Forum home Road cycling forum The bottom bracket

OT: Some Mac computer hardware questions

WheelspinnerWheelspinner Posts: 6,157
edited September 2011 in The bottom bracket
There appears to be some serious computer expertise among forumites here... so any advice appreciated as below!

I have an iMac from about 6 years ago, the white 24" one, which has been fabulous. It's now getting dodgy, with frequent freezes that could be software or hardware, dunno. Might be fixable, might not.

So, new machine time. I'm looking at the 27" iMac model, which will likely be more than I need anyway in standard spec, but just curious...

I do a lot of photo work and video/music streaming, but little video edit work, and no gaming. The rest is just general stuff, document publishing etc.

Q1: Is there a noticable performance difference between the i5 and i7 chipsets in general use, or only for massive video editing or gaming type power-use activities?

Q2: The "upgrade" options are: faster chipset, more RAM, more video RAM. Which order should money be spent here? I used to think on-board memory was most important, but is the video card memory now the bottleneck? Seems that most of the web-performance delays in particular are video related these days... or is that likely just bandwidth from ISP issues?

All info useful!!
Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS

Posts

  • First things first: make sure your current iMac is backed up, preferably with a bootable clone using something like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper. Disk drives are, relatively speaking, cheap as chips these days. If you don't have an external drive, get the largest capacity you can afford. You've already stated you're having probs with it. Back it up now.

    Check that your current drive is not short on available space, one of the more common causes of strange behaviour. As a rule of thumb, don't ever let a boot drive - on either platform, get more than around 80% full. If you do, things WILL slow down, you WILL have occasional freezes and if you let it continue, you WILL get permanent errors. Some will contest 80% as it's not an exact limit but take it as good advice.

    Next, with a bootable clone you would be safe to erase your existing iMac's drive and put a fresh system on it. From there you can use Migration Assistant to restore everything you need from your bootable clone disk.

    If you then still have probs you may have hardware issues but I get the impression you might be after a new Mac anyway. I'm not going to attempt a bang-for-buck guide for you here but for you photo work read this:

    http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/404/kb404439.html

    ( processor & as much RAM as you can afford / graphics card pretty much irrelevant.)

    Video and audio are really only a challenge if you are editing (in which case it's processor and RAM again)

    No matter your opinions on FLASH, it is demanding period. (Causes the fans on my laptop to max out as soon as Flash loads).

    All this should be supported by the largest and fastest hard drive you can afford. Here though, given the nature of your data, I would consider using an external drive for Photos, Movies and Audio and keeping your internal drive for everything else.
    I may be a minority of one but that doesn't prevent me from being right.
    http://www.dalynchi.com
  • Thanks 2Phat... some excellent advice. Most of that already sorted - the iMac has a 320GB drive, I use an external Time Capsule with another 500GB and have another 1TB external drive as well. None of these drives is much more than half full at most.

    Time Machine backups run (and work nicely so far), and I have redundant copies of all the useful data like photos and music. Data storage is indeed cheap these days! I don't have that many applications really, so not a big issue to build a new machine, and just migrate the data files I need.

    I'd go ahead and load an all new OS if I thought the machine was worth it, since the version it's on now is Leopard I think (not Snow L or Lion yet), but if the hardware is NFG it's a hassle for nothing. Might do that and maybe sell the machine if all good.

    The one I'm considering has a 1GB video card as standard (Radeon something), with a 2GB option. Might skip that for the extra memory instead then!
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • Good. Sounds like I was preaching to the converted but you never know.

    Apple's own RAM is usually way more expensive than 3rd party but if you're not comfortable adding it yourself then having a build to order is probably best.

    If you're running Leopard (Trek? - sorry), you'd better check that all your apps are Lion compatible 'cause that's what yer new mac will come with.

    Lastly, your first few hours after restoring your data might be slow as Spotlight reindexes it all (fans might be noisy too). It should all settle down though.

    Good luck, nice choice.
    I may be a minority of one but that doesn't prevent me from being right.
    http://www.dalynchi.com
  • Your current iMac may be be able to fix itself; when was the last time it ran it's maintenance script?

    It needs to be left switched on and in sleep mode to do this or you can download a free widget (I think I got my copy via the Apple store) for dashboard that will let you run the script as and when.

    I run the script every couple of months and it keeps my Mac bobbing along nicely :D

    Red Rock
  • are you running 10.5.8 ? running this on some imacs can cause the problems you are having.
    'dont forget lads, one evertonian is worth twenty kopites'
  • Red Rock wrote:
    Your current iMac may be be able to fix itself; when was the last time it ran it's maintenance script?

    Red Rock

    No idea. Will try that and see if it helps, thanks!
    are you running 10.5.8 ? running this on some imacs can cause the problems you are having.

    I will check but I think it's still on 10.5.6. Main issue is it simply freezes up, often when trying to wake from the screen saver, but even Safari hangs sometimes. Has to be rebooted. Why would an Apple OS cause problems on a Mac I wonder???
    Open O-1.0 Open One+ BMC TE29 Titus Racer X Ti Seven 622SL Kestrel RT1000 On One Scandal Cervelo RS
  • It's usually the updated video card drivers causing the problem. I've got an early silver iMac and any upgrade from 10.6.3 was causing the same problems as you are having. I'm now running 10.7.1 but with 10.6.2 video card drivers installed it works perfectly.
    'dont forget lads, one evertonian is worth twenty kopites'
Sign In or Register to comment.