How well do new Macs function, and how well do they run Lion?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by StephenCampbell, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm finally going to upgrade my 2006 Mac Pro this summer when Mountain Lion comes out, but I'd like to first hear a bit about what new Macs are like, from people who regularly use them and know the difference between "flawless performance" and "a little buggy."

    My Mac Pro runs flawlessly on Tiger, very well on Leopard, good on Snow Leopard, and alright on Lion.

    I can accept this as a consequence of them not tailoring the newer operating systems to my machine, but rather to the latest machines coming out. But nevertheless, overall my machine has remained incredibly steadfast, trustworthy and functional for six years now, and shows no signs of slowing down.

    1. Are new Macs as sturdy and expertly crafted, hardware wise, as the 2006 Mac Pro was?

    2. Do they run Lion smoothly with no glitches?

    Thanks!
     
  2. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #2
    don't forget that you see more reports of issues and problems than reports of "all is well".

    Current macs seem as well built as the past and all run Lion fine.
     
  3. AFPoster macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Since Dec 2011 I've purchased over 9 Mac's for myself, family and businesses with no complaints. My only issue is that Lion is just a bit slower than Snow Leopard and you can notice it from time to time, otherwise they're great.
     
  4. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Then again, people aren't as likely to go online to tell people they're not experiencing any problems as they are to go online to tell people what's bugging them.
     
  5. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    So even the new macs that were designed for Snow Leopard run a bit slower under Lion?

    What about Macs that shipped with Lion? Did they run it better than those that shipped with Snow Leopard?
     
  6. AFPoster macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Yeah the two iMac's and two MacBook Air's that were shipped with Lion run smoother than my early 2011 MacBook Pro that upgraded to Lion. I even upgraded to 8gb ram in my MBP and it's still slower than the low-end iMac.
     
  7. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #7
    So following your logic, my early 2011 MBP would run Lion smoother than yours, because mine was shipped with Lion?
     
  8. AFPoster macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I have no idea if it will happen that way or not, just from my experience with what I've been working with it's been that way.
     
  9. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #9
    You previous answer seems quite odd now that you say that you don't know...
     
  10. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    An early 2011 machine wouldn't have shipped with Lion... :confused:
     
  11. Macman45 macrumors G5

    Macman45

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    #11
    I have an iMac custom spec..(mid 2011) shipped with SL, upgraded to lion, but since had a couple of minor niggles so performed a clean install...Runs smoothly without issues.

    My MBP 17" shipped with Lion and replaced an older 15" model...It too has never caused any issues at all and runs perfectly. My MBA 13" also perfect.

    Build quality is up to Apple's normal high standard, and I have no complaints at all. I have owned all three generations of the iPad...Got my new 3 on release day, perfect.

    Iphone 4S also fine, and my Two new ATV3's are also fine, only complaint there is lack of content, but that seems to be a gripe that crops up a lot recently, and is understandable.

    In short, the quality is still as good as it's always been...There will always be people with issues, not every single device is perfect, but after sales support and Applecare are second to none in the industry IMO.
     
  12. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Yes, those manufactured after the release of Lion were shipped with Lion.
     
  13. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Oh, right. Well, I'm thinking of the difference between Macs designed while SL was the latest vs Macs designed while Lion was the latest.

    Essentially, does Lion run flawlessly on Macs that it was designed to run flawlessly on?
     
  14. Macman45 macrumors G5

    Macman45

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    #14
    Yes..My iMac shipped two weeks before Lion was released, so I qualified for the free upgrade anyway...it runs Lion just as well as it ran SL, all I did was up my RAM for 8GB to 16GB, but I do a lot of heavy duty work on it.
     
  15. gr8tfly macrumors 603

    gr8tfly

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    #15
    Lion runs just fine on my 17" Early 2009 2.66 MBP 8GB RAM. Some things are even zippier than SL (Safari, for one).

    We also have it running on an original MBA. I would say the 2GB RAM is starting to be an issue, but on an app by app basis, they run fine.

    As mentioned: the vast majority of posts on these forums is to report problems.
     
  16. hafr macrumors 68030

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    #16
    Which macs would that be? If I remember correctly, even the new MBAs were shipped with SL in the beginning.

    Lion runs great on old as well as new machines, and you're always going to hear complains about new versions of everything because some people just can't stand change, and others will have problems that aren't present for most people due to whatever reason.
     
  17. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #17
    Yes.

    Lion is a trade off: requirements are higher than SL, but it has features that help you not lose work, etc.

    If your hardware is new, it is fast enough to not be too much of a problem...


    All of the machines in my sig are currently running Lion. Even the mini.... it works fine. Not quite as fast as SL, but it is still usable.
     
  18. Makosuke, Apr 11, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012

    Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #18
    Here's a bunch of benchmarks from AnandTech:

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/4485/back-to-the-mac-os-x-107-lion-review/23
    (The graphs are poorly labeled, but higher bars are better--faster--in everything but the Boot Time test)

    You'll notice that performance is almost identical on both the 2008 and 2011 Macs they tested. The exception are things that take advantage of the GPU, on which the new Mac saw a larger performance increase than the old one, but even the old one got a boost.

    That's the facts. My opinion:

    Whether the machine shipped with Lion or not really is irrelevant; there are not enough architectural differences between the current generation of Macs and the previous one that there would be significant improvement in performance due to some sort of Lion-specific optimization. The hardware just isn't that much different.

    So if a 2009 Mac ran slower with Lion than SL, then in general so would a 2011 one. The notable exception is better graphics drivers in Lion, so even older Macs can see a significant (~10%) improvement in things that take advantage of that; newer Macs, on the other hand, might see more of a boost than older ones.

    So... the important factor is that A) a 2011 Mac is faster than the older one regardless of what it's running, and B) Lion really isn't that much slower, if at all, so it's highly unlikely to be noticeable even on older hardware, so long as you have enough RAM (4GB, probably?).

    I'm running Lion on similar hardware to throAU--an early 2011 MBP quad i7 (8GB, about to be 16GB), a 2009 iMac quad i7 (12GB), and an early 2009 frankenMini (4GB). I have not noticed it to be any slower with what I do, and a few things are a bit faster.

    I've heard a lot of Lion complaints, but personally have only one, which relates to using network volumes heavily, and that's limited to a Finder quirk. Overall it's fast, stable (SL froze my iMac on an occasional but regular basis, while Lion has never crashed on anything), and seems an all-around improvement.
     
  19. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I'm not looking for "fine" or "usable."

    I'd like my next computer purchase to feel the same way my last one did, where the machine completely owns the operating system and is capable of upgrading to the next 4 or 5 iterations of the operating system without much trouble.

    It sounds like I definitely need a flash drive in whatever I buy, and it should be a high-end iMac minimum.

    Thanks!
     
  20. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #20
    Current machines have no problem with Lion. By "totally usable" i was referring to the mini.

    Which is of a spec that is 5 years old.
     
  21. Makosuke macrumors 603

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    #21
    Apart from having a higher minimum RAM threshold than previous OS iterations, as the graphs I linked show Lion runs exactly as well, if not better than, Snow Leopard on Macs dating back to 2008 at least. The OS isn't getting slower. Other applications might assume that you have more CPU available, but that has nothing to do with the OS.

    As for future-proofing, as always, buy the most you can afford that fits in the case you want. A 4-core CPU with 16GB RAM is going to be a lot more likely to run smoothly on 2016's MacOS than a 2-core with 4GB. But that's always going to be true. And if you want an Air, there's no sense buying a decked-out 15" MBP, even though the latter will almost certainly last you longer, performance-wise.

    One tip: If you're getting a model with a higher-spec GPU option offered, get the upgrade. Because so much of the OS now takes advantage of GPU hardware--even things you wouldn't think would--the extra VRAM and grunt can make a real difference. I've noticed that under load my MBP is smoother with certain things than my iMac, even though the CPUs are about the same speed, the GPUs are about the same speed, and the iMac has more RAM. After doing some experiments, I pinned it down to the fact that the MBP has 1GB VRAM while the iMac has 512MB--the larger buffer really does translate into better performance (particularly when you have Photoshop grabbing a big chunk of VRAM for itself), even when you're not doing a single 3D operation.
     

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