Late 2008 MacBook slow/poor battery life, to downgrade to Snow Leopard or not?


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 11, 2014
So I have a late 2008 13" macbook currently running Mavericks (2.4 core 2 due/8gb ram). Its performance is getting dated, and battery life is awful even on new battery (1.5-2 hours). My usage is not heavy, mostly web browsing/email and sometimes some rare photo editing and I'd like to stretch this mac out another year.

To do this, one thing that is certain is an SSD upgrade. Now my question is though, which route should I go after that:

Option 1: Clean install mavericks/yosemite and hope the SSD upgrade is sufficient with the old cpu/new software


Option 2: Clean install of Snow leapord even though support has ceased. If i go this route, my 8gb ram will not be compatible correct? I think 6gb was the max (unless the firmware update to allow 8gb can still be used in snow leapord?)

Either way, I liked snow leapord the best, and dont need all the new IOS integration since i'm an android user anyway. I'd just like to hear the communities thoughts.

Has anyone done this downgrade to SL from mavericks, is it worth it?
Whats the best way to do this with the new SSD?
Would snow leopard help my battery life?
I'm not sure i have the original leopard disk, but i do have my snow leopard upgrade disc to use for clean install if that would work?

Any comments are appreciated, Thanks.


macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
A SSD upgrade would bring a great boost in speed to that machine. Snow Leopard is able to use all 8GB of memory in that model Macbook as long as its firmware is up to date.


macrumors regular
May 17, 2014
I personally have a white 2009 Macbook. I installed Mavericks on it, and it ran pretty badly so I downgraded to Snow Leopard. Now it runs much better.
I have 3gb of ram and the stock 120gb HDD
Personally I would downgrade to Snow Leopard, unless you're planning on getting an SSD. Then I would keep Mavericks with the SSD


macrumors newbie
Aug 18, 2014
I was working with the 2.0 GHz configuration of the same model with 4 GB of RAM. I threw in a 120 GB SSD and installed Mavericks. That machine ran better than new! With an SSD, I would say the downgrade is not necessary at all.


macrumors 6502
May 6, 2009
hey, just ressurecting this thread, i also get 1.5 hours on battery with my 2008 macbook running El Capitan, but my battery also has 900 cycles so it is just old. you get only 1.5 hours on BRAND NEW battery? :(
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