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Will Installing Lion on a MacBook5,2 with 4GB or ram, currently running Snow Leopard, improve or decrease its performance?

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What factor of performace would you like to be assessed, speed, security, stability, useablitiy? – Graeme Hutchison Jan 27 '12 at 12:14
@GraemeHutchison: mostly overall speed – o0'. Jan 27 '12 at 12:47
What specific performance concerns do you have with SnowLeopard? – bneely Jan 27 '12 at 20:35
@bneely: none, it works like a charm; I was asked if I wanted to upgrade, that's why I asked this. – o0'. Jan 27 '12 at 22:01
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Many have tried to do some benchmarking see e.g.

and looks like differences are small. One remarkable exception is FileVault 2

In my (not very extensive) experience with Lion I noted no difference (but Lion is definitely more buggy and less dependable than Snow Leopard)

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I was going to add only a comment, but it was too long. The truth is that Speed/Performance is almost always relative when the difference is not too big. The question is, would Lion be a better option for you? I certainly find some of the Lion "new features" almost a must-have for my daily workflow. The overall OS improvement makes it better for me.

The truth is, that the first releases have proven to be more disk intensive/CPU intensive in a few tasks, presumably because there are more services (autosave, resume, etc.) running in the background. This alone may be the culprit of most of its "performance" problems. It has slightly improved, but I've seen very fast Snow Leopard installs. To be fair, SL have had a few point releases already, and Lion only 2, so one can assume that it will get faster over time as things are optimized (at least this is what has been happening with Apple for the past eight years).

All in all, evaluate wether you find Lion a good addition to your OS rather than the raw performance. Some people really like the SL "Spaces", Dashboard, Exposé, etc. on the other hand, Launchbar, Mission Control, AutoSave, etc. are features that some people hate, and most of the time, there's no way to revert to the "previous" behavior.

In the end, you get used to it, but it takes some time.

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Yeah, I constantly use Exposé and Spaces, and this is another reason I'm reluctant to upgrade to Lion. Maybe the alternative is better, but I'd have to try that first... – o0'. Jan 27 '12 at 14:39

I don't have figures to back it up, but my impression is that Lion doesn't do anything faster (on my 8GB MacBookPro6,2) than Snow Leopard did, and it does some things slower and/or requires more memory to do them. From a recent straw poll around my workplace, most of the other upgraders there are in general agreement.

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