My ol' clunker is doing very well considering its age, but I would like to upgrade its OSX to see if it runs a bit faster, and also because I can't run the latest versions of some applications on OS X 10.5.8..

I'm just hesitant because I'm afraid to make the computer even slower with a newer version of OSX, even if Apple says that I can run newer OSX... Does anyone have any advice? Much appreciated!


According to EveryMac the latest OS that your Macbook can run is 10.7.5 (Lion).

A big focus on the preceding release 10.6 (Snow Leopard) was performance. It was the OS update that Apple advertised as having "no new features" as the work was focused on refining and improved the existing ones. Reducing the memory footprint, removing legacy code, the Finder was rewritten in Cocoa, a new Cocoa version of Quicktime was created, etc. In John Siracusa's review of Snow Leopard for Ars Technica he said "Should you buy Mac OS X Snow Leopard? If you're already running Leopard, then the answer is a resounding 'yes.'"

So I'd definitely recommend upgrading to Snow Leopard at least.

  • Thanks for your input. So Snow Leopard might be good but nothing newer? – Art Girl Aug 7 '14 at 18:24
  • If it were my Macbook I'd install the latest possible version (10.7.5). And max out the RAM. I'm just being a little more conservative with my advice because it's not me that has to actually do the work. :) – Alistair McMillan Aug 7 '14 at 18:29
  • Thanks again :) Going to go to check out my options then in terms of RAM. – Art Girl Aug 7 '14 at 18:53
  • That'd be 4GB. I have one, still runs well on 10.6. Many applications support 10.6 as it was the last really decent release of OSX. – Arran Cudbard-Bell Apr 21 '15 at 21:08

2GB of memory cannot handle system osx after snow leopard without slowing down the computer to a crawl whatever task is supposed to happen.

That is based on personal experience.

If you think about it if 2GB of memory are supposed to manage 256 GB of applications and data, process and multitask something will have to give.


There are great answers with many takes on experience, but I would say, the correct answer is you can do the upgrade in a non-destructive way. I blogged a bit of this on the site blog:

I would recommend getting an external drive that's as fast an interface as you can (perhaps a FireWire 800 desktop drive) and installing the system there. You could then know that you can always shut down and go back to the OS on the internal drive if the external drive runs slower than you had hoped. An external drive will always be a "little" slower than the internal, so you might not get a full experience of the speed you would get by upgrading the internal drive, but this lets you spend a little time making sure your apps run well - no matter the speed and then you can make some "speed" measurements to decide if you are making a step up, a step down or just a sideways step, but newer options and more recent security fixes.


I think the best OSX for your Mac is the 10.5.8.

  • 1
    And you make that statement based on what ? personal experience, professional knowledge....ect... – Ruskes Aug 7 '14 at 18:15

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