I bought a refurb iMac from apple.com:

  • 21.5", late 2013
  • 2.9 GHz Core i5
  • 8 GB DDR3
  • Geforce GT 750M 1024 MB
  • 1 TB SATA Disk

No SSD, but this should still be performing well for basic tasks. It's stock, other than installing Chrome, Spotify, FCPX. I have nothing running other than OSX 10.11.2 defaults (wifi, bluetooth, airplay icons in the toolbar).

An example of the problem: I click on Chrome in the dock - it bounces for 30 seconds, then no bouncing, then ~30 seconds later Chrome is open. FCPX bounces for about 2 minutes before showing the splash screen; splash screen is up for ~60 seconds before the app is open.

Performance while using apps (Chrome, Finder, FCPX, TextEdit) is good about 50% of the time, and beachball heaven the other 50% of the time.

Is this all because of the HDD? I have about half of the hard drive filled with movies, music, and photos that I manually dragged over from an external when I first set it up.

1 Answer 1


It could very well just be the slow-ish hard drive. Apple generally does not put 7200RPM drives in its Macs. While it could be the O/S and it might be worth your while to image the internal drive onto an external drive and wipe the internal and start fresh with the OS and Apps. Depends on what is more valuable to you time or money.

An SSD WILL speed up your system, often it's like a whole new Mac, depending on your usage. A deep cleaning of the current OS or a wipe/reinstall might fix the issue or at least improve it.

  • 1
    But a minute to open an app?
    – Carsten S
    Apr 17, 2016 at 23:01
  • It might be a 5400 RPM drive and if its older than 5-6 years... It's best to just invest 150-250$ on a new ssd and save a buckup of the current one then to brainstorm what might or might not be the problem
    – Tibor_Ku
    Apr 17, 2016 at 23:35
  • 1
    My primary machine is a mid-2012 15" MacBook Pro (2.3 GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB DDR3, Intel HD graphics, 500 GB SSD). When I threw the SSD in it, the difference was certainly noticeable. The 30 second load time for Chrome and Safari on the iMac tho? That's completely unacceptable, especially on a new refurbished machine that cost $1k. :( Apr 18, 2016 at 2:00
  • As for wiping it – it was basically just delivered fresh from Apple! Any recommendations on benchmarking the hard drive? I may take it to the Apple Store and launch an app, showing them the performance. Apr 18, 2016 at 2:04
  • +1 I put an SSD in my MacBook Pro (an ancient 2009) and I timed the boot up time and it cut it in half. Really it's sad that Apple is even still shipping Macs with HDDs; Apple should charge a little more or just eat the extra it costs for SSDs. Apr 18, 2016 at 2:30

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