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How to improve performance on 2006 iMac 20 inch?

My iMac cannot hold any more memory. II already has 2 gb's. (1GB SDRAM 667 mhz) each bank.

I see poor performance while gaming mostly. (Lag.)

Is there anything that would improve peformance?

Would installing a different hard drive improve it's performance?

Mac tech's recently replaced a defective video card but said there was nothing else "that would improve performance.

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The computer you have only has 128MB of RAM. It is what it is. The new Quad Core iMac has512 MB of RAM and is stronger than the early MacPro tower by a good bit. The machine you have is good for an ad agency as most of the ones I service around here have exactly what you are using or general home and business use. ( Not Entry Level Machine for many years) But if you want to use it with Games, you will have to move to a faster machine with a higher graphics ,non-shared, memory. But as you may already know it too will be too slow in a year or less with the new games.

Side note: The only other thing to help with speed is put in a 7200 spin Hard Drive. It came with a 5400 spin drive but you will access faster with a 7200 spin. Have done it with one of the Ad folks machines for video editing and they were happier. ( not thrilled but happier)


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I am not computer saavy so I have to ask what you mean by "access" faster. If it helps even a little that would be o.k. because I am not prepared to buy a new machine yet. Originally it was for general home use and I still use it for this.


Is performance worse since the video card was replaced, or is performance consistent with how it's always been?

A couple other ideas: Have you wiped the computer clean and re-installed the OS lately? If you don't have Snow Leopard, you might want to upgrade, because it's much quicker than Leopard and takes full advantage of Intel processors.

Also, I don't know what games you are playing, but sometimes it's possible to decrease the screen resolution, and that often dramatically improves performance because the video processor doesn't have to work so hard when there are fewer pixels.


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Screen tear and the screen going black has stopped. Colors are brighter.

Lag has increased with every new version of the game.

Computer is clean (outside) and I have not re-installed the OS. I am still running the original Tiger.

I adjusted the resolution to what WOW's Mac support suggested. 24 bit color and depth, 1x Multisampling. Resolution 1680X1050. Vertical Sync, Triple Buffering, Reduce Input Lag are OFF. Hardware Curser ON.


I agree with that, sounds like a video card issue, either you would have to upgrade it or you need a new one, check back with mac tech on that replacement, they may have screwed up.


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Can you say what graphics card would be a good upgrade?

I forgot to add that the V Ram is 256MB and the card is ATY X 1600 Radeon by ATI.


You could re-apply the thermal paste with a better compound (Arctic Silver 5) This basicly helps the CPU&GPU transfer heat to the heatsinks, and if they are heating up, that will cause lag. I had a problem with poor performance on my Radeon X1900 XTX, in my PC after 2 years of use. Taking the card apart, cleaning all of the dust out of the heatsink, and re-applying a fresh coat of arctic silver five made it run better then it did new.


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Probably more towards g-card than cpu though, and he just got it replaced, so he can probably get them to clean it up if they got dust in there.

Interesting idea, but don't you think this is overkill for most situations, and most users? Wouldn't it make sense to verify there is a problem before going to this extreme? It's only got 128MB video RAM, so it's not going to be screaming fast, even in the best case scenario.

The machine does get extremely hot. Was considering putting a fan on it.

I like the idea of cleaning dust out and fresh paste. Why not.

I don't know if tech's cleaned it out or just slapped in the new card. The old card was indeed defective and so all the screen tear disappeared after they installed the new one. Too bad I didn't ask them to upgrade it while I was there.

It looks like i may be bringing the Mac back to them for a hard drive and this is something I would have them do.

If it is showing signs of overheating, then I agree it does make sense to have them look at it, since it was recently serviced. I was just thinking that that would be an extreme measure if there were no indicators pointing in that direction. Also, the faster HD will improve speed somewhat, but only somewhat, so unless you need more disk space, and also intend to stay with this computer for another year or two, it may not be a totally satisfying purchase. Although drives are cheap now, so it's not like you're spending $400. I would make sure they are installing the drive for free, though, because if they're not you can use an iFixit guide and save money.


Of course the iMac is basically a entry level machine and not built for heavy gaming. That's what the MacPro is for. You might consider a Solid State drive if drive access matters. Defragmenting and optimizing would also help with that.


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Try this it may fix the problem (in some cases it has), it costs nothing and it wouldn't hurt.

PRAM & SMC resets

1. From the Apple menu, choose Shut Down (or if the computer is not responding, hold the power button until it turns off).

2. Unplug all cables from the computer, including the power cord and any display cables.

3. Wait at least 15 seconds.

4. Plug the power cord back in, making sure the power button is not being pressed at the time. Then reconnect your keyboard and mouse to the computer.

5. Press the power button on the back to start up your computer.

Resetting PRAM and NVRAM

Shut down the computer.

Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.

Turn on the computer.

Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.

Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.

Release the keys.


I only have a vague idea of what PRAM and SMC are but I did do this. Low and behold, my machine boots faster, loads web pages faster, and so far as I can tell I am getting somewhat higher FPS.

I have yet to defrag the machine. I am a former PC owner and a Mac person said defragging was done automaticaly every time there was an update.....?

How would I optimize?

The system stuff gets optimized when updates are done not the files. If you got AppleCare, a light version of TechTools Pro was included. First defragment the files and then optimize the volume, that puts everything in order. This can take up to 24 hours to do so plan ahead.



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