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Late 2013 iMac issues... again.

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giantsnyy    57

Hi Everyone,
 
I have been experiencing so many issues with my Late 2013 iMac (14,3 - 21.5" 2.9GHz, 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Nvidia Graphics).  I purchased it in January of 2014, and ever since day 1, it's been a nightmare.  I have brought it into an Apple Store, who has replaced the logic board, the bluetooth/wifi card, and the hard drive (well... that's what I was told, at least - I question it because my HDD's serial number never changed, but it was explicitly written on the work order that the drive was changed).  Side question - I know the serial number and MAC addresses of the WLAN/Bluetooth & Logic Board's can be changed using Apple's utilities, but I thought that disk drives weren't?  I have never seen a utility to replace a drive serial number (and I replace disk drives in server nodes and raid arrays on a daily basis).  
 
I work(ed) a lot with Virtual Machines, as I build and test software on different platforms.  Prior to installing OS 10.10, VM's worked incredibly well.  I had no speed issues, I was able to use both the VM and the host OS.  Once I installed Yosemite, everything went downhill.  If I even open a virtual machine now, what took 15-30 seconds to boot now takes upwards to 20-25 minutes.  The host OS during this boot time, is completely unusable.  I could click the Safari icon, and then get lunch before it would be open.  Because of this, I stopped using VM's (I was also given a work laptop so I could stop using my iMac).  For a while... it wasn't terrible.
 
In December 2015, my system was unusable.  I was reinstalling OS X every week (once every two months prior), as the first two days after the install were the only days that it would run correctly.  I should note, that I never restore from Time Machine backups.  I manually back up my files to my backup server, and then restore my files manually, making sure I do not carry over any of my preference files.  Anyway, boot times would take an hour plus some days, and sometimes the system wouldn't even boot at all.  Just a black screen with an Apple logo which would sit there.  I ended up getting frustrated so I brought it into the Apple Store (I have applecare on this machine).  The genius there noticed that even after the initial startup, loading apps like Safari, or System Preferences took about 5-10 minutes each.  He also noticed that my bluetooth keyboard and trackpad kept disconnecting at random times.  We replaced everything.  Logic board, bluetooth/wifi card and Hard Drive.  I started the computer up when I got home, and it 'seemingly' worked perfectly.  It stayed that way for most of January, and then started acting up again in the beginning of February.  I've reinstalled OS X twice now, but this time, the first two days still haven't provided me any relief.  My system takes 20 minutes to start up, opening apps takes what seems like ages, and I'm back where I was in December.  I've run hardware diagnostics multiple times, and nothing fails.  No HDD bad sectors, no RAM errors, no CPU errors.  Nothing.  I've checked disk & file permissions, and end up with no errors.  Even a simple task such as opening About this Mac can take 5 minutes.
 
Now, here's the kicker.  My wife runs the same applications I do (Photoshop CC, Indesign CC, Safari/Chrome, MS Office, etc.) and she uses a Late 2013 (purchased new in July 2015) 21.5" 2.5GHz i5, 8GB, Iris Pro - and everything opens up quickly.  For example - when I'm working in Indesign, if I try to open it, or even if I click the "Type" tool, I get a beach ball for 5 minutes.  Her computer, opens it immediately, and has no lag working in the exact same files that I'm working in. 
 
I can't deal with this.  I run a business off of this machine, as well as doing graphic design and publishing work for a non-profit student organization.  I'm not sure what to even have apple replace anymore... or what to do.  If anyone has any idea, please help!
 
Thanks!!!
Mike

iMac, OS X El Capitan (10.11.3), 2.9GHz Late 2013 iMac (14,3)

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Zinomian    151

SSD drive? although you having a 1TB drive means spending some cash for the same storage.    I am no mac expert, but I got my wife's MacBook pro 2008 to run better than some new ones by just adding an SSD drive to the machine (256gb), and a new battery.  Fully updated to el capitan and apps and files, etc, open in mere seconds.

 

probably not the solution you were looking but A suggestion.

 

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giantsnyy    57
3 minutes ago, Zinomian said:

SSD drive? although you having a 1TB drive means spending some cash for the same storage.    I am no mac expert, but I got my wife's MacBook pro 2008 to run better than some new ones by just adding an SSD drive to the machine (256gb), and a new battery.  Fully updated to el capitan and apps and files, etc, open in mere seconds.

 

probably not the solution you were looking but A suggestion.

 

I would, but Apple includes the temperature sensor on the SATA connector, so... I'd have to replace it with another Apple drive.  In addition to that, even though the PCIe SSD slot is available, the only drives that fit the space in the iMac are $900+.

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neo1911    793

Upgrade your SSD to Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB or similar.

 

The only surefire way to fix your problems. But research a little on internet regarding compatibility of SATA 3 SSD drives with your specific iMac Model.

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Circaflex    3,581
12 minutes ago, giantsnyy said:

I would, but Apple includes the temperature sensor on the SATA connector, so... I'd have to replace it with another Apple drive.  In addition to that, even though the PCIe SSD slot is available, the only drives that fit the space in the iMac are $900+.

Its just glued/taped to the top of the drive. I have replaced iMac HDDs with off the shelf drives from Microcenter/Best Buy and haven't had an issue with the sensor.

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giantsnyy    57

It was in the older models... now it's physically part of the connector.  I replaced the disk drive in my mother in law's 27" iMac and the fans are going nuts now.  I had to install a fan controller application.

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Co-ords    246

When you re-install the machine, do you put all your data back with Time Machine? It could be software related... if you have the time it might be with a try to install El Cap on a second partition without using Time Machine to restore software & install only the software you need. It might help.

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Zinomian    151
18 minutes ago, giantsnyy said:

It was in the older models... now it's physically part of the connector.  I replaced the disk drive in my mother in law's 27" iMac and the fans are going nuts now.  I had to install a fan controller application.

Bleh...this is one of the reasons I hate working on Mac computers.....you can't really replace anything with regular parts. 

 

FYI, I own a Surface Pro3, which means I CAN'T replace a bloody thing! but on my regular HP desktop machine, sky is the limit! 

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giantsnyy    57
1 hour ago, Co-ords said:

When you re-install the machine, do you put all your data back with Time Machine? It could be software related... if you have the time it might be with a try to install El Cap on a second partition without using Time Machine to restore software & install only the software you need. It might help.

Nope.  I don't use time machine.  I do manual backups, and when I restore, I don't copy my preference files over.  It's a pain setting everything up again, but I hate when preference files screw things up.

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neo1911    793

Have you tried setting up your iMac as new? Without restoring apps or settings from time machine backup?

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n_K    2,608

If the hard drive serial numbers were the same then the drives were NOT changed. The hard drive serial data comes direct from the drive firmware which is unique for every produced drive. If it didn't change and they put down the drive was changed, you got mugged off.

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giantsnyy    57
14 minutes ago, d5aqoëp said:

Have you tried setting up your iMac as new? Without restoring apps or settings from time machine backup?

As stated multiple times above... I don't do this.  Ever.  I manually copy files to and from an external drive array.

 

Also, @n_K... That's what I was sure of too.  I have changed serial numbers on baseboards and MAC addresses 1000x, but never have I changed a drive serial number.  I knew something was off.

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giantsnyy    57

Brought it to apple... They said they would replace the SATA cable... The next day they called me and said they're cancelling the order for the cable because they feel that reinstalling OSX "fixed" the issue (which, I have done ~ 10 times since I got it back from them in October).  I get it home, it's still incredibly slow, and after reinstalling all of my apps, and not restoring any data... It's just as bad.

 

What can I do now?  I'm seriously stuck... Especially if apple won't replace the cable.

 

edit: I should also mention that I proved to them the machine works perfectly using an external USB hard drive.  

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Circaflex    3,581

Did you try talking to a manager at the Apple store or someone higher up there, other than whomever told you no? Complain on social media, companies are usually quick to respond to those issues.

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zhangm    1,358

The least invasive thing I can think to try would be to install onto an external drive, boot and use that for a few days to see whether the issue is independent of the internal drive and cable, but this a diagnostic, not a solution.

 

You'll need to decide whether you're going to stick it out with Apple, or whether you're willing to sacrifice the warranty and start replacing parts yourself. This model has been out a while, so disassembly instructions should be up on iFixit. It's likely that you can also find for-parts machines readily, so you're not sunk if Apple can't fix it.

 

The other option to consider is whether this is all worth it, or whether the amount of time sunk already, plus whatever else will be eaten up in further diagnostics, replacement parts, etc, isn't more than just buying a new (or previously owned) machine altogether. You've been having issues with this particular machine for what, two years now?

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giantsnyy    57
On 4/8/2016 at 3:09 PM, zhangm said:

The least invasive thing I can think to try would be to install onto an external drive, boot and use that for a few days to see whether the issue is independent of the internal drive and cable, but this a diagnostic, not a solution.

 

You'll need to decide whether you're going to stick it out with Apple, or whether you're willing to sacrifice the warranty and start replacing parts yourself. This model has been out a while, so disassembly instructions should be up on iFixit. It's likely that you can also find for-parts machines readily, so you're not sunk if Apple can't fix it.

 

The other option to consider is whether this is all worth it, or whether the amount of time sunk already, plus whatever else will be eaten up in further diagnostics, replacement parts, etc, isn't more than just buying a new (or previously owned) machine altogether. You've been having issues with this particular machine for what, two years now?

That's the problem... I did that.  The machine works FLAWLESSLY when you boot off of a USB hard drive.  I even proved that to Apple.  We even started off their network rescue OS, and it worked perfectly.  Even after all of that, they used the software excuse as a copout.  So far, after having the machine back for almost a week, it's running "better", but the second I open up more than one application, the system bogs down again.  If I just want it to browse the internet, I'm fine.  But if I want to work in one of the Adobe CC apps, or in a Microsoft Office app and browse the internet at the same time?  Then I'm screwed.

 

Yup... close to two years now.  I have applecare on it, and while I know how to open and repair these machines, I'm not willing to sacrifice my warranty just yet.  I have 302 days left... which is a lot of time for something to catastrophically go wrong, especially with the type of usage my computers get.  I made that mistake on my last iMac.  6 months after I added an SSD to my $3200 27" iMac, the cpu overheated and the system wouldn't start back up.  The machine was under a year old.  Apple refused to repair it (even though I removed the SSD, there was still a small amount of tape residue behind the DVD drive where the SSD was mounted) and invalidated the rest of my warranty.  That's why I bought this machine.  Macs are expensive.  All of my software runs on Mac OS, and as a small business owner, purchasing a PC as a replacement, with the licenses for Windows would cost me just as much as purchasing a new, comparable iMac to what I have.  I just don't have that right now.

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zhangm    1,358
19 hours ago, giantsnyy said:

That's the problem... I did that.  The machine works FLAWLESSLY when you boot off of a USB hard drive.  I even proved that to Apple.  We even started off their network rescue OS, and it worked perfectly.  Even after all of that, they used the software excuse as a copout.  So far, after having the machine back for almost a week, it's running "better", but the second I open up more than one application, the system bogs down again.  If I just want it to browse the internet, I'm fine.  But if I want to work in one of the Adobe CC apps, or in a Microsoft Office app and browse the internet at the same time?  Then I'm screwed.

 

Yup... close to two years now.  I have applecare on it, and while I know how to open and repair these machines, I'm not willing to sacrifice my warranty just yet.  I have 302 days left... which is a lot of time for something to catastrophically go wrong, especially with the type of usage my computers get.  I made that mistake on my last iMac.  6 months after I added an SSD to my $3200 27" iMac, the cpu overheated and the system wouldn't start back up.  The machine was under a year old.  Apple refused to repair it (even though I removed the SSD, there was still a small amount of tape residue behind the DVD drive where the SSD was mounted) and invalidated the rest of my warranty.  That's why I bought this machine.  Macs are expensive.  All of my software runs on Mac OS, and as a small business owner, purchasing a PC as a replacement, with the licenses for Windows would cost me just as much as purchasing a new, comparable iMac to what I have.  I just don't have that right now.

Did not see your edit before my reply.

 

Since Applecare is not dispensable in this case, then best of luck with your continued negotiations with Apple. It sounds like they understand the problem (your diagnosis with the drive seems to leave little room for misinterpretation) but they're pressured to test any possible "soft" fixes before replacing hardware. Hopefully they'll run through the checklist after a few more visits and do the part replacement for you.

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Circaflex    3,581
On 4/11/2016 at 4:24 AM, giantsnyy said:

That's the problem... I did that.  The machine works FLAWLESSLY when you boot off of a USB hard drive.  I even proved that to Apple.  We even started off their network rescue OS, and it worked perfectly.  Even after all of that, they used the software excuse as a copout.  So far, after having the machine back for almost a week, it's running "better", but the second I open up more than one application, the system bogs down again.  If I just want it to browse the internet, I'm fine.  But if I want to work in one of the Adobe CC apps, or in a Microsoft Office app and browse the internet at the same time?  Then I'm screwed.

 

Yup... close to two years now.  I have applecare on it, and while I know how to open and repair these machines, I'm not willing to sacrifice my warranty just yet.  I have 302 days left... which is a lot of time for something to catastrophically go wrong, especially with the type of usage my computers get.  I made that mistake on my last iMac.  6 months after I added an SSD to my $3200 27" iMac, the cpu overheated and the system wouldn't start back up.  The machine was under a year old.  Apple refused to repair it (even though I removed the SSD, there was still a small amount of tape residue behind the DVD drive where the SSD was mounted) and invalidated the rest of my warranty.  That's why I bought this machine.  Macs are expensive.  All of my software runs on Mac OS, and as a small business owner, purchasing a PC as a replacement, with the licenses for Windows would cost me just as much as purchasing a new, comparable iMac to what I have.  I just don't have that right now.

I would take to social media, someone will contact you.

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perochan    151

Maybe it is ram problem? i have the same model except i have 27" and my computer would restart for no reason at all and couldn't even backup files through time machine without random restarting. Then took it to apple store and they looked at it for a few days and found out it was Ram problem. Bad ram and replaced. Now it is all working fine.

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giantsnyy    57
33 minutes ago, Circaflex said:

I would take to social media, someone will contact you.

I just did.  @AppleSupport on twitter responds insanely fast.

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Chicane-UK    675

It certainly reeks of a drive or storage controller fault, and I certainly agree with you that there's no way that the replacement drive would have the same serial number if it had been swapped out - so I think you got fobbed off by your local Apple store.

 

Disappointing to hear this as customer service has normally been pretty exceptional when it comes to these kinds of problems. What did their Twitter account have to say?

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giantsnyy    57

They had a manager from Apple customer services call me directly.  They're essentially replacing everything in my computer sans the case.  He's ordering the parts and having the Apple Store replace it and will be following up after the repair is completed.  He seemed incredibly upset at the fact that they left fingerprints under the glass, and that they used the excuse that an OS install fixed it.  They're not even testing anything at this point. Just replacing it.

 

I'll be recording serial numbers again and starting it in the store.  This guy gave me he direct contact information, and wants me to call him if there's a problem.

 

So... Let's see what happens now.

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Dinggus    340

You should be able to add a non-apple product SSD. I just upgraded to 2TB when my 1TB HDD went bad. Read about the whole sensor / fan issue with after market HDD's. All I needed to do was download an OSX app and set it to the fan speed that I wanted. Runs flawlessly. I'm using a 2009 iMac 27", only issue I've had was the HDD going bad twice, both were Apple products.

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wv@gt    2,900

Curious as to which VM software you are using? I was running VMware fusion on my Mac Pro tower at work on Yosemite and experienced the same issues you had. Once I removed VMware everything was normal again.

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giantsnyy    57
54 minutes ago, wv@gt said:

Curious as to which VM software you are using? I was running VMware fusion on my Mac Pro tower at work on Yosemite and experienced the same issues you had. Once I removed VMware everything was normal again.

Yup. VMWare. I write applications for use on Teradata systems and the Teradata express VM runs explicitly on VMWare.  I also use it to builder elopement server environments.

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