Since I upgraded to Mavericks from Snow Leopard, my 24 inch 2009 2.93 Ghz imac has been quite slow. It's slow to open up programs and slow in general.

Currently the imac only has the 4Gb of RAM that came as standard. Would upgrading to 8Gb be worth it? I can't afford a new machine at the moment.

Thanks for any advice - it's much appreciated.

PS. I regret (in some ways) not remaining on SL but I needed 10.9 to use an application.


2 Answers 2


To answer this question accurately, you will need to get some statistics on how much RAM you are currently using. But in general, more RAM is going to improve things, especially if you're still on 4GB.

On the other hand, the 2009 iMac is really reaching EoL at this point -- according to Mactracker, the support status for that machine is currently "Vintage". The biggest factor for this machine's performance in my opinion is the processor architecture -- Core 2 Duo had a good run, but the Core ix architectures are really in another class.

To put it another way -- one of my machines is a 2010 iMac 3.6 Ghz Core i5 with 16 GB of RAM, and it's still completely usable at this point. Despite it being only one year off from your model, the processor architecture difference is what's allowing my machine to stay usable while yours is showing its age. (I'm sure the 16GB RAM is helping too, but I think the processor architecture comparison is more relevant.)

Might be time for an upgrade! 6-year lifespan is nothing to sneeze at; I'd call that getting your money's worth.

  • Thanks for your reply. Short of winning the lottery, I'm not in a position to upgrade at the moment. I'm a student and don't have a job (and won't have one for some time). WRT stats, what kind of stats do I need to consider?
    – felinsky
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 16:49
  • Take a look at the Activity Monitor in the Utilities folder. Mavericks introduced a method of memory compression at the system level, so you will see a "Memory Pressure" gauge that will give you an idea of how stressed your 4GB of memory are.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 23:33
  • In 2005 I got a G5. 3 months later, Intel. I was really mad at the instant obsolescence. Got a mid-2007. And I'm still using it... Apple, we're even... Commented Mar 14, 2020 at 0:15

Short answer: yes. Get the most memory you can afford.

Long answer: my wife upgraded her 2009 macbook from SL to Mav just before yosemite came out. She also had only 4Gb and was running quite comfortably on SL. Mavericks was not. Quick inspection revealed lots of swapping.

Installed two new 4Gb sticks (max'ing out the machine at 8Gb). Memory pressure relieved, and wife much happier. Still slower than a new machine, but $100 for new memory is much cheaper. An SSD would also speed things up, but we're not there yet.

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