what is the best OS for macbook pro mid 2010?

Alek986

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 16, 2017
4
2
Norway
So I got a 15" macbook pro from mid 2010 that still runs snow leopard, and I am absolutely amazed about how nicely it's been running for all these years. But after approximately 7 years of use, i can definitely tell that it's starting to tire out.. and that it's time for an upgrade. I've been thinking of buying a new macbook, but i'm still very found of this machine and I can still pretty much do all my tasks on it, considering that I'm not an advanced user in the sense that I don't use heavy programs.

But yes, it's getting old and more and more programs demand that i upgrade my operative system to keep using them. (F.ex Adobe Flash Player and Itunes). another thing I've noticed is that my macbook has started to freeze a lot more now.

So this is what I plan to do:

1. I'd like to improve my macbook pro by: adding more ram and upgrading my hdd to ssd. I believe this would be essential for increasing performance and to make a new OS more compatible with this old machine.

2. I realize I have to upgrade my operative system, but which one should i choose?? I'm thinking about upgrading to Maverics, because i'm thinking OSsierra might be too energy consuming.. what do you think? I also realize that the older operative systems are no longer available, which really sucks, and therefor I realize I might have to Install OS sierra after all.

summed up:

so do you think upgrading from 4GB ram to 16GB ram, and swithing from hhd to ssd and installing OS Sierra (or Maverics) would be a good move?
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,702
991
Oregon, USA
You can purchase OS Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) from Apple still, but Mavericks (10.9) or Yosemite (10.10) are no longer available from Apple unless you previously "Purchased" (downloaded) them. El Capitan should still be available for you: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206886

Your 15" mid 2010 MBP will only support 8 GB of RAM.

A SSD will be a great upgrade for the newer OS - Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra.
 

estabya

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2014
461
408
Your system supports Sierra, and if you are willing to invest in 8GB of memory and an SSD then it should have no problem running it. I have a 2009 Mac Mini with a 2.26Ghz Core 2 Duo, 6GB of RAM, and an SSD, and it is still pretty damn snappy with El Capitan.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,700
6,869
First things first.

Any OS from Mavericks 10.9 to Sierra 10.12 is going to "run like molasses" UNLESS you put an SSD into the MacBook.

So... SSD is your "first priority".
You might "up the RAM" while you're changing the drive. Go either with 2 4gb DIMMs (for 8b), but I think you'd do just as well to replace the "top" DIMM -only- with an 8gb DIMM for 10gb of RAM.

Next...

My own April 2010 13" MBPro ran it's entire life (right up until December 2016) on Snow Leopard 10.6.8. It -still- boots and runs fine on 10.6.8, but I've retired it for a 2015 13" MBPro.

My sister has a 2010 white MacBook and does fine on Mountain Lion 10.8.5.

My advice:
Leave the existing OS alone for the moment.
Replace the internal HDD with an SSD.
How does that do for you?

If you still want to "go further", try Mountain Lion 10.8.5.

If that's "not enough", I'd recommend El Capitan 10.11 before Sierra.
El Capitan is a "mature OS release".
Sierra -- from the reports of numerous users in this forum -- still seems to be "a work in progress".
 

Alek986

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 16, 2017
4
2
Norway
Thank you so much for your help! I know feel confident in upgrading to El Capitan. but there is just one other thing..
what type of SSD would be a good match for the macbook pro mid 2010? I believe todays SSD's offer more power than my mac can make use of, so a samsung 850 Evo would be kind of overkill? I would be very happy for some recommendations here. Also, do you have any thoughts about enabling TRIM on old macbook pros?
 

CoastalOR

macrumors 68030
Jan 19, 2015
2,702
991
Oregon, USA
Thank you so much for your help! I know feel confident in upgrading to El Capitan. but there is just one other thing..
what type of SSD would be a good match for the macbook pro mid 2010? I believe todays SSD's offer more power than my mac can make use of, so a samsung 850 Evo would be kind of overkill? I would be very happy for some recommendations here. Also, do you have any thoughts about enabling TRIM on old macbook pros?
You will need a 2.5 inch SATA SSD. Modern SSDs are pretty reliable and vary in prices. Search places like Amazon for the SSD size you need and read customer reviews and compare prices. Note: when you start comparing prices you might find that the newer model SSDs are lower in price because of the higher availability and competition. I have had good luck with Samsung, Crucial, and SanDisk.

I prefer to enable TRIM on my 2011 MBP SSD. I believe it helps keep the SSD running efficiently from what I've read and some forum discussions. I have no personal issues with TRIM enabled or disabled. I do run some SSDs in external USB3 enclosures, which do not support TRIM, and I have not noticed slow downs yet. Some people don't agree that TRIM is useful. A Google search will produce many links.
 
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ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,155
I agree that if 10.6.8 is still capable of running your Apps, I say stick with it. It is an outstanding OS. If not, then El Capitan is a good OS and I find it runs well on older machines when they have ample RAM and a SSD. As you probably already know, disabling some of the visual animations can help an older machine run a newer OS a bit better.

In my opinion, I also agree that modern SSDs would not be overkill for two reasons:
  1. older SSDs were far more expensive to produce, and so, if you can find an older SSD, the price may be 2,3,4+ times that of a modern SSD
  2. the hard drive in your computer probably reads and writes between 40-75 MB/s and suffers from latency that equates to a delay - a SSD in your computer will read and write around 300 MB/s and has virtually no delay. With a SSD, your bootup time could be as low as 10 seconds (especially with Snow Leopard, which is stupid fast) and many lighter Apps will launch the instant you click the icon.

When choosing a SSD, it may be worth sticking with a model that someone else has put in your exact computer and used successfully. This way, you can be sure there are no backwards compatibility issues (as a few MBPs have had some strange issues with this.) I too have had good experiences with Crucial and Samsung (using their MLC drives mainly), but recently I've been buying more Transcend than Crucial, because Transcend is still using MLC flash, where as Crucial has largely transitioned to TLC.

I have personally enabled TRIM only on SSDs I have that have slowed down and it has always worked well for me with 3rd party SSDs in El Cap. It seems some SSD controllers do a better job with garbage collection (without TRIM enabled) than others. However, I don't believe this says anything about the SSD's overall quality as I've had some lower quality SSDs that did better cleanup than some much higher quality SSDs.
 
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Alek986

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 16, 2017
4
2
Norway
Thanks for all your help! It's very much appreciated. I've decided to go with the Crucial MX300 and I will also enable TRIM after the installation. Can't wait to see how this turns out!
 
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KieranDotW

macrumors 6502a
Apr 12, 2012
623
68
Canada
I know it's not what you're asking, but what are you still using flash player for? Because that will definitely throttle your browsing experience
 

ladytonya

macrumors 6502a
Oct 14, 2008
839
151
I know you've already made your decision but I'm posing anyway! I have an early-2011 MBP with a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5. I have been using this machine as my only home computer since it was purchased in July 2011 and I had upgraded with each OS release until El Capital, had never downloaded Sierra until recently. I was getting frequent beach balls and very sluggish performance. Last week, I upgraded from 4 gb RAM to 8 gm RAM and from the stock HD to a PNY 240 GB PNY SSD. I absolutely love my computer now! It is faster than it's been since it was brand new and I am running Sierra with absolutely no problems. In addition to RAM and the SSD, I also installed a new battery and it's like I have a brand new machine!
 

devanxd2000

macrumors newbie
Jun 13, 2017
1
1
You can purchase OS Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) from Apple still, but Mavericks (10.9) or Yosemite (10.10) are no longer available from Apple unless you previously "Purchased" (downloaded) them. El Capitan should still be available for you: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206886

Your 15" mid 2010 MBP will only support 8 GB of RAM.

A SSD will be a great upgrade for the newer OS - Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra.
Actually, if you update your SMC and EFI it can support up to 16GB of RAM
 
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handymanjames

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2017
2
0
I have a 15" mid 2010 macbook pro and ever since upgrading the OS to El Capitan kernal panics from the nvidia display problem have gotten worse. So I caution against bringing the OS up to date. I wasn't having the problem when I was running Mountain Lion.

For more on the kernal panic that results from the OS using the nvidia card see this:
https://www.ifixit.com/Answers/View/203489/Problem+with+NVIDIA+GeForce+GT+330M+256+MB

Replacing a capacitor on the logic board is above my pay grade. :)
 

Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,431
1,378
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I also had a mid 2010 15" on Sierra. I installed the software patch and the panics went away. I eventually had the capacitor replaced for $75 and it's now on High Sierra with no crashes or software patch required.
 

handymanjames

macrumors newbie
Oct 11, 2017
2
0
Would love to have more info on the software patch you used. I've used the gfxCardStatus app but its up to date version won't force the OS to stick with the integrated graphics.

thanks!
 

Populus

macrumors 65816
Aug 24, 2012
1,260
1,123
Valencia, Spain.
Thanks for all your help! It's very much appreciated. I've decided to go with the Crucial MX300 and I will also enable TRIM after the installation. Can't wait to see how this turns out!
Now that you have an SSD, and hopefully 8GB of RAM or more, in my experience Sierra is the best performer, followed by Mavericks. Maybe Mavericks is even better performance-wise, but is a bit too old now.

What I do in my machine (SSD Crucial MX100, 8GB of RAM) is to install Sierra and disable Siri and Location, in order to maximize battery life. And man, I achieve 6-7 hours, with my second battery, which now have two yeras.

Performance wise, Sierra is a solid operating system, and I recommend it.
Don't install Lion and Yosemite, both are bad performing OS on 2010 MacBook Pro.

PS: mine is the 13" one. Great machine, my best investment in technology.
 

Ashbada

macrumors newbie
Jan 10, 2018
1
0
Thanks for all your help! It's very much appreciated. I've decided to go with the Crucial MX300 and I will also enable TRIM after the installation. Can't wait to see how this turns out!

How did it work?!! I am thinking about upgrading my 2010 MacBook Pro! Wondering if I should update the operating system first or upgrade the ram/ install ssd.

It still runs fast on snow leopard but webpages don’t work bc of flah
 

Alek986

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 16, 2017
4
2
Norway
How did it work?!! I am thinking about upgrading my 2010 MacBook Pro! Wondering if I should update the operating system first or upgrade the ram/ install ssd.

It still runs fast on snow leopard but webpages don’t work bc of flah
It was a success!! It's a new machine now and everything works perfectly! I updated the ram and installed the SSD first and then I did a clean installation of the new operating system right away afterwards. Best of luck!
 
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djmdt0150

macrumors newbie
Dec 3, 2018
1
0
You can purchase OS Lion (10.7) or Mountain Lion (10.8) from Apple still, but Mavericks (10.9) or Yosemite (10.10) are no longer available from Apple unless you previously "Purchased" (downloaded) them. El Capitan should still be available for you: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206886

Your 15" mid 2010 MBP will only support 8 GB of RAM.

A SSD will be a great upgrade for the newer OS - Mavericks, Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra.
[doublepost=1543866801][/doublepost]I also have Mid 2010 MBP Unibody Intel Core i7 originally with 4GB RAM then upgraded to 8GB. Then after reading many forums and threads about RAM compatibility that all models in my year and build are compatible up to 16gb..turns out It is All but 2 models the i5 And i7 builds. Makes no sense.but I was successful in installing 10 GB RAM will try 12gb as well but think that is pushing it..and will result in Boot errors
 
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