Is my 3 Year Old IMAC Obsolete ?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by jon_kobeck|1, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. I have an Imac thats about 3 years old. When I bought it it was the latest and greatest and now I feel like its chopped liver!
    I do my Photoshop and Lightroom work on it. No photos on the computer, I have everything on dual external hard drives. But
    lately it is seeming like its running slow. It starts slow and just doesnt seem as zippy. What is the consensus on the lifespan
    of these? Can I get a couple more years out of it?
    should I do anything to it?
    I calibrate the monitor every week and it seems to pint very close to what I am seeing on screen.

    I was going to get a laptop for portability and wanted to keep using this as the workhorse


    OS X Version 10.5.8
    Model Name: iMac
    Model Identifier: iMac7,1
    Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
    Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
    Number Of Processors: 1
    Total Number Of Cores: 2
    L2 Cache: 4 MB
    Memory: 4 GB
    Bus Speed: 800 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: IM71.007A.B03
    SMC Version (system): 1.21f4
    Serial Number (system): W88
    Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000
  2. You could upgrade to OS X version 10.6
  3. Lorne I just checked for software updates and it says there are none. Is this something I need to buy?

    when I check my activity monitor I see alot of processes running. I remember a few years ago someone
    walked me though deleting a bunch of them and that helped speed things up. ButI havent a clue as to what to
    delete. I am tempted to pay Apple to clean up the machine
  4. Yes, 10.6 is something you have to buy "Snow Leopard" I believe the code name is. If you have a slow boot up that can be fixed up by removing processes that start up at boot. You can find these in "startup items" in the "System Profiler" app. If you have doubts about what to take out.... best visit your apple dealer. They can also install the OS X upgrade.
  5. I was just checking Amazon, The upgrade to Sno wLeopard is surprisingly cheap at $26.00. But If I buy a
    laptop I assume it will come with snow Leopard. Can I just install that disk onto my Imac?
  6. I don't think so ..... depends on how the upgrade license works.
  7. the laptop will only come w/ a model specific OS restore disk, not a universal installer.
    If you have 10.5.x, you'll need to pony up the $26 for 10.6
  8. My iMac is 3 years old too and its running fast. I agree upgrade to snow leopard. Then if you want to speed a few things up you can do a disk permissions clean up. Go to finder, applications, utilities, click disk utility app. When that opens, select your hard drive on the left (it can be the full hard drive name or Mac HD: either or. Then click "repair disk permissions". This usually makes my computer run faster. You don't have to worry about doing this... its not going to mess anything up. My processor is a tiny bit faster then yours but really you shouldn't have any problems with your machine.
  9. Computers do not slow with age, unless the source is recoverable disk or network errors.

    What happens is that over time as you install more software there are more and more background processes running.


    1. Do a serious cleanup of startup and background apps,

    2. De-fragment your drives, and

    3. Spend $29 for Snow Leopard, as has been suggested above.

  10. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    I agree with what Marc says above and would also point out that a clean install of the OS can help a great deal (the OS enema). Back everything up first to an external drive you can boot off if need be. Do the Archive and Install option so you keep most of the necessary user Prefs (a full clean install is more work be if you can do it, even better).
  11. Keeping the photos on external drives only (USB?) will increase open and save times. You can keep the photos you're working on internally in the iMAC's drive, then move the saved photos back to your external drive when you're done.
  12. You could have a bad stick of ram.
  13. I would get an app which checks the hardware and especially the memory, check the setup (login items, etc.) in the preferences and run the disk utility. If you have checked the activity monitor program for apps using too much, then only look at those under your name and be careful as some are necessary with other apps. I wouldn't de-fragment the drive(s) since that's really unnecessary for Mac's , or do a clean install but simply upgrade to Snow Leopard along with the updates. Apple abandoned updates to 10.5.8 except for security measures earlier this year. It's an upgrades to 10.6.5.
  14. Downloading Ubuntu Live CD, burning the iso and then running the memory check is the simplest. Instructions here.
  15. I dont think you even need to do that (d/l Ubuntu). There is a version of memtest86 for Mac's.
  16. Andrew-a great suggestion! My 3 year old iMac is also acting a little wonky and nothing I have done has helped. I have done a previous reinstall when I ran Leopard and I'll do a reinstall of Snow Leopard over the coming holiday weekend. I should have thought of this myself before! Thanks and happy holidays to all. cb :)
  17. I can't speak for Mac, but when I finally got a laptop a few years ago I took all the games, internet explorer, etc. off my desktop. The only things on there were Photoshop, WordPad, and an audio recording/mixing program. Oh, and whatever photos or songs I was currently working on. Having it almost empty sped it right up, and I ended up keeping it much longer than I thought I would.
  18. I dont think you even need to do that (d/l Ubuntu). There is a version of memtest86 for Mac's.​
    It's not as thorough.
  19. * Running the Disk Utility commands Verify Disk and Verify Disk Permissions on your drives couldn't hurt, but I doubt there's anything wrong which would cause a noticeable speed loss.
    * Having too many startup/background apps running could slow things down. So could too many regular apps, especially if you're running up against your RAM limit. If you post the list of All Processes from Activity Monitor we can help you choose what can be deleted or quit until you actually need it. Also post the stats under System Memory in Activity Monitor.
    * Mac OS X manages drives such that they should never need to be de-fragmented unless you are just about out of free space, in which case you should delete unused files or upgrade the drive.
    * I have never, ever seen Mac OS X "decay" over time in terms of speed in the same manner as Windows, and I do not recommend a clean reinstall of the OS. Along those lines OS X does not slow down simply from having a lot of software installed. The number of programs running at any given time and the memory used are naturally issues, but not simple installation. (Windows slows as you install more software, even if that software is not running, because of stupid design decisions on Microsoft's part, such as the registry.)
    * Snow Leopard is a good upgrade, but I don't recall a huge speed boost from it.
    * Hardware issues such as bad RAM would cause the machine to crash, not simply slow down.
    I'll bet anything it's some combination of too many startup/background apps, too many regular apps open at once, and/or not enough RAM for what you want to do. Those things are interrelated. You might not need to remove or quit any apps if you upgrade the memory. Usually background apps or apps that are open but idle do not use enough CPU cycles to be worth worrying about. But if all the open software uses up your free memory then the OS will be forced to swap data to/from the disk, dramatically slowing things down. So an app sitting there just using RAM isn't a good thing unless you have plenty of it.
    I should also ask: is it possible that your perception of performance is being affected by some other factor? Are you editing larger images than you used to? Is your Internet connection or web browser slower? (FireFox is notorious for slowing down as you add extensions.) Do you have regular exposure to a newer Mac with a much faster processor? (That will make an older machine feel slow every time.)
  20. Your Mac is as powerful as some current 13" configurations. It should still have a couple years usefulness at least. I agree, an OS reinstall can "degunk" a computer - it's like that with OSX or Windows - and 10.6 is a bit quicker than 10.5. If you have low hard drive space available it could interfere with the fragmentation prevention setup, and there's some maintenance that happens at night so make sure to leave it on overnight every once in a while.
  21. here are 2 snapshots of my processes I cant fit all on one shot
  22. screen shot 2
  23. by the way, I dont see a defrag option on my system?
  24. As far as I know OS X doesn't have a defrag option because the system is supposed to drag on it's own, which I disagree with. I use tech tool pro and It has saved my bacon more than once. I also use Onyx which is free and it is excellent at cleaning house.
  25. What do you call slow? Gives times it takes to load and process a typical image or whatever you do that makes you notice slowness.
    I'm using the original 2004 Rev A G5 iMac (seen in my PN profile pic) and it's fast enough for processing 6MP Raws and editing web jpegs from forum threads for demonstration purposes. I'm not running it as some image processing factory. I have 2GB Ram and 150GB HD with about 100GB available. A year ago replaced the power supply for about $100. Running smooth.
    Bought it used in 2007 and have never reinstalled the OS that came with it from PowerMax, just upgraded to the latest for my model. I know it can't be as fast as yours, but I don't think yours should be retired just from a little slowness.
    Have you tried booting in Administrator mode or creating another User test account and see if the speed changes?
  26. 4 MB Memory​
    That can't be right. If you meant 4 GB RAM, you should still be okay for a while.
  27. I agree with Daniel's advice, but add that the problem may be the 4 GB memory. Check the Activity Monitor for system memory usage. You may have too many applications running (even if idle or hidden) and too many files open. I replaced my PPC G5 this month with 4.5 GB of memory and it routinely nearly maxed out with a CS 4 Suite apps open with other apps. You many simply need to add 2 GB's memory, but I would still upgrade to Snow Leopard.
  28. I have a Mac similar to yours, 4 yrs old. Mine begun slowing down last year and I traced the problem to internal hard disk. It was writing data very sluggishly though the read speed was okay. I was not sure was caused the problem but what I did to to solve the it was to create an OSX partition and boot from an external firewire HD. I did not bother to replace nor use the internal HD after that. Still using OSX 10.5.8, and photos are stored in a second fw hard disk.
    I have Snow Leopard 10.6.3 upgrade disk but holding out for now until it is really necessary to move up.
  29. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    There are defrag products for OS X. But one way to do this without spending too much is to use something like SuperDuper or Carbon Copy Cloner (that’s free). You take a drive and format it, do a full backup. Boot off that drive, format the original boot disk then use the same utility to copy over the data. Now some defrag products suggest they defrag and place files in an optimal order. You still have to boot off another driver for a full defrag and its usually equally time consuming. SuperDuper has a script to do all this for you making the process at least very easy. Depending on who you talk to, some say OSX with its Unix underpinnings doesn’t need defrag, others say it does. With very large files, its said to be a good idea.
  30. I agree with Daniel on all points (do not recommend a clean reinstall of the OS or upgrade to SL, defrag etc as a solution to your speed loss) except this.
    Hardware issues such as bad RAM would cause the machine to crash, not simply slow down.​
    Usually, yes. But sometimes flaky ram can indeed slow you down and do all sorts of things. Sometimes it only happens after the machine is warm and sometimes it will only show it's ugly head once in awhile after you've heavily taxed your machine. Ram problems are so common and so easy to check for that it is the first hardware check that is normally done.
    If you do proceed with a new install of SL, for $80 I'd purchase a newer, larger, and faster hard drive and be on the safe side.
  31. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Bad RAM almost always manifests itself on the Mac with lots of crashes, especially with ram intensive app’s like Photoshop. If you are not seeing this, just a slowdown, the cause if quite unlikely bad RAM. There are ways to test this. If you have the Graphing Calculator app, set it up to run over night without any other app’s running. If you wake up and the Mac hasn’t crashed, the likelihood its bad RAM is very, very low. Or you can try Memtest. Memtest OS X is a command-line based ram-testing utility for Macintosh computers. You can find it here:
  32. In the computer business we have a saying: "If it works it's obsolete."
    But there's some good advice offered by the pervious posters. Put in as much RAM as will fit!
  33. As others have suggested, do not upgrade to Snow Leopard unless you absolutely have to. You say that at the moment your prints are good. That could all change with an upgrade to the OS. I spent months trying to get my printer to work with Snow Leopard.
  34. >>> As others have suggested, do not upgrade to Snow Leopard unless you absolutely have to.

    Who are the others above that are saying that? Works great for me. And no doubt millions of others...
  35. digitaldog

    digitaldog Andrew Rodney

    Who are the others above that are saying that? Works great for me. And no doubt millions of others...​
    Me too. No problems printing or otherwise once I got updated drivers.
  36. Good suggestion. I use Checkup from App4Mac (recommended by Apple but with a big caveat - don't run it on Leopard, only Snow Leopard). It has the real-time system monitor program along with other tools, one of which is a memory chip checker. You run it by itself with no apps overnight. It does about a dozen checks of the memory chips and takes 8-12 hours. It will find any problems or failures with your hardware. But again don't run it on Leopard. It wasn't designed for it and is a system hog. Upgrade to Snow Leopard first.
  37. My iMac is 4 years old and I still run 10.4.1 on it. Runs good. All I've done is max out the
    memory, and occasionally I'll run disk utility on it.

Share This Page