Which OSX Version for my Mac Mini (Late 2014) for best performance?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SunnyHours, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. SunnyHours macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Hi everyone!

    This is my first post in a long time...
    I used to have an old 2007 Macbook Pro with 2.2Ghz Core2Duo processor and upgraded to 6 Gb RAM . With the years and the numerous OSX upgrades, it became really slow. So slow that it made me swear like never before. Photoshop would hang, the cursor would slow down so much that it would freeze, then appear a little further, freeze, appear further...etc You get the point.

    That's why I bought my Mac Mini 7.1 Late 2014. I have Yosemite installed and things are running smoothly. Even with Photoshop opened and iTunes playing music, everything is fine.

    With my past experiences with my MBP, I'm not sure if I should upgrade to El Capitan or even Sierra. Even though they used to say that upgrading Leopard to Snow Leopard would improve the performance of my Macbook Pro, it really fell short. The lag wasn't that bad, but still a big bother when it's your work tool. When I installed Mavericks, the **** hit the fan. Lagging so much that I just couldn't work on my Macbook...I had to revert to a spare Windows machine that's there for emergencies. I just work much slower on Windows...that's why I got the Mac Mini...couldn't afford a better machine but it's fine. 2.6ghz i5, 8gb RAM.

    Anyways I just don't want to get the same problem I had by upgrading as I did with my Macbook Pro.

    TL;DR: OSX upgrades on my Macbook Pro eventually made it too slow to work on. I wanna make sure that going from Yosemite to El Capitan or Sierra won't decrease performance. An increase in Performance would be welcome.

    Thanks a lot,
  2. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Yosemite to El Capitan should be a slight performance improvement, and at this point El Capitan is a matured OS with many of the bugs worked out. Unless there's a specific reason you can't update I say go for it.
  3. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    I previously owned similar Mac Mini and El Capitan was a slightly faster than Yosemite.

    If you only care about speed then it could be worthwhile update. Keep in mind that some changes in El Capitan might not be beneficial depending on your needs (Disk Utility is pathetic, Preview can't show all documents correctly etc.)

    I would first make a backup to external drive, then install El Capitan different drive to test it and the software you use. If you have problems just boot the Mac from the Yosemite and wipe El Capitan drive.
  4. MacBAir macrumors member


    Aug 5, 2016
    You should update your OSes without much trouble, anymore. OS X is rock solid, at least if you wait for the .5 versions.
  5. SunnyHours thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2010
    Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    I use it for Web Design/Development and Programming in general, as well as a little gaming here and there...though I haven't had time for games lately.

    I'm also what you'd call a "power user".
    @Ebenezum could you elaborate on the issues you are having? Also, are those issues things that'll *probably* be worked out in the future, or just plain bad design?

    Glad to hear it's faster though.
    I'm guessing my previous issues with upgrades was due to being right in the 32bit to 64bit architecture switch. It does make sense since all of you guys are saying there's performance increases, which would probably be due to pure 64bit coding, removal of PowerPC/32bit compatibility...etc.
  6. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Mar 31, 2015
    1. Thermal design might not be good enough. Mini was very loud and hot when fully utilised. Might not be problem for you because programming probably won't be as demanding as VM.

    2. Overall El Capitan worked better (especially OpenCL was much more reliable compared to Yosemite) but I am not impressed with dumping down of some features, examples in my previous post.

    3. If the Mini stops working fixing it will likely be more expensive compared to 2012 model because of different components.

    I'm not saying it won't work for you but I wasn't impressed. Only reason I bought it was desperation, I couldn't find used Mac Pro or Mac Mini 2012 anywhere. Fortunately I managed to find used 2009 Mac Pro in good condition. :D I got fed up with Yosemite and El Capitan, they contain no benefits for my needs and Mavericks works much better for me.
  7. Crazy Badger macrumors 65816

    Crazy Badger

    Apr 1, 2008
    I've been running macOS since DP1 on a 2011 iMac and in my opinion its faster and more stable than the last version of El Capitan it was running (10.11.4 I think). Not many new features, which to me says Apple spent more time optimising the OS, which is exactly what they should be doing.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009

    Important questions:
    What kind of hard drive do you have in the Mini?
    Is it a platter-based hard drive?
    Or is it an SSD or fusion drive?

    An SSD or fusion drive WILL MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE between a Mini that runs (perceivably) slow, and one that runs like a champ.

    If you just have an HDD inside, don't despair.
    It's easy and quick to upgrade to an SSD -- IF you don't mind connecting an external SSD via USB3, and setting that up to be your boot drive.

    You might consider something like this:

    These come in several sizes, very small "footprint", and are just "plug-it-in-and-go" -- ready to use. Even the 480gb size is affordable.

    You WILL need to reinitialize the drive, and then move the contents of your current HDD onto it.
    I suggest using CarbonCopyCloner to do this. CCC will also "clone over" the recovery partition. CCC is FREE to download, and FREE to use for the first 30 days.

    Actually, I'd suggest moving up to El Capitan at least. In my opinion, it runs better than Yosemite -- smoothest Mac OS since Mountain Lion.

    Again -- if all you have inside is a platter-based hard drive, don't expect ANY modern version of the Mac OS to run very fast on it.
    An SSD -IS A MUST- for good performance.

    Fastest, easiest, cheapest way is to plug an external one in!
  9. Tarek macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2009
    Liverpool, UK
    Mac OS Sierra has been better for me than El Capitan on this "15 MacBook Pro and "10 MacBook Pro, so I suggest looking into the official version from the App Store.

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8 September 11, 2016