which OSX for an old iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by crazyworld, Oct 6, 2013.

  1. crazyworld, Oct 6, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013

    crazyworld macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2007

    I am using an old iMac for the next month while i wait to buy a new mbp [when they are eventually released].

    The iMac is old, it is a 2.4 Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GB of Ram, hd 250GB. I borrowed it off a friend & he said I can reformat it, etc so that I can get it to run as fast as possible for using Photoshop CS5 & Capture One, & very occasionally Final Cut.

    So, what I want to know is: which Mac OS will make it run fastest? Am I best to put an older version of Mac OSX on it? If I put the latest OS on, will it make it slower & clunky or will it run smoother?

    Can anyone with experience help? thanks.
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    That iMac would run best with either 10.6, 10.8, or 10.9.
  3. gertruded macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2007
    Northwestern Illinois
    Our mid 2007 iMac, 2.0 core 2 duo, 250gb HD runs ML very well. It is in use every day. We will put 10.9 on the day is comes out.
  4. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    With 4gb of ram i would stick with snow leopard (10.6.8) for best performance.
  5. 53kyle macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2012
    Sebastopol, CA
    Put 10.6.8 on it until 10.9 comes out hopefully later this month.
  6. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
  7. crazyworld thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2007
    cool, thanks for your input.. I will give it 10.6 snow leopard & see how it goes. ta!
  8. wiredup72 macrumors regular


    Mar 22, 2011
    I have an '06 MBP with 2.33ghz core duo and 3gb memory.
    I am running 10.7.5 very well. It has been faster and is stability is just fine. In fact, I put a SSD drive in it and it runs faster than the day I bought it.


    My wife's '07 MB runs 10.7.5 and she pummels that thing more than I do. She has to run huuuge statistical dinosaurs like SPSS and there are no problems. Granted, SPSS is a little slow, but she has no problem with a big monitor hooked up and switches seamlessly between SPSS, Xcel, Word, PowerPoint, Safari and Chrome, email, pdf reader and a crappy cisco VPN package that connects her to her $h!t PC at work.

    Just our experience. Good luck and enjoy the free loaner -- that's awesome.
  9. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    Speed: 10.6.8
    Compatibility, features and fun: 10.8.5
  10. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Mine is a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo with 4 GB. I'm running 10.6.8, which works great: always responsive and rarely crashes, even with Outlook, Mail, Chrome, iTunes and Word typically open simultaneously.

    BTW, my choice is based on my preference for Snow Leopard rather than what the hardware can handle.
  11. crazyworld thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 4, 2007

    I asked this question about my old imac before mavericks came out - can anyone comment on how mavericks runs on a machine as old as this (intel core 2 duo 4gb ram, 2.4ghz 2008) ?

    is slower/faster than with snow leopard?

  12. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    It runs about the same as 10.6. Maybe a tiny bit slower.
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Well, Snow Leopard was like the XP of OS X, Lion was like Vista (horrible performance).

    It's either Snow Leopard or Mountain Lion.

    Mavericks...hmm, it runs okay on 16GB of RAM, but Mavericks is a huge RAM hog. With just 4GB of RAM (tested in a virtual machine and on a spare Mac Mini), the average free RAM is around 50-75MB.

    On 16GB of RAM, I regularly get 7GB free (compared to ML's 11GB free on average).

    On 32GB of RAM (my iMac), I get around 20GB free. So yeah, Mavericks is a memory hog (not sure whether it's a bug, or the way it handles compressed memory).

    Give Mavericks a pass.
  14. kathyricks macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2012
    Snow Leopard (10.6.8) is fast and rock stable on my 2007 iMac that has only 4GB of RAM. I can't remember when it has ever froze or crashed.
  15. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    I would stay with snow leopard until "snow mavericks/mountain mavericks" is released.
  16. 0007776 Suspended


    Jul 11, 2006
    I'm running it on a newer computer, but can tell you the 4GB of RAM won't be an issue. Considering it is free I'd recommend backing everything up, upgrading to try mavericks for a while, and if the performance goes down too much you can always downgrade.

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