Does upgrading OS X reduce hardware efficiency?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Blu101, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. Blu101 macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #1
    Ok, so to the popular belief that Apple maximizes full system efficiency by matching and optimizing hardware to software - this tells me that any Mac is at its best at time of purchase with its native Mac OS X version (because the software was designed to take full advantage of that particular hardware). If that's true, then does upgrading the OS, say from Snow Leopard to Lion, reduce that efficiency? Because Lion will be tailered to the next generation of hardware...? Or is the level of efficiency the same, so long as the hardware meets the min specs of the OS?

    As you can see, I'm already debating on the upgrade to Lion later this year, and its impact on my 2010 Snow Leopard MBP..
     
  2. belvdr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    #2
    It depends on the versions you are comparing. From 10.5 to 10.6, I didn't notice any performance differences. From 10.4 to 10.5, I did.

    In any case, I have been able to run 3-4 versions of OS X on my machines over its lifetime. Case in point was my iMac 800. It started with 9.2 and 10.0. I used 10.4 on it at retirement.
     
  3. jerry333 macrumors regular

    jerry333

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    #3
    Upgrading from 10.5 to 10.6 made a huge difference on my older Mac Pro 8 core. My experience has been that it depends on your mix of applications. Mine just happened to get a big boost from 10.6 but YMMV.

    Generally there are fixes and optimizations that weren't available when the system was shipped. This goes double for new hardware. Leaving the system at its original level is a bad idea (although perhaps you don't want to be the first one to upgrade either).
     
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4

    MisterMe

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    USA
    #4
    No, you pretty much have things all turned around. Each new version of MacOS X adds new features. However, each new version of MacOS X also adds new optimizations. In the case of MacOS X 10.6, Apple removed a substantial amount of legacy code that resulted in an increase in performance for many users including jerry333. MacOS 10.6 was certainly not unique in this regard.

    It is important to understand that MacOS X is a preemptive multiuser multitasking operating system that is optimized for multitasking. This pays dividends on even modest hardware. My first MacOS X computer was a PowerBook G3 (Pismo) that I had upgraded to 384 MB RAM. The upgrade was for MacOS 9, not MacOS X. However, the QuickTime Player ran dramatically better under MacOS X 10.0 than under MacOS 9.1 on my Pismo despite the fact that MacOS X 10.0 was a substantially larger OS. The improvement was due to the fact that MacOS X uses preemptive multitasking/OS-controlled virtual memory rather than the cooperative multitasking/user-controlled virtual memory of MacOS 9.1.

    The takeaway message is that new versions of MacOS X represent progress. There is no reason not to upgrade when Lion comes online.
     
  5. Blu101, Jan 19, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 19, 2011

    Blu101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #5
    Can you elaborate? What differences did you notice? Good or bad?

    This is exactly my point - I know any Mac can upgrade its OS X, various times, but I imagine that at a certain point, the downsides (slowdowns due to aging hardware, unavailable features due to aging hardware like iPhone 3G and iOS 4.x, etc.) must outweigh the benefits (new OS, new features, added functionality, etc.). My MBP runs very fast and well on Snow Leopard, and I like Snow Leopard, but I also like what I've seen so far in Lion. My personal preference is speed overall, but the tough part is not knowing how that will be impacted before upgrading, unless, of course, people comment on it or some 3rd party test/report on it comes out.

    I'm trying not to get anal about it, but I've only had the mac for 3 months, I'm really lovin snow leopard, and I don't want to reduce its overall performance on any significant level (say more than ~10%).

    Wow, so you actually gained performance? Interesting...

    In all my years lost in pc land, I never once upgraded the original OS that came with whatever computer I bought. I know, hard to believe lol, but true. My last one, a Dell desktop, came with Windows Millenium, and I somehow made that thing last 9 years! Not without a truck load of issues and problems, which is why I switched to Apple, but as you can see, I'm new to upgrading the OS in general :)

    Music to my ears my friend, thanks! :)
     
  6. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    One thing to note about going from 10.5.x to 10.6.x...


    10.6.x is the optimized version of 10.5.x (with some fancy junk thrown in). Basically, what 10.5.x should have been when released, but wasn't able to make release time. This is reflected in 1) it's name "Snow Leopard" vs "Leopard" (a 'cooler' version of Leopard) and 2) in the price of the release (significantly cheaper than a normal 'full release).

    Beyond that...

    There is a point where future versions of the OS will simply require too much raw power that your hardware may not be able to handle, as such you will see a negative impact on the speed of your Mac, i.e., PPC Macs running 10.5 are all pretty sluggish in comparison to them running 10.4.

    However, in your case, where you have a 2010 version of a Mac, there's 100% chance that 10.7 will run great on it.
     
  7. Blu101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #7
    Yellow, is there a general rule of thumb that works well, i.e. in general, a computer is good for ~1/2/3/4 OS upgrades, after that things start to slow down?
     
  8. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #8
    Not to my knowledge. In many cases, the perception of performance issue depends on the user and what one is doing. I prefer to note that the "age" of the hardware is more indicative of how it will perform.. though as processor speeds and versions increase, that "age" might get smaller and smaller. For example, the first Core 2 Duo offerings of the MBPs are horrible to use when one has a Core i5 MBP, though the model is really only 4 years old. But in pre-Intel offerings of Mac, a 5, 6, or 7 year old Mac would suffice for quite some time.

    One thing to note is that it's not necessary to continually update the OS to the latest and greatest.
     
  9. Blu101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #9
    Hence my dilemma ;)

    I like Lion so far, I'll likely upgrade at least once or twice in the long run.

    I figure I should be ok for years to come - I still have room to upgrade and speed up my hardware, with more RAM and a SSD in the future. It's plenty fast for me now, so no immediate need.

    Thanks for the info!
     
  10. yellow Moderator emeritus

    yellow

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #10
    I expect you'll be just peachy and won't really start to feel the pinch until mid-to-late 2014.
     
  11. Blu101 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #11
    Me happy with that :D
     
  12. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #12
    Or in the case of a professional tower it can make it through 6 OS Upgrades.. just. (Case in point, my G4 Sawtooth lived thru:

    8.6 -> 9 -> 10 -> 10.1 -> 10.2 -> 10.3 -> 10.4 -> 10.5(Struggles so I wont count it, but it does indeed work well under tiger)
     
  13. sirxavier macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #13
    Just my 2 cents:

    My mac is a 2007 santa rosa white macbook. When I first bought it, it had 1GB of ram and came with Tiger and it ran perfectly fine. After I installed Leopard and later Snow Leopard I noticed it took quiet a few seconds longer to open and switch between applications. Later I added 1 more GB of ram (total:2GB) and it became as fast as when it had tiger! I was so happy and still use it now. :)
     

Share This Page