Yosemite vs Snow Leopard: which is faster?

Discussion in 'OS X Yosemite (10.10)' started by Happy Marsden, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. Happy Marsden macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2014
    I know there are many threads all over the inter webs comparing Yosemite vs Snow Leopard on OLDER macs (with the consensus being SL is faster on older macs). The problem is, I simply can't find one thread talking about whether Snow Leopard is faster on NEWER Macs. Its a legitimate question, as the newer operating systems that use more (memory) resources, may change the speed equation by taking advantage of 64-bit hardware.

    I have a mid 2010 iMac, core i3, 4gb RAM, I need to set up with a new OS. I simply HATE the look of Yosemite, with its 2D 1980's Atari-era design aesthetic. Snow Leopard design was a far classier act, with a better energy. But speed of the user interface is of utmost importance, with future compatibility with apps a distant second consideration. (I'm not app crazy, but I don't know if there's an app I want in the future that won't be compatible with SL).

    So my question for today is, will Snow Leopard run faster on a system that can easily run Yosemite; ie. a 4gb core i3 or perhaps even 12gb core i5? I need some help making up my mind which system to go with, 'cos I have no plans on changing it after that! :cool:
  2. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    Snow Leopard can't run on Macs NEWER than mid-2011 iMac nor the late-2011 MBPs... So how can you compare both on newer Macs...?

    I have a mid-2010 MBP, and Snow Leopard run rings around Yosemite...

    If you're planning to buy a new Mac, I guess you're stuck with Yosemite... If you intent to buy an old Mac and sticking it there just to run Snow Leopard, it doesn't really make sense, might as well get new and stay put for a while...
  3. Happy Marsden thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2014
    I was not, I said I had a 2010 iMac. But that's news to me, I did not know SL will not run at all on 2011+ iMacs. Can't imagine why not.

    Really? Thanks, that's real world information I wanted to know about! I have 3 iMacs to set up. 2 4gb 2010 core i3's, and a 12gb 2011 core i5. All I know is I like speed, I don't like the look of Yosemite, and I don't like incompatibility.

    ....I've got me some thinkin' to do! And I'm gonna go and sign your petition and tell Apple how ugly Yosemite is, and I want an option to go back to the older theme! Or at least the option to kick Jonny Ives in the nads for this!
  4. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    The question is, what are you planning to do with those iMacs...? What sort of incompatibility you had in mind...?

    The reason why newer Macs cannot run Snow Leopard is because the OS does not have the necessary drivers to run the newer parts that are used to power these Macs...

    And FYI, Snow Leopard is no longer being supported in terms of security updates, so your best bet is to run something in between SL and Yosemite... say Mavericks... it still has the old OS X Aqua theme... provided you have the Mavericks installer of course...
  5. Morpheo macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2014
    I'd say go with Mavericks instead. It's still fully supported by Apple and should be for another couple of years. I installed both Mavericks and Yosemite on an "unsupported" Mac Pro, Mavericks is noticeably faster in general. In fact I compared both OSes on a supported model as well, and Yosemite is still behind Mavericks.
  6. Happy Marsden thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2014
    The iMacs won't be used for too much; just the basics. Email, web browsing, power point, music, playing videos, basic photo editing (not photoshop, acorn). There are occasionally programs I want to install that won't work on my Snow Leopard system, requiring Lion or newer. The there are a couple of programs I use that I can't upgrade because they require newer than SL, ie. Calibre, the e-book manager.

    That is absolutely of no concern to me. Been using SL for years, never had security problems. No system guarantees security anyway, and viruses are becoming more and more system independent.

    Never tried Mavericks (because I only hear bad things about it), but I also use an iMac with Mountain Lion, which I presume looks like Mavericks. I do not like the look of Mountain Lion; it has changed a lot in the user interface, such as the blue 3d scroll bars becoming flat grey.
  7. Eithanius macrumors 65816

    Nov 19, 2005
    Then you're better off with Snow Leopard. As for your needs to run apps that require newer OS X, you can virtualise them using Parallels Desktop...

    Or vice versa...

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6 February 5, 2015