Worth it to upgrade 5 yr old iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by choski94, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. choski94 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 19, 2012
    #1
    I have a 2009 iMac with 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo 2 GB 1067 Mhz DDR3. Initially came with 10.5, upgraded a couple years ago to 10.6.8 and then a couple months ago upgraded to 10.8.5. Was running slower so did some things to help clean it up like emptying trash, cleaning up desktop, repairing the permissions, etc. which seemed to help some. Still tends to run slow when we have multiple programs open, especially Powerpoint/Excel/Photoshop. I assume this is due to the relative lack of memory and/or slow processor since it is five years old. Any suggestions how to upgrade to help it run faster for reasonable cost, or is it not worth it at this point?

    I am only as computer savvy as I need to be to use the various programs so please speak plainly if you want to get technical. Thanks!!
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    I have a similar iMac and I upgraded it to the maximum of 6 GB of RAM and that helped speed it up a little bit. Beyond that, the only real thing you can do is upgrade the hard drive to an SSD if you're tech savvy enough to do it.
     
  3. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #3
    You can upgrade its memory to 4GB or 8GB and you'll notice a difference. For another, perhaps more noticeable difference, you can put a SSD in it.

    2009 iMacs have a maximum memory size of 8GB or 16GB, depending on the model. Only the 2007 and 2008 models had a maximum size of 6GB.
     
  4. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    #4
    The worth part of the question is entirely up to you. Every year the new machines are a little better than the last. You would probably see a major speed boost with a bit extra ram and an SSD. If you usually run the same programs and just want everything to be snappier, that will do the trick. Otherwise, spring for a new system.
     
  5. choski94 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 19, 2012
    #5
    What is an SSD, and where would be the best place to purchase/install more memory?

    And yes, we just use the computer for basics - Office, internet, mail. We're not gamers or big photo editors, or anything like that.
     
  6. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #6
    A SSD is a super fast quite hard drive. To install one of those, you'd have to open your iMac. You can purchase ram from online or physical retailers like NewEgg, Amazon, Crucial, or Best Buy. The ram is easy to install and you could do it yourself. It get installed in the area under the chin of your iMac.
     
  7. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #7
    Okay, thanks. I have a 2008 and didn't remember where the cutoff was.
     
  8. h9826790 macrumors G3

    h9826790

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    #8
    According to your description, upgrade RAM and SSD will make your iMac perform like a new machine.
     
  9. j800r macrumors 6502

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    #9
    I've actually been considering doubling the RAM in my own iMac...

    It's the mid 2010 bottom-end (but by no means a slouch) 21.5" sporting 4GB RAM but now it's been 4 years thinking of doubling it up to see if I get any performance increase at all. Tbh performance seems great anyways but I shall not be able to afford a new model for a lonnnng time yet. Me and my fiancé have hit some major health issues so neither of us are working and we're currently crashing at her mother's house.

    Perhaps doubling the RAM will help breathe new life into the machine and extend it's life span another 4 years at LEAST. Or perhaps I won't notice a difference and certainly don't wanna be wasting money when we're not exactly rolling in it at the moment...



    I love that my iMac's stood the test of time though and can run even Yosemite as smooth as it ran Snow Leopard.
     
  10. pastimage macrumors member

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #10
    Imac 2008 question along the same lines

    processor is a 2.66 GHz intel core 2 duo and memory is 2 gb 800 MHz ddr2 sdram
    Early 2008 I think it is.
    I would like to use Yosemite if and when it comes out. My issues are I believe it can only do a total of 4 GB ram. I don't think that will make a huge difference with the upgrade.

    I could change out the ssd too if needed but in the end would I not be close to the same price for a new mac? I need a backup of all that is on my mac now, yes? because when I change out the ssd will I not be removing the original root drive? Is there a way to have a drive a and drive b like one can do with a windows?
    Will heat be an issue again? It is now. Is it even advisable to do such for a computer as old as this? Why is this mac not lasting as long, or as well as my much older and every bit as fast HP computer?
     
  11. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

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    #11
    If you upgrade that Mac with SSD you're going to have fan speed issues, meaning you will have to install a program that manages the fan speeds for you.

    When you 1st install OS X on the new SSD the fan speed will go to 100% until you get a program to tune it down, from then on you will have to monitor your activities and change fan speed accordingly. If you do gaming the temperatures will go way up unless you turn up the fan speed. Same with heavy CPU computing tasks.

    I went through this on my 2009 and 2011 27" models.
     
  12. mad3inch1na macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    I was in a similar situation, except with a 2007 mac mini. The internals are easier to access on it, so I upgraded the RAM to 4GB and I got a 256 GB SSD for a total of around $150. Honestly, as long as you are doing consumer tasks get the SSD upgrade first, 2GB will be butter smooth even on 10.8. If you really don't want to upgrade it, you may want to get a new computer.

    Apple has very good RAM management, but they can't do too much for an old HDD. This is a solid SSD to check out. If you are tight on money, the 128GB model should be fine.

    http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-MX100-adapter-Internal-CT512MX100SSD1/dp/B00KFAGCUM

    Best.
    Matt
     
  13. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 9, 2014
    #13

    I would say that if you needed to ask the question about what an SSD is, I think the path of least frustration and most happiness for you would be to just purchase a newer machine and sell the old one on eBay or someplace. I really mean that. It's sometimes better to just spend a little extra money to not have days or weeks of frustration.

    For me on the other hand, since I really take a lot of pleasure in tearing apart old machines and getting at the hardware, I would maybe upgrade the internals - just for the pleasure of working on the thing - it's just a hobby type of pleasure for me. But I've been tearing into old hardware for 40+ years and know exactly what I'm doing and why. This doesn't seem to be the case for you. Just go out there and buy something newer.

    My 3 cents anyway.

    ----------


    That's just weird. I don't doubt you, and I don't want to think about it too much because it makes my head hurt to even begin to try to figure out why that is.
     
  14. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #14
    To solve the fan issue without the need for software control was to use an old hard drive controller board to plug the temperature sensor into and then stick it with two-sided tape to the SSD. It works great on my 2010 27" iMac and I haven't had a single issue since I did that over a year ago.
     
  15. g-7 macrumors 6502

    g-7

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    #15
    I disagree. The issue is with the HDD fan only, not the CPU or DVD one. SSDs do not get hot (they do get a bit warm, but nowhere near as hot as HDDs can be), so it's perfectly OK to set the fan to, say, 1500 RPM and stick with that. That's what I have on my iMac (mid 2011). I have never needed to change it, even when playing Witcher 2, Deus Ex or Tomb Raider for a long time.
     
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus

    SandboxGeneral

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    #16
    Exactly. My HDD fan is running at about 1200 rpms and does that all on it's own based on the ambient temperature around the sensor which is stuck to my SSD (see my post above). I have zero issues with heat on my iMac.
     
  17. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

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    #17
    Worth upgrading, I reckon. Any 2009 Mac is good to go with most currently available software.

    I have an early 2009 Mac Mini, which came with just 1 GB of RAM. A couple of years ago, in 2012, it got very sluggish, probably not able to cope with the requirements of the apps that had been updated as updates became available.

    I wanted to upgrade to Mountain Lion, which required at least 2 GB of RAM, with more recommended. The shop popped in a 4 GB RAM stick, along side the original 1 GB, and gave the computer a general clean out. They also did the Mountain Lion upgrade for me. Not having a credit card to pay for the Mountain Lion upgrade, and having a very slow internet connection, doing it myself was not a goer.

    All up it cost about $140, and it was like getting a new computer.

    It is still running fine, but with the HDD now over five years old, and more than half full, another upgrade could be in order sooner or later. I'll probably replace the HDD with an SSD, and may consider adding a second 4 GB of RAM.

    With an update to Mavericks, or Yosemite as well, my Mini should see me through a few more years, as would your iMac for you.
     
  18. choski94 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Dec 19, 2012
    #18
    Any suggestions what and where to get 4GB or 6 GB RAM?
     
  19. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #19
    You can purchase ram from online or physical retailers like NewEgg, Amazon, Crucial, or Best Buy.
     

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