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1.83GHz C2D MB - 10.8 or not?
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Jan 8, 2013, 06:33 PM
 
I'm still running 10.6 on this old thing. It's pretty slow sometimes, particularly when I go tab-crazy in Firefox (then again, that always slows things down, regardless of hardware). I've already maxed the RAM to 3 GB and am going to put in a SATA SSD, since we have some extra ones laying around.

Should I upgrade to 10.8 while I'm at it? I'm pretty sure it's not officially supported, but I can always hack it... if anyone around here has done so, would you recommend it, or is it just way too slow?
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 07:10 PM
 
I've pondered trying to update a 2007 Mac Mini to 10.8. It shouldn't really be much slower than 10.7, its the most obvious case of forced obsolescence Apple has done yet with an OS since 10.8 has to run on the same minimum of 2GB RAM.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 07:22 PM
 
Well, I haven't even tried 10.7.

I'm not sure I want to make the leap from 10.6. The new crap that was shoveled into 10.7 looks fairly unappealing - especially how they changed Expose (IMO for the worse, but I admittedly haven't used the 10.7+ version much at all) and other random crap.

How is 10.7 running on your Mini? My problem with my MB is that apps hang sometimes - but that might be the hard drive, or the fact that I almost exclusively use this machine for browsing the web and have a Very Bad Habit(tm) of keeping twenty or more tabs open simultaneously, which is bad regardless of browser...
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 07:28 PM
 
Don't leave 10.6.
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 07:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Don't leave 10.6.
This.
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 08:34 PM
 
What's worst about 10.7? I remember reading the "features" list and saw several things that made me go "ew, I don't think so", but is it as bad as it originally sounded?
     
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Jan 8, 2013, 08:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Don't leave 10.6.
Why? I skipped Lion because of the fuglies, but that's fixed in ML. It works great, fast reliable and nary a complaint. In fact, ML is to Lion what SL was to Leopard, all cleaned up under the hood. Also the ssd will speed things up considerably.
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 04:47 AM
 
With 3 GB of RAM, you should stay on Snow Leopard. ML isn't too bad though, and the little silliness with Exposé that Lion introduced was remedied.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 08:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
What's worst about 10.7? I remember reading the "features" list and saw several things that made me go "ew, I don't think so", but is it as bad as it originally sounded?
I was in the same situation with my 1,1 MacPro. Couldn't upgrade to OSX 10.8 and OSX 10.7 sounded like a step backwards. I finally ran into some apps that wouldn't run in OSX 10.6 so I upgraded to OSX 10.7. It's pretty good. All the quirky things people complained about can be disabled so I don't know why you wouldn't go to Lion other than the lack of RAM.
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Jan 9, 2013, 08:53 AM
 
would anyone with better knowledge care to explain the "forced obsolescence" of ML? I have a mid 2007 mac mini 1.8C2D/3GB/SSD running Lion. I think I remember reading an article about the kernel and the video driver not being 64 bit, which made it incompatible with ML.. something like that? Either way, from what I read it sounded like more of an issue than Apple saying "let's just make this incompatible for the heck of it"
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 10:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
With 3 GB of RAM, you should stay on Snow Leopard. ML isn't too bad though, and the little silliness with Exposé that Lion introduced was remedied.
How so?

I use Expose constantly on my MB. I have hot corners set up for spaces, all apps, current app, and desktop. Drives my bf nuts when he uses my machine (he frequently curses and says "WHERE DID MY WINDOWS JUST GO?!"), but it's the only way to switch apps easily in OS X. The whole thing in Lion about how all of that was being crammed into a different interface requiring additional clicks just to get to the different Expose views was a huge turnoff.

Is it possible to go back to the pre-Lion implementation of Expose?

Also: given my RAM ceiling on this machine and the rather slow CPU, should I force a ML install or just stick with Lion as the final OS (ever) on the machine?
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 11:57 AM
 
I'm not sure you can even hack ML on to it so that may be a non-issue
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 11:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
would anyone with better knowledge care to explain the "forced obsolescence" of ML? I have a mid 2007 mac mini 1.8C2D/3GB/SSD running Lion. I think I remember reading an article about the kernel and the video driver not being 64 bit, which made it incompatible with ML.. something like that? Either way, from what I read it sounded like more of an issue than Apple saying "let's just make this incompatible for the heck of it"
Well, noone exactly knows their reasoning, but there are indications that it goes like this: Apple wanted to raise the minimum graphics card required. Basically they exclude anything that does not have unified shaders, but they also exclude anything with the GMA X3100 - or, put another way, they require Open GL 3 support but somehow support the integrated graphics in Arrandale. Maybe they just turn on the discrete graphics in that case. Whatever the reason, they dumped a large number of Macs with weaker graphics.

The next wrinkle is the version of the EFI. EFI is the little software bit that lets the Mac start booting - comparable to the BIOS in a regular Wintel PC. To load a 64-bit kernel, the EFI must also be 64-bit. The 64-bit kernel itself is not all that critical yet - the 32-bit kernel has a limit in the amount of addressable virtual RAM that can be active at once, but that limit is quite high, so you're highly unlikely to run in to it just yet. When developing the first Intel Macs, Apple took a bit of a shortcut and only made a 32-bit EFI for the first generation, thinking that it would be a long time before that became an issue.

In either case, once you have dumped all 32-bit processors and everything with weak graphics, you have removed almost all Macs with 32-bit EFI. Almost. The exception is some second generation Mac Pros and first generation Mac Pros with user-upgraded GPUs. At this point, Apple decided to throw these Macs under the bus as well, as that let them stop supporting the 32-bit kernel completely.

The other theory is that the cause an effect are reversed - that Apple wanted to dump the 32-bit kernel and, having done so, realized that the older Intel graphics did not have a 64-bit graphics driver, so they were thrown under the bus. Either way, you need both the graphics driver and the EFI thing to fully explain the exact set of Macs that are unsupported, and either way, early MP owners are rightfully unhappy. Apple could have kept them alive for one more generation by letting the 32-bit kernel live a little longer - or hacked up a bootloader that let the 64-bit kernel load from 32-bit EFI, as some hacker has apparently done. They didn't bother.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 12:32 PM
 
That was extremely helpful. Thank you
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 01:16 PM
 
If you rely on Mail to get your RSS, keep in mind that this feature is not longer present in Mountain Lion.
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 01:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Is it possible to go back to the pre-Lion implementation of Expose?
Yes, mostly. Lion made a number of changes to the entire Spaces/Exposé setup, but the one that was problematic was that the "All windows" mode of old Exposé was gone. In the replacement, Mission Control, Lion started grouping all windows by application. This worked rather well with many applications open on a small display, but terrible with many windows from a single application or with a bigger display, because you basically had to select windows in a two-step maneuver. Mountain Lion introduces an option to get you the old "All windows" mode back. It's in System Preferences -> Mission Control - uncheck the last checkbox. It's not exactly the SL setup, because you have so many more options with the new spaces, but it is the best of both worlds.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 02:11 PM
 
Apple should have stuck with Open Firmware and not bothered with the stinking pile of crap that is EFI.
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Jan 9, 2013, 02:31 PM
 
Ok, so if I understand what I've found online so far, I can't even put ML on my MB, can I?
     
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Jan 9, 2013, 04:09 PM
 
Correct, that model fails both the GPU test and the EFI test.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 04:48 AM
 
Another casualty of Lion & ML is Front Row. I know it is pretty basic and the digital hub is dead, but some people still like things that way.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 08:34 AM
 
It's actually pretty interesting that Apple kills Front Row and MS de-emphasizes the similar features in Windows 8 at the same time as Steam pushes the big screen mode. I don't know who's right or wrong, but it's another sign that Apple and MS are quite in sync with each other while simultaneously being at odds with much of the rest of the business.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 08:37 AM
 
The limitation is odd. The CPU in my machine is certainly capable of 64-bit. EFI can be updated, can't it? So why not release a 64-bit EFI for machines such as mine? It seems like the GPU bit COULD be accommodated by hacking the OS a bit to turn off some of the fancy graphics.

Also: the loss of WMC (I care a lot less about Front Row, but WMC is pretty damn awesome) is pretty unfortunate. That being said, I wonder if maybe Apple and MS both realized that there were third-party products like Plex that supersede the functionality of built-in 10-foot interfaces, so it wasn't worth continuing development on those products.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 08:42 AM
 
how many future OS X releases are current Macs expected to support? I've got a 5 year old mini that's already one behind (10.7), a 5 year old iMac on 10.8, and a 6 year old Macbook two behind (10.6.8). Can we expect another issue like this 32/64bit EFI-kernel issue in a few year to enfeeble a current non-Retina MBP?
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 09:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
The limitation is odd. The CPU in my machine is certainly capable of 64-bit. EFI can be updated, can't it? So why not release a 64-bit EFI for machines such as mine?
Yes, EFI can be updated, although it is far from trivial. Actually machines like yours would fall by the wayside due to the lack of GPU support anyway, but I do think that Apple should have made a 64-bit EFI for the MP. Intel requires significant reliability testing for all models using Xeons - perhaps that is the reason an EFI update was not feasible.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
It seems like the GPU bit COULD be accommodated by hacking the OS a bit to turn off some of the fancy graphics.
The point isn't fancy graphics, it's making the 10.6 graphics work more efficiently to improve battery life. The way to keep compatibility would then be to keep the old codepath around for less capable GPUs (basically, run more stuff on the CPU), and that complicates testing immensely. The older Intel graphics chip is incredibly weak compared to just about anything - the GMA 950 is not even a complete graphics chip, it's half of an incredibly weak chip which relies on the CPU for almost everything. The X3100 at least has full shaders, but is very weak and the driver is infamously terrible. If Apple had relied on the X3100 in a lot of products, I think it would have been supported, but only by not moving as much to the GPU. Now it is a bit of a rarity, so they decided to save a little more power for everyone else by cutting the X3100 loose.

Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Also: the loss of WMC (I care a lot less about Front Row, but WMC is pretty damn awesome) is pretty unfortunate. That being said, I wonder if maybe Apple and MS both realized that there were third-party products like Plex that supersede the functionality of built-in 10-foot interfaces, so it wasn't worth continuing development on those products.
I think mainly it is because running computers like that is no longer the focus for either company. Apple wants you to buy an Apple TV - MS wants you to buy an Xbox 360.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 09:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
...Can we expect another issue like this 32/64bit EFI-kernel issue in a few year to enfeeble a current non-Retina MBP?
Probably.
Apple is, first and foremost, a hardware company. Part of the their business model relies upon existing customers buying new hardware at some point. Anything they can do to help that process along is probably considered a "best practice".

I'm sort of in the same boat as many. My iMac can be upgraded to ML, and I suspect ML will be the last version of OS X it can run. Right now, though, I'm still doing just fine with SL. I just don't see anything in either Lion or ML worth upgrading for.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 10:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by abbaZaba View Post
how many future OS X releases are current Macs expected to support? I've got a 5 year old mini that's already one behind (10.7), a 5 year old iMac on 10.8, and a 6 year old Macbook two behind (10.6.8). Can we expect another issue like this 32/64bit EFI-kernel issue in a few year to enfeeble a current non-Retina MBP?
An excellent question. All of these decisions appear completely reasonable after we know the reasoning behind them, but it's almost impossible to know in advance what will break something. GPU-wise, the Arrandale graphics in the 2010 MBP is the weakest and least capable of the bunch still supported (no Open GL 3 support), but those Macs still have discrete graphics that are more than powerful enough. Looking at the CPU, the only big divider in the product line now is AVX (in Sandy Bridge and later), and I guess that that will split us at some point, but it's much too soon yet. Haswell will bring some new instructions relating to multithreading that I think Apple will love, so maybe in 6 years or so the users of the last Ivy Bridge machines will be screaming for Tim Cook's head when Apple retires the old codepath there.

I have always felt that all new Macs should be fully supported for five years. If the latest OS will not run, then at least through updates to the latest version they support (so 10.6.9 and 10.6.10 or whatever). ML cut off some machines that I really felt should have been supported for longer.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 07:26 PM
 
Interesting question, I'm considering the same thing right now. My parents have an 1.83 C2D iMac5,2 that supports up to 10.7. I'm planning on maxing out their RAM this weekend and updating them as far as is reasonable, I have legit copies of everything newer than the 10.5.8 they're running now. I figured I'd go as far as Lion as that's what is officially supported, but if there's a good reason to stay at SL then I will. Usage is entirely internet, email, and Microsoft Office. I already ordered a copy of Office 2008 since Rosetta support is killed in Lion so their version of 2004 is no good anymore.
     
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Jan 10, 2013, 08:08 PM
 
Honestly, if Lion was as far as my Mac could go, I'd stop at Snow Leopard.
     
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Jan 11, 2013, 03:33 PM
 
Will it outperform Lion for Safari, Mail, and Office? Exposé doesn't matter. Just maximizing capabilities of the older hardware.
     
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Jan 12, 2013, 08:36 PM
 
Okay. Installed 2 2GB chips, it wouldn't boot. Dropped it down to 1 2GB chip and 1 512MB chip and everything worked great. I'll toss the other 2GB chip in my sister's MacBook so she'll have 3 gigs.

Took them up to Snow Leopard. Set up Time Machine and gave them one of my old 500GB external drives. Got everything set up, reconfigured Mail.app to use IMAP for Gmail, set up an iChat account so we can more easily share screens when they need troubleshooting. Bought a copy of Office '08 off of eBay, luckily it showed up in the mail when I was almost done so I upgraded them and got everything updated to latest versions, it's like a new computer now.
     
   
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