Upgrading 2008 MBP to 2012 MBP: 10.8 or 10.9 on newer Mac? / Best data transfer method? / & More ...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bob-o-Link, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Bob-o-Link, Aug 24, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016

    Bob-o-Link macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY USA

    I've been using an early 2008 15" MBP since I bought it brand new. It is currently running (very slowly) OS X 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) with 6gb ram (the limit) and a 2tb HDD (it ran better & faster with Snow Leopard although it was still getting pretty sluggish for my photo work in Aperture - as my cameras acquired more megapixels). I recently inherited a mid 2012 (non-retina) 13" MBP from my dad running 10.9 (Mavericks) - for which I upgraded the ram to 16gb and bought a 2tb HDD to replace the current 500gb drive.

    I'm not sure how to proceed:

    I can't decide whether to clone my old system to the new drive/Mac; in other words, bump the new Mac down to 10.8, or clone the 500gb drive with 10.9 to the new drive and then migrate my data from my old Mac (actually an external drive that I clone my old Mac to, and have been running the new machine on a lot of the time for the last few days).

    So, a number of questions:

    1) Opinions about which OS is better (for a mid 2012 non-retina MBP): Mountain Lion or Mavericks (yes, I've read a lot of opinions about this online but just about all of them were written when Mavericks was the new OS on the block; I want to hear some opinions from the present perspective)? [BTW: I don't currently want to upgrade to an OS newer than Mavericks, but if anyone has an opinion about running El Capitan, and how it runs on a 2012 MBP, feel free to comment. Also, is it true that the last remaining non-retina (13") MBP is identical to the mid 2012 model?]

    2) If I decide to run my new (2012) MBP with Mavericks then:

    a) How well would an early 2008 MBP run Mavericks as compared to Mountain Lion? I'm worried because it took quite a performance hit when I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion and I heard reports that Mavericks would be even worse, even though this machine is officially supported (My old MBP has an anti-glare screen, which I strongly prefer, so I still want to be able to use it).

    b) The answer is probably NO but I'll ask anyway: Is there any way to keep data synced between 2 Macs running different versions of OS X (Mountain Lion & Mavericks)? I want to do it without using the cloud.

    3) In the past I've always had hassles (need to reinstall apps, change settings, etc.) moving data to a new hard drive, whether by cloning or migrating my data using Migration Assistant. Now I'm copying data to a new computer as well (when copying or cloning data to a new HDD, many "things" [apps, settings, online, etc.] seemed to think I was on a different computer already). I guess this goes with the territory, but does either cloning or migrating data tend to have fewer hassles than the other method?

    If anyone has an answer, constructive comment or opinion to any of these questions (no need to address them all), please post.

    Thanks for all help!

  2. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I'd go with OSX 10.11, but I always upgrade to the latest OS if possible.

    And yes, the non-retina 13" MBP that Apple sells is the same as the mid 2012 model.

    I suggest upgrading the HDD to a SSD and upgrading to at least 8GB of RAM.

    It'll run 10.9 just fine. It'll run 10.10 and 10.11 fine too.

    I don't know of a good way to sync data between two Macs. Maybe someone else can chime in on this one.

    I've also had issues with apps after a clone of migration assistant. It's just one of the things that I've dealt with afterwards.
  3. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Quite a lot of questions. Poster above pretty much nailed it.

    Between 10.9 and 10.8, I'd say 10.9 Mavericks as it utilises compressed memory. SSD is a must, however; the bottleneck is your hard drive. Ditch it.

    If you're fitting an SSD, might as well install the latest OS.

    You can clone or restore directly from Time Machine backup.
  4. Bob-o-Link thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY USA
    For now, I'm not going beyond Mavericks. I will read, on these forums and elsewhere, more about El Capitan and Sierra, etc. I think I'll download 10.11 now so when 10.12 comes out I can still choose 10.11 if I end up prefering it to 10.12.

    So I essentially have the latest non-retina MBP (this machine does look like new - my dad hardly used it).

    I already upgraded the RAM to 16gb, which will help a lot, especially once I get my data on the newer Mac and start working on my photos again in Aperture (and Lightroom, once I switch over).

    SSD would be great but, though the prices have dropped, it's still pretty expensive for 2tb. Down the road I'm considering removing my optical drive, replacing it with a smaller SSD (maybe 250-500gb), and creating a fusion drive with my 2tb HDD.

    Thanks for your input!
  5. spaint2k macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2016
    Mountain Lion had a bug with the Wifi that frequently made it impossible for the computer to reconnect after turning on from sleep mode. It was really frustrating. The last update to Mavericks, on the other hand, was super smooth and ran beautifully on my Mid-2012 (yes, it's the exact same model Apple sells alongside the newer retina models).

    Mavericks ran well even on the original hard drive, but with an SSD it was extremely fast. Very fast boot up times, and no latency on any of the (fairly basic) tasks I was running. Nonetheless, I upgraded recently to El Capitan - partly just to ensure that the "purchase" is available to me in the future if I ever need it (I skipped Yosemite, can't seem to get it from the App Store, but from what I hear it wasn't so great anyway...) and partly to extend the usable life of my computer and its software.

    El Capitan runs well. All the applications are running smoothly. Start up time is somewhat longer than it was under Mavericks. Shut down is nearly immediate. I had everything backed up ready to revert back to Mavericks just in case, but I haven't felt the need.

    Cloning is less hassle - even though the system will still know you're on a different computer and you might need to re-register some software, it's still the easiest way in my opinion. However, it's generally thought that a clean install will make the computer run better and if your computer's already got a few bugs and issues a clean reinstallation followed by copying data over is the way to go.
  6. Bob-o-Link, Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016

    Bob-o-Link thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 17, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY USA
    Interesting. I never knew about this bug because I don't even have WiFi at home. I always have my laptop at my computer desk, plugged in directly to my modem with an Ethernet cable. The WiFi on my old 2008 machine stopped working by the time I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion. If I took it to a coffee bar I used it to work offline and used my phone if I needed the internet (I got more work done without the easy distraction of popping online with my Mac).

    For now I want to stick with either ML or Mavericks. Just to make sure: I can download El Capitan without installing it, right? I want to save it for when Sierra comes out in case I end up preferring it over Sierra.

    If I go with Mavericks, I think that the only way I can "install" it on my new 2TB drive is to clone my dad's 500GB drive to my new drive; then migrate my data to it. My dad hardly used this machine so there is only about 36GB being used on his 500GB drive. I don't think I even have to worry about deleting any of his data (much of it is probably my stuff, because I've been using it off and on for the last several weeks). I assume when I migrate the data from my old machine (or clone drive or time machine backup thereof) it will add my user accounts to his and keep everything separate.

    Am I right?

    Will this end up being similar to a clean install?
  7. spaint2k macrumors newbie

    Aug 24, 2016
    Sorry for the very late response. I'm afraid I don't know with any certainty the answer to your last few questions - I was hoping someone else might be able to advise on that. The only one I can say for sure is that yes, you'll be able to download El Capitan without installing it - indeed, you'll be able to create a bootable disk/flash drive with the download for later use if you want to.

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