Mavericks slower than 10.6.8 on my 2011 laptop

Discussion in 'OS X Mavericks (10.9)' started by dihydrocody, Sep 20, 2014.

  1. dihydrocody macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    #1
    I have an '11 MacBook Air that came with 10.6.8, 4GB RAM and 1.6GHz processor.

    Two months ago I tried the free Mavericks download. I ran checkdisk and also repair permissions, whatever that means, as I had read on this forum that that would improve the performance.

    Mavericks slowed the machine. Startup went from 16s to 19s, starting iTunes from 4s to 5s. Minor tasks were worse. Clicking on the Applications shortcut, or opening a Finder window, would bring up a window full of blank icons, which would then slowly appear one by one. Creating an Alias would take several seconds, while copying a shortcut to the desktop would give the Apple multicolour wheel for several seconds.

    The only proper bugs I found were in iCal, which would arbitrarily refuse to display certain calendars, and launching Applications, where every so often after clicking an icon nothing would happen, and I would have to click a number of times before an application would open. Due to the new slowness, often there would be a pause of several seconds before any application would launch anyway, making the failure to launch at all particularly frustrating, as I would have to wait several seconds to see whether anything was going to happen.

    I could see how Mavericks has a kind of "faux" performance improvement. The animations around scrolling and launching make it look as though the system is really whizzing along. It's kind of the computer equivalent of a car having an oversensitive throttle to make it appear more sporty, when in reality it has less power.

    Most of all, I didn't see the point of Mavericks. The new features, such as the notifications, were annoying and unnecessary (my phone is on my desk next to me and the notifications all pop up there anyway), and I didn't like some of the design changes (all of the nice icons that I had in Finder would not display in the sidebar which became permanently monochrome).

    I decided to revert to 10.6.8 That was really easy to do, taking about 20 minutes from inserting the 10.6.8 USB to the install finishing, then about another 20 minutes for all the latest software updates to download, plus 20 minutes to copy the files I wanted from Time Machine.

    With a fresh install, the computer is faster - bootup now takes 14s and iTunes launches in 3s. Most importantly, everything has a really snappy and responsive feel - no pauses, no multicolour pinwheel and nothing not working. It's the little things like copying items to the desktop where you really feel the performance difference, as unlike bootup those are the things that you do a lot of when working. Those are the things that felt almost broken with Mavericks and that now work invisibly well with 10.6.8 Once again, my three years old computer feels brand new.

    Lots of disc space has been freed up. With all my data restored from Time Machine, there is an extra 20GB free on my SSD Some of that is due to applications that I had installed and then forgotten about on the old build, and some I think due to things such as iTunes doing that thing of making a fresh copy of a film every time you launch the file and then keeping that old copy in an obscure folder even after you delete the film form iTunes.

    No doubt if I were more technically proficient there would be myriad workarounds for all of the above issues with Mavericks. But the reason I bought a Mac is because I do not want to be technically proficient - my interests are writing, photography and music, not IT. For me, Mavericks was an annoying downgrade, and the way to freshen up my computer and make it feel new again was not to install the latest free OS from Apple, but just to make a fresh install of the OS it came with. And best of all is that this keeps me out of the loop of having the latest thing from Apple, which keeps me one step further away from buying a new iPhone which I neither can afford nor need :)
     
  2. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #2
    Welcome to post-Snow Leopard future crap...! :p:p

    This is how the future works now... Anything post-SL is slow compared to the fast, stable, and efficient SL...
     
  3. chabig macrumors 68040

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    Sep 6, 2002
    #3
    What you described is not normal for Mavericks.
     
  4. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

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    #4
    One thing you didn't mention is how long you tried to use Mavericks for. Since you haven't done an operating system upgrade in many years, it's worth reminding that after upgrading Spotlight reindexes the entire drive, which creates a noticeable hit in system performance and responsiveness. The reindexing process can take quite a while. How long did you try using Mavericks for before throwing in the towel? That you were able to use Time Machine even after freshly installing OS X 10.6 makes it seem as if you weren't on for very long - not long enough for a Time Machine backup to be made by 10.9, anyway (unless you split your backups between multiple drives).

    I think the notifications and increased integration are fantastic. Are you telling me that you'd really rather go from your computer to your phone, then back to your computer? That doesn't seem particularly fast or efficient to me, but everyone has their own preferences and habits. The ability to read and respond to iMessages from my computer was one of my favorite advancements of OS X 10.8, and when we gain the ability to read and respond to SMS texts with OS X 10.10 it'll be even better.

    A fresh install of 10.9 would have likely resulted in performance gains, too. As was mentioned above, your experience with 10.9 was not usual.
     
  5. Isamilis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #5
    I have the same 2011 MBP as well. I've tested 10.6.8, 10.8.5 and 10.9.4. All are from scratches and use them for at least 3 weeks. I found that SL is the fastest one, second fastest is ML. Mavericks is slow at launch, but because of memory limitation, I usually closed / open the program, so Mavericks seems notable slow for me compared to SL.

    Right now, I use ML to get the balance between new software and speed. No SSD, no extra RAM and only a little bit slower than SL.
     
  6. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    The Finger Lakes Region
    #6
    In Mavericks if you did an"updgrade" to Mavericks there is your problem. Down the free application EtreCheck and when you run it anything that turns up red manually delete that service/program and reboot. You then will will see old hackies can really slow down Mavericks.
     
  7. vista980622 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 2, 2012
    #7
    This is NOT usual on a SSD-based MacBook Air. Maybe it has something to do with Spotlight index?
     
  8. Eithanius, Sep 26, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014

    Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #8
    It is NOT UNUSUAL... Mavericks is definitely slower for some reason, even though both Mv and SL were clean installs on an SSD, without spotlight indexing, without iLife or iWork crap... the former is still much slower...

    Anything that is instantaneous on SL, takes about a second or two slower on Mavericks...

    Disabling new window animation and forcing Dock to go 2D may improve performance somewhat, but nowhere near SL...

    Mavericks is just bloated...


    EDIT: Believe it or not, iCloud Notes updating its content on SL Mail is even faster than Mavericks' Notes app updating its own contents... Something is very wrong with Mavericks no...?
     
  9. psik macrumors 6502

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    Aug 21, 2007
    #9
    Mavericks is definitely slower than SL s:
     
  10. iolinux333 macrumors 68000

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    Feb 9, 2014
    #10
    Mavericks is a pig but it ain't no pig compared to the new pig they're fattening and lipsticking right now and soon they're releasing it from the sty!
     
  11. vista980622, Sep 30, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2014

    vista980622 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 2, 2012
    #11
    You are actually right. After switching between SL and MV back and forth, I can confirm everything you've mentioned on a SSD-based 2011 Mac mini, including the iCloud Notes one.

    But the difference is NOT that obvious (but absolutely noticable).

    But after all, if no new feature in Mavericks is important for you, stick with Snow Leopard. It runs much cooler and much more silently.
     
  12. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #12
    I just noticed my battery giving out Service Battery warning. Never noticed that on SL, and surely not on the lipsticked Yosemite...

    Something is very wrong with Mavericks despite 10.9.5...
     
  13. dihydrocody thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 20, 2014
    #13
    Two interesting points I have seen:

    I didn't make a fair comparison as Mavericks was not a fresh install;

    Spotlight might have spent the first few days or something indexing the computer which would have made it run slow.

    From the other replies it seems that lots of people find Mavericks worse so maybe my experience wasn't so unusual.

    But Apple must be aware of the improvement that a fresh install makes, and also that Spotlight will slow down the computer when Mavericks is first installed - so why don't they tell you that?

    Why doesn't one of the popups when you are installing Mavericks offer to dump your hard drive to Time Machine, format the disk, install Mavericks "clean" then give an option to restore everything from Time Machine? Or, if that's not possible, at least make you aware of the issue. Ditto Spotlight - just a warning that the computer needs a few hours to do its thing might have helped hugely.

    After all Apple are the losers here - they are really keen to get everyone on to the latest platform for obvious reasons, but if like me you don't know enough about the technical side of upgrading, it seems the upgrade doesn't work out right.
     
  14. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #14
    Won't make any difference - you can clean install Mavericks and disable Spotlight re-indexing, bottom line is Mavericks is still slower to Snow Leopard.

    I was on a dual partition setup of SL and Mavericks on an SSD, both clean installs.
     
  15. chabig macrumors 68040

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    Sep 6, 2002
    #15
    There is no reason why a fresh install should be faster than an upgrade, with the exception that some services the user might have turned on could end up being turned off. Code from annupgrade isn't different than code from a fresh install.
     
  16. SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #16
    The 2011 MBA came with Lion - you must have a late 2010.

    ----------

    Have you actually checked out the install size? It's very small... like 7-8GB excluding sleepimage etc...
     
  17. dihydrocody thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
     
  18. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I'm referring to its processes, not footprint...
     
  19. SlCKB0Y, Oct 13, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014

    SlCKB0Y macrumors 68040

    SlCKB0Y

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    Feb 25, 2012
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    Sydney, Australia
    #19
    Ok, so show me your "early 2011" MBA with Snow Leopard:
    http://support.apple.com/specs/#macbookair

    And before you say anything, remember I gently corrected you and you made into a "thing".

    ----------

    A reinstall is far less likely to have corruption, filesystem permission issues and fragmentation, misconfigurations and mis-behaving drivers and apps from the previous OS X version. All of these things can and do slow things down.

    So no, the upgrade code is not different but there are plenty of environmental and runtime reasons why clean installations can be faster or more stable.
     
  20. dihydrocody thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #20

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  21. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #21
     

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