To Update Or Not To Update?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by jon10, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. jon10 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    Hi guys, I’ve been using a mid 2010 mac book pro running snow leopard.

    The hard drive recently died and disc utility was unable to repair it so I’ve had to do an erase and install.

    As I’m reinstalling snow leopard from fresh I was thinking about updating to Yosemite.

    My question is as I’m using a mid 2010 mac book pro, in regards general performance would I be wise to stay on snow leopard or update to Yosemite.(considering the machine is a little old)

    The machine isn’t used for any particularly power crunching tasks.

    Many thanks for any insight you can offer.
  2. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    Great as it is, Snow Leopard is getting kind of long in the tooth, especially for internet related activities.
    OTOH, Mavericks (10.9) is still getting security updates, and isn't nearly so pushy about using Apple's cloud as is 10.10.
    Look at the Apps you use most, and see if awful things happened to them during the iOSiffication process that started with 10.9.
    Mountain Lion, 10.8 is not shabby either.
    I had to click a lot of checkboxes, read a lot of dialogs, and sign in and out of several web services to get 10.10 into a shape where I was happy using it.
  3. carylee2002 macrumors member


    Jul 27, 2008
    Here is some advice...Once you update to cannot go back and try to install snow leopard on any of your drives if you are running a newer OS X. I found Mtn Lion to be very stable. But once you go to mavericks and anything newer, then everything changed to be more efficient with IOS devices and the cloud. Mtn lion was the last the old school OS X and the newer style switched after that.
  4. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
    My advice to avoid this imagined problem is to make a bootable clone of your SL system to another drive, partition or even a USB flash drive using CarbonCopy or SuperDuper before you install and try any newer operating system. Then if things don't work well for you, simply clone the bootable system you made back onto your main HDD and you're good to go.
  5. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    Exactly my suggestion. If I were going to use dual OS X versions I would create separate partitions on the internal hard drive and install each OS X version on a separate partition. Boot to which ever you want or need to use.
  6. jon10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    My huge thanks for all of your sage advice, I am extremely grateful.

    Hmmm Hard drive partition, is this a particularly difficult proceeded?

    This may also sound like a ridiculous question, but would having a split boot on the drive cause the drive to be more prone to error? I ask this as the drive did just fail and though its been erased and restored I’m wondering whether a placement may be in order.

    Again my great thanks for your wise council.
  7. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    Can you clarify what you mean by "the drive did just fail and though its been erased and restored".

    Creating another partition should not create any problems. It is an unfortatunate fact that hardware dies for whatever reason whether it has moving parts or not. You create a new partition using the Disk Utility application in Applications/Utilities folder.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    I also have a 2010 MacBook Pro 13".

    What I would suggest:

    First, put an SSD into it.
    This is a very VERY easy job on the 2010 MBPro -- requires a Phillips #00 driver and a TORX T-6 driver.
    Visit for the installation guide.

    The hardest part is removing all the screws from the back plate, and replacing them afterwards.

    I would suggest a Crucial SSD. Because the MBPro is getting a little older, DON'T spend a lot of money for a high-capacity SSD. 240gb should do, and will run less than $100.

    Get an external enclosure. USB3 is fine.
    Put the SSD into the enclosure FIRST.
    Then initialize it, and install your new OS (see below).
    At the close of the installation process, you can "migrate over" your existing account, apps, and data.

    Next, do a "test boot" to be sure the SSD will boot and run.
    Reboot and hold down the option key until the startup manager appears.
    Then select the SSD with the pointer and hit return.
    If you get a good boot, check around to be sure that everything looks ok.

    After you do all this, now it's time to open the Macbook and swap the drives around.

    I'd recommend Mountain Lion 10.8.5 as the best OS to use on the MacBook for now.
    It's smooth, stable and fast, and although it's not the 'latest and greatest", be aware that from Mavericks on, Apple seems to have clogged up the OS with things that in real-life result in a "slowed-down user experience" on older Macs.

    I'm thinking that El Capitan may actually change this, but it's still in beta and I wouldn't rely on it as a "main OS" yet.

    My own experience:
    Like you, I'm still using 10.6.8 on my 2010 MBPro, and it still runs just fine for my purposes, which are not "taxing" since the MacBook isn't my "main computer". In fact, 10.6.8 (on an SSD) boots up in 5 seconds flat!

    I do have a second partition with 10.8.5 loaded, and it also runs quite well -- hence my recommendation above.

    I can make more suggestions re Yosemite, but this post has gone on long enough!
  9. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    If Snow Leopard works and you don't need software that requires Yosemite I don´t recommend updating because in my experience Yosemite works too slow on older Macs. Large part of Yosemite "improvements" wont work on 2010 model so its benefits are questionable.

    If you are determined to upgrade I recommend making bootable backup first to external hard drive and consider installing SSD because Yosemite is very slow on a hard drive. 4 GB of RAM is enough for light use for now but 8 wouldn't hurt.

    In my opinion Yosemite is a piece of s*** and I have no idea why Apple decided to release it. Even latest 10.10.5 version is full of bugs (Finder, OpenGL, Software update is unreliable etc...) :mad:

    It might be better to stay in Snow Leopard until El Capitan has been updated to 10.11.2 or .3 because it should work faster than Yosemite on older Macs. Even then you can keep using Snow Leopard instead of updating if its works better for you.
  10. Racineur, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015

    Racineur macrumors 6502


    Jun 11, 2013
    Montréal, Québec
    My own experience at this. This has been done two weeks ago. I have a late 2012 iMac i5 3.2 1 to FD. Running Mountain Lion with no, absolutely no problem, smooth, hassle free, kernel panic free. La belle vie, quoi. But I wanted to see what is happening now. But I was so scared after all those horrible posts on Yosemite. So I bought an external 250 g Samsung T1 SSD drive and installed Yosemite on it. All went perfectly well and I now boot from the SSD which is a damn great experience cause it's fast, I mean fast. I can take my time to evaluate Yosemite (10.10.5 now). No glitches, no beachballs of death (maybe a fraction of second at startup). no nothing. But since I have an Android phone and tablet, there is not much Yosemite can do for me except being visually incredibly different from ML and a bit faster. But maybe it's the SSD for which Black Magic Speed Test gives me better numbers than the Fusion Drive. In a nutshell, Yosemite still doesn't convince me that it's the OS for me at the moment who is not completely immersed in the Apple ecosystem. Maybe when I'll have an iPad and an iPhone. So for now, I do all of my important work with ML and play and experience a lot with Yosemite. Can say that I like it but for now, not enough to do the switch. If my experience can be of some help.
  11. Taz Mangus, Aug 15, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2015

    Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    It is unfortunate that you have been having a lot of issues with Yosemite. But there are a lot of people, myself included, that are running Yosemite and no had no issues. I run Yosemite on my 2009 Mac-Mini, 2009 MacBook Pro, 2011 iMac and a 2015 retina MacBook Pro and in each case Yosemite has been running great, very solid. So to tell someone that Yosemite is a piece of s*** and imply that they will have the issues you do is really not the best advice to give. Yes, I know all the posters reporting problems. You won't see all the other posts from people not having any issues with Yosemite posting here because that is not what people do when they don't have issues.
  12. jon10 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2015
    Again I’m hugely grateful for the spread of advice here, extremely helpful.

    Fishrrman the ssd suggestion does seem wise and also a nice way to update the machine and prolong it’s life as I currently feel no need to update and would hope to get another 3 years out of it (fingers crossed). Also I feel the improvement in speed mentioned by Racineur regardless of OS would make everything seem tighter.

    It’s interesting to hear the comparative experiences for Ebenezeum and Taz in regards Yosemite performance.

    As the original drive died (without time machine backup) I had to perform a full erase install, so I’m basically back to blank slate losing my installed applications etc. I do all of the heavy number crunching, photoshop, editing on my other machine which is running Mavericks, and the laptop is more word etc. I was forced into that update because of a Motion file, but I’ve found Mavericks to be fine (though for some reason for me Office 2011 is glitchy on it in a way it hasn’t been on snow leopard and that would be a big problem if regular crashes occurred on the laptop)

    I recently saw Yosemite running on my brothers Macbook Air and liked the redesign. It obviously seemed fresher and having it on my laptop woiuld make it seem almost like a new product . I am also completely in the apple eco system but don’t like everything being connected constantly and being forced onto the cloud.

    I thought about possibly just installing Yosemite over the next few days playing around with it (whilst there’s nothing I’m afraid to lose and I’m waiting on my SSD) and if it’s a bit slow do another erase and restore of mountain lion?
    I could also get an external SSD as well and try the other method discussed?

    It was simply a case of losing everything but then being in a position to put the machine in its best state for the future, in regards performance. I didn’t want to weigh it down with the latest OS (through aesthetic reasons) where I could add an SSD, and stick on the current OS and have a machine that was in fine health for the next 3 years.
  13. Taz Mangus macrumors 68040

    Taz Mangus

    Mar 10, 2011
    I suggest that you buy an external enclosure, install the SSD in it and install OS X on the SD. You can transplant the SSD from the external enclosure to your MacBook Pro if you choose and the old MacBook Pro hard drive to the external enclosure. This way you can play with Yosemite and not disturb what you have installed on the MacBook Pro.

    And don't forgot to start backing up your data when you finally get settled.
  14. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I agree with Tax Mangus suggestion with minor modification: your Macs has USB2 connections which are very slow, if you can find external enclosure which has both USB3 and FireWire800 connections you can use faster FireWire800 on your current Mac and if you later purchase Mac with USB3 connections you can use same enclosure on both Macs.
  15. Partron22 macrumors 68020


    Apr 13, 2011
    If you're invested in Firewire, stop now. Go w USB3 even without USB3 ports. They'll run at USB2 speeds for now.
    Most of your external firewire devices are SATA based, and the drives themselves can be stripped out and put in faster USB3 caddies should you ever get a USB3 capable Mac.

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