How does High Sierra perform on an iMac (late 2013) 27"?

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by yyy, Mar 10, 2018.

  1. yyy macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007
    Does anyone have any experience running High Sierra on a late 2013 iMac 27" (8GB RAM no SSD) or a comparable mac? Is it good enough for graphic design? Is it faster than Mavericks?
  2. interstella macrumors regular


    Sep 29, 2013
    Suffolk, England
    It's so long since I've used Mavericks that I can't really say. All I can say is that my iMac, running High Sierra seems to me to be as fast as the day I bought it in 2013. I have 24Gb RAM and a 1TB Fusion Drive.
  3. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    If it just has a hard drive, it will be quite laggy. However, you could use an external SSD boot drive to speed it up.

    High Sierra is not faster than Mavericks. It's more memory hungry, but if you have enough memory then it is as fast. Well, Safari is faster though.
  4. chscag macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    It depends on how you use your 2013 iMac, amount of memory, amount of free space on the hard drive, etc. As far as it being faster than Mavericks or any other version of macOS, that's subjective. Saying that if it has a hard drive it will be laggy is misleading. A spinning hard drive is certainly going to be slower than flash storage but you won't notice it unless you started with flash storage and then devolved to a spinning hard drive. :(
  5. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Not necessarily true. I have a 12 GB 2010 Core i7 27” iMac with HD. About 10.8 I started noticing lag and by 10.10 in 2015 I couldn’t take it anymore and eventually ended up booting off a FireWire 800 SSD. Not ideal but still a huge improvement. Ran that for a couple of years.

    I thought about swapping in an SSD internally but instead in 2017 I just bought a new SSD 27” iMac and use the old iMac as an external monitor. So now I run dual 27” iMac screens off my 2017 Core i5.
  6. bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    Are you certain the hard drive wasn't just becoming slower due to its age rather than something being connected to the newer versions of OS X?
  7. yyy thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007
    Thanks everyone for your replies! I'm specifically interested in your opinion regarding an iMac with 8GB RAM and no SSD (this one with the 3.2GHz CPU configuration). Would you recommend a graphic designer to upgrade this iMac from Mavericks to High Sierra?
  8. bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    From a security perspective, yes. OS X Mavericks is no longer supported and Apple are not releasing security updates for this version of OS X anymore. However, I would strongly suggest taking a full backup with Time Machine and clean install macOS High Sierra instead of upgrading in-place, as you might have residual system files or settings from OS X Mavericks that might cause issues if you were to simply upgrade.

    It will be a bit of a pain to do this as you'll need to reinstall your apps, but it's the safest way to see if your iMac can perform well under macOS High Sierra. If you upgrade and have problems, you won't know whether that's caused by macOS High Sierra or the in-place upgrade.

    I would recommend choosing a day to do this when you won't need to do any work, in case you need to reinstall OS X Mavericks from your Time Machine backup if anything goes wrong.
  9. yyy thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007
    OK, but what about performance: will it be fast enough for a graphic designer or can there be any significant lag (considering it won't run from an SSD drive)?
  10. EugW macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2017
    Nah. It runs relatively tolerably if it's a totally clean install. It's just that once you add data and software and use it for a month it two, it feels quite slow.

    Surely this can't be a revelation to you. Pretty much everyone these days agrees that HDs are slow.

    I haven't noticed this anywhere near as much is with 10.6 or earlier... mostly likely because those OSes are much lighter.

    BTW, I have a 10.7 MacBook running a laptop hard drive. It feels slow even with a relatively new 10.7 install. However, I ended scrapping OS X completely and installed Chrome OS on it instead. It feels pretty speedy in Chrome. So, yeah, it's the OS that is the problem.

    I wouldn't recommend any Mac purchase in 2018 with just a plain HD. It's worse with laptop hard drives, but it's a problem with desktop hard drives too. SSD just makes a HUGE difference.
  11. yyy thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007
    I wasn't asking about buying a new Mac. I asked whether upgrading an old Mac with no SSD is a good idea. I guess it'll be too slow for a graphic designer, assuming the computer only has 8GB RAM.
  12. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The fact that you still have a platter-based hard drive inside the 2013 is going to "slow things down". Possibly quite a bit.
    Whether you could live with the slower speeds is... up to you.

    My suggestion (and you should do it even with Mavericks):
    Buy a USB3 EXTERNAL SSD, and set it up to become your "external booter".
    You will be AMAZED at the speed increase that you get from doing so.

    It will make great improvements in ALL the versions of the OS since Mavericks.

    There is nothing complicated about doing this.
    It's little more than child's play on the Mac. After all, even I could figure it out.

    I'd suggest something like the Samsung t5 or one of these:

    You don't need a large SSD -- 500gb or even 250gb will get the job done right.

    Again, you won't believe how much of an improvement this will be until you try it.
  13. yyy thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 10, 2007

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