Maintaining Peak Performance on Your Mac

JohnRice

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Way back in the day, the Mac OS seemed to get slowed down fairly often. I know back in the OS 6 & 7 days I typically did a clean install at least once a year. Apple claims that they've eliminated this need, plus with the models which run on blistering fast NVME drives, access times aren't the problem they used to be.

Over the weekend I got a new Mini (6 core i5) to replace the (current model) i3 model in my office at work, and the i3 will be demoted to our shipping computer. The two computers are running the exact same OS, and I haven't added RAM to the new one yet, so it's only running 8GB while the older i3 is running 32GB. I know the new one is faster, being 6 core i5 vs. quad i3 plus having turbo boost, but the difference seems to be out of proportion to what it should be.

So, this has me wondering if there's still a noticeable benefit to re-installing the OS occasionally. I don't mean doing a full "clean" install, which is a monumental pain in the... I mean just wiping the drive, re-installing the OS fresh and migrating from a backup. I can especially see doing this with a major OS upgrade.

The point is, this new i5 with only 8 GB RAM seems to be faster than the i7 with 32 GB I have at home, running the same OS. Both of them has abundant space on their internal drives.

Does anyone out there regularly re-install the OS these days?
 

DaveF

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Way back in the day, the Mac OS seemed to get slowed down fairly often. I know back in the OS 6 & 7 days I typically did a clean install at least once a year. Apple claims that they've eliminated this need, plus with the models which run on blistering fast NVME drives, access times aren't the problem they used to be.

Over the weekend I got a new Mini (6 core i5) to replace the (current model) i3 model in my office at work, and the i3 will be demoted to our shipping computer. The two computers are running the exact same OS, and I haven't added RAM to the new one yet, so it's only running 8GB while the older i3 is running 32GB. I know the new one is faster, being 6 core i5 vs. quad i3 plus having turbo boost, but the difference seems to be out of proportion to what it should be.

So, this has me wondering if there's still a noticeable benefit to re-installing the OS occasionally. I don't mean doing a full "clean" install, which is a monumental pain in the... I mean just wiping the drive, re-installing the OS fresh and migrating from a backup. I can especially see doing this with a major OS upgrade.

The point is, this new i5 with only 8 GB RAM seems to be faster than the i7 with 32 GB I have at home, running the same OS. Both of them has abundant space on their internal drives.

Does anyone out there regularly re-install the OS these days?
My experience, not helpful.

I did a full system wipe and clean install for Catalina. I've had a number of weird issues and glitches and problems and recurrent beachballing with macOS the past several years. I hoped a clean install would fix this stuff.

Nope.

My best guess is macOS is just getting less stable and more buggy each release as Apple struggles to manage its complexity and sacrifices bug fixes for strategic goals and annual upgrade cadence.

I say this as an enthusastic user with a household full of Apple devices. But there are an array of issues and Catalina has got some weird wonkiness that affects some people.

For example: my iMac hard crashes and reboots randomly during the day every few weeks. Another example, Time Machine randomly fails once every few days (I've seen the reported elsewhere). As for slowdowns: Safari randomly beachballs for multiple seconds at times when I create a new tab; that's been going on for a couple of upgrades and persists through a clean upgrade.
 

Ronald Epstein

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I used to do fresh installs. Short-term there is a huge increase in performance as you are starting out fresh. However, I find that after a week of adding the huge amount of software and constant-running programs there is a slowdown.

Best thing I did was buy 64GB of ram. However, I don't recommend that for everyone. It just allows me to have more start-up programs.

Right now I have no real issues with my MBP. Yes, I get the spinning beach ball from time to time. Not often enough to be concerned.

The only recurring issue I have is opening my laptop to find the screen overly bright and washed out and it can't be adjusted. There may be a graphic card issue. Don't know. I close the lid for a few seconds, re-open and the problem goes away. However, it does occur from time to time.

I will agree with Dave's assessment that Mac OS X is becoming less stable. From Mojave on up, these have been operating systems plagued with bugs. They do seem rushed.

Not that anyone has said anything to the contrary, but none of these issues ruin the Mac experience for me enough that I would want to go back to Windows.
 

JohnRice

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I used to do fresh installs. Short-term there is a huge increase in performance as you are starting out fresh. However, I find that after a week of adding the huge amount of software and constant-running programs there is a slowdown.

Best thing I did was buy 64GB of ram. However, I don't recommend that for everyone. It just allows me to have more start-up programs.

Right now I have no real issues with my MBP. Yes, I get the spinning beach ball from time to time. Not often enough to be concerned.

The only recurring issue I have is opening my laptop to find the screen overly bright and washed out and it can't be adjusted. There may be a graphic card issue. Don't know. I close the lid for a few seconds, re-open and the problem goes away. However, it does occur from time to time.

I will agree with Dave's assessment that Mac OS X is becoming less stable. From Mojave on up, these have been operating systems plagued with bugs. They do seem rushed.

Not that anyone has said anything to the contrary, but none of these issues ruin the Mac experience for me enough that I would want to go back to Windows.
I haven't actually had any problems or seen any bugs to speak of, I just noticed that the new computer seems to be faster than my other faster model. I will bump the RAM to 32GB, I just want to give the computer a few days to make sure it runs fine, since I have to completely disassemble it add RAM. I'm not paying Apple $600 when I can do it myself for $135.

I don't get spinning beach balls except on rare occasions. I also haven't taken the dive to Catalina yet on any of the computers, since I've heard of so many problems.

OK, I guess there are some minor bugs. Most of our computer (running Mojave) have been giving the "Your computer restarted because of a problem" notice when they start in the morning. Mine at home doesn't do this, though. Also, all the monitors don't always come active when I start them.

I agree with you Ron, these are minor things and nothing compared to the constant nightmare than Windows has always been for me.
 

DaveF

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Here’s another perspective.

Mac OS Catalina: more trouble than it’s worth (Part 4) | Riccardo Mori
Many negative emails were from people who were attempting to upgrade, and Catalina gave them trouble both during the update process and afterwards;
Very few negative emails complained about having issues with Catalina after a clean install (currently only 8 emails out of 309);
About half of the positive emails were from people who, after I enquired, told me they had performed a clean install of Catalina.
 

Clinton McClure

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I’ve had my MacBook Pro since 2012 and haven’t needed to do a clean install since initial setup. From Mountain Lion all the way through Catalina, it’s been fast and stable. With the SSD, it boots in less than 10 seconds and it’s rare for me to have a beach ball. About the only time I ever experienced weirdness was when I had a bootcamp partition running Windows 8.1 and later Windows 10 (and even later, a VM running Windows 10) that would sometimes freeze up and give a BSOD when shutting down. I chalked it up to normal Windows behavior and eventually uninstalled Windows because I never use it at home anymore.
 

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