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escvnte

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
8
2
Italy
Hello everyone.
I know that probably this question has been already asked before many times, but here's the deal: i'm trying to replace my current Snow Leopard 10.6.8 install with something new, until the end of life of this MBP.
First things first: my Mac has 8 GB of RAM and a SSD drive that I recently added, as the old mechanical HDD drive just died (well, it lasted over 9 years, so can't really complain about it).
With this machine i'm planning to do some basic video-audio editing with FCPX and Logic/Audition, as well surfing the web, create documents, etcetera.
So far I tried Mountain Lion, Mavericks, El Capitan, Sierra and High Sierra. The later ones with absolutely bad success.
Both Sierra and High Sierra just slowed down the Mac to a crawl, literally, both with the TRIM option on and off. No difference.
Surfing the web with either Safari or Chrome gives lots of beachballs everytime, with both Sierra and High Sierra. Boot times are painfully slow (almost a minute), and the fans are always on, despite the CPU being not used at all.
I know that these Macs had a problem with the NVIDIA board. Matter of fact, I had to replace mine almost 8 years ago as the machine was always crashing and giving kernel panics all the time. Throughout all this time, I had no problems whatsoever. So I exclude that the NVIDIA board has something to do with this issue with Sierras.
I read that some people are running either Sierra or High Sierra just fine on their Mid-2010 MBPs. I wonder how some of you managed to achieve that.
My machine just becomes slow with nothing installed but just vanilla MacOS.
If some of you can help me out with this dilemma, before either giving away the machine to a family member or ditch MacOS completely in favor of Windows, it will be very appreciated.

Thank you for your help
 

MultiFinder17

macrumors 68030
Jan 8, 2008
2,728
2,057
Tampa, Florida
Have you taken out the logic board and replaced the thermal paste and dusted out the radiators? If not, I’d do that first thing. Decade-old thermal paste won’t be doing much good for your Mac these days.

My 2008 15” 2.53/8GB/SSD runs high Sierra smooth as silk, and that's with quite a bit less horsepower than your 2010 would be bringing :)

Screen Shot 2020-11-19 at 6.33.13 AM.png
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,756
12,864
I'd suggest 10.12 "Low Sierra" as the best OS for an older Mac.

If that isn't working for you, either use the OS you have now that DOES work
or...
Perhaps it's time to start looking for a replacement Mac...
 
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escvnte

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
8
2
Italy
I'd suggest 10.12 "Low Sierra" as the best OS for an older Mac.

If that isn't working for you, either use the OS you have now that DOES work
or...
Perhaps it's time to start looking for a replacement Mac...
Yep. I will give low Sierra another try.
So far, in this machine, anything Windows (XP, 7 and 10) as well anything up to El Capitan works like a charm.
Temperatures not above 50°C during regular use, and CPU load not above 25%. Available RAM 6 GB. Even Virtual Machines with Linux are snappier to load and use.
Whether with High Sierra I would always get 80% CPU usage, temperatures in the 70-80° (something you would only expect when doing heavy tasks, like editing videos or doing something 3D), slow boot times and many beachballs.
I should've also added that i'm not using the best SSD in town (mine it's a 240GB Kingston A400 SSD drive....A cheap SSD, but it boots Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion or Windows just fine). But I don't think the SSD is really the culprit of High Sierra performance.
Like I said, I'm not expecting this machine to be in the same league as a Brand New one. But, for regular tasks, like browsing the web, edit some small clips in FCP or do some 24-bits audio editing with Logic or Audition should still be snappy, like it was with Snow Leopard.
Only reason why I'm dropping Snow Leopard is because of lack of support for certain plugins I use for work. And the lack of web security as well.
I have a Windows 10 tower at home. But for work I need something portable. And this Mac is the only laptop I have right now.
We'll see, next year, if I can find a deal in the refurbished Apple Store.
Even a 2015 MBP would do just fine for what I need to do.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,756
12,864
Well, if El Cap works fine, bear in mind that Low Sierra is only "one step up beyond" it.
I'd use El Cap until the old iMac no longer runs.
 
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escvnte

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
8
2
Italy
Have you taken out the logic board and replaced the thermal paste and dusted out the radiators? If not, I’d do that first thing. Decade-old thermal paste won’t be doing much good for your Mac these days.

My 2008 15” 2.53/8GB/SSD runs high Sierra smooth as silk, and that's with quite a bit less horsepower than your 2010 would be bringing :)

View attachment 1673553
Thats what I did 2 years ago, when I added more RAM and the SSD drive last year. ;)
I always put my Mac in a bag after every use. This since Day 1. And you'll be surprised but when I opened it up there was barely any dust or dirt inside.
If the thermal paste was not ok, I would've probably already fried the motherboard this past Summer, when it was hot as hell.
This Mac, after having replaced the motherboard for the dual-GPU issue, has been running like a champ, with Windows, Mountain Lion, Snow Leopard and El Capitan.
Temperatures in the 47-50°C during regular use and CPU load not above 25-30% during normal use. Same with RAM.
I believe High Sierra is just the exception.
 

LordeOurMother

macrumors 6502
Jul 10, 2014
397
122
'Low Sierra' is your best bet for now. Apple broke something in the newest update of High Sierra where they made it practically impossible to use App Store bought apps such as Logic or Pages. People are currently finding workarounds. El Capitan is on its way out in terms of browser and app support but Sierra still does plenty fine in this regard.

Once people do find a solution for High Sierra, upgrading to HS while keeping your apps and settings from Sierra is painless. (Just remember to back up your system first). My MacBook is a year older than yours and runs both Sierra and HS plenty well. What I've done is downloaded Macs Fan Control and set the following fan curve:
  • Temperature that fans will start to increase: 40 Centigrade
  • Maximum Temperature: 75 Centigrade
I've set these temperatures in regards to the CPU diode, which gets hotter than the rest of the system. With this fan curve the Mac generally stays at 50c until doing somewhat heavy multi tasking, and never gets above 70 really because the fan RPM speeds increases as a function of the temperature.

El Capitan is getting really long in the tooth, but HS will provide you satisfactory performance to get one or two more years out of your laptop assuming you set an aggressive fan curve to prevent throttling. What I suspect happens is Sierra and HS are both a little bit more CPU intensive than El Capitan, and because of this the Core 2 Duo reaches its throttling temperature faster because the default fan curve on these macs isn't very good. But if you mitigate the temperatures and the throttling it performs great!
 
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escvnte

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
8
2
Italy
'Low Sierra' is your best bet for now. Apple broke something in the newest update of High Sierra where they made it practically impossible to use App Store bought apps such as Logic or Pages. People are currently finding workarounds. El Capitan is on its way out in terms of browser and app support but Sierra still does plenty fine in this regard.

Once people do find a solution for High Sierra, upgrading to HS while keeping your apps and settings from Sierra is painless. (Just remember to back up your system first). My MacBook is a year older than yours and runs both Sierra and HS plenty well. What I've done is downloaded Macs Fan Control and set the following fan curve:
  • Temperature that fans will start to increase: 40 Centigrade
  • Maximum Temperature: 75 Centigrade
I've set these temperatures in regards to the CPU diode, which gets hotter than the rest of the system. With this fan curve the Mac generally stays at 50c until doing somewhat heavy multi tasking, and never gets above 70 really because the fan RPM speeds increases as a function of the temperature.

El Capitan is getting really long in the tooth, but HS will provide you satisfactory performance to get one or two more years out of your laptop assuming you set an aggressive fan curve to prevent throttling. What I suspect happens is Sierra and HS are both a little bit more CPU intensive than El Capitan, and because of this the Core 2 Duo reaches its throttling temperature faster because the default fan curve on these macs isn't very good. But if you mitigate the temperatures and the throttling it performs great!
Many thanks for this. We'll see how it goes.
In case I see that even Sierra is slow, despite having an SSD and 8 GB of RAM, I will go back to Snow Leopard and use the Internet on my Windows 10 machine.
Meantime, yesterday I re-applied some new thermal paste again to the Mac. And I noticed that my LCD connector got loose.
Don't know if I want to dismantle the entire thing again, plus the LCD panel, just to change the cable.
I've been using this Mac always at home, connected to a DELL UltraSharp IPS display. So I will, probably, just disconnect the cable and have the Mac run only the external display like a Mac Mini would.
Have yet to read if it's even possible.
Many thanks for all the help, everybody.
 

InTeCredo

macrumors member
Aug 14, 2017
49
49
Hello,

I have MBP 17" (Mid-2010) and have successfully installed Mojave using DosDude1 patcher.


Screenshot 2020-12-13 at 10.40.18.png


The only hardware upgrade was replacing HDD with SDD. What a huge difference in performance!!! It's like my MBP got a massive dose of second wind. Despite 8GB of memory, my MBP runs much faster and much smoother than it was under High Sierra. I use Macs Fan Control app to monitor the fan speed and temperature: so far, everything's within the optimal perimeter.


Under Mojave, the VLC player is more stable and can play the videos at faster speed than it was under High Sierra.

A big caveat: if you have to install the security updates from Apple, please have DosDude1 patcher on USB drive plugged in. After it reboots during the installation, hold Option key down to select the USB drive. Run the Post-Installation from DosDude1 patcher to reconfigure the macOS correctly. Otherwise, you will get lot of performance and stability issues.

I am waiting for the Nvidia Quadro K5100 GPU to arrive so I can replace the AMD Radeon HD 5750 GPU in my iMac 27" (Mid-2010). Once I install Nvidia, I will use SSH to reflash the GPU for Mac. I was able to run Mojave on my iMac with AMD Radeon 5700 GPU by substituting the AMD kext file (AMDRadeonX3000.kext) from High Sierra. No weird assed colours and such. Of course, a few GPU issues are expected: Apple Map app cannot display anything, VLC player cannot play (I use Quicktime for time being) without blinking, and the tabs in Safari don't show the headings and "X to close" well. Surprisingly, Adobe CC apps (2019 and 2021) are able to work fine.

Screenshot 2020-12-13 at 10.46.54.png


Good luck!
 
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escvnte

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 18, 2020
8
2
Italy
OK, so I finally installed Sierra 10.12.6 on my Mac.
It runs much more better now than when I first installed it a long ago. Although, I believe the Mac has still a very short lifespan ahead, as for some reasons the display got a huge blue hue covering the entire screen and the keyboard no longer works. Not even the power button works anymore.
The only way to turn on the Mac, now, is to disconnect the battery and run it with just the MagSafe connected. Not a very feasible solution. Though, considering how old this machine is, i'm not even attempting to repair it as the costs to buy everything brand new (logic board, keyboard, display and whatnot) are just way too much.
Plus, this machine got the logic board replaced twice, once in 2010 and then in 2012, due to the NVIDIA's GPU problems the Mid-2010 Macbooks are well known for. So chances of buying a faulty logic board are always around the corner.
I expected much more from this machine, to be honest. Probably the only Intel Mac that has served me well was the 15" 2008 Unibody MBP. I made a mistake of giving it away.

Anyways, thanks so much everyone for your inputs and help.
 
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