Which version of OSX should I install?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by Christoffee, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. Christoffee macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    Hi guys

    I have an early 2011 MBP. Right now it's a Plex Media Server, organiser of photos using Lyn, an iTunes library and phone syncer, and a web browser. I think that's pretty much it. I don't use iMessage, mail, or any iCloudy things.

    I got it with Snow Leapord and it's had every update to 10.10.5. It's getting slow, so I'm considering a clean install.

    1. Do you think a clean install will help. I read that a clean install should never be required, but find this unlikely. It's had Lion on it! That was a disaster! I only know one person that has done a clean install on an old iMac, and he said it gave his computer a new lease of life.

    2. If you think a clean install will help, which version of OSX do I choose for my aging machine. I need at least 10.7 for Lyn, and 10.8 for shootShifter but I could possibly live without this. But if I recall Lion was a battery wrecker, so I'm not inclined to go for that. I'd obviously like the latest and greatest, is this ok on an HDD?

    3. Later this year I'll be getting a big fat 1TB SSD (because I hear this will b amazing) and upgrading to 16GB of RAM (because it's reasonably cheap, so why not). Is the general opinion that this is a good idea? And does this change your opinion on the OSX version?

    Thanks to all!
     
  2. prisstratton macrumors 6502

    prisstratton

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    #2
    I have the same year MBP as you (see my sig.), so maybe you will find my comments pertinent.

    I did the clean install versus upgrade route and personally I did not find any difference in performance. Since that attempt I simply upgrade.

    I am really happy with the performance of Mavericks on my MBP. I tried Yosemite and El Cap. and I was not happy with either of them. Neither could compare with the performance that I get from my Mavericks installation.

    Definitely do the SSD + RAM upgrade (you will be very happy with the performance). The sooner you do this the better, as you will be stunned with the increase in performance. I have maxed out my MBP and I think that it is just as viable today as it was when I purchased it and I intend to get many more years of use out of it (unless I fall victim of the graphics card problems, which so far I have not seen).

    I hope this helps.
     
  3. owbp macrumors 6502a

    owbp

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Location:
    Belgrade, Serbia
    #3
    Hi, I'll try to help

    1. I've just tried update vs clean install of El Capitan over Yosemite on my cMP and it's a) much faster installation of OS and b) OS fells much snappier and smoother after it. So definitely clean install for me.

    2. Snow Leopard, Mavericks and El Capitan are my favorites, but it's really up to you to decide. They're all great.

    3. I have almost everyday access to unibody MacBook 6,1 with El Capitan installed. It has 3Gb of RAM that is never fully utilized, but it's getting killed by the extremely slow HD. Depend on your needs, it's always good to add more ram, but it will gain speed only with faster disk aka SSD :)
     
  4. MacGizmo macrumors 6502a

    MacGizmo

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2003
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    A clean install of Mavericks will likely give you small breath of fresh air. I wouldn't go higher than Mavericks with that machine, but your mileage may vary.

    If you really want a speed boost, nothing beats dropping an SSD drive in to replace the glacially slow 5400RPM hard drives they put in them as default.

    Getting a minimum of 16GB of RAM will also help.
     
  5. Isamilis macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2012
    #5
    I would suggest for Mountain Lion if you already have license. I checked Mavericks and it seems it requires additional computing power to compress ram before it stored ini the cache disk. This process will slow down the overall system. I read somewhere how to disable this compression and it become fast again. However I am not comfortable with the hacked system, so I chose using Mountain Lion instead of Mavericks. I did clean install at both.
     
  6. Christoffee thread starter macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Thank you guys very much. It seems like the latest and greatest is not the best idea, and I should opt for Mavericks or Mountain Lion - I can download both from the App Store.

    More questions, if I may!:
    - Once I have an SSD and 16GB I assume I am good to go for El Cap?

    - Just to double check, I cannot get the latest version of iTunes on Mountain Lion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_iTunes#Operating_system_versions). Will my iTunes database be affected by a downgrade to iTunes 12.2.2?
     
  7. owbp macrumors 6502a

    owbp

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2016
    Location:
    Belgrade, Serbia
    #7
    You are more than good to go for El Cap with 16GB and SSD.

    No, Mountain Lion (10.8) i ok, Lion (10.7) has 12.2.2.
     
  8. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    An SSD will make the greatest difference, speed-wise...
     
  9. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #9
    I also have a 2011.

    I found 10.11 to be considerably slower than 10.10. But i don't remember there being a big difference between 10.9 and 10.10.

    Also, an SSD is well worth it, the 2011 machines are still pretty potent (other than GPU) and the spinning disk really, really holds them back.

    I ran 16 GB in my 15" 2011 for a while and was actually pretty surprised at just how much it helped general system performance due to the disk caching. I'd definitely consider that as a cheap but worthwhile upgrade these days if you can't afford the size SSD you want just yet. Doesn't help boot speed much but once the OS is running, even the difference between 8 and 16 GB is noticeable.

    If your machine still has 4 GB in it, then upgrade to 8GB or 16 GB (its not much more expensive than 8 these days) as a priority. The difference between 4 GB and more than 4 GB when running a spinning disk is night and day.
     
  10. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #10
    Hard to say for sure.

    If speed was the only criteria I would say Snow Leopard because its much faster than any newer OS X on hard drive. Unfortunately its not an option for you.

    If you didn't plan to upgrade RAM and SSD I would say Mountain Lion or Mavericks are likely your best options speed wise, later OS X versions are clearly slower on hard drive.

    After you upgrade the RAM and SSD El Capitan would be an option. Unfortunately its nowhere as fast as Snow Leopard but at least its better than Yosemite.

    As for clean install I personally find it overrated. It can help in some cases but in my experience its usually faster to figure out what is slowing the Mac and fix the problem rather than doing clean install which will usually take much longer.
     
  11. Christoffee thread starter macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Thanks again guys.

    I was hoping the i7 would be enough to last me another few years, and it's good to hear you guys confirming that it is and the SSD will add a lot of life.

    And I am on 4GB! Poor me! But life will be good soon!
     
  12. Christoffee thread starter macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #12
    It seems that an SSD and a RAM upgrade are certainly required. In the meantime a clean install of Mavericks MAY yield results. In any event, I think I will do a clean install anyway just to learn something new.

    Your quote above: in your opinion, in terms of "snappiness" what's faster: a 2011 with Snow Leopard (SSD or HDD) or a brand new MBP with El Cap? Has general OS speed been sacrificed for features?
     
  13. Ebenezum macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2015
    #13
    I don't have a 2011 model for testing so I can't say for sure.

    I suspect new MBP is faster even on 10.11 because it has much faster CPU and GPU, not to mention faster SSD. As long as you don't need faster GPU I am fairly certain 2011 with SSD and Snow Leopard would give new MBP a run for its money for general purpose use because 10.11 is more demanding on GPU compared to Snow Leopard.

    Personally i think Apple has been adding too many features on the OS X at the expense of speed in the latest OS versions.
     
  14. Christoffee thread starter macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    Very interesting. I appreciate your insight.
     
  15. Jack Neill macrumors member

    Jack Neill

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2015
    Location:
    San Antonio Texas
    #15
    El Cap, with SSD and lots of ram. Everything else is a waste of material.
     
  16. Christoffee thread starter macrumors regular

    Christoffee

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    That's the news I want!
     
  17. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    #17

    I have a 2015 13" retina with SSD and 8 GB and in general use it smokes the hell out of my 2011 15" with i7, currently 8 GB and a hybrid SSHD.

    I'd say the new machine is even faster than the older machine was on Snow Leopard. In general use. Of course when transcoding video or doing GPU stuff the older 15" is faster as it has a quad core i7 and discrete GPU in it vs. the dual core in the 13" - but everything else... the 13" is faster.

    Yes there is a speed feature trade off (i noticed mostly boot speed slowed down a heap on the 2011 but that could also be an issue with the SSHD not caching that area of the disk anymore), but the new machines really are quick. 1.2 to 1.4 GIGABYTES per second read/write speed on the new PCIe SSDs is just nuts.
     
  18. simon lefisch, Mar 16, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2016

    simon lefisch macrumors 6502a

    simon lefisch

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    #18
    I have a late 2011 MBP with El Capitan on it....

    1. A clean install WILL def help. When I upgraded from Yosemite to El Cap, I had all kinds of probs. After a clean install, nice and smooth.

    2. OS choice is yours, however El Cap OS running great my MBP

    3. I also upgraded my MBP to a 1TB Samsung EVO SSD and have 16GB RAM....Mac is fast. You'll def see an improvement.

    I'd also like to mention that I don't plan on upgrading for at least another year or two. Granted it may suffer from the gpu issue again, however when it does I will just get it reballed with lead solder.
     

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