DESPERATE to fix slow loading times on IMac

hey whats up. So i’m getting my Mac ready for wrath, and i’m trying to fix an issue i’ve had for the longest. I have a late 2013 IMac, and it takes incredibly long to load up any type of graphics. Now im by no means a computer expert, but i know a little bit. the part that is confusing to me is that once everything finally loads, i can run it at 60 fps no problem as long as i have some graphic options lower. This makes me think theres something that i can fix to make everything load better since it can run the actual game no problem. My operating system is updated, and i make sure it doesnt load any other applications on start up. here are my specs

iMac (21.5-inch, Late 2013
2.9 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i5
8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 1 GB

I’ve tried some stuff i found through google but no luck so far. I’m running Catalina 10.15.7 which to my knowledge is the newest OS i can run on this IMac. If anybody out there can help me fix this i promise i will love you forever.

The issue here is your machine is quite old. Loading screens are slow because of its age.

Even though you are running a classic version of the game, the infrastructure that the game runs under is the same as used in retail. So with each new expansion, the ante is upped in terms of system requirements.

Many will recall that the loading time into Dalaran was quite slow on older architecture when Wrath originally was released. Having an SSD helped with loading times back then. Of course the ante has been upped quite a bit since original Wrath.

If you can tolerate in-game play… consider the loading screen delay as an opportunity to prepare a snack. Otherwise a newer computer is in order.

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Ouch well that’s deflating. Appreciate you letting me know tho. It’s so frustrating cause I’ve been searching everywhere for something I can do but I guess it’s best that I just come to terms with it.

Edit: wrong character lol

I once had that same imac. years later I ended up getting an external SSD drive and booting into that instead. helped the computer feel a little faster. you’ll definitely notice a difference. sadly that setup is pretty outdated now and 8GB ram isn’t going to be enough moving forward.

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I had the 27" model. I took out the Superdrive DvD/CD and installed an internal SSD. It was like getting a new computer.

Somewhere along the way, MacOS became more than these machines could handle. These were great computers back then.

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Hmm an ssd might be something I can do. Is there any difference between an internal one or an external ? And thanks all for the input

Not a lot. An internal drive would use SATA which is slightly faster than USB 3 but not by a large amount (6 Gb/s vs 5 Gb/s). It looks like swapping the internal drive is kinda messy since you have to remove the glass display & then re-glue it. The extra 20% increase in theoretical max throughput isn’t worth the hassle IMO so I’d go with external.

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Good to know thanks. I’d probably stick with external then just to make the process simple.

So my last question I guess would be, the way to do it would be to install the OS and WoW on the SSD?

I don’t know that installing the OS on the external drive would change the load time for the game very much; it would speed up your iMac’s boot time quite a bit.

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My first Mac was an older Mac mini with a regular spinning hard drive. Load times were extremely slow. I installed everything on a 1TB external SSD. Just the most basic SSD I could find. My loading screen in Wrath Dalaran on retail went from 40 seconds to 9 or 10 seconds. I then used the internal regular hard drive as a Time Machine backup. That machine is long retired from WoW (but still runs). Any external SSD will improve load times greatly.

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Ok so I think I’ve found my solution then. Time to find a nice cheap SSD. You guys were all extremely helpful and I really appreciate it

You can just put the WoW-folder on the external SSD, no problem. I had this setup for years on my 2017 iMac because the internal Fusion drive was so slow.

Just make sure you assign the WoW-install to the external SSD within the app Preferences (same goes for CurseForge app if you use that).

I don’t know if it’s much hassle if you want to put the OS on the SSD too, I’m guessing it’s more hassle as it involves cloning, reinstalling etc. If you just put WoW on it you can go for a smaller and cheaper SSD. 128 or 256 GB will be fine (Retail is about 80 gb here).

System requirements for the next expansion are 128GB and the expansion after that will certainly be higher, so don’t buy anything smaller than 256 GB. Personally I don’t buy any drives smaller than 1TB these days - you can get a decent 1TB SSD for about $100 or so, and the smaller drives aren’t much cheaper.

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Um… is NVIDIA even active in Catalina? I was told it was disabled by Mojave. I was figuring anything past that wouldn’t have it active either.

I have that same computer type (except I have 16 GB memory), and was thinking I would be required to upgrade to even run Catalina.

Glad to hear Catalina works, but I’m pretty sure your problem is your graphics card is disabled.

EDIT: Just double-checked. Catalina doesn’t have NVIDIA drivers either.

The Apple provided drivers are still active, just not the web drivers. Catalina has nVidia drivers, as it is the final major OS that these machines support running on. Big Sur and later are what lack the drivers AFAIK and thus support for even the built in Kepler GPUs.

The slow loading is due to the lack of VRAM for the GPU and unless WoW is running from an external SSD, the drive itself. With only 1 GB and the minimum for WoW being listed as 2 GB, you’ll see a ton of texture swapping going on. Additionally, the built in drive is…well, craptastic. The OP is hitting an APFS wall here. CASC (the game’s own filesystem) has fragmentation issues of its own, but when paired with APFS can bring it to its knees after only a few patch cycles. Now add in a mechanical spinning platter drive and, well, you get load times. Lots and lots of load times.

Moving WoW to an external SSD will help, but it’s a stopgap measure really until the OP can afford a new machine. Dragonflight is likely to significantly ramp up the system requirements on the Mac side, so you should realistically consider the current machine you’re using to be on the last legs of life support.

I actually wouldn’t be surprised if this machine falls below minimum spec as of Dragonflight on the Windows side given that nVidia has officially discontinued driver support for Kepler GPUs. It’s time to upgrade. As long as the machine has any dedicated GPU, if it’s a modern machine it will easily outpace the trusty ol’ iMac workhorse.

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There are no Apple-provided NVIDIA drivers for Mojave and Catalina from what I’ve read. Something about a quarrel between the two companies. High Sierra was the last one to have them.

macOS Catalina does have Apple supplied NVIDIA drivers because the OS is supported on some models with Kepler GPUs. I have one of them!

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Only the web drivers were prevented from being released past 10.13.6. The Apple supplied drivers are still present up to 10.15, but sadly lack many of the bugfixes that even the 10.13.6 web drivers had (to say nothing of the fact that if you had a Maxwell or Pascal GPU you were boned after 10.13.6 as only web drivers had support for those GPUs).

If there’s one thing Windows users can be eternally grateful for it’s that drivers aren’t hardlocked to specific OS versions like they are in macOS. It’s the Achille’s Heel of gaming on a Mac.