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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Improving iMac performance


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sdwilson83

 
Member Since: Aug 31, 2013
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Hi,

I've been using mac's for a few years now, but have noticed that my iMac is getting really sluggish and taking quite a long time to do tasks it previously did very quickly.

I've heard there are ways of improving performance again, i just don't know what they are!

I'm using a 2008 intel iMac, i'm running the latest OS on it and am up to date with all updates through the app store. If you can point me in the direction of where to get info on performance improvement or can make suggestions I would really appreciate it.

Many thanks.
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Slydude

 
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Can you give us a bit more information about the problem. For starters:
1. How much memory is installed?
2. How much free hard drive space is there on the hard drive?
3. What types of tasks are starting to slow things down?

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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sdwilson83

 
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No worries,

It's an Intel dual core 2.66GHz processor with 2GB 800MHz SDRAM, I have 88.33GB free HDD space out of 320GB. Although looking at the storage information 42.91GB falls into the 'Other' category - The rest of it all means something to me, but the other category doesn't.

To be honest, everything from loading icons when finder opens right to working in programs is getting really quite slow. I mainly use the machine for photo editing in Lightroom, and then just the usual word processing etc. I don't use it for gaming or anything like that.
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Slydude

 
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My gut instinct says that more memory would be useful If I have looked up the correct model Apple lists 4 GB as the max for that machine but OWC suggests the max is currently 6 GB. . Check the model identifier to see if that is the correct model. The page explains how to check.

Before purchasing extra memory you might want to take a look at your machine's memory use in relation to the tasks you perform. Reboot the Mac and open Activity Monitor. As you go about your activities keep an eye on the Page In/Outs and particularly on Swap Used. This is the amount of data which was in memory but has had to be written to the drive. The higher the number the more likely it is you'll benefit from more memory. Using Activity Monitor to read System Memory and determine how much RAM is being used

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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sdwilson83

 
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Fantastic, thanks for your help. I'll give that a look and let you know how I get on.
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Slydude

 
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Once we have that information we may be able to give better advice. I'm running the current OS on a late 2008 MacBook Pro. The current OS ran reasonably well with 4 GB of ram though I am currently running with 8 GB. Things slow down a bit if I am photo editing but perform fairly well otherwise.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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sdwilson83

 
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Well, if I've done it all correctly the Swap used after a few hours (including some time left unattended) has gone to 2.11GB.

You did indeed identify the correct model, thank you. This may be a stupid question but, I read that you should only put the same quantity of RAM into each RAM slot. Or doesn't it really matter?
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Slydude

 
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No a stupid question at all. I've generally used matched sets but in your case you would end up with 1 2GB chip and 1 4GB (assuming you want to max things out). I think that is more important for other aspects of the chips than the capacity.If all other specs for the chips match except that one is 2 GB and the other 4 GB I think any performance loss would be offset by the performance boost due to extra memory.

There are other members more knowledgeable in this area than I am perhaps thy can chime in with definitive answers.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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@sdwilson83:

Moderator Slydude is correct. It shouldn't matter if one module is 2 GB and the other is 4 GB. While technically they're not a matched pair, the difference it will make is so slight that you won't notice it. Besides as he stated, it will be more than offset by the extra available memory it provides. Go for it.
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Just for my own personal edification are the following assumptions true when it comes to the performance of matched Pairs of chips:

1. This is a larger issue for older macs and older memory chips than current ones?
2. This might be a larger issue if it involved different "banks" of chips with different specs (other than capacity)?
3. Assuming a large enough increase in memory the performance boost will offset any loss due to not having matched pairs?

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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bazanders

 
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Simple, add 2GB more RAM and go back to Snow Leopard
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Maybe not. The OP may be using some applications / features that do not run on Snow Leopard. Apple - Support - iCloud - Get Started

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dtravis7

 
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2GB Ram is too lean for 10.7 and 10.8. 4GB at least if you plan on doing more than one thing at a time. If you can get it up to 6GB the extra ram will help with many things running.

Also you should run ONYX and clean things up a bit. Let us know what you end up doing.

I speak from experience with 2GB and even Lion. Just not enough RAM. 2GB though was ok for Snow Leopard.
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bazanders

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slydude View Post
Maybe not. The OP may be using some applications / features that do not run on Snow Leopard. Apple - Support - iCloud - Get Started
Off the top of my head i can only think of icloud features that would be missing, cant think of any apps that wouldnt run, but plenty extra that will with rosetta
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Slydude

 
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I posted that merely as an example of one feature the OP might find limited going back to SL. There are other apps which, although they are available for SL, have been updated to take advantage of features in Lion and Mountain Lion. Going backward means loosing those features.

I assume that use of Rosetta is not much of an issue for the OP otherwise the upgrade would either never have been done or been removed long ago.

I'm not suggesting whether the OP should or should not go back to Snow Leopard. There are many things I like about SL and I still use it. I'm merely pointing out that there are drawbacks to going backward. It's also true that Mountain Lion can run quite well on the same class of process in the OPs Mac.

Sylvester Roque Former Contributing Editor About This Particular Macintosh

"Got Time to breathe. You got time for music." Denver Pyle as Briscoe Darling
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