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Discussion Starter #1
I'm currently running El Capitan, 27" iMac, mid 2010.
System works OK, older software works OK, but the whole machine is getting slower and slower. Cleaned cashes etc with Onyx, cleared most icons/aliases off desktop etc etc etc.
Speed increased a bit but still slowwww. ( 2.50 minutes to boot up, Safari slow to open sites etc etc.?)

My problem is, do I find & re-install El Capitan? Upgrade to Sierra, or go for High Sierra.
Many of the new "features" in Sierra & High Sierra are not of interest to me - Storing stuff in iCloud would just be a very slow P.I.T.A!

I have a clean partition available on my internal drive, currently have a bootable copy of Snow Leopard & El Capitan with separate back-ups, so if I screw up an install I think I can revert to where I am at the moment.

I would appreciate any sage advice and or (polite) suggestions from the membership here.
 

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You haven't mentioned how much memory (RAM) you have installed. That's a big part of the upgrade question in my mind. Also which processor? The i3, i5 or i7? Speed? (2.8, 2.93, 3.2)? Full specs on those mid-2010 models here: EveryMac.com - 2010 iMacs

Upgrade guides (and discussion around them) available here: iFixit / mid-2010 iMac 27"

Probably the biggest boost you'll get out of an upgrade on that model is an SSD install (see the iFixit guides above, pay special attention to the temperature sensor) plus a memory boost. That model, contrary to what Apple specifies, supports up to 32gb of RAM (4 slots filled with 8gb). How you configure it depends on what's in your system now, and which chips you want to add (you could leave 2 slots with 2gb = 4gb and add 2 x 8gb = 16 + 4 = 20gb). Prices from CanadaRam here.

Here's Apple's direct link to download "El Capitan", even if it doesn't normally show up in the Mac App Store for you.

The mid-2010 iMacs can all upgrade to macOS 10.13 (High Sierra), if that's desirable.

FWIW, I'm using Mojave on a mid-2013 MacBook Air using only 4gb of RAM. It's perfectly usable, so long as I don't run more than a couple of apps at a time, and don't have my usual 30+tabs open in Safari :eek: :eek:

Doing anything in Pixelmator or working on large documents in Word, though, and I pretty much have to shut all other apps down. The importance of having sufficient memory onboard!
 

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FWIW SSD drives have finally come into the realm of reasonably priced. 500GB ~$100 and 1TB under $200.


The only "advantage" of going beyond El Cap is the new SSD oriented volume format of Sierra and later. More than a few implementation blunders being reported so it's up to you as to whether it's worth it. Just be sure you have an easy way back to your current status.



I would not consider TimeMachine an easy way to restore.
 

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Thanks for the quick reply CB
My iMac (now relegated to Vintage status) is 2.93 GHz Intel Core i7 with 12 GB Ram – no indication of swap-outs, and the internal 2TB drive has plenty of room. Although DiskWarrior reports it is running too hot, the fans are not running hard. Currently running El Capitan 10.11.6.

I am considering an external SSD 250 GB (Firewire 800) for which-ever OS X I decide on.
When–ever the internal HD fails, and if the rest of the box is OK, I might install a new larger HD just for files ( i.e. 3K iTunes video, no music). In the distant future (if I still here) I would like a NAS on our ethernet for the iTunes stuff. Retired now so I don't do too much heavy graphic stuff.

I'm only thinking of up-grading in the hope that the newest & greatest OS would be clean & faster. I've looked all the new "features" and there's not much which I would find useful.
I'm not sure I want/need the new file system and 64 bit, not sure how it would fit with all my older software, which is still mostly 32 bit.

Having a hard time making a decision. I feel like my brain is stuck back on System 7.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi eMM
Yes, I was looking at an external SSD on OWC with Firewire 800, I contacted MacDoc ( they carry OWC stuff) and they gave a quite reasonable price for a OWC 250GB SSD 6G OWC On-The-Go® Pro w/ Firewire. Plug & Play and just the right size for a system.

I am concerned about installing either Sierra or High Sierra on the SSD, if I have to convert to the new file system, it will be the only drive in my stack to not be Mac OS Extended. I've read about some having problems moving/coping files. not sure it will be an advantage for me.

I think I have a secure escape route, I have Snow Loepard and my existing El Cap on separate partitions and separate back-up for both.. (Experience is a great teacher)

I'm still not decided on which way to go.
 

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I'm currently running El Capitan, 27" iMac, mid 2010.
System works OK, older software works OK, but the whole machine is getting slower and slower. Cleaned cashes etc with Onyx, cleared most icons/aliases off desktop etc etc etc.
Speed increased a bit but still slowwww.


Your original hard drive may be starting to fail, and installing a newer operating system is NOT going to improve it speed. Each one is more Memory and CPU intense and resource hungry than the ones before it.

Also, have you been shutting your back down at night when it often does some maintenance routines???

I have a mid-2011 27" iMac with it's original 1TB HDD and 20GB RAM, that I'm usually running Mavericks in one of its partitions, and Snow Leopard and Sierra also work well and fast in their own partitions.

One method that a member posted here a few years ago that I have used several times with mine and other peoples Macs has worked very well to speed things up, and this is the process:
- make a clone backup using Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC),
- Boots from Mclone to make sure works
- Use Disk Utility to Erase the original Volume
- Zero-out or do a One Pass wipe on the Erased Volume or Partition. Do not skip this step!!![/B]
- use CCC on the Booted backup drive and clone it back onto the new clean Volume or Partition
- Set the new clean volume or partition as the new Startup Boot volume

You should notice a dramatic speed increase and it will probably even improve more over the next few days. But leave you iMac powered up, but you can let it sleep and do so for at least a week, if not forever. Use it normally otherwise during your awake hours.

PS: I would be VERY surprised if you do not see a speed increase after doing the above.

PPS: As mentioned, you should have at least 8 GBs of memory Installed.

Also, you didn't mention if your iMac uses the i3, i5 or i7 CPU chip. They take different amounts of RAM:
see everymac.com for details.





- Patrick
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On the heat issue - and I'm in no way inferring you have inadequate household maintenance habits :lmao: - it might be worth opening it up sometime to see if the fans and air channels are clogged with dust. A little compressed air could make a lot of difference!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi PM–R
iMac is is 2.93 GHz Intel Core i7 with 12 GB Ram
Yes, I agree, a Nuc & Pave is a good move. I was/am considering doing just that when I get the external SSD. One small wrinkle is that I suspect the El Cap that I have running might be slightly flawed - a few strange things, one is Safari.
Often, when I click on a link to a different web-site, Safari will appear to move, but the tiny progress bar will only move slightly, then stall and the page remains blank. If I immediately click "back", click on the same link again, Safari will move immediately to the new page - all fully loaded.
Repeat the same moves with Firefox - everything loads fine the first time.

So, what I think I should do is; Format the SSD, copy my existing El Cap with CCC onto the SSD ( this will move everything over), then install a new copy/download of El Cap, this should resolve (i Hope) any issues with Safari and Mail, and a couple of Utilities, without disturbing all the apps. Maybe?

I have an open partition(clean) on my boot drive, I just might try your technique there first.
Thanks

@ CB
Yes, I suspect there is a bit (or a lot) of cat hair lodged in the case, we have two cats and they enjoy walking round my computer and rubbing along the sides. I've tried wiping the vents with sticky tape - it does pull off some hair/dust. When the HD fails, and if I get a new HD installed (maybe by MacDoc), I get all the dust bunnies evicted. I'm not just yet ready to tackle opening the case by myself.
 

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I was/am considering doing just that when I get the external SSD


If you were considering using an External SSD for cloning or backup purposes, I would say that is complete overkill and not as reliable as a HDD, but Just my opinion but also a heck of a lot cheaper.


- Patrick
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Hi Patrick
No, Sorry if I confused the issue. Actually I intend to use the SSD as the boot drive. ( SSD faster + Clean install faster = Faster ++) Right?

The current boot drive is a partition on the internal HD which I believe is enroute to failing, until I can get all my ducks in a row, I'll add the external SSD, use it as boot, then when I can, have a large HD installed for files, primarily just for my iTunes video collection, and maybe some back-up partitions

I have back-ups of my existing system(s) on other external HDs which used to be my business file storage, not the fastest HDs but quite good enough for back-up

The external SSD with Firewire 800 will be about $165.00 Cdn (plus HST). not as fast as internal drive but I expect faster than a HD.

Maybe I can convince Santa to bring me one?
 
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