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iMac wonkiness
Posted by: CW2V
Date: December 23, 2020 09:09AM
Sorry for the long post:

I use a 2017 Retina 5k 27" iMac at my work. It is a 3.8GHz i5 with 64 GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM, and an 8GB Radeon Pro 580 video card. I have a single 2TB Fusion HD with 1.65TB available. This HD was replaced by Apple under warranty a couple of years ago. I am running Mojave, clutching that last OS that can run those little free helper apps that help keep things moving on, and other apps that I'm sure the powers that be will not see any value in updating. Alas, I'm sure that soon the Joyous Creative Cloud will drop Mojave, and require Catalina and beyond, but I'll deal with that when it happens. We are hooked up to windows server where all the files we work on are stored.

I have the main monitor at the highest resolution (what happened to the actual size drop down menu, all it has now is a slider with "Larger text to Smaller text"?), and a second 27" thunderbolt monitor at 2560 x 1440. I work with Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign open most all of the time, sometimes with several days worth of projects in various states of production, so I may have a dozen PS files open, some are 1 GB plus. Illustrator may have several files open that have bitmap files in them that are up to 1 GB, some may have various stupid effects that make them cumbersome. Along with this nasty triad of corpulence that includes InDesign, I may have Firefox, Libre Office, Font Explorer, Acrobat, Mail open at the same time.

I work in design and pre-press. We are the McDonald's of a large format print shop in terms of expected speed in production, but we are also the local Mom and Pop local burger in terms of automation and planned workflow, while also being the Amazon of products and services offered. We offer custom work for small decals for locals, while doing large scale output for national companies, and everything in between on most anything that can be printed on. That stated, my work flow depends on having things open and at the ready for changes at a moments notice. The luxury of being able to work on something start-to-finish is not offered here. So saving / closing / quitting most of these apps when not being used at any moment is not an option I would choose.

So, TL;DR...

The problems I currently have are:

Photoshop and/or Illustrator will constantly lock up, sometimes falling over into affecting the entire operating system, to where I have only the ability to move the mouse across the screen --- nothing else works. Employing force quit will not open. Nothing. This may last around a half minute to several minutes. Sometimes Photoshop and/or Illustrator will just crash out of the blue. Sometimes the Finder will lock up. Sometimes, the Finder will not show all the contents in any folder. Sometimes opened files in Photoshop will display incorrectly, or not at all. Lately, at different scaling, a file may not show at all, just a black canvas, or, it may flash at seizure producing speed -- the image, then and a black canvas -- until I do something like zoom in or out. I've had images show up like a bizarre "Golden Ratio" kaleidoscope of the same image, but fractured at different sizes and placed all within the same graphic. So my monitor will show the image that should fill the canvas as separate smaller versions of that image dispersed all over at varying sizes. It's kinda cool, like a car on fire on the freeway, but it sucks when it is your car. Last episode had the fans coming on for a couple of minutes until I could regain control of the computer. The apps either get closed or forced quit, restart, run Onyx, restart. Then after several hours, it may start up again.

Apple Mail will constantly need to be restarted once a day, usually in the afternoon, when it gets cranky. I'm convinced this has nothing to do with anything else (bad software), but I thought I'd throw it out there.

I've run hardware tests and run Onyx as often as possible. Hardware test is always clean.

Is it that I'm just running too much at once, and it's just the nature of the beast, or... ? I keep thinking it's the video card. The symptoms are similar to what I've read about video card issues. But is it a failing card, or overworked card?

Other iMacs in the office with less RAM, video RAM, older, etc.. are not acting like this with similar work load(s). They may be slower, but they're not flashing images in Photoshop and locking up the entire computers. There is no "Mac" IT here, just server IT. We used to have a problem a couple of years ago with trying to save files directly from Adobe products to the new server. A work around was to save to a Mac server, then copy the files over from there. The new IT company solved that issue, but I believe my finder issues started around the same time.

I normally would not have time to look into this deeply, as I need to drive this car (huh, I mean computer) for 8 hours a day like I was in a wind-sprint marathon, but it is the day before Xmas eve, so it's actually a bit slow here.

Any help would be appreciated.

TIA

CW2V
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 23, 2020 09:23AM
Could be the video card. The "fractured" image thing and the weird empty-window thing happen sometimes with a bad video card, but they also happen with a corrupted files. Stuff like that could happen with bad RAM. Have you upgraded the memory on that Mac with 3rd party RAM? (Bad RAM could be causing both the Photoshop problems and the various crashes/hangs.)

Have you run a SMART check specifically (SMART Utility) on the drive?

And as for the regular crashing, I don't see that you've run a malware scan (Malwarebytes) or tried working from a new user account, both of which are good troubleshooting steps to start with when your Mac is acting wonky.

It might be helpful to run Etrecheck as well. It hasn't been a very good app for diagnostics for a few years, but it will sometimes help to pick out potentially troublesome launch agents/daemons. Frequently the remnants of old apps from a previous system or something you tried out and thought you deleted years ago will be hanging around and cause trouble after an OS upgrade or security update.

...Do you have a lot of fonts? Often, lockups on print-designers' Macs are caused by having too many fonts active (several thousand) either by dragging them into one of the Fonts folders or by accidentally activating an entire Font Folio collection in Suitcase Fusion. If you've done it in Suitcase, a quick fix is to deactivate all of those fonts and then use the feature in Suitcase to clean font caches and reboot.







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/23/2020 09:31AM by Sarcany.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: CW2V
Date: December 23, 2020 09:49AM
Thanks for the reply, Sarcany.

To itemize your list:

I doubt it's corrupted files as it happens on so many. Bad RAM could be the issue, but it's from our Forum Overlords, so it should be good, right?

No SMART check yet. The previous drive that failed was also a fusion drive, but it had different symptoms before it failed.

Malwarebytes (free version) run from time to time. No issues found.

Will check on Etrecheck. Definitely issues with older version of Adobe products remain. I had problems with an older Wacom Intuous 3 tablet which I've had to unplug and remove the drivers, as it was causing major spinning beachball issues in PS 2020+. Thought that was the complete problem as I had to go back to PS 2019 to be able to work on almost anything, beachball-free. But that only fixed the lagging hang-ups.

Font Explorer has 2,600 fonts activated. Unfortunately, this will likely not be updated as getting any kind of new software that is not Adobe has to be a proven profitable commodity. And since everyone else here is using Apple's Font Book, it's hard to argue that I alone need it. So most fonts need to be manually activated for the multitude of pre-press work that runs through here if they aren't already activated. I'm on version 5.5, and it's up to 7.2 now, so assuming it's a $$ upgrade.

CW2V
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 23, 2020 10:08AM
Quote
CW2V
Font Explorer has 2,600 fonts activated...

2,600 fonts in the library, or 2,600 fonts actually activated/enabled and immediately available in your apps??

Because having 2,600 fonts enabled all at once will certainly cause apps to hang. And even if you disable them afterwards, symptoms will persist because your apps and the OS will all have messed up font caches until you flush caches.



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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: Sarcany
Date: December 23, 2020 10:12AM
Quote
CW2V
Bad RAM could be the issue, but it's from our Forum Overlords, so it should be good, right?

Coming from our corporate hosts means that the warranty is good and replacing it under warranty should be pretty smooth. OWC's customer service is excellent.

RAM can be bad. RAM slots can be bad. RAM sticks can be good, but have sync problems with other RAM.

One approach to troubleshooting this as a potential hardware problem would be to temporarily remove two sticks of RAM and see if you still have problems. If problems are not resolved, put the original two sticks back and remove the other two sticks. If problems are still not resolved then it's probably not your RAM.



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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: December 23, 2020 10:30AM
FWIW-if tryouts have Chrome on there, try removing it and ALL associated files. Lots of reports of that helping people. MS Edge May be a better substitute.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: N-OS X-tasy!
Date: December 23, 2020 10:49AM
Man, this thread is giving me some happy flashbacks back to the OS 7/8/9 days when we all spent a lot more time than we do now trying to diagnose strange ailments with our Macs!

Hope you work out your issue(s) soon, CW2V.



It is what it is.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: CW2V
Date: December 23, 2020 11:38AM
Quote
N-OS X-tasy!
Man, this thread is giving me some happy flashbacks back to the OS 7/8/9 days when we all spent a lot more time than we do now trying to diagnose strange ailments with our Macs!

Hope you work out your issue(s) soon, CW2V.

It probably would be easier with a bit of internal support from the company, but I know better. It's basically, put the key in the car and put the pedal to the floor. Then, when the motor seizes, you're asked why you didn't perform any scheduled maintenance.

Etrecheck did not find any major problems, but a few minor daemons from trial software that i didn't use after 30 days, and the MSP Anywhere Agent, which the IT company that pretty much is for our server, not our pre-press group (all Macs). They use the SolarWinds software that was the open target used by hackers recently... I've wondered about that stuff, like I stated, some of the Finder issues that correspond to the finder windows not listing all the items in a folder, seemed to start around the same time. ?

Had a major crash with PS where I could not coax it out of it's lockdown. I was in a large file scaling someting in a rather distorted fashion (severe angle - size) so, that's not uncommon to crash that way. But when restarting the Mac (it was wonky with other apps after force quitting PS), the Apple logo with the progress bar did one of those "multiple image" effect like described regarding the PS image problem. It suddenly moved to the left, at a smaller size, then jumped again to an even smaller size a bit higher up, then disappeared. Again... cool effect... when it happens in a movie or something...

CW2V
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 23, 2020 01:55PM
FIRST thing I would try adding a second user and try to duplicate the errors you are getting.

Id also uninstall and reinstall the adobe apps, thats an easy enough place to start.

IMHO, none of the issues sound anything like something any "diagnostic" software is going to solve. Total. Waste. Of. Time.

The number of fonts are fine in my book. No idea how many I have activated, but a ton. 18000 fonts in my Suitcase library, auto-activation is on for the adobe apps, seems to work fine.

I would also try the removing 2 sticks of ram option.

Ive got ghosted window images on my 2014 5K iMac... I think the video is going as well... but nothing like what you are experiencing





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: CW2V
Date: December 23, 2020 03:34PM
Quote
jdc
FIRST thing I would try adding a second user and try to duplicate the errors you are getting.

Id also uninstall and reinstall the adobe apps, thats an easy enough place to start.

IMHO, none of the issues sound anything like something any "diagnostic" software is going to solve. Total. Waste. Of. Time.

The number of fonts are fine in my book. No idea how many I have activated, but a ton. 18000 fonts in my Suitcase library, auto-activation is on for the adobe apps, seems to work fine.

I would also try the removing 2 sticks of ram option.



Ive got ghosted window images on my 2014 5K iMac... I think the video is going as well... but nothing like what you are experiencing

Will try a second user. Something I've never done in my history with Apple going back a couple of decades. Just never came up.

Adobe apps could be a problem. I have a lot of presets and actions and brushes, etc... that are saved in different versions. mixed bag of preferences.

I'm also having a hazy recollection that this computer was started with the entire drive of my previous computer cloned to it using data migration. I should've kept that computer as although it is slower with less RAM, it did have a SSD, and I'd bet it would kick the new one in it's current condition all day, any day.

My font software can no longer do auto-activation as it is a few years old, and can't get an upgrade, especially when everyone else in the department has to use Apple Font Book.

If we could be replaced by a drinking bird pushing an "easy" button, we would be replaced before the sun sets.

Like I stated, there's never been any time to start things right, it's always "get it done NOW!"

CW2V
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 23, 2020 03:57PM
Reinstalling Adobe apps shouldn't delete your presets, fwiw.

I have a half dozen crop tool settings, plus a dozen actions in PS -- and workspaces setup in ID. they always come back fine. (knock on wood)

To each his own, but Ive rarely had issues with migrations -- even on my client's setups.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: anonymouse1
Date: December 24, 2020 12:29AM
Concur with trying new user, swapping out RAM

Maybe video card.

I'd definitely try a nuke and pave, and reinstall apps-no migration!

And generally, I'd have someone put a 2TB SSD in it.--for the kind of load you're putting on there, the skinny HD part of the Fusion drive just can't handle it!.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: rich in distress
Date: December 24, 2020 11:46AM
I’m surprised nobody mentioned the solarwind thingie.
I’d consider your system tainted, so a clean install would be my preference.
I would also prioritize getting rid of outdated software. A good sign a machine needs replacement, or software for that matter, is if it can’t be updated.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: jdc
Date: December 24, 2020 12:51PM
Quote
rich in distress
I’m surprised nobody mentioned the solarwind thingie.
I’d consider your system tainted, so a clean install would be my preference.

It doesn't affect individual systems.





Edited 999 time(s). Last edit at 12:08PM by jdc.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: December 24, 2020 01:28PM
.....Willy....Wonki.......???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: btfc
Date: December 24, 2020 01:29PM
Memory:

Run a memory test.

[www.macworld.co.uk]

I used to use Rember.

[www.kelleycomputing.net]


Fusion drives:

I’ve never been a huge fan. They can be just fine for a home user, but for the work that you describe, I’d want a SSD. Consider an external; it would be a great opportunity for a fresh system install.

Fonts:

Don’t ignore possible font issues.
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Re: iMac wonkiness
Posted by: jonny
Date: December 24, 2020 11:27PM
P-ram flash?
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