: Sick iMac

nice&easy, mac&cheesey
May 2nd, 2008, 11:27 PM
My set-up:
24" iMac 2.8GHz, 4GB RAM, 320GB hard drive
15.4" MacBook Pro, 2.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 200GB hard drive
Airport Extreme 802.11n

The problems:
1) My iMac will routinely, more often than not, have extremely slow connection speeds to the internet. I get sub-dial up speeds. Pages will often hang for extended periods before loading (even simple pages like Google) or will simply not load at all. When I can get the speed test page to load, it shows an extremely slow rate of speed. I have no other applications running at the same time. I test it out with the MacBook Pro and it blazes along as it should. (I recognize I need to take the speed tests with a large grain of salt. The number displayed on the test site simply validates what I am already experiencing. the other proof is in the glaring difference between the iMac and the MBP.)

I cannot understand this poor connection issue. The APE is about 12 inches from both the iMac and the MBP.

I originally posted about this here...

Not only has the problem returned but it is more consistent than ever.

2) The iMac seems to have slowed down some. For example, when I click on my profile name it often takes 3 or 4 seconds for the text entry box to come up so that I can enter my password.

I have almost no data on there. I keep everything on an external drive. I have only a few other programs installed. I did a clean install of Leopard but the problem persists.

Normally, I wouldn't be overly concerned about a few seconds, but it wasn't like this when I first got it. This problem has arisen and I don't want it to progress to unacceptable levels. Therefore, I want to nip it in the bud now.

The Beginning of a Solution??:
I took the iMac and the APE to my authorized service tech today (Simply Computing). Their tech tested the machine and verified that it is getting horrible connectivity in Leopard. He booted the machine from an external drive running Tiger and said it worked perfectly, as it should.

He said that he had done some looking on the internet and found slow wireless connections to be a common problem with new iMacs with Leopard.

He didn't say anything about the general slowness issue.

He suggested I call Apple and inquire about possible avenues to resolve the problem. The tech thought that Apple would first suggest replacing the WiFi card in the iMac, although he said that was pointless as it works perfectly with Tiger rather than Leopard.

I called Apple. I was on the phone for an hour and 1 0 minutes. All to no avail. The first person I spoke with told me it was impossible for the tech to run Tiger on my machine as you could not go backwards in OS's. The second guy tried to blame the third party RAM (as the machine shipped with 1GB and now has 4GB on it). I tried to explain that the tech said it passed hardware tests. At the end, Apple said they would call the tech.

I called the tech back shortly thereafter. He had gone home for the day and, if Apple did call (although the store said they hadn't), he wasn't there to take it. The guy I spoke with at the shop expressed some frustration with the Apple Support line. Anyways, he said if it is Leopard then it is a software issue and I'm on the hook for it. I asked how can I be responsible for a clean install not responding to the hardware. He said they would try to isolate it further, ie, switch hard drives and see if Leopard works. He suggested perhaps it is a bad sector or something on the drive. He said that sometimes disks scan and test as if they are fine but continue to not work. This problem can be isolated by switching the drive. If the new one works it must have been the old drive.

Ultimately, he said they were going to do what they could to take care of me. (It's worth noting that Simply Computing in Langley, BC, is an awesome shop to deal with. Always very helpful, informative and friendly.)

I am told to wait until the tech is in on Monday. He'll do some more checking, get in touch with Apple and see what's what. He also suggested I speak with someone at Apple higher up than Tech Support or Product Specialist.

More Info:
I called a guy I know who is very experienced with Macs. He said the wireless thing is just a quirk with Leopard being a new OS and that I should just tough it out until a software/firmware release fixes the issue. He also said that some lag time is normal for Leopard to bring up the password entry box on log-in.

My Questions:
1) Has anyone heard of these types of technical problems? Any solutions or suggestions?
2) Any suggestions for dealing with Apple to have this successfully resolved. I want my computer to work as it should.
3) Are these problems actually problems or am I making mountains out of molehills? Is this stuff to be expected with the machine/OS or am I experiencing abnormal issues?

I am sorry this is so long winded... I am at the end of my rope. It is funny, this is my first Mac. I switched about a month ago from a PC because I was tired of all the issues that arose with it. I came to Mac to avoid some of these issues. I didn't come with unrealistic expectations that I would never have computer problems again. I just didn't expect to be told to suck it up; that it is part of the OS and it won't work right until future versions.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Nice&Easy, Mac&Cheesey

May 3rd, 2008, 02:13 AM
My Questions:
1) Has anyone heard of these types of technical problems? Any solutions or suggestions?

You didn't mention it, so I'll ask: do you get the same slowness on web connections using a different browser, like say Firefox or Camino?

2) Any suggestions for dealing with Apple to have this successfully resolved. I want my computer to work as it should.

You said you did a "clean install" but you didn't clarify what you mean by that. To me, that means erasing the hard drive and restoring from the original system DVD you got with the machine, then updating via Software update. Is this what you did, ie no trace of your old User (Home) folder at all?

If you really want to help Apple help you, it would be worth your time to do everything possible to determine if this is a software or hardware problem. This means doing things like trying different browsers, setting up "virgin" user accounts, and ultimately (if none of those things turn up any revelations) doing a real "clean install" ie restoring the machine to factory spec and testing from there.

For the record, I *vehemently* disagree with whoever told you that wireless connections suck on the iMac. That's just lazy BS from someone who doesn't want to do the work. Barring an actual hardware defect, that person just informed you that they are not really a competent tech.

nice&easy, mac&cheesey
May 3rd, 2008, 02:34 AM
First off, thanks so much for giving this post some attention.

To answer your questions;
- I have tried it with Firefox. Same result.
- I did a clean install. In that, I mean that I migrated personal files (photos, music, etc) to an external drive and then used the two grey DVD's that came with my iMac to restore it to it's factory settings. I didn't save any info at all on the machine itself. Since that process, the only data I've brought back is my iTunes data (music and cover art). All photos and the like are still on the external drive.

Upon first reinstalling Leopard I had the blue screen of death for some time. Then, when it came time to select the time zone during set-up it froze forever. I eventually had to power off and restart. It started up with the correct time zone selected and all seemed ok. That's the only glitch I encountered. As I said, it performed mostly fine after that... until the wireless got worse and also the general speed of the computer would slow down occasionally.

I'm glad to hear how strongly you disagree with the sentiments about the poor wireless issue. I felt that, given the price I paid for this machine, it should perform as intended. Don't get me wrong, I'm fine with paying Apple's price; I'm not griping about the money. I just want it to perform as it is supposed to.

n&e, m&c

May 3rd, 2008, 11:57 AM
Nice & Easy, Chas,

My Setup:
24" Aluminum iMac bought in September 2007
2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 4 GB Ram

I bought leopard the week it came out (Oct '07) and proceeded to upgrade my iMac and 2 year old Powerbook G4. On the iMac, I experienced similar "slowness" issues throughout ALL applications. Literally, every single click would be accompanied by the spinning wheel. Sometimes it would spin for 5 seconds, other times 60 seconds. I did notice that websites would load extremely slowly, but literally everything was slow so I'm not sure I would've concluded it was the wireless connection.

My Powerbook G4 (1.67 GHz PowerPC, and 1GB of RAM) ran leopard ok, although it would start to experience some slowness if too many apps were open at once. Otherwise, the trusty powerbook performed much better then the brand new suped up iMac. When running Tiger on the G4, I could get away with having a lot of apps open and not really notice any performance hit. With Leopard, performance slowed down with fewer apps open.

I'm very interested in how this whole situation plays out and if you're able to get the issue resolved. I use my iMac for work and the slowness was simply intolerable so I ended up backing up my files (photos, music, videos, docs, etc.) to an external drive and then completely erasing the hard drive. I then used the install disks that came with the machine to re-install Tiger. It took the better part of 2 days to get the system reconfigured and complete all the software updates, reinstallation of software, etc. It's not an experience I'm looking to repeat, so I've been very hesitant to even consider installing leopard again. But more and more software is coming out that is Leopard only so I've recently considered taking a gamble and hoping that the updates Apple has released since Leopard came out solve the issue. Based on your experience, I'm again hesitant to make a move here and risk having to go through all that hassle again.

Thanks for your original post and please update it if you get any resolution.


May 3rd, 2008, 03:13 PM
Thanks for those great, thorough answers.

There are three things I would suggest trying if you have the resources to do so.

1. First, remove any third-party RAM and go back to just the Apple-installed RAM.

2. Create a "virgin" user account (with admin privileges) and see if the problem reappears. This should tell us if the problem is limited to something exclusive to your account or if its systemwide. If the problem persists:

3. If you have another HD (internal or external) handy, try installing (from your DVD) Leopard onto that and then boot from it. This should tell us if your copy of Leopard is defective, or if perhaps your hard drive is having some issue.