From Snow Leopard to ?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by Peter Franks, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. Peter Franks macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #1
    Would any of you recommend El Capitan over High Sierra if I'm still on an old 2011 MBP using Snow Leopard?

    Or just stick with SL. It's a bit of a pain having to change all the Office/Photoshop programmes to work with later OS, but figure it's time I did something about it. Has anyone done just this and regretted it. Any help would be good. Thanks
     
  2. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #2
    For current app & web compatibility as well as overall security, El Capitan and later macOS versions would be best. I would say that if you update to EC or later you'd need to have an SSD hard drive and probably 8GB of RAM.

    If you were to run an anonymous Etrecheck report and post the results here more specific advice could be given.
     
  3. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #3
    Thank you.

    It's only 4GB memory, 2.3Ghz and i5.
    Is it going to suffer with 4GB.
     
  4. BrianBaughn macrumors 603

    BrianBaughn

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    #4
    I put 8GB of RAM in an old 2008 MacBook along with an SSD and I use it every day. Runs El Capitan. Your SATA bus is 6 Gb/s so a lot faster read/write than the 1.5GB/s I see.

    It would suffer with 4GB but even with 4GB on El Capitan I'd bet an SSD would make it a lot faster. Paging would be done on the SSD resulting in not a lot of beachball time.
     
  5. chrisherbert macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #5
    A 2011 MBP should still be pretty fast if you go up to 8GB of RAM and, especially, put in an SSD.

    If you're happy with SL, you might want to stick with it. Lion, the version released after Snow Leopard, was much, much slower, and while they've been incrementally improving performance over the years, I doubt it'll feel faster than on Snow Leopard.

    What kind hardware does the MBP have? If it's an Nvidia GPU I would suggest upgrading to Sierra rather than High Sierra. There are performance issues with the Nvidia/High Sierra combo.
     
  6. Altis macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2013
    #6
    El Capitan is the one to update to, if you decide to. It will feel noticeably slower than Snow Leopard.

    SSD does wonders for it, as well as addition RAM (8+ GB).

    I run El Cap on my i5 17" 2010 MBP. It runs okay, but not great. Windows and Linux run much, much better on it, but don't have quite as long battery duration.
     
  7. Peter Franks, Feb 26, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018

    Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #7
    Thanks people. So without upgrading the hardware I'm going to have a slower running machine with El Capitan? And sticking with SL has many limitations. Safari, iTunes etc. Not usable anymore for backing up iPhone. In all honesty I don't know anything other than Snow Leopard but presume it's not particularly secure these days.

    When Safari started killing itself off, I went to Chrome, and that's also been choked and asks for upgrade, the same as the iTunes, but neither can be updated on SL to the current or even remotely newer version. I'd like to be able to back up the iPhone the old fashioned way again, but can't anymore. iTunes locked me out of that several versions ago. Had I known, I wouldn't have updated it to the one I did, years ago.

    Plus, how idiot proof is upgrading the hardware myself, if that's a must?
     
  8. madrich, Feb 26, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018

    madrich macrumors 6502

    madrich

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Location:
    World Class City of Chicago
    #8
    I loved Snow Leopard on my early 2008 MBP. When Mavericks came out, it bricked my laptop. Fortunately, Apple replaced the MotherBoard for a reasonable fee. Later, I updated it to El Capitan it was smooth and trouble free like Snow Leopard. Since then I got a MBA early 2015, and it is still on El Capitan. I will later convert to High Sierra due to some problems I read about on these forums here.
     
  9. dogslobber macrumors 68030

    dogslobber

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2014
    Location:
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    #9
    Windows 10 is the only current OS that will keep SL performance on this system. Everything else is bloat.
     
  10. chrisherbert, Feb 26, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018

    chrisherbert macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #10
    If you move to an SSD and 8GB of RAM, I don't think the system will necessarily feel "slower" than Snow Leopard, overall. Opening applications will be much faster, web browsing will likely be faster (due to major improvements in JS speed in newer browsers), etc. The UI may not be as smooth.

    Newer versions of the OS will also have new features that you may like, such as Siri and iMessages integration. Honestly, as much as I loved Snow Leopard I could never go back to it. Being able to send texts from my computer alone is a feature that I can't do without.

    As long as your MacBook doesn't have an nvidia GPU, I'd say go for High Sierra. Metal 2 has noticeably improved UI performance.

    Snow Leopard also wasn't perfect. There's weird mouse cursor lag, forced color dithering on external displays, and tons of rough edges with the UI that have been fixed over the last ~10 years.
     
  11. dianeoforegon macrumors 6502a

    dianeoforegon

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2011
    Location:
    Oregon
    #11
    One thing that no one has mentioned is El Capitan will no longer receive security updates when the next version of macOS is released in the fall. You'll be back in the same boat with no security updates.

    At some point you will be forced to move to a newer OS X and it will be a hard transition because of the learning curve plus the cost of replacing all that old software.

    Another disadvantage of sticking with old sofrtware is finding the software to export some of the data. For example, user in Snow Leopard uses Now Contact. You can't even download the software that will convert the data into a usuable format for use in current software. A lot of the software is no longer available to download that is needed.

    As far as Photoshop, look at the cost of the Creative Cloud. The monthly costs for just PS might not be nearly as bad as you might think. You don't pay the cost of owning the app like you did in the past. Same with Office. Some of the subscriptions are nearly as bad as you might think.
     
  12. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #12
    Thank you all for your very helpful information on this one. I was going to update this today but feel this would be a bad move. Would you say El Capitan could take the hardware I already have, prior to High Sierra and new hardware. So I can just update to that one and at least have a working iTunes and Safari? Thanks again.
     
  13. EugW macrumors 68040

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #13
    Depends on what versions of Office and Photoshop you'll be running. If newer versions, then I might suggest High Sierra. If older versions, then I'd suggest Sierra. (I wouldn't recommend anything below El Capitan.)

    However, you MUST upgrade to SSD. 8 GB would help too, but SSD is of key importance.

    SSD + 8 GB (very good) > SSD + 4 GB (reasonably good) >>> HD + 4 GB (slow) >>> HD + 2 GB (basically unusable with any modern version of macOS)

    P.S. My sig contains some of the various Macs I have experience with, with these types of specs and upgrades.
     
  14. wordsworth macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I just recently made the move from using a white MacBook 2009 and Snow Leopard, and an external monitor, as my daily workhorse. Many years of tried and tested, reliable service.

    I love Snow Leopard. Despite having two fairly recent MacBook Air machines, an eleven-inch and a thirteen-inch, both upgraded to El Capitan, I was happy sticking with Snow Leopard on the much older laptop, as far as my daily work routines were concerned. I used to access old AppleWorks files occasionally, too, via Snow Leopard (which you can't do in later OSs, I believe), and I also happen to think that Snow Leopard was the last of the old-school 'real computer' User Interfaces from Apple. I am not keen at all over the way Apple's software design has gone, certainly in its visual embodiment. I have trouble figuring things out sometimes when I used to be led in the right direction previously and learned quickly, and while my eyesight has deteriorated as I get older, some of the OS on-screen fonts and colours these days leave a lot to be desired. Other things, too, like scroll bars, I find less functional than they used to be (but oh so clean looking in the modern design; give me functionality any day, however).

    Eventually, the old MacBook began to find the challenges of daily use (I'm a freelance editor at a magazine) more difficult. Apple Mail was flaky (attachments not appearing reliably), some websites no longer afforded Snow Leopard access, and of course, there were all the other software and security updates it was no longer able to benefit from. So while I had used El Capitan and the MacBook Airs intermittently, I still miss my old Snow Leopard, a little slower though it may have been, and am still ironing out the anomalies that have resulted from a new set of routines and newer hardware/software.

    I upgraded my wife's old MacBook Pro (about the same age as your machine) to El Capitan, and it seems to be behaving itself, but as she doesn't use it for much apart from e-mail, web browsing and some text work, I can't say too much about the outcome with any accuracy. Her machine has 4 Gb of memory.

    Maybe it's time you bit the bullet and got a new Mac, and get to grips with it while you are still using your old machine for now? That way you'll have your old, familiar work routines until you can gradually move entirely to an up to date way of working. It has to happen eventually.

    That's been my experience, at any rate. Good luck.
     
  15. EugW macrumors 68040

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    A 2.4 GHz Core 2 Duo machine is perfectly capable of most daily usage if not heavy usage. The main issue I've noticed is that on very multimedia heavy websites, or sites with a lot of ads, Safari and Chrome can feel slow. The solution is though is to block ads. This way, the C2D has to work much less, and it feels quite responsive.

    For surfing, email and Word, I use a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (with 8 GB RAM and SSD) aluminum 2008 MacBook in High Sierra daily, with no major issues. It's my kitchen machine, and in fact, I just bought it last year... for about US$150 with hard drive and 2 GB RAM. Then I upgraded the machine to SSD, 4 GB, and High Sierra. I already had the 4 GB and SSD on hand from an old white 2008 MacBook so it didn't cost me anything extra. For that usage it was actually fine, but I came across a killer deal on 8 GB Transcend RAM for US$35 brand new on Amazon so I upgraded to 8 GB too.

    BTW, I put the 4 GB RAM and HD back in that old 2008 white MacBook and installed Chrome OS on it, and it feels fast too. But Chrome OS is much more limited than High Sierra. Unfortunately, that 2008 white MacBook can't be upgraded to anything past 10.7.5, and IMO, 10.7.5 is effectively dead in 2018.
     
  16. AmazingRobie macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    #16
    If there's no software/functionality reason to upgrade, don't. You're better off. I know you probably feel youre missing out on something, but you are not. Snow Leopard was and still is the most reliable, fast, rock solid OS that Apple has ever churned out. We've used mostly all of the OS's and they are all lacking the streamlined layout, functionality and speed of Snow Leopard. Good luck.
     
  17. EugW macrumors 68040

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #17
    IMO Snow Leopard is basically unusable in 2018. Way, way too old. You can't even surf properly on it.
     
  18. Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #18
    Appreciate all your responses. I should be looking at a new laptop, but business has been pants. I like the new MBP but it's £1300 I could do without spending at the moment, just for the entry one. And I wonder if a MacBook Air, is a downgrade from this 2011 13 inch i5 MBP? The new ones are still 2.3Ghz I notice, not that I have much of a clue if that matters.

    As far as programmes go, the most important folders I have are probably Mac Mail and the 'On My Mac' folders, so Mail is a big part of my daily life. And it's been glitchy from day one, with leaving copies in Drafts of so many that it wasn't supposed to, trouble sending two mails in succession, (could be my server)among other things, but I live with it.

    Safari is now unusable on SL. Chrome is going that way too. Ads and pop-up blockers only do so much, it really doesn't block all pop-ups. Does anything?

    Fed up of seeing This version of Chrome is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser, and as you know iTunes won't let you, etc. etc.

    The two most important programmes for my work after 'Mail' is Adobe Photoshop Elements 9, and Word for Mac 2011 which probably won't be compatible, and like I say, an iTunes to back up the iPhone and iPad would be a novel change. Not had that for so many years now, since the support for SL stopped.

    So, Do I need a new MBP or could I live with just new hardware?
    7 years with a laptop is a new record for me. Is the Macbook Air an option?

    Thank you all again for taking time out. All very much appreciated.
     
  19. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #19
    OP wrote:
    "Would any of you recommend El Capitan over High Sierra if I'm still on an old 2011 MBP using Snow Leopard?"

    My answer is YES.

    However -- with ANY OS from 10.9 "onwards" up to the present -- you will also want to change out the original platter-based hard drive for an SSD.
    They ALL "run slow" with platter-based drives.

    This is a simple and easy procedure that ANYONE can do with the right tools.
    If I could do it -- YOU can do it.

    I would suggest you first get a USB3 adapter/dongle like this:
    https://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-2-5-...478&sr=1-2-spell&keywords=sabremt+usb3+to+ssd
    (I have one, they're cheap, works great)

    Now... set up your new OS to the SSD "on the dongle".
    You can "prep and test" it this way BEFORE you "commit yourself" to installing it internally.
    This will save you A LOT of trouble if things don't go as planned.
     
  20. Chazzle macrumors 68000

    Chazzle

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    #20
    Like many have said, an SSD is an absolute must if you are going to update your OS. This is a simple procedure for those comfortable with working on your computer with tons of info online to help. I'd recommend iFixit's repair guide for this.
    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Early+2011+Hard+Drive+Replacement/5119

    I'm running the most recent High Sierra 10.13.4 beta on my late 2011 (I think you have an early 2011) 13" MacBook Pro with an SSD and 8GB of RAM and everything is super responsive and runs great. Once again though, this would not be possible without the SSD. That SSD upgrade basically gave me a brand new computer.

    For my needs, I haven't found a compelling reason to upgrade to a new computer as my current machine has been able to handle anything I throw at it. Sounds like your needs aren't very intensive, and some cheap (~$75-150) hardware upgrades could really give you what you need.
     
  21. EugW macrumors 68040

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #21
    Office 2011 runs fine on El Capitan and Sierra, but there are minor issues on High Sierra.

    Dunno about Photoshop Elements. Photoshop CS 6 runs fine on El Capitan and Sierra but there are minor issues in High Sierra. I believe you just need to install a legacy version of Java.
     
  22. Peter Franks, Feb 27, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018

    Peter Franks thread starter macrumors 65832

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #22
    Thanks again, if I'm upgrading would it be of any worth to go 16 RAM instead of 8 or doesn't it take that, plus the SSD?
    I've watched a ton of YouTube vids on replacing today, and some are very different to the others, as well as some unhooking battery, but mostly not. Also, if replacing to SSD, the RAM probably doesn't need bothering with?

    I purchased in approx March or April 2011, so assume it's an early 2011, not 2010 stock that was lying around. Unlikely I'd say, so I will look for early 2011 compatible SSD/Memory, and while I'm there I might as well get a new battery, as that's lousy too?

    Not sure I completely understand the 'dongle' bit? I get what you mean, to do all of it outside the laptop, but not sure I'd know how to.

    The everymac.com site is showing the Early 2011 i5 13 inch spec was Lion OX, that can't be right. Sure mine was early 2011 and came with SL.
     
  23. Chazzle, Feb 27, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018

    Chazzle macrumors 68000

    Chazzle

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    #23
    Sounds like you definitely have an early 2011 given the specs you stated (i5 @2.3ghz).

    As for the 16GB of RAM vs 8GB, I don’t think you’ll see much difference based on what you use your computer for and personally the cost/benefit isn’t worth it.

    Like I’ve said though, the SSD is a must. Just upgrading your RAM will not give you the perfomance you need by a long shot. I would say that you could get by keeping your RAM the same, but maybe not update beyond El Capitan. You could always do the SSD first and try everything out before deciding if you need more RAM. The RAM replacement is an absolute breeze compared to installing an SSD.

    I know there are tons of YouTube videos out there on how to work on your computer, but I would stick to reputable site like iFixit.com instead of a random DIYer. There are safety protocols that often go ignored with the others, such as not disconnecting the battery which is something that should be done ANY time you open your computer and work on it.

    Battery is totally up to you.

    As for the dongle, that’s something you’ll want to get as you’ll need it to install the operating system you choose and all of your data on the new SSD before you install it in your computer. There are many tutorials online regarding this.
     
  24. EugW, Feb 27, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018

    EugW macrumors 68040

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #24
    As Chazzle says, you could even go with SSD and stick with your 4 GB RAM, and see how that goes. If your needs are light, the SSD + 4 GB might be OK. Otherwise go with 8 GB. I wouldn't necessarily want to invest in 16 GB RAM for a machine that old, unless you absolutely need it.

    My current main MacBook Core m3 is 16 GB and 95% of the time 8 GB is probably fine. And in my experience even 4 GB is OK for light usage.... as long as you have an SSD.

    Basically what I noticed was:

    2 GB was unusable and upgrading to 4 GB made it very usable, but with occasional short beachballs. Upgrading to 8 GB removed the beachballs for light to moderate usage, but with SSD, even having those occasional beachballs with 4 GB wasn't horrible, because having SSD masked the slowdowns. When I got a beachball with SSD, it usually wouldn't last long (in contrast to beachballs with HD).

    16 GB was only helpful for me when I have everything running at the same time along with a bazillion Safari tabs, which it turns out on my laptop and its single screen is not very frequently. OTOH, I run more on my dual 27" screen iMac setup, so I have 24 GB in that one.
     
  25. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #25
    OP wrote:
    "Not sure I completely understand the 'dongle' bit? I get what you mean, to do all of it outside the laptop, but not sure I'd know how to."

    DON'T "overthink" this.
    There's nothing complicated about getting the SSD "prepped and ready" using an external USB connection -- BEFORE you install it.

    The Mac will boot and run as easily from an external drive as it does with the internal one.

    If you do it this way, and run into glitches, YOU WILL STILL HAVE A MACBOOK THAT BOOTS AND RUNS. You can keep working to get it right.
    If you put it in BEFORE you have prepped and tested it, and the MacBook doesn't work, things are going to be much more complicated to sort out.

    Again, there's nothing overly difficult.
    Assemble your materials.
    Get back to us "when you're ready" to begin.

    I guarantee a 99% success rate IF you follow the instructions I'll post for you.
    I'm that confident.
     

Share This Page