I've had it with my Late 2008 Macbook...How do I do a fresh install of OS X Yosemite?

snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Hey Everyone,

So this is my concern. I currently have a macbook that has been upgraded to every OS from Leopard. It is PAINFULLY slow. My macbook only has 2 gb of ram, but I read that doing a fresh install of OS X yosemite will greatly help the performance. I do not need any of my files on my macbook, as I have an iMac (late 2012) that I bought in September of 2013 and use on OS X Yosemite as well. All my files are saved on there.

Here is my question? How do I do a fresh install of OS X? and will I need to reinstall certain programs? Sibelius, photoshop etc?
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
Before reinstalling Mac OS X, might I suggest upgrading your memory to at least 4GB?
Agreed. A fresh install of Yosemite would do little difference vs upgrading the RAM. I used to use my MBP with 2GB in Yosemite. Painfully slow! 4GB makes a huge difference.
 

ohbrilliance

macrumors 6502a
May 15, 2007
953
230
Melbourne, Australia
Also consider upgrading to an SSD. If you use time machine then after reinstalling the OS you can get everything back in place by using migration assistant, without the need to reinstall applications. I have upgraded all the way from Tiger to Yosemite over multiple machines and drives without ever needing to reinstall applications.

Something else to look into is dust in your computer. Built up dust can make it hard for the fans to keep it cool, causing the CPU to be throttled and slowing down your machine. It's worth opening the back and cleaning visible dust, especially from the fans and vents.
 

snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Agreed. A fresh install of Yosemite would do little difference vs upgrading the RAM. I used to use my MBP with 2GB in Yosemite. Painfully slow! 4GB makes a huge difference.
would it make more sense just to upgrade the RAM?
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
would it make more sense just to upgrade the RAM?
Yes because the RAM is the biggest problem here.

Your MacBook Pro with 4GB RAM and the original HDD will be running at acceptable speeds. Install an SSD if you want super fast speeds.

Dust only slows your computer down when it is under load and hot, such as playing a game. It causes the computer to run hotter than usual, so the CPU and GPU throttle (lower their speed) to produce less heat and balance the temperature, to prevent overheating.

I bought used RAM on ebay; hynix RAM which came out of a Mac. Those RAM are common because people upgrade their Macs' memory and sell the old RAM.
Note: Do memory tests with Apple Hardware Test or Memtest86 when you get new RAM.


If you haven't reinstalled your OS in a long time, and you have a lot of programs and/or files everywhere, it may be a good idea to reinstall the OS. Over time, 'gunk' builds up, which is small files, hidden and/or in system folders, and also useless programs and software you installed that loads at boot. Reinstalling cleans up all this 'gunk' that built up over time and gets rid of forgotten files that you don't use. It also defragments the disk, increasing the load time a little and making the system a bit snappier.

To reinstall your OS, boot and hold Command+R. This gets you in the recovery OS. Go to Disk Utility and select your main volume (Macintosh HD usually) with your OS, and erase it. Next, exit Disk Utility and go to the OS X installer and install it.
Copy all your important files, if any, to external disk before you erase.
 
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snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Yes because the RAM is the biggest problem here.

Your MacBook Pro with 4GB RAM and the original HDD will be running at acceptable speeds. Install an SSD if you want super fast speeds.

Dust only slows your computer down when it is under load and hot, such as playing a game. It causes the computer to run hotter than usual, so the CPU and GPU throttle (lower their speed) to produce less heat and balance the temperature, to prevent overheating.

I bought used RAM on ebay; hynix RAM which came out of a Mac. Those RAM are common because people upgrade their Macs' memory and sell the old RAM.
Note: Do memory tests with Apple Hardware Test or Memtest86 when you get new RAM.


If you haven't reinstalled your OS in a long time, and you have a lot of programs and/or files everywhere, it may be a good idea to reinstall the OS. Over time, 'gunk' builds up, which is small files, hidden and/or in system folders, and also useless programs and software you installed that loads at boot. Reinstalling cleans up all this 'gunk' that built up over time and gets rid of forgotten files that you don't use. It also defragments the disk, increasing the load time a little and making the system a bit snappier.

To reinstall your OS, boot and hold Command+R. This gets you in the recovery OS. Go to Disk Utility and select your main volume (Macintosh HD usually) with your OS, and erase it. Next, exit Disk Utility and go to the OS X installer and install it.
Copy all your important files, if any, to external disk before you erase.
Thanks. Is it possible to update to 8 GB of RAM? I heard it wasn't? I will buy it from OWC.

Will this ram work?

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/8566DDR3S8GP/
 
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poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
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snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
No.

According to MacTracker, your Mac takes 200-pin PC2-5300 (667MHz) DDR2 SO-DIMM RAM. It takes a maximum of 6GB. It's probably better to have 2x2GB for 4GB.
About my Mac says 1067 MHz. Is this correct?
 

snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Is it an aluminum one or a black or white plastic one?
If it is aluminun then it takes 1067MHz RAM, but the maximum is 4GB (2x2GB).

If it is plastic then it is 667MHz

http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT1651
It is an aluminum. Here is my screen shot.

The Model Identifier is MacBook5, 1

On this page, it says that I can use 8 GB I believe? Am I correct?

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Apple_MacBook_MacBook_Pro/Upgrade/DDR3

Also, thanks for taking the time out to help me with this! I greatly appreciate it! It is very helpful, and I'm going to order the ram ASAP. I'm excited that my Macbook will be become more useable again after this ram upgrade!
 

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53kyle

macrumors 65816
Mar 27, 2012
1,281
106
Sebastopol, CA
It is an aluminum. Here is my screen shot.

The Model Identifier is MacBook5, 1

On this page, it says that I can use 8 GB I believe? Am I correct?

http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/Apple_MacBook_MacBook_Pro/Upgrade/DDR3

Also, thanks for taking the time out to help me with this! I greatly appreciate it! It is very helpful, and I'm going to order the ram ASAP. I'm excited that my Macbook will be become more useable again after this ram upgrade!
Yes, you can put 8 GB in there.
 

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BrettApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,099
378
Heart of the midwest
Yes, 8GB will work perfectly fine in the Late '08. I've ran 8GB in mine since early 2011 without issue. It's OWC RAM. I also put in an SSD in 2012 and it was an even more dramatic speed boost.

But you should be fine with the increased RAM. Opening apps may not be significantly different, but once things are running it will be much quicker since it won't have to swap to the slow HDD.

Also, you might check your HDD after all these years to make sure it's still good. Something quick like SMART Utility can show you a few important bits. Like bad sectors or pending sectors. But if all has been well, just slow, than you are probably "OK". Just have backups of anything important as always.
 

snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Yes, 8GB will work perfectly fine in the Late '08. I've ran 8GB in mine since early 2011 without issue. It's OWC RAM. I also put in an SSD in 2012 and it was an even more dramatic speed boost.

But you should be fine with the increased RAM. Opening apps may not be significantly different, but once things are running it will be much quicker since it won't have to swap to the slow HDD.

Also, you might check your HDD after all these years to make sure it's still good. Something quick like SMART Utility can show you a few important bits. Like bad sectors or pending sectors. But if all has been well, just slow, than you are probably "OK". Just have backups of anything important as always.
Thanks for responding! Will I notice a significant increase in speed when opening up Safari, or opening up the mail app? Sometimes Safari takes 45 seconds to really open after clicking the icon on the dock.
 

poiihy

macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2014
2,285
53
Thanks for responding! Will I notice a significant increase in speed when opening up Safari, or opening up the mail app? Sometimes Safari takes 45 seconds to really open after clicking the icon on the dock.
Yes.
 

spadz93

macrumors member
Nov 24, 2009
72
2
i'm following this. i have the same model as you (i have the 2.4 model) running with 8gb of ram, and ML runs eh, but battery life is a killer. i'm looking to upgrade to an ssd and throw either mavericks or yosemite on. let me know how it runs after everything!
 

BrettApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,099
378
Heart of the midwest
Thanks for responding! Will I notice a significant increase in speed when opening up Safari, or opening up the mail app? Sometimes Safari takes 45 seconds to really open after clicking the icon on the dock.
There should be a marked improvement. It won't be as fast as an SSD of course. A good SSD makes things open almost instantly, even on Mavericks and Yosemite. But with the stock HDD still in it, I'd expect to have to wait 10 seconds or so. But surely not 45!

Up until Christmas I was using an Early 2009 MacBook (plastic version of the Late '08 basically) as a secondary machine and it was bone stock when I got it. 2GB RAM, 2.0GHz C2D, and a slooow 120GB 5400 RPM HDD.

It shipped with and ran Leopard fine but the second I threw Yosemite at it it crawled, which I expected. I just wanted to see how bad it would be.

First I changed the RAM to 4GB with some DDR2 sticks I had laying around, and it helped out a good bit. But the HDD was still holding it back a LOT. Then I put in a $60 128GB SSD and it flew! I then gifted it to my cousin going into his senior year of HS headed towards college. He didn't have a computer and has lots of work, so why not :)

So in my mind, if you have 2GB of RAM, RAM is the first upgrade. If you have 4GB, you're better off going straight to an SSD. If you want to make your "old" MacBook feel like new on the latest OS X, then get both 4-8GB RAM and a good SSD. It makes a world of difference.

I posted a quick video on Instagram of how fast the boot up was. Two spins of the boot spinner on Snow Leopard. The HDD took nearly a minute. My Instagram is private, but here it is:

SSD Boot
 
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snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
There should be a marked improvement. It won't be as fast as an SSD of course. A good SSD makes things open almost instantly, even on Mavericks and Yosemite. But with the stock HDD still in it, I'd expect to have to wait 10 seconds or so. But surely not 45!

Up until Christmas I was using an Early 2009 MacBook (plastic version of the Late '08 basically) as a secondary machine and it was bone stock when I got it. 2GB RAM, 2.0GHz C2D, and a slooow 120GB 5400 RPM HDD.

It shipped with and ran Leopard fine but the second I threw Yosemite at it it crawled, which I expected. I just wanted to see how bad it would be.

First I changed the RAM to 4GB with some DDR2 sticks I had laying around, and it helped out a good bit. But the HDD was still holding it back a LOT. Then I put in a $60 128GB SSD and it flew! I then gifted it to my cousin going into his senior year of HS headed towards college. He didn't have a computer and has lots of work, so why not :)

So in my mind, if you have 2GB of RAM, RAM is the first upgrade. If you have 4GB, you're better off going straight to an SSD. If you want to make your "old" MacBook feel like new on the latest OS X, then get both 4-8GB RAM and a good SSD. It makes a world of difference.

I posted a quick video on Instagram of how fast the boot up was. Two spins of the boot spinner on Snow Leopard. The HDD took nearly a minute. My Instagram is private, but here it is:

SSD Boot
Nice! I bought the 8GB (2, 4 GB sticks) this morning. Can't wait for them to get here. I would be afraid to actually change to an SSD. I do not know too much about them. I hope that the ram will change the performance enough where I can get by.

Here's my next question. Does my iMac have an SSD? Its the 2012 model. The first model with the thin display and no optical drive.
 

BrettApple

macrumors 65816
Apr 3, 2010
1,099
378
Heart of the midwest
Nice! I bought the 8GB (2, 4 GB sticks) this morning. Can't wait for them to get here. I would be afraid to actually change to an SSD. I do not know too much about them. I hope that the ram will change the performance enough where I can get by.

Here's my next question. Does my iMac have an SSD? Its the 2012 model. The first model with the thin display and no optical drive.
The actual swapping of drives is easy, but if you don't have a good backup that's the first place to start. It's simple enough to restore from Time Machine, or if you have the cables/dock just to clone it. Maybe have a friend or family member that knows what they're doing help if you want.

Your iMac probably doesn't have an SSD, unless you ordered it with one or it has a fusion drive (high end models/BTO option). It does have a faster HDD than your MacBook though. Maybe not spin speed, but it's higher density and that will help it out too. Last I checked the 27" used a 7200 RPM disk and the 21.5" has a slower 5400RPM drive. It's probably got 1TB though, so it shouldn't be horribly slow, but not that fast either.

I'd imagine 30-40 MB/s write and 50-60 MB/s read (based on my 2012 Mac Mini W/1TB HDD). An SSD in your '08 MacBook tops out at 300 MB/s, and modern PCIe ones (2013+) go over 900 MB/s depending on size and manufacturer.
 

snarestud940

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 3, 2012
513
28
Just installed the new ram!!

Wow! The computer runs MUCH quicker right now! I do not have to wait for apps like mail, safari, etc to open up within 45 seconds. they both opened in under 4 seconds!

Thankyou to everyone who gave me insight to do this!
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Wow! The computer runs MUCH quicker right now! I do not have to wait for apps like mail, safari, etc to open up within 45 seconds. they both opened in under 4 seconds!

Thankyou to everyone who gave me insight to do this!
In the future, you can look at your Memory Pressure in Activity Monitor to determine how much RAM is being exhausted.
 
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