Mavericks runs much smoother than El Capitan on a 2008 iMac!


macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 7, 2009
I bought a used iMac off eBay a couple weeks ago, an early 2008 20" 2.4GHz model. It came with 2GB of RAM and a bad HDD. Before it arrived I ordered 4GB of RAM (2x2GB, didn't check that I could go 6GB before ordering), the suction cups, the torx set and a Sandisk SSD Pro.

When the iMac arrived I immediately installed the memory then the SSD. Then I ran into my first problem, I didn't have Lion associated with my Apple ID so I had to purchase that and wait a day for activation. Once that was done I installed Lion and then upgraded to El Capitan even though I wanted Mavericks (couldn't get it from the store anymore). I decided to buy a USB thumb drive with the installer on it from Amazon and it arrived yestereday.

Installed Mavericks and I have to say it seems to function way faster than El Capitan. Programs open faster, transistions are smoother. Just an overall better experience. I haven't done any benchmarks, this is all just a general feeling I get when using it.

Please Apple, don't stop support for Mavericks any time soon, I am loving this version!
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macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
I loved Mavericks, it was rock-solid stable for me. I'm still on Yosemite and avoiding 10.11 due to app compatibility, though El Cap seems fine too on all my friends' machines.

I'm stipulating that Mavericks seems smoother for you as El Cap is a little more graphics heavy with animations. El Cap's main performance boosts come from Metal, which are only supported on most 2012 Macs onwards.

And yes, hopefully Apple will continue to support Mavericks with security updates, albeit no new features. :)
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macrumors 6502a
Mar 31, 2015
I'm not surprised, my experience with 2007 iMac is similar. It might be because of animations but even after disabling translucency El Capitan is still slower. I suspect 10.11 has more background processes compared to 10.9.
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macrumors 65816
Feb 26, 2014
The frustrating thing with this yearly upgrade cycle is that as soon as you start getting used to the new OS, the next one is announced. Even our OSes are disposable now. I'm not going to bother with El Capitan again because 6 months from now there's a new one coming and it's gonna be announced in a few weeks. I need to get work done on my computers, they're not just here to make phone calls and find restaurants... I need a stable OS with stable applications and Mavericks gives me that. Yosemite was a mess, El Capitan is better, but for me Mavericks is still the best (couldn't care less about split view I have more than one monitor, or Metal which nobody uses in the real world except the tiny percentage of people who have compatible models - and there's still no major application that takes advantage of it, and SIP is pointless in my case because I need to have it disabled all the time). iCloud Drive can come handy sometimes, but I certainly can live without it.
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macrumors regular
Apr 9, 2015
Early 2008 24" iMac and Late 2008 13" MacBook. Both with a 240GB SSD and topped up RAM, here: Mavericks seems by far the best option.
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