General Question

shrubbery's avatar

Should I update to OS X Mavericks?

Asked by shrubbery (9835 points ) April 6th, 2014

I am using an early 2010 Macbook Pro, still running Snow Leopard because I never had any reason to update to Lion or Mountain Lion and didn’t know if I should. Here are my specs:

Version 10.6.8
Model Name: MacBook Pro
Model Identifier: MacBookPro5,4
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 2.53 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 3 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 1.07 GHz
Boot ROM Version: MBP53.00AC.B03
SMC Version (system): 1.49f2

Why I’m thinking about upgrading now is that I have just started a new job and will be using Eclipse running Python. These are installed on the work computers and I don’t technically need them on my own computer but since I’m completely new at this I wanted to come home and practice too. I downloaded both Eclipse and Python but when looking at installation instructions apparently I need to have Java 7 installed for PyDev to work in Eclipse. Or something. I really have no idea about all this stuff. But apparently Java 7 is only for OS X 10.7 and later?

So I’m looking at Lion and Mountain Lion, at $25 each, when I realise that 10.9 Mavericks is available free.

My question is- is it worth me downloading Mavericks or should I baby step it to Lion first? I’d rather not have to pay $25 but if Mavericks is not going to run properly on my computer now that it’s a few years old I don’t want to go down that road either. I’m in Germany far from my home country of Australia and don’t want to have to take my laptop into somewhere if something goes wrong since I can’t actually speak German and of course it’s not in warranty. I don’t want anything to go wrong in the first place either because I don’t want to be cut off from communication to my family and university back home and stuff.

I might be paranoid about this but I am really technologically handicapped and I am not sure what to do. Should I even update at all? Will Lion also be too much for my poor old lady? She is going pretty strong though, just the battery life of course not what it used to be.

Please help!

Edit :: Crap. I just realised I didn’t bring my time machine/back up hard drive with me to Germany… I do have another hard drive with me though, is it possible to do a one time system back up on to a different hard drive without partitioning it into a time machine? How do I check how much space I would need?

Also don’t know if this makes a difference but the most cleaned up my laptop gets these days leaves me with about 50GB of space. I think all the updates need 8 each.

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19 Answers

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I did and it screwed up my bootcamp partition. I don’t think they resolved this yet. I had to go back and make that partition bootable again with an Ubuntu live disc.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

First, get a Linux Live CD that will work with your machine- this will enable you to make a backup or do other maintenance without needing to boot into the existing system. Run the “lsblk” command before and after you hook up your external hard drive- this will tell you the name of the external drive. Most likely your internal drive will be /dev/sda and the external will be /dev/sdb, but it’s different if you have more than one internal HDD.

Once you’ve made your backup, I recommend installing Debian to the machine; since it’s free you won’t blow $25 on something you’re not sure will work, and Debian support is likely to be better than that which you can get for Lion, especially if you have a local LUG.

Since I only back up /home/me, the space I need for a backup is about equal to the amount of space my home directory takes up. Check the output of “du -hs /home/[username]” to find out what that is. Rsync can back up a list of arbitrary directories if necessary, but I like to keep it simple.

shrubbery's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me I don’t have a bootcamp partition currently but I’m sorry yours screwed up :(

@rexacoracofalipitorius um. to be honest that sounds a bit too complicated for me :\ I might wait and see what other people say. Thanks anyway.

shrubbery's avatar

@johnpowell… I see you there… I know what you’re about to say… you taught me how to make backups and I’ve forgotten the non time machine way, I’m sorry sensei!

johnpowell's avatar

First I will say this. Buy more RAM.. Your laptop supports up to 8GB. You can thank me later. You really need to do this. I can’t stress this enough. It is cheap and easy to instal.

Second. OS 10.6.8 is no longer getting security updates. You need to upgrade to something. You might as well go to 10.9. I am using it and it works just like 10.6.8 did. You will have to tweak some settings but I can help you with anything you need.

10.9 is free and will install over 10.6.8. I would just do it. If it runs out of space it will warn you.

johnpowell's avatar

Regarding back-ups. Copy your users folder over to the external. No need to partition or anything. That should back up enough if things go horribly wrong. And again, you are one of my favorite people so I will do everything I can to help if you run into any problems.

shrubbery's avatar

@johnpowell thank you! It’s 1am here now but I will come talk to you at that other place when I’m ready to make the leap. What do security updates do by the way? Does that mean I’m vulnerable to viruses and stuff now?

johnpowell's avatar

That would be correct.

johnpowell's avatar

Doubling your RAM to 8GB is only 92 dollars. (at least in the states). I would do this so hard.

http://www.crucial.com/store/mpartspecs.aspx?mtbpoid=232FDB6BA5CA7304

pleiades's avatar

I don’t like it the update because I’m used to clicking the HD and entering my Documents folder that way and not having to have it on my desktop or side bar. Apple is catering more toward usual everyday online news reader/youtuber vs it’s Pro Applications I don’t understand what’s going on, they want to combine Tablet like features which I guess for me is ok since I have a laptop and I can swipe my pad freely and I guess for magic mouse users it’s great too. Also it’s catered toward Safari users there are some neat little tips and tricks on youtube if you search, “Mavericks OS tips and tricks”

Also yeah running 8gb is the minimum I believe anyone should be running. Upon upgrade there will be a lot of indexing going on at first so be ready for that it should last up to a week depending how often you use your machine. I also read that Apple doesn’t advertise it but some apple macbooks can handle up to 16gb. I have yet to try it and I have an early 2011 mbp supposedly it can do 16gb which I would probably recommend for anyone that can handle it. From Mountain Lion to Mavericks, hardly noticeable difference, people can still do more with web browser extensions than with all these clever updates still.

But my overall verdict? Upgrade since there’s no more security updates for 10 6

johnpowell's avatar

There are a lot of little things in 10.9 that will bug you. Luckily you can turn them all of in system preference. My 10.9 box runs just like 10.6.8 did.

shrubbery's avatar

92 dollars? dude. that’s not cheap. that’s a lot to spend on a 4 year old laptop. what If I pay 92 dollars and then something else happens and my laptop dies. I just wasted 92 dollars :\

BadWolf's avatar

@pleiades If you wish to have the hard drive icon back on you desktop follow these quick steps:

Open finder
Go to preferences> general
Under “Show these items on the desktop” check the box that says Hard disks.

johnpowell's avatar

Well, it will make your computer significantly faster if you use more than one application at a time.

BadWolf's avatar

I agree with @johnpowell on the RAM. There is a big boost from 4 to 8.

shrubbery's avatar

Wait… do I buy 4GB to add to my 4GB to get 8GB or do I have to buy 8GB in the first place and overwrite my 4GB? How difficult is it to install? Cause. you know. handicapped.

shrubbery's avatar

Okay so… I looked it up and I have two slots, the maximum my machine can take is 8gb. Does that mean I need to buy two 4gb ones to replace the 2 2gb ones already there? guys this is all a bit too scary, I don’t even have a screw driver :\

BadWolf's avatar

That is correct- you need to buy two 4gb ram modules.

johnpowell's avatar

Replacing the ram is pretty simple. There are actually directions in the manual for it. Apple considers it a user serviceable part.

Here is a quick video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ys0wvw3O9o

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