Should I Update my OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion?

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by badman89, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. macrumors regular

    I own a late-2010 MacBook Air (1.4 GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM), and I'm wondering if should update my OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion.

    CON: The obvious argument against updating is that I have only 2GB RAM, and this worries me. I don't find this to be very problematic in Snow Leopard, but I've heard that Mountain Lion is a lot more resource-hungry than Snow Leopard.

    PRO: Why do I want to update? Only one reason: iCloud. I've recently expanded my Apple Ecosystem to include an iPhone and an iPad, so it would be really convenient if my mac could also sync to the cloud.

    Other info: I plan to keep my MacBook Air until 2014 (at which point I will upgrade to a new MBA with 8GB / 16GB RAM).
  2. macrumors member

    As far as I've read, on other forum threads, I'm pretty sure you can downgrade back to Snow Leopard if you find that your computer performance on Mountain Lion has significantly decreased. Yes, as operating systems upgrade, the RAM required will also increase. If I were you, I would upgrade it and if it doesn't work, just downgrade it back to Snow Leopard but I'm not too sure how you downgrade, you'll have to check the internet. Good luck! :)
  3. macrumors regular

    You're right - but downgrading is a complicated procedure which I'd rather not engage in. Also, upgrading and then downgrading would obviously be a waste of money. Of course, if I upgrade and end up hating it then I would consider downgrading. But, at this point, I'd rather focus on making an informed decision.
  4. macrumors member

    I, personally, would upgrade if I were you :)
  5. macrumors 6502

    Mountain Lion, whilst said to be good, is not yet refined. Apple is working on an update 10.8.3 which appears to be in advanced state of testing, after 10 iterations so far. If you really need to update to Mountain Lion, I suggest waiting for 10.8.3 to come out - and monitor the comments on this forum to see if anything major is wrong with it.

    The battery life of Mountain Lion, on notebook Macs, is said to be poor. It remains to be seen if the forthcoming 10.8.3 improves the battery life.

    Also, there is an extensive thread on Apple Discussions on how the shutdown time on Mountain Lion is much longer than Snow Leopard or Lion.

    For my purposes, the only reason I wanted to upgrade to Lion was the iCloud and for whole disk encryption. If you don't need these, ask yourself what it is that requires you to update to Mountain Lion.

    I'm presently on Lion 10.7.4 waiting for Mountain Lion to become more refined. The earlier iterations of Lion were filled with problems, but I find 10.7.4 really stable. 10.7.5 had a reported problem with Time Machine backups.

    I prefer to let other people do Apple's beta testing, and then I come in late and have that "it just works" experience. I used to wait till 10.x.6 when things were really polished, but nowadays with Apple's one year turnaround for new versions of OSX, it seems that each system never gets beyond .5

    In sum, if you can wait probably a few weeks for 10.8.3 comes out, that would be ideal.
  6. macrumors newbie

    I have the exact same model MBA and I've been using mountain lion since it came out with no issues.
  7. macrumors 6502

    I have MBA 2012 (8GB) with ML preinstalled. Running smooth.

    However, I plan to downgrade my mid-2010 iMac (4GB) to SL due to its sluggishness and slow.
    It seems, ML is good in optimizing performance for single most-current application running, but for multi-tasking, it requires more memory and need to swap to the disk, which make overall experience quite bad. I've tried using parallels desktop in ML on iMac. It slows at first, then eventually faster and very responsive. But if I switch to other applications, the system become sluggish again.

    If I were you, I will stay in SL, unless you need iCloud feature so badly.
  8. macrumors regular

    Update in case anybody is interested:

    I upgraded my OS from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion and everything is ok. I'm not facing any problems whatsoever. The computer runs just as smoothly as it did on Snow Leopard.
  9. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 11, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2013

    macrumors 601

    Related Question: Migrating from new rMBP

    Hello, since I'm in the same boat as OP (considering updating my 2010 iMac from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion for the same reasons), I thought I would ask some related questions...

    I recently bought a new retina Macbook Pro. I fresh installed the programs I use most and pretty much have reached the point where I have everything exactly as I want it on that rMBP.

    My older iMac still has some Rosetta programs on it and, over the years, has accumulated some files and probably related library files that I wouldn't miss if they were gone. I'll need some of those Rosetta programs in the future so I've picked up an external drive and will mirror my Snow Leopard installation to that external so I can boot back into Snow Leopard when I need Rosetta. I'm confident that end of things is all well in hand.

    Here's the biggest question: Could I fresh install Mountain Lion on that iMac and then use migration assistant from that new rMBP to basically mirror the setup on that rMBP to my iMac? Conceptually, I'm thinking I can and then just fall back to that Snow Leopard backup for anything that I might be missing (such as some archived Mail boxes, etc). Any flaw in this thinking?

    I have the Adobe CS 5.5 Suite on both currently. Do you think migration assistant would move a copy of Adobe Suite back to that "fresh installed" iMac and have it work?

    I have Parallels 7 running Windows 7 on that iMac. I'm guessing I would have to upgrade to version 8 on Mountain Lion but no big deal.

    I have an ancient HP wide format printer HP CP1700 that still works just fine. Anyone know if it will work on Mountain Lion (I see info online that implies the driver is deprecated but I see other information that says if any printers work with Snow Leopard, they'll work with Mountain Lion too. It works on Snow Leopard).

    I have PhoneValet (voice mail) from Parliant. Can anyone confirm that it definitely works with Mountain Lion?

    Thanks for any feedback.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    The rMBP will not boot from Snow Leopard.

    You can only run your PowerPC apps by installing Snow Leopard Server into your copy of Parallels 7 (only the most recent update of version 7 [7.0.15106 Build 786747; August 3, 2012] will run in Mt. Lion).

    Apple is now selling Snow Leopard Server for $19.99 + sales tax & shipping costs at 1.800.MYAPPLE (1.800.692.7753) - Apple Part Number: MC588Z/A (telephone orders only).

    [click on image to enlarge -- Adobe CS2, now available for free download from Adobe, Photoshop running in Snow Leopard Server in Parallels 7 in Lion]

    Attached Files:

  11. 2IS
    macrumors 68030

    I would certainly NOT upgrade to ML with only 2GB of ram. I have a 2010 with 4GB of ram and ML is noticeably slower than SL was and I very regularly go over 2GB of usage. By very regularly, I mean almost every single time I'm using my MBA.
  12. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    macrumors 601

    MichaelLAX, thank you for trying to answer my questions. I think I must have written them poorly because it's as if you read almost the opposite of what I was asking.

    I am not trying to run Snow Leopard on the rMBP. I'm wondering it the clean configuration of Mountain Lion I've just set up on the rMBP could be migrated- via migration assistant- to my old iMac after a fresh install of Mountain Lion on that iMac. End result: Mountain Lion running on both computers with programs & files organized as I've just got them organized on the rMBP.

    I'm not trying to run Snow Leopard at the same time as Mountain Lion so I'm not chasing running Snow Leopard as a virtual machine. Instead, I'm going to Super Duper or Carbon Copy Clone my current Snow Leopard set up to an external firewire drive so I can boot into it when I need rosetta. I know that will work and am not really looking for any other "solutions" to that concept.

    I own a copy of Adobe CS Suite 5.5 so I don't need to get Adobe 2 even if it is for free. I have successfully set up a copy on the new rMBP and am wondering if migration assistant would just move it to the fresh installed Mountain Lion iMac rather than having to uninstall it from the current Snow Leopard iMac and then reinstall it after doing the fresh install of Mountain Lion. This is not a big problem but it would be simpler if Migration Assistant could do this.

    Again, thanks for appearing to try to answer my questions. You appear to have read questions that I didn't even ask or I wrote them poorly. Maybe the above clarifies what I'm after?

    To be clear: at the end of the process, I'm looking for my current iMac Snow Leopard installation to be on an external firewire drive and I'll have Mountain Lion running on both the new laptop and the old iMac. Mountain Lion is already set up exactly as I want it on the new laptop. I'm looking to mirror this setup back to the old iMac.

    In short: since I just bought the rMBP, I had the equivalent of a "clean install" out of the box. I've installed only the programs I actually want to use so it is still a very "clean install" now optimized with the stuff I actually want on there. The old iMac has the same stuff but, over the years, some kludge has crept in as some programs have been installed, deleted, etc. So, I'm chasing the "clean install" concept for the old iMac and thinking a fresh install of Mountain Lion plus migration assistant using the new rMBP as the source could be a good shortcut.
  13. macrumors 6502a

    I understood your situation and sometimes I answer it broadly depending upon the limited expanse of facts stated.

    You CANNOT boot your rMPB from SL no matter where you install it; it is just that simple.

    With that knowledge you may now want to learn about virtualizing SL so that you can gain access to Rosetta in Mt. Lion.

    If not, that is OK, too!
  14. macrumors member

    I have a 2011 (4,2 I think) MBA 11" with 64gb and 2gb ram and been running ML since release and its great, no problems with battery, lag or heat at all.
  15. macrumors 601

    Again, thank you for trying to offer input. And again, I think you are answering a question I'm not asking. I have no (ZERO) interest in booting my rMBP from Snow Leopard. None. Pretend like Snow Leopard isn't even in the discussion.

    I have an old iMac running "an earlier version of OS X" and want to upgrade it to Mountain Lion.

    I just purchased a rMBP and have got it configured exactly as I would like it (folders as I want them, dock as I want it, support files transferred from old iMac to new rMBP exactly where I want them, non-stock applications installed and verified on the new rMBP, etc).

    Now that I have the 'perfect' Mountain Lion setup on that new Mac, I'm wondering if I can mirror it to the old Mac. So, I'm thinking of downloading Mountain Lion and doing a fresh install (that "old OS" version will no longer be in place at all). My iMac will then be running a stock version of Mountain Lion after the fresh install.

    Then, I wanted to hook my new rMBP to my iMac and go into utilities, migration assistant. The question was does someone in the know believe this would result in a pretty good transfer of the rMBP Mountain Lion setup to the iMac fresh install Mountain Lion setup? I think yes, but I was looking for someone to either back up my thinking or shoot it down.

    I hope that clarifies my question. It has nothing to do with trying to run/use Snow Leopard on the rMBP. Thank you though for trying to help in terms of what you apparently believed I was asking.
  16. macrumors regular


    Migration Assistant will clone your whole computer.
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Yes: I read this paragraph as a desire to use Rosetta on the rMBP; sorry for adding to the "noise!"

    If your older Mac is PowerPC, read this excellent user guide: A Basic Guide for Migrating to Intel Macs from PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 Macs; since you hope to run Mt. Lion, I guess your older iMac is Intel...

    Good luck!
  18. macrumors 65816

    Got a spare external drive? If so, use Carbon Copy Cloner (get the older free version 3.4.something, I think) and CLONE your current Snow Leopard install to that. Then WIPE the drive (don't upgrade) and install Mt. Lion. If you don't like it, simply boot off the external and use CCC to clone the SL install from the external back to the internal drive. Easy peasy (and exactly how I did it with my Mini, though I chose to just keep ML).
  19. macrumors 601

    JS81, that's the plan (SL cloned to external), install ML as a fresh install, use migration assistant to try to "clone" the layout, look & feel I've set up on the new rMBP over to the iMac so that both are pretty much duplicate installations of ML with all of my favorite software (dock is the same, folders in the same places, documents cloned in both, etc).

    MichaelLAX, it's a 2010 (intel) iMac. I know it will be no problem installing ML on it. I just wondered if I could save myself some time by trying to migrate how ML is set up on the rMBP over to that iMac. I'm pretty sure it's going to work so I'm just going to go for it and see what happens. As JS81 says, I can always undo back to SL if anything goes bad.

    But I think it will work and the "hassle" will end up being porting a few other programs that I chose not to install on the laptop... just a few applications that I don't need to have in both places.

    Thanks for the help!
  20. macrumors 6502a

    If you decide to upgrade to ML, I would do a clean install.
  21. macrumors regular

    I noticed how sluggish my early 2011 MBP was with ML when I still had only 4GB RAM and HDD when I was trying to do some editing in FCP X and other work while waiting on my 16GB RAM to come in. After doing some investigation, I learned that ML uses a lot more memory and was caching on the hard drive to keep up. I was going to wait to move my Sandisk SSD from my Late 2008 MBP to the early 2011 MBP when the RAM came in, since I was trying to reduce the number of times that I opened the laptops, but I couldn't stand it anymore and moved the SSD over anyway. Even with 4GB RAM, ML was actually quite usable, since the SSD is fast enough to cover the fact that ML was caching to a drive, since I was out of memory.

    Since your Air has an SSD, you will probably be OK with ML with 2GB RAM.
  22. macrumors regular

    I don't want to go off topic, but is MA effective from Mac to Mac? I tried using it at work to transfer a persons files from their desktop to a MBP and MA did nothing. It took about 10 minutes to sit on its hands.

    They were even plugged into the same switch on the same subnet. I just transitioned the data manually.
  23. macrumors regular



    No idea about individual files, but when I get a new computer I merely plug the old one into the new one and everything from programs to settings are moved over. It's an exact clone.
  24. macrumors regular

    I don't imagine it would be too tough for them to map standard file locations on XP or 7 to their OSX equivalent. Obviously they can't keep the same file structure because of the structural differences but it really shouldn't be too hard.
  25. macrumors regular


    Windows to Mac? Yes, if they wanted to they could probably figure it out.

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