machine into vintage.
2) I am surprised there is no class action. From you Americans. :) I would expect Apple to remedy the problem. I expect their lawyers to claim - hey anybody is free to install Catalina etc. This is not so. They did not warn us.
--> When my Leica rangefinder camera (think $ 7k) got sensor problems (design error or production error) all owners of the M9 or M-Monochrom got a free replacement of the sensor. Leica did not want to burn their hands on a sour relationship with life-time customers.
 
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