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INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: robfilms
Date: May 15, 2019 07:33AM
so i was following this thread: [forums.macresource.com]

my wife has my mom's old late 2009 21.5" imac/3.06/4gb/500gb spinning hard drive.

the machine is used only for web browsing, email and some VERY light word processing via apple's pages.

it is running sierra 10.12.5

it is slow on boot-up and other functions.

plenty of spinning balls.

but is works fine for gmail and most of the web.

did i mention it was maddeningly slow?

so what are my best options?

add two 4gb sticks of ram for a total of 12gb ram?

(it presently has 2 x 2gb and still has two slots open)

clone the os onto a ssd drive (500gb) and boot from the ssd and store on the internal spinning 500gb?

not waste the time and effort and get a $1k-ish imac refurb.

any and all thoughts are appreciated.

thumbs up.

rob
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: modelamac
Date: May 15, 2019 08:00AM
The latest OS that iMac will run is High Sierra, which will probably lose Apple support in a couple of years. The latest FireFox will probably work on it for a few more years after that. You have about 5 years of safe internet "duty" available on that iMac.

If that is acceptable, then adding RAM is your first upgrade. USB 3 did not appear on Macs until 2014, so your SSD external would have to run on the Firewire 800 port, which is slower than the internal SATA but still an improvement. You would be better off replacing the internal spinner to get full benefit of the SSD. It is not difficult to do with patience and care. OWC has kits and videos to guide you.

How much would that iMac bring as is (for putting towards a newer iMac with a longer useful life)?

Edit: I stand corrected. USB3 shipped on late 2012 iMacs and 2012 minis.



Mr. Curmudgeon, on several OSes and an ego trip.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 12:07PM by modelamac.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: May 15, 2019 08:02AM
SSD's are very cheap.
Ram prices have been coming down.

16GB RAM
[eshop.macsales.com]

500GB SSD
[eshop.macsales.com]

Out the door souped up machine from our sponsor... $160 total.

If the machine doesn't need to run the latest software, Mrs. Robfilms should be good for a few years yet, and the spinny beachballs should be reduced.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: May 15, 2019 08:07AM
16G RAM Kit (4 x 4.0GB PC8500 DDR3 1066MHz 204 Pin ) from OWC is $80 (less trade-in?)
500GB SSD's are now <$50.

vs

Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 8GB 1TB HDD
$929.00 @ Apple Store
-10% Education or Veteran/Military Discounts

Think I'd spend the $836 for the refurb rather than $130 for an old C2D 'upgrade'.
Sell the old iMac and recoup some of the expense for the "new".



N39° 39.7234', W075° 33.9788'
...word salad is not a disorder, it is a symptom...

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
-Albert Einstein

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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: pdq
Date: May 15, 2019 08:32AM
Quote
modelamac
You would be better off replacing the internal spinner to get full benefit of the SSD. It is not difficult to do with patience and care. OWC has kits and videos to guide you.

I second this, if you’re up for it. It should dramatically speed up the iMac.

This is heresy, but I’ve never seen much of a speed up with more RAM. (It’s easier to do tho).
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: Bill in NC
Date: May 15, 2019 08:47AM
It'll run just fine from an external SSD in a USB case.

You don't need USB 3 for general applications/finer.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: jonny
Date: May 15, 2019 08:58AM
Skip the RAM. Internal SSD. $50 and an hour of your time.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: decay
Date: May 15, 2019 09:08AM
I just upgraded my wife's uncle's Macbook unibody (2009).

More RAM (now at 4 GB, had 2 GB) using leftover/unused sticks
OS upgrade from 10.6 to 10.13
SSD upgrade ($20 for 120 GB, they use about 25 GB)



---
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: May 15, 2019 09:47AM
2009 iMacs are very long in the tooth now! Mine blew out its video card about 3 years ago. Very pricey to fix. I went with a refurb. of course, YMMV, but its living on borrowed time.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: JEBB
Date: May 15, 2019 10:37AM
You might try reinstalling the OS using the recovery partition.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: JPK
Date: May 15, 2019 11:09AM
If you have the $$ RAM is good.

I think your best bet is to install an internal SSD with a fresh install of 10.12.5

I think this would be an improvement in feel & response for a few hours of your time and less than $60.

[www.amazon.com]

Please let us know what you end up doing and what the results are!

JPK
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: rz
Date: May 15, 2019 11:50AM
Quote
modelamac
USB 3 did not appear on Macs until 2014

You keep saying that, but both the mini and the iMacs from 2012 have USB 3.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 15, 2019 11:50AM
Before there were SSDs, RAM could make a big difference.

I've found RAM does add some speed, but moreover, it allows me to run more apps simultaneously.

Over the years, as the OS improved memory management and SSDs showed up, RAM no longer gave/gives the same bang for the buck it once did, and not as much as SSDs do.

SSDs improve speed, up until they don't. At some point an SSDs speed will not compensate for RAM. Different RAM varies in price based on supply. Older RAM may be more expensive than what's available for current iron.

If the machine is for light duty, an SSD will be more effective than RAM, and adding RAM afterwards will have little affect.

If it's going to be handling hungry or multiple hungry apps, adding RAM after an SSD will likely make a noticeable improvement.

SSD first, RAM maybe, but second.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 15, 2019 12:35PM
i have a late 2009 iMac. i brought it up to 12MB Ram a few years ago and it did help. i've toyed with going the SSD route though lately it's gotten annoyingly slow (not maddeningly slow) and i wonder if the SSD be be enough to appease my inner speed demons. i have been looking at newer model refurbs in the last week eying the ones with 4k retina and fusion drive.

i'm thinking it may be time to move on even though most of what i do on the desktop is surfing and streaming.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: jonny
Date: May 15, 2019 12:49PM
Quote
graylocks
i have a late 2009 iMac. i brought it up to 12MB Ram a few years ago and it did help. i've toyed with going the SSD route though lately it's gotten annoyingly slow (not maddeningly slow) and i wonder if the SSD be be enough to appease my inner speed demons. i have been looking at newer model refurbs in the last week eying the ones with 4k retina and fusion drive.

i'm thinking it may be time to move on even though most of what i do on the desktop is surfing and streaming.

Put in an SSD. You will notice a profound difference.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 15, 2019 12:58PM
Quote
RAMd®d
SSD first, RAM maybe, but second.

This, X10. Our family uses 2007, 2008 and 2009 iMacs -- Ive added SSDs internally to all of them. Some have 3 GB ram, some 4.

Everyone is right -- RAM does *nothing* to speed up things -- thats not how RAM works. SSDs do. Tesla vs Yugo.

All run pretty great. The 2007 gets the most use, its a 24" 2.4 C2D. Oldest daughter uses it for homework, google docs, some video. Not zippy fast, like her 2012 MPB w/SSD, but works fine.

I get the idea of getting a new refurb -- but since most 21" iMacs still come with platter HDDs, it really fixes nothing. Be prepared to add a few more $$ for a SSD and external USB 3 case.



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/15/2019 01:00PM by jdc.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: S. Pupp
Date: May 15, 2019 01:26PM
I second jdc's post and third RAMd®d's.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: sekker
Date: May 15, 2019 01:32PM
I have a 2009 iMac. RAM was nice, but adding an SSD was the big boost.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 15, 2019 01:35PM
Quote
sekker
I have a 2009 iMac. RAM was nice, but adding an SSD was the big boost.

does internal or external matter? do you just put the operating system on it? my internal HD is about 2/3 full.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: jdc
Date: May 15, 2019 01:54PM
Quote
graylocks
Quote
sekker
I have a 2009 iMac. RAM was nice, but adding an SSD was the big boost.

does internal or external matter? do you just put the operating system on it? my internal HD is about 2/3 full.

I ran our 2007 with an external SSD via USB 2 for a bit... actually faster than the internal platter drive with some things, but nothing earth shattering.

Its certainly the easiest and cheapest route. SSD + $10 case and done.

If you were looking for used 21" on a budget -- Id say the 2011 model is the sweet spot. Still easy to access the internals with DIY ram, and has 6 GB/s SATA vs 3 GB/s on everything prior. Missing USB 3, but IMHO not a deal breaker.

2012 (to current) 21'" iMacs added USB 3, but went with the glued screen. Opening is a much bigger PITA. However, you could go external SSD via USB 3 if you find a deal. RAM is fixed however.



----


Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: graylocks
Date: May 15, 2019 02:09PM
Quote
jdc

I ran our 2007 with an external SSD via USB 2 for a bit... actually faster than the internal platter drive with some things, but nothing earth shattering.

Its certainly the easiest and cheapest route. SSD + $10 case and done.

perhaps i'll give that a shot as preserving the rest of my set up has some advantages at the moment. if it's not an appreciable speed burst at least i'll have an additional drive for whatever i move on to and i won't be thinking about time wasted sweating a DIY internal install.



"Success isn't about how much money you make. It is about the difference you make in people's lives."--Michelle Obama
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: hal
Date: May 15, 2019 02:28PM
Quote
jdc
Everyone is right -- RAM does *nothing* to speed up things -- thats not how RAM works. SSDs do. Tesla vs Yugo.

This is often true, but not always. My example is the 2014 1.4GHz mac mini with 4GB of RAM with a slow 500gb drive. Run that for a while, then run the same thing with 16GB. I've done it and the difference is remarkable.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: GGD
Date: May 15, 2019 05:35PM
Quote
MrNoBody
Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 8GB 1TB HDD
$929.00 @ Apple Store
-10% Education or Veteran/Military Discounts

Think I'd spend the $836 for the refurb rather than $130 for an old C2D 'upgrade'.
Sell the old iMac and recoup some of the expense for the "new".

That refurb has a spinning hard drive, I don't think that's a wise choice for a "new" mac running recent OS versions. I recall a recent thread from someone who bought and then returned a new Mac with a spinning hard drive (5400 RPM to make things even worse).
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: May 15, 2019 05:58PM
An SSD even in an external case via USB will make a noticeable difference on this machine!!



Aloha, Ken


“I have developed significant attachments to several members even though I wouldn't recognize them if I sat next to one on a park bench. I'm often tempted when in an airport to walk around, hollering "The Løpe", to see if anyone other than the Homeland Security people will acknowledge me. ” - The Løpe
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: sekker
Date: May 15, 2019 08:34PM
I use an external ssd with Mac OS via a FireWire 800 case from OWC. Works great.

USB2 is fine as well. But one bonus using FW is I have another USB port free.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: Winston
Date: May 15, 2019 09:42PM
Quote
hal
Quote
jdc
Everyone is right -- RAM does *nothing* to speed up things -- thats not how RAM works. SSDs do. Tesla vs Yugo.

This is often true, but not always. My example is the 2014 1.4GHz mac mini with 4GB of RAM with a slow 500gb drive. Run that for a while, then run the same thing with 16GB. I've done it and the difference is remarkable.

More RAM doesn't speed things up if there is already enough of it for normal operations. But if normal operations are causing a lot of swapping of memory to the hard drive, and the hard drive is a slow mechanical drive, adding more RAM can make a HUGE difference.


Lost track of how many suggestions for adding an internal SSD I'd second, third, etc.

I'm running a 2009 15" MacBook Pro and a 2010 13" MacBook Pro with SSDs (both have 16 GB memory, so that's not an issue), and both run just fine. I'm on El Cap 10.11, but I suspect the two MBPs would be fine on 10.12. Both have slower processors than the 2009 iMac.


Quote
robfilms
so what are my best options?

add two 4gb sticks of ram for a total of 12gb ram?

(it presently has 2 x 2gb and still has two slots open)

RAM works best when paired, although it's not a requirement. If no existing RAM, the optimum for how you describe the Mac being used would be 8 GB. Adding two 4 GB sticks would be fine, however, and likely the cheapest option. I wouldn't go just to 6 GB total (one added 4 GB stick.)


Do strongly recommend you do what's necessary to install an SSD internally, then set up the old drive as a Carbon Copy Cloner backup drive clone.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: May 15, 2019 10:17PM
so what are my best options?

add two 4gb sticks of ram for a total of 12gb ram?

(it presently has 2 x 2gb and still has two slots open)



Not all Macs benefit from interleaved RAM, but maybe modern Macs do.

If I recall correctly, that supposed to give a ~10% boost in efficiency. In general, I think additional RAM in the form of one stick trumps interleaving of two, where interleaving works.

If you have two sticks and two slots, and your machine benefits, configuring for interleaving would be the way to go. And usually two 4G sticks are cheaper than one 8G stick.

With four slots you have a lot of options. If you thought there was a good chance of maxing the RAM, you'd probably want to do each stick for the maximum per slot. Get one stick and current prices and by the rest when (or if, LOL) the price drops.

Otherwise, if you're not that optimistic, get two sticks of 4G. If 12G isn't enough, swap out the two 2s for two more 4s. 24G would be more than a lot of people actually need, if you wanted to go that far.

And, IF you wanted to add swap one of the four 4s for an 8, that gain if any, would likely still be better than anything interleaving might get you.




When a good man is hurt,
all who would be called good
must suffer with him.

You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead.

There is no safety for honest men
except by believing all possible evil
of evil men.

We don’t do focus groups. They just ensure that you don’t offend anyone, and produce bland inoffensive products. —Sir Jonathan Ive

Perfection is the enemy of progress. -Winston Churchill

-An armed society is a polite society.
And hope is a lousy defense.

You make me pull, I'll put you down.

Mister, that's a ten-gallon hat on a twenty-gallon head.

I *love* SIGs. It's Glocks I hate.
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Re: INSPIRED! - i think -speeding up late 2009 imac?
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: May 16, 2019 02:26AM
Quote
GGD
...
That refurb has a spinning hard drive, I don't think that's a wise choice for a "new" mac running recent OS versions. I recall a recent thread from someone who bought and then returned a new Mac with a spinning hard drive (5400 RPM to make things even worse).
yep, my bad. I was looking @ budget not performance.
I am off to the woodshed now facepalm



N39° 39.7234', W075° 33.9788'
...word salad is not a disorder, it is a symptom...

“If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself.”
-Albert Einstein

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