Upgraded iMac to an SSD - No improvement

Discussion in 'iMac' started by shippouk, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. shippouk macrumors regular

    May 2, 2010
    Hey All
    Last night I removed my optical drive and fitted a Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD and I am very disappointed with it.

    Apart from Apps now initially loading quicker (And the iMac booting up a little bit quicker and shutting down VERY fast) I can't feel any considerable speed improvement at all.

    Rendering video in FCPX takes exactly the same time when its on the SSD as compared to it being externally on a HDD USB 2 drive.

    Photoshop doesnt run any quicker, even Word & Excel dont run any quicker.

    I don't know if its maybe something to do with the RAM as when I'm using FCPX it NEVER goes above 1.3GB (And I have 16GB for it to use) and then the rest of the machine slows down and becomes laggy.

    Here are my specs.

    OS: Yoesmite 10.10.2
    Model iMac 21.5", late 2009 (500GB)
    Processor: 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    Memory: 16GB 1067 MHz DDR3 (Was 4GB when purchased but upgraded myself)
    Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256 MB

    Space used on new SSD 268GB of 500GB.

    Any thoughts anyone on how to improve speed?

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    1. Did you use Time Machine, or clone the HDD to the SSD? If so there might be some volume corruptions. Run 'Verify Disk' through Disk Utility -- if there are any problems, repair the disk through the recovery partition (Cmd+R on startup).

    2. Also is FCPX natively 64-bit? I think it is if memory serves, but there might be an 'open in 32-bit mode' option ticked: to verify this, locate it in the Applications folder, right-click to 'Get Info', and untick 'open in 32-bit mode' (if applicable, though I don't think it is).

    3. Are all of your DIMMs definitely 1066MHz as well? If you put a 1333MHz or 1600MHz DDR3 DIMM in there, although they will underclock to 1066MHz, you'll see severe performance issues because the 1333MHz/1600MHz DIMMs run at different voltages. I've had this issue before on an iMac, it may be worth checking that they're all 1066MHz.

    4. Also try shutting down with the option 'reopen windows when logging back in' disabled, then start it back up. Does it run any better from there?

    5. You can also verify the SMART data by downloading SMART Utility here -- however if you just purchased an SSD it's unlikely to be corrupted. Worth a check anyway http://cloudfront.volitans-software.com/smartutility312.zip

    6. You can also try to reset the PRAM (hold Cmd, Alt, P + R on startup, wait until you hear the Apple 'boot chime' 3 times, then let go of the keys).

    7. Also may be worth trying an SMC reset -- turn off your iMac, unplug the power cable from the back, wait 10 seconds, pop the power cable back in, and turn the machine back on.

    Hope we can solve the problem soon.
  3. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 603

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    Rendering is limited by your CPU, not your disk. It shouldn't become faster.
    Same as with FCP.
    Woot? You expect your keyboard to write text faster? o_O
    Get a modern machine with a faster CPU.
  4. shippouk thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2010
    I will look into that first response so thanks very much.

    I expected Word/Excel to not lag when I'm typing and not have to wait 10-15 seconds upon initial boot up every day for it to copy (With the spinning wheel) when I copy/paste from it the first time everyday.
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Let's face it, your CPU is too old and isn't worth peanuts these days. Rendering is limited by CPU (and GPU too). Your GPU is also pretty ancient.
  6. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    You're right, it should be running better than that (with an SSD). Please ignore the other posters as some people just love being arsey or sarcastic rather than vaguely attempting to help.

    If you'd be kind enough to try the troubleshooting steps documented and quote my reply once that's done (so I'm notified), we'll go from there and continue to try and resolve the issue.

    My money is still on some of the DIMMs being the wrong MHz/voltages, so if you can check that they're definitely all natively 1066MHz, that'd be brilliant!

    Thank you in advance for your patience. :)
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    If the truth is 'arsey' or 'sarcastic', then you must have a problem with facing reality.

    Rendering times are dependent on the CPU (and GPU - especially in FCP X, which can fully utilize GPUs to greatly accelerate rendering), not hard drive speeds.
  8. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    "I don't know if its maybe something to do with the RAM as when I'm using FCPX it NEVER goes above 1.3GB (And I have 16GB for it to use) and then the rest of the machine slows down and becomes laggy."

    Not normal with an SSD. A few other things the OP mentioned seem unorthodox too. As I imagine the OP is viewing the RAM usage in Activity Monitor, they'd have noticed if the CPU was at 100% (therefore indicating a CPU bottleneck causing the problems with lag). Also Word/Excel shouldn't freeze for 15 seconds at a time.

    Yes, FCPX is very GPU/CPU intensive. That doesn't immediately mean that we shouldn't try to assist, or just take a few minutes to try identify other issues.

    At any rate, if we go through the troubleshooting and there aren't any issues, you're welcome to say 'I told you so'. Just think sometimes people jump the gun too early. :)
  9. shippouk thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2010
    Again thanks for the responses.

    1. I cloned with Carbon Copy Cloner - Ive checked with DU and there are no corruptions
    2. FCPX is 64bit
    3. How do I check this please?
    4. Do you mean System pref>General: Close windows when quitting an app. (When selected, open documents and windows will not be restored when you re-open an app) (This is currently ticked)
    5. Downloaded and run. SSD Passed, HD Failing (apparently)
    6. Done, didnt hear a 3 times boot chime mind you, so I dont even know if it worked.
    7. Done, didnt do anything.

    I appreciate whats being said about the “Oldness” of my poor, poor decrepid late 2009 iMac, but Finder works no faster, NOTHING works any faster.
    Ive seen older machines than mine with an SSD work quicker than this.
  10. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    3. I think the best way is to literally take out the RAM and check the numbers on it ... you can try click Apple Menu, then hold Alt and click 'System Information' (this will change 'About this Mac' to 'System Information'). Then if you can go to the 'Memory' option along the left-hand side. The problem is that if you've got a 1333MHz DIMM it'll show as 1067MHz 'speed' due to being underclocked, so there's not a way that I know of, of checking this within the OS (hopefully somebody will have a better idea). Maybe searching the Part Number would help.

    4. When going to Apple Menu>Shutdown, ensure the 'reopen windows when logging back in' is unticked.

    5. Is this the external HDD that's failing or an internal one? If you have something like Fusion Drive enabled between the SSD/HDD, the HDD failing could be causing a lot of problems ...
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Further to the above about the RAM, if you click on each individual DIMM and let me know what each manufacturer is, and the part number as well, I'll try find out for you.

    You can Cmd-C, Cmd-V from System Information, so hopefully won't be too inconvenient to get this information. Thanks for your continued patience.

  12. shippouk thread starter macrumors regular

    May 2, 2010
    Thanks for your continued help.

    3. Each RAM states in the System Information screen

    Size: 4 GB
    Type: DDR3
    Speed: 1067 MHz
    Status: OK
    Manufacturer: 0x0198
    Part Number: 0x393955353432382D3034372E4130304C4620

    But I’ve pulled them all out and they state on them

    Kingston KVR1066D357/4G

    4. It is already unticked.

    5. Smart Utility stated that the OLD Internal Hard Drive was “Failing” apparently.
    This is STILL inside the machine and has now been formatted since the last time I posted on here.
  13. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Start activity monitor and then start every program you have and verify the ram is actually getting put in use.
  14. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    RAM looks OK then ... and if your old HDD isn't being used then that wouldn't cause a problem. As SSD SMART data looks OK it doesn't appear to be a hardware fault. Though the lag you're getting isn't normal with an SSD.

    So now that we've diagnosed what we can, all that's left is a clean install (sorry!). Hold Cmd+R on startup, wipe through Disk Utility and install a fresh copy of Yosemite. I know it's a pain, though it'll definitely make a positive impact (as there's nothing else, beyond age of hardware, that seem to be causing the issue).

    Apologies I couldn't be more helpful.
  15. smoge, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2015

    smoge macrumors regular


    Jun 14, 2011
  16. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
  17. wwchris macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2009
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm with the clean install option.

    You should do a clean install of the OS, clean install apps and manually copy files or only restore your documents folder. Also, get rid of any software you are not using - especially things that affect the system. Only put back absolutely what you need.

    The only time I've ever had problems like keyboard typing lag is when I had a problem at a systems level.
  18. AppleFan360 macrumors 68020

    Jan 26, 2008
    For once I agree with him. (LOL)

    Your CPU and GPU are old and won't show any improvement. When I upgraded my 2011 MacBook Pro to SSD, the system boots up quicker and app open and close at lightning speed but when I try to use anything CPU/GPU intensive, the machine runs like it always did with or without the SSD.

    Your best bet is to do a clean install and put back on the data and apps you really need. That should help but don't expect miracles from the upgrade since your iMac is 6 years old.
  19. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    All components - CPU, GPU, RAM, storage and system buses - need to be taken into account when looking at performance, and you have to understand where the bottleneck is before you can make any changes that will improve performance.

    In this case adding an SSD will improve I/O performance, but everything else will remain the same. Look at the Activity Monitor when running FCPX, where is the bottleneck? Try taking out some of the RAM, first the new stuff, run some tests, then swap over the DIMMS and try the tests again.

    You also have to look at your workloads. Is is it realistic for a 2009 machine to process the amount of data you have in the timescale you are expecting?

    Personally, I would replace the entire machine if I were doing video editing, etc. It sounds to me like you've outgrown your current computer and need an upgrade.
  20. cltd macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    Everything is fine. SSD gives you only quicker app start and quicker boot time. Don't listen to SSD believers on the forum. Apart from boot, app loading and file copying, SSD improves literally nothing. CPU is power, you can't cheat here ;)
  21. cycledance Suspended

    Oct 15, 2010
    yea i'd like to see that. i suspect that the imac might throttle the ssd to sata 2 or even sata 1 speeds.

    let me tell you what your ssd makes better tho.

    - access time virtually 0
    - big files loading possibly several times faster.
    - much faster boot/shutdown
    - total silence (my favorite)
    - much less heat
    - less power consumption

    unfortunately the imacs fastest connectors are firewire 800 so you don´t get the pleasure to transfer from ssd to ssd. transferring 20 gigs in a minute is something i wouldn´t want to live without anymore.
  22. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    The biggest reason for the speed increase (or lack thereof) is probably because the 2009 iMac only has a SATA II controller, so you're going to be limited to 300MB/s ish.
  23. dyt1983, Mar 17, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015

    dyt1983 macrumors 65816

    May 6, 2014
    edit: To remove personally identifying information not relevant to the thread.
  24. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68040

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    With 16 GB RAM, a lot of what you'll do is RAM-resident after initial app/file load, so between that and the older CPU, GPU, and SATA... maybe it's as fast as should be expected. (The people who are likely to see the biggest improvement would be those with a fair amount of Swap Used, and in that case... more RAM would likely be the cheaper cure.)

    Still, that Word/Excel issue is worrisome. Is this happening with newly-created documents? Did you try a clean install of Office (Office has a bit of a reputation for not migrating very well)? It could also be related to a caching or plist issue, but I don't know enough about those topics to give concrete advice (maybe someone else could chime in).

    There's also the possibility that some of this is related to your user account. Have you tried working in a new user account?

    Just to be soapbox-y (is that a word?) for a moment... All too often, folks upgrade RAM and (lately) convert to SSD without first determining the cause(s) of their slow-downs. While I've got nothing against SSD, there's still a fair chance that the SSD will inherit pre-existing conditions, rather than cure them.
  25. cltd macrumors member

    May 22, 2014
    It doesn't matter here, because either sata or pcie ssd always affects the same factors: boot time and app start time.
    BTW: Do you really feel the difference between 300 mb/s and 700 mb/s when you launch Safari or iTunes (or something different)?

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30 March 17, 2015