Wondering if anyone can offer any insight on some issues I've been having. I'm going to apologize in advance, because I don't really know technical terms or have the best understanding of these things.
So I have a...maybe year old, i7 iMac, the 27 inch model. I bought it with the idea of it being partly a gaming machine and partly for storage purposes, as I was coming from a 13 inch MacBook with a smaller HD.
While initially everything seemed pretty snappy, over time I've noticed things have slowed down a bit, in particular related to gaming. Loading screens on World of Warcraft seem to take a long time, longer than I would expect from a newer computer loading an older game. Even little things; swapping from Mail to Chrome will take a couple seconds of load time, with that kind of hard drive accessing sound being constant (I think that's it; just that kind of sound you'd hear in the background as a computer is starting up, not the fan but the...not clicking, but kind of soft clicking?). Opening Spotlight will take a couple seconds, usually, even Preview doesn't seem to load very fast.
I've wondered for a while if it's due to only having 4GB of RAM, or a hard drive issue, or something like that? In general it just feels like things take longer to load, and I'd like to cut that time down. It is still under warranty, but being that I can barely lift the thing I'd like to explore all my options before taking it in, and I don't know if I even have a real complaint, other than I feel like it should be faster.
Anyway, any help or thoughts would be appreciated!
4 GB should be enough (8 GB is better of course)
If you are doing serious multitasking (that is, you leave many programs up and running instead of going Quit on them) then you force the machine to use virtual memory, which causes slowdowns especially when switching between applications. Try this, reboot and only open one program. Is it faster in operation?
Second: How full is your hard drive? If your drive is over 60% - 70% full then you are using the inner tracks, which are slower than the outer tracks (when the machine was new and empty). Clear off some data, or get a newer, larger, faster drive.
Slowness can also be a symptom of a failing hard drive. Are you backed up? If not, back up now regardless whether your drive may be failing or not.
Reduce whatever widgets, helper applications and background programs that may be running. If you are participating in torrents or P2P, turn it off.
Thanks for your tips. I tend to have a few things open; iTunes, World of Warcraft, Chrome and a voice chat program. I feel like my computer should be able to handle those, but maybe that's just my misconceptions.
Hard drive is quite full, so I'll try and pare things down a bit. Thank goodness for iTunes Cloud backup of videos!
I do regular backups through Time Machine, so I think I'm good there, but I'll try and poke around in Disc Utility and see what I can do.
Get "Activity Monitor" (Utilities folder) onto you Dock and use it and learn about its various uses as to what you Mac Is actually doing.
As CanadaRAM mentioned, a lack of free available hard drive space can kill a lot of normal performance even if your Mac has adequate RAM memory installed.
Sometimes an occasional cold boot using 'Safe Boot Mode' can sometimes help as it gets rid of a lot of surplus stuff, and then just restart normally and see if there's any speed improvement.
If things are really goofy, installing the appropriate Mac OS COMBO Update when in Safe Boot Mode can sometimes help, but with SL 10.6.8 at least, doing so can goof up some Software Update installs for some users until some "invisible" installed receipt files are Trashed.
Edit: Try various Goggle searches for 'Free Drive Space' , 'Slow Mac OS' etc. and for a start, you will probably come up with some hits such as: