Will Downgrading to OSX SNOW LEOPARD Speed up my 2009 MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by HappyDude20, Apr 11, 2015.

  1. HappyDude20 macrumors 68020

    HappyDude20

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    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca
    #1
    I have a 2009 unibody MacBook pro running Yosemite but admittedly it's super slow on the start up and freezes when one too many tabs are open in safari.

    Will downgrading to Snow Leopard be like going from iOS 8 to iOS 5?

    Or is it just an old machine?
     
  2. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2009
    #2
    downgrading to Snow Leopard might help, however it is not supported in any way by Apple (no more security updates) and support is beginning to be dropped.

    Your Mac is old and has a Core2Duo processor, it is outdated, but should still cope with most things you do. I have a 2009 iMac with a Core2Duo, and yes it's slow, but is still perfectly usable.

    Lets look at another couple of options.

    How much RAM have you got?

    Upping the RAM to the maximum allowed will mean that the system will have to page to disk less.

    Do you have a hard disk or an SSD?

    If it's the original hard disk, it's now 6 years old, and could be beginning to fail.

    Spinning drives are slower than SSDs anyway.

    A couple of small upgrades could speed your Mac right up.
     
  3. e93to macrumors 6502a

    e93to

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    Jan 23, 2015
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    Toronto
    #3
    Still using Snow Leopard on my mid-2009 MBP :cool:. The laptop is fast, quiet and stable with 10.6.8. Since it is an older laptop, fans do spin up when doing intensive tasks (converting videos, etc.).

    However, like cjmillsnun said, I suggest putting max RAM and SSD in the laptop. This might help stabilize the laptop on Yosemite.
     
  4. Mnowell69 macrumors regular

    Mnowell69

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    Bedford, UK
    #4
    i recently got a 2009 MBP and it is reasonably slow with Yosemite, slow startup etc. The nvidia chipset seems to suffer a great deal of paging/memory faults (even more obvious in windows) With snow leopard and mountain lion it is fantastic.
     
  5. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #5
    Upgrade to an SSD. Yosemite will then run much better. The last version of OS X that ran well on a mechanical hard drive was OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.
     
  6. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020

    CaptainChunk

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    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    Yep, you wouldn't believe how much faster an SSD would make your computer run. It's a night and day difference. I'll never use a mechanical drive for boot again on any of machines...
     
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #7
    First, get an SSD.

    And for security reasons alone, you shouldn't be running anything less than the latest version of OS X.

    Take this for instance: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/04/10/hacker_digs_up_os_x_root_backdoor/

    People running older OSes who refuse to upgrade are SOL on this one.
     
  8. Joelburman macrumors regular

    Joelburman

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    Location:
    Stockholm
    #8
    What everyone else said. Put in a SSD and downgrade to Mavericks (don't think Yosemite is there yet unfortunately to be the standard OS). If you need to, put in some additional ram. Depending of your future usage it might be cheaper in the long-run to buy a newer machine but these upgrades should help you get a few additional years out of it.
     
  9. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    #9
    An SSD may help a little bit but only so much. With a machine that age you're limited to SATA II speeds, so you won't get the rated speeds of a lot of SSDs available. But on the plus side you can spend less on one since you can't take advantage of the faster SSDs available anyway.
     
  10. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #10
    The SATA speeds don't matter, they mainly influence large sequential file speeds. The advantage is in the speed of accessing small files which is there with any SSD. OPs machine is likely limited to SATA 1.5Gbps as it's running an nVidia chipset.

    An SSD will boot in less than a quarter of the time and virtually eliminates any beachballing. SSDs transformed the responsiveness of my 2009 Mini and 2011 MBP.
     
  11. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Aarhus, Denmark
    #11
    - Just for your information: All 2009 MacBook Pros have SATA 3.0 Gbps.
     
  12. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #12
    You are indeed correct. Just checked my 2009 mini and that's running 3Gbps also.
     
  13. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #13
    - Yes, it should be.
    I agree about the SSD, by the way. It will make a huge difference even on an old machine like the OP's.

    Un an unrelated note, I just saw your signature... You are aware you can have your 2011 MBP with the dead GPU fixed free of charge, aren't you?
     
  14. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    #14
    I got it repaired at no cost while well out of warranty under consumer protection laws about a year ago. The repairs kept on failing, so Apple replaced it with the rMBP on the top line last June.

    Thanks for the heads up tho... ;)
     
  15. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #15
    I’m pretty sure that vulnerability (among several others) was introduced with 10.7 Lion.

    Snow Leopard, OS X 10.6.8, is one of the fastest, stablest, most secure operating systems ever released.

    I would recommend that any Mac capable of running Snow Leopard, should be running Snow Leopard. My 2007 MBP certainly is.
     
  16. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #16
    To quote from your siggy, bozos like you should delve in more about that vulnerability before posting about whether or not older OS X such as SL is affected by it.
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #17
    My suggestions:

    First, if you don't have an SSD, consider installing one.
    It made a HUGE difference in the speed of my April 2010 MBPro, on both 10.6.8 and 10.8.5.
    (NOTE: swapping out the SSD is a VERY easy procedure, requiring only that you have THE RIGHT TOOLS. Anyone can do it in about 15-20 minutes)

    See if that makes Yosemite "runnable" for you.

    If you still feel it's sluggish, then consider "moving back" to 10.6.8.
    This assumes the apps you currently use will still work with the older OS.

    Personal experience:
    I still boot and run 10.6.8 on my 2010 MBPro and have no plans to change.
    It runs FAST and stable, as well.
    With an SSD, it boots in FIVE SECONDS from the first appearance of the apple until you're in the finder. That's as good as it gets.
     
  18. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #18
    It is not as secure as you make out. Nor is it especially stable or fast. I had memory issues caused by Snow Leopard (they weren't there in Lion or Leopard) meaning the system would page to disk unnecessarily. Only solved by a reboot.
     
  19. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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    Nov 19, 2005
    #19
    I have no such problems in my 5 years of using Snow Leopard...
     
  20. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #20
    I am far from alone in this problem.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2132305?start=135&tstart=0

    Snow Leopard did not release inactive RAM. This didn't happen in Tiger, Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion, Mavericks and doesn't affect Yosemite either.

    It didn't happen on OS X versions prior to Tiger either, however that relates to PowerPC architecture whereas Tiger onwards were all available on Intel.
     
  21. HappyDude20 thread starter macrumors 68020

    HappyDude20

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    Los Angeles, Ca
    #21
    THIS.

    So by a stroke of unbelievable luck I found my copy of Snow Leopard from the release day I went to go buy it at the Apple Store. Version 10.6

    I erased the HDD and installed SL to 10.6

    It ran smoothly with hardly any hiccups minus YouTube wouldn't play videos saying it needed to update Adobe flash but the Abode site said 10.6 wasn't supported anymore. Then I did a software update check and it recommended a few updates, mainly 10.6.8; to which I upgraded and now ALL of my applications run smoothly and great. Even Safari doesn't lag at all. I gotta say, for a 6 year old machine with only 4GB's of RAM, i'm in love all over again. Even the battery life is much more improved.

    One issue though, I restored my iPhone 4 through iTunes and then downloaded Pangu to re-jailbreak my phone but the Pangu app kept crashing without ever opening. Upong perusing the forums I noticed this was a common issue and Pangu begins to work again on 10.7 Lion

    I gotta say, and ask... I'm tempted to see how 10.7 Lion is. It's a simple download and if I don't like it I always have this 10.6 disc here with me.

    I feel the biggest issue i'll come across my using 10.6.8 is coming across some random app every once in a while that is no longer supported or useable, which is admittedly a pain... BUT BOY IS 'SPACES' SEXY! Spaces still have to be one of my favorite OSX features.


    So admittedly, this scares me and makes me wonder if i'll encounter the same in 10.6.8;the only frame of reference I have with these systems are old memories of me using these updates and remembering Snow Leopard being sublime and consistent. I believe it came out the same year my 09' MBP did too (made for each other). I remember either Lion or Mountain Lion messing up a lot of my files and having numerous lagging or freezing pages and apps.
     
  22. Eithanius macrumors 65816

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  23. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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  24. Badrottie Suspended

    Badrottie

    Joined:
    May 8, 2011
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #24
    more memory and SSD will make your 2009 MBP run like Beemer! Try eBay for cheap SSD. I found Intel 320 160GB for 100 buck and worked very well on my 2007 MBP.

    Good luck :apple:
     
  25. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #25
    I’m going off memory here so I could be mistaken, but I seem to remember reading somewhere about Snow Leopard DVDs not being able to install directly to certain SSDs. I think it was something like the required drivers didn’t get added until 10.6.7 or thereabouts. So you can clone an existing Snow Leopard 10.6.8 installation to an SSD and it’ll work fine, but you can’t install directly from the DVD to the SSD.

    Again, I could be mistaken, but it might be worth looking into.
     

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