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Hard drive advice -- early 2009 iMac

972 Views 9 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2013 4:50 PM by Dennis Kulpa RSS
David McCourt Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Mar 31, 2013 3:54 AM

Hi

 

My iMac (24" 2.93Ghz early 2009) is now 4 years old and I was wondering about upgrading the hard drive. The Mac has started to feel a little sluggish with the spinning beach ball a common occurance and occasionally the finder taking a long time to render icons in list view.

 

I've ran the usual system maintenance tasks using Onyx and MacOptimizer but this has had no real affect.

 

I've ran Disk Utility and the SMART Utility app and both show the hard drive is OK. No read/write or realloaction errors.

 

I'm aware hardware suffers from wear and tear so I was wondering if I should upgrade. I'd like to get another 1 to 2 years out of the Mac. Is it worth it given the hard drive is seemingly OK? I've looked at lots of tutorials and video walk thoughs and I'm happy to swap the drive out, even though it looks a little fiddly.

 

Space isn't much of an issue for me as I have a 4TB NAS but a larger hard drive would be nice but not essential.

 

I understand that there are some issues with the heat sensor on the drives and it is important to use the same make as the factory installed one. With that in mind I've been looking a either a Western Digital Green 2TB, a Western Digital Black 1TB or a Western Digital Velicoraptor 1TB drive although I've read these are a little noisy.

 

I'd love to hear other's thoughts an experiences.

 

Thanks

iMac (24-inch Early 2009), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), 8gb RAM
  • Dennis Kulpa Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2013 5:21 AM (in response to David McCourt)

    If it were me - before I bother to change out the hard drive, I'd back everything up, then wipe the hard drive and do a clean install, then transfer my files back.  Even though you've run utilities that say everything is OK, there may just be something out of wack that's causing the issue.  I've had similar happen to me, did the clean-install and it corrected the problem.

     

    Dennis

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 31, 2013 6:07 AM (in response to David McCourt)

    I understand that there are some issues with the heat sensor on the drives and it is important to use the same make as the factory installed one.

    AFAIK, this only started with the late 2009 models. Besides that, if it did apply to your model, it wouldn't help to use the same make drive, since those drives are Apple proprietary. If you are thinking about the OWC article about this, I don't think they got that right--and even if they did, there are no more of those compatible drives anywhere to be found.

     

    You could work around this problem, if it does apply to your model, by getting SSD Fan Control.

     

    http://exirion.net/ssdfanctrl/

     

    However, I don't think a hard drive upgrade will make any difference for your problem. It might be more to do with indadequate RAM. Can you post a screenshot of the bottom only of the System Memory tab in Activity Monitor in Utilities. Like this

     

    Screen shot 2013-03-06 at 8.19.17 AM.png

     

     

    Also, switch to the CPU tab and see if anything is hogging the CPU and look in Real Memory too for any hogs.

  • Dennis Kulpa Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 5:10 AM (in response to David McCourt)

    IF the hard drive is the cause of your slow-down, changing it out will help that issue.  But if the slow-down is due to something else - processor, video, mother board, etc. - it won't help.  My personal experience with drives has been good - never had a hard drive failure on any of my computers in 20+years.  Right now, i've got two installed in a 9-year-old Power Mac G5 and they appearing to be running as well as the day I installed them.

     

    Dennis

  • WZZZ Level 6 Level 6 (11,900 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 5:29 AM (in response to David McCourt)

    I don't think switching out the drive wll make any difference, although going to an SSD may, but for the capacity you want, it will be very expenseive. If the computer was at one time faster, then perhaps you're now running too many CPU or Memory intensive applications concurrently. Even though your screenshot shows no paging out and adequate RAM, you need to look at that when the slowdowns are occuring. Also enter top in Terminal and look at the figures in the parenthesis at the top of the window, which will give you a readout in real time. Also check out this tip from BobHarris about checking Memory usage.

     

    https://discussions.apple.com/message/15900164#15900164

     

    You do need to leave a minimum of around 10GB free plus enough for future expansion (and disregard anyone who suggests you need to keep a certain percentage of disk space free); if you have that much now, the problem wouldn't be not enough drive free space.

    Have a look through these articles for anything you might have missed.

     

    One possible cause of slowdowns is some A-V program scanning always in the background. Do you have any A-V installed?

     

    http://www.thexlab.com/faqs/sbbod.html

     

    http://www.macworld.com/article/1151583/spinningbeachballofdeath.html

  • MichelPM Level 5 Level 5 (7,205 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 2, 2013 7:08 AM (in response to David McCourt)

    Also, CrashPlan can really slow your iMac if you have it constantly backing up your data all day long.

    You should be using CrashPlan in a way where it doesn't impact your system's performance.

    No matter what hard drive you buy, if you are using both backup software  and have this work all day AND antivirus software, your iMac is going to run slow.

    IMO, backup software should run at a time when computer activity and performance are not greatly impacted.

    Like backup at night or early in the morning before the start of your work session or schedule a fixed interval of time like an hour  before and after through a scheduled lunch break period. Times where your iMac's performance is not impacted greatly when you are trying to get important work done.

  • Dennis Kulpa Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 3, 2013 4:50 PM (in response to David McCourt)

    That's all right.  I'm not here for the points - only to try to give help and get help when needed.

     

    Dennis

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