29 July 2012 - 10:28 AM
I wrote earlier this year about a potential fix for the constant crashing my early 2009 24-inch iMac was suffering since I’d upgraded to OS X Lion. The fix involved downloading a bit of software called iMac Fan Control, with the idea that better regulation of the GPU temperature would reduce the burden on the components giving more stability. Although Fan Control cut down the crashing and kernel panics from several times an hour to just once or twice a day, it wasn’t a perfect fix, and left me feeling very frustrated with my nominally useable computer.
Well, it might be too soon to say, but I installed Mountain Lion yesterday, and since then I haven’t had a single crash. In fact, my iMac is running more smoothly and swiftly than it ever has before, making the experience of using it much more pleasant. Even if the crashes return, it’ll have been worthwhile. So, if you’ve been having similar mysterious screen freezes, crashes and kernel panics, I would suggest you spend the nominal amount and liberate your machine as soon as possible. Plus the over 200 new features of the OS make it a meaningful and totally worthwhile upgrade.
UPDATE: 4 days later (1 August): So, I’ve had 2 definite kernel panics and 2 screen flickery-crashes in the last 24 hours. Sigh. Still liking Mountain Lion but would prefer a more stable computer. That would be nice...
UPDATE: 11 August: Far less crashes, but still the occasional kernel panic. It may be unrelated, but things are certainly running better...
21 May 2012 - 05:12 PM
CORRECTION: I’ve got my big cats confused. In fact, my Mac was fine in Snow Leopard. It’s actually LION that’s been giving me these problems. However, the same fix works for Lion as D-Mac suggests for Snow Leopard, so I’m still happy.
When I upgraded my early 2009 24” iMac to Lion it started randomly freezing, crashing and having kernel panics. It seemed there was something in Lion that was only affecting a few machines, and I was one of the unlucky ones.
I waited for Apple to provide a fix, but they never did. For ages I couldn’t find any practical solution online, but just came across more people having the same issues, with the common suggestion of rolling back to Snow Leopard, which I didn’t want to do as I love using Lion. My Mac was falling over maybe once or twice a day, and inevitably this just became part of my routine. One positive thing these crashes forced me to address was to make sure I had an online backup of all my stuff, in case my iMac keeled over permanently, so that’s a good thing.
More recently the problems have become much more frequent, to the point that my Mac was often quite unusable, with crashes happening one after the other and sometimes before the machine had even restarted fully after the last crash. This prompted me in desperation to try searching again online for a fix, and I came across D-Mac’s blog. He was having the same problems as me and was suggesting that the video chip was overheating:
“Apparently Snow Leopard drives the GPU harder than Leopard does, but runs the iMac’s fans at the same barely audible speeds. The problem is more likely to occur on iMacs that are left on all the time, as mine is.”
So the solution seems to be to install a third-party fan control program to force the fans to run faster and keep the inside of the Mac cooler. I have done this and so far it seems to be working. I have to admit that I’ve had two freezes/crashes since applying this fix about a month ago, but that is better by far than the dozens of crashes per day I was having prior to tweaking the fans.
Read D-Mac’s full post here. I’ve used the same settings as him and might tweak them a bit if I have any more crashes, but so far, a slightly noisier iMac is infinitely better than the crash-monster I was having to deal with before, and I can at last unreservedly enjoy the advanced features of Lion.