best OS X for my old macbook

Discussion in 'macOS' started by joy268, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. joy268 macrumors newbie

    Nov 8, 2015
    Need your help..just clean up my macbook (white, late 2009, 4 GB) and thinking if i should change my OS X from Lion to a later version. Need something that will run fairly good, not slow for basic uses such as Microsoft word, internet and such..

    Thank you!
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Feb 20, 2009
    I would recommend 10.8.5 "Mountain Lion", if you want to keep the spinning hard drive.

    If you replace the old HDD with an SSD, it might do fine with either Yosemite or El Capitan.

    No matter which OS you upgrade to, I suggest you create an external bootable cloned backup first, using either CarbonCopyCloner or SuperDuper to clone the contents of your internal drive to an external.

    This way, if something goes wrong during the upgrade process, or if you find you don't like it ("too slow" or for other reasons) -- having that cloned backup will make it easy to "get back to where you once belonged"...
  3. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I agree mostly with Fishrrmans points with the exception of Yosemite, it is very likely too slow with older Macbook even with a SSD installed.

    As for El Capitan current version has too many bugs (see 10.11 forum for specific information), I recommend waiting 2 or 3 updates if you wish to install it.

    I recommend either 10.8.5 or 10.9.5 depending on availability, later OS versions are considerable slower on hard drive.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Feb 20, 2009
    Ebenezum wrote above:
    "I recommend either 10.8.5 or 10.9.5 depending on availability, later OS versions are considerable slower on hard drive."

    I would suggest 10.8.5 instead of 10.9.5.
    The reason is that Mavericks introduces fundamental changes in memory handling, the net effect which (I believe) will slow the machine down (on an older Mac).

    This really depends on the individual's tolerance for "the perception of speed".
    Some folks are bothered by it. Others not so much.

    But -- I still would prefer 10.8.5 on an older MacBook, even with an SSD.
    It will run smooth, clean, relatively fast.
  5. Buggyflayer macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2014
    West Sussex, UK
    100% agree with the bootable backup clone plan.

    Unless you already have Mountain Lion already downloaded it'll be a hassle to get it.
    I'm running El Capitan on a 2009 White MacBook with 4GB RAM & I really don't think its slower than Lion was on the same machine but that was a while ago.
    El Capitan causes me less eyestrain than Yosemite did on the MacBook.

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