MacBookPro5,5 (mid-2009) - Which OSX to upgrade to?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Avery1, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Avery1 macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2010

    My wife is using a pretty old MBP - 2009 13" MacBookPro5,5 with a 2.26 GHz CPU, 8GB RAM, and an aftermarket SSD. It is running Lion. Quite honestly, it has been a tank and still performs decently with the memory and SSD. Alas, I made the realization that Lion no longer receives security updates.

    We'd like to maintain respectable performance for (primarily) web browsing and MS Office applications, to get at least 9 months more out of the computer (without running into issues with EOL for security updates).

    What OS should we target to maximize performance with this hardware in a supported fashion over the next 9 months? Mountain Lion, Mavericks, or Yosemite?

  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Yosemite is pretty good. However, if you can, try the El Capitan beta - it performs even better than Yosemite.
  3. jruschme macrumors 6502


    Dec 20, 2011
    Brick, NJ
    I'm also running a mid-2009 13", though with a regular hard disk and can agree with the suggestions above.

    Yosemite runs well, though I did turn off the transparency on mine for a bit more performance. Since it is my backup system, I went ahead and installed the El Capitan DP... very nice.

    Personally, I'd say to go ahead and upgrade to Yosemite now and then definitely to El Capitan when it is released.
  4. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Is there any features you must have in Mavericks, Yosemite? I'd say if Lion is working great why change, i.e., why fix what isn't broken. As for the security updates, which are important. Practice safe computing habits and that will minimize your risk.

    If security updates are that important to you, then the answer will be you should go to yosemite. Why upgrade to Mavericks if its already been replaced. Go with the most current to maximize the ability to receive security updates.
  5. Avery1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2010
    Hi, the reason to change is to remain current from a security perspective. Agreed that 'Safe computing habits' are good to exercise, but in reality this only covers part of the gammut.

    I should have also mentioned that stability is also key.

    My experience with OS's over the years has been that they tend to evolve with features which also is more demanding for resources. In this case, Memory is fine, but it is a pretty old school processor (no multi-threading, if I recall correctly). So that is why I'm asking about Mountain Lion, versus Mavericks, versus Yosemite (El Cap isn't an option for the stability reasons).

    Good to hear Yosemite is running acceptably on a similar machine.

    I just want to ensure there is no major performance degradation with the version I choose. For instance, my ipad2 performance dropped like a rock when moving to ios8. Thanks for your input.
  6. Idefix macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2012
    I've just downgraded two laptops from Yosemite to Snow Leopard. The difference in performance is night and day: they're both now running around like spring chicks!

    The one that's closest to your situation is a 2010 13" 2.4 Macbook7,1 that I bought and setup for a friend. It came running Yosemite. I upgraded it to 8 GB RAM, installed some music for her, that's it. Pretty plain vanilla. Doesn't have SSD--I've heard that Yosemite is pretty unfriendly for the SSD-deprived crowd (upgrading to SSD isn't in the money-budget for her, nor is it necessary for her usage.)

    In Yosemite, you'd click on some music, it would lag. You'd click to open System Prefs, or click within System Prefs, it would lag. In browsers, you click to switch tabs, it would lag. Etc.

    In Snow Leopard, same music, same plain vanilla, same RAM, it's a new laptop. Maybe it's the contrast of going straight from Yosemite to Snow Leopard that makes it so overwhelmingly noticeable, but I now think it's ridiculous to upgrade an older MB to Yosemite. At most, I would got to Mountain Lion or Mavericks.

    For my friend's use, Snow Leopard is totally safe. YMMV.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've heard many complaints about yosemite - I'd not be so quick to say it runs acceptably. For me I'm content with yosemite but there are still issues. 10.11 should hopefully fix those, maybe wait until 10.11 is released this fall?
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I have an April 2010 MacBook Pro 13".

    Still using the original OS that came with it -- Snow Leopard (updated to version 10.6.8).

    It runs fast, stable and smooth. Quite frankly, I don't worry about security updates because I keep nothing of great importance on it (that mission is delegated to my "main" desktop Mac).

    I upgraded the HDD to an SSD, and with Snow Leopard it boots from the first appearance of the Apple to the finder in 5 seconds flat.

    I also have the drive partitioned, with 10.8.5 on the secondary partition. It takes a little longer to boot, though. But once running, it's fast and snappy, as well.

    I would suggest going to OS 10.8.5 and perhaps "leaving it at that".
    A good compromise between the "lightest" OS (for an older Mac) and an OS release that's "relatively recent"....
  9. kwokaaron macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2013
    Mavericks and maybe El Capitan when it's released. Although the OP has to bear in mind that if you want TRIM support for your SSD you might find it a hassle with Yosemite or El Capitan since they introduced kext signing.
  10. Avery1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2010
    Thanks for the additional feedback. Current security patching is a requirement, based on its use.

    Interesting note on the SSD and kext signing. I'm actually OK without trim working (won't be keeping it too long), but that is good to know. Any other performance experiences?
  11. Idefix macrumors 6502a

    Jul 10, 2012
    In that case, I'd go to Mountain Lion or Mavericks. Provided, of course, that Apple allows you to obtain them.
  12. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    Nice, I have the same set up. I really enjoy Snow Leopard.

    OP, I would just create a bootable USB drive containing Yosemite. This will give you a clean installation, plus it is stable and contains very few minor bugs in my experience. It has a quick interface and lots of useful integration.

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