Best Version of OS X Upgrade...?


Hi -

My early 2011 13" MBP currently has OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks installed. The machine has 16GB RAM and two 1TB SSDs. An ExpressCard adapter is connected to the Thunderbolt port to run a UAD Solo, and an RME Fireface 800 is connected to, of course, the FW800 port. An iConnect MIDI4+ is connected to one of the USB ports. Both SSDs are backed up (main drive fully bootable) using CarbonCopyCloner.

I am looking to make the jump to a later OS…considering 10.10 Yosemite or 10.11 El Capitan. I’m unsure as to sure whether 10.12 Sierra will impact performance…not even considering High Sierra 10.13, as my box might be too old and under-equipped to handle it.

Any recommendations, tips, success stories, horror stories, etc. would be most appreciated. TIA! :slight_smile: )

Best regards,



I had Mavericks, which introduced memory compression - what the hell is this?
I had a lot of audio glitches.
With Yosemite it was much better. also with Sierra.
With High Sierra and Mojave I have again sporadic audio gliches.
For Mojave now an official bug is accepted at Apple.

Hope this information helps you.


I use 10.12 on all my machines (including the ones with which I tour) and it seems solid but my laptops are newer than yours. I don’t know how well it will work on older machines.


I either use 10.10 or 10.12, but for my on-stage laptop which is the same year as yours (2011) I run 10.10 only. I’m afraid to upgrade. It has been rock solid for many years.


If an application is (temporarily) not being used, instead of swapping the data it was using out to the hard drive (or SSD these days) to free up RAM, the RAM is freed up by compressing the data thereby requiring less RAM to hold it. The theory is that compressing/decompressing the data in RAM is faster than the time to write the data out to the drive and read it back in again later.


Thx for that explanation.


Thanks for the explanation of Mavericks’ memory compression, David. With 16GB RAM I suppose I have never run into having to swap out memory to disk or “compress ‘swappable’ data in memory”.


You generally wouldn’t know unless you were specifically tracking it. If you have Word and Excel and your email and a browser sitting around in the background, you’d be surprised how much RAM gets used


Thank you all for the information! :slight_smile:

Yosemite, now tried & true, looks like a good move. Although, I was a bit surprised not to hear anything about El Capitan, since I had read in a few articles (a few years old, however) that it was an improvement to Yosemite. Also, I might wager that the earlier articles on Yosemite, citing slightly poorer performance than Mavericks, no longer hold water today.

I figure I’ll upgrade to Yosemite and see how things go. I can always move to El Capitan (or possibly Sierra) in the future (after having made a full, bootable backup, of course).

Best regards,



Agreed…which is why I keep Office (and similar apps) off my music machines. I use a “regular” PC for business related work and general browsing (such as when I am on this Forum).

Also, I make sure my browser is closed and that I’m in Airplane mode (when not using any wireless devices) while recording.