2008 iMac 24" upgrades?

MSFT

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 14, 2013
63
1
After my "awesome" self-built Windows 7 desktop decided it didn't want to work anymore, I decided reinstalling Windows for the 5th time in two years would be a waste of time.

So I went downstairs and started using my brother's old 2008 iMac 24"/10.5.8. Worked like a charm.

I want to upgrade it to Mavericks and get it as close to a new computer as possible. I mostly do light tasks (word processing, web surfing, Netflix).

Questions:
-I understand Apple says the most RAM I can put in is 4GB, but keep seeing people successfully using 6 and 8GB. Can I go that high? Any suggestions on which RAM should I use?

-The router in our house is an old "g" type (I've been away at school). The iMac runs on wifi and is a little slow. What should I upgrade that to? Is the AP Express or Extreme worth the premium over other routers (e.g., Linksys)?

-Is it worth it to upgrade the hard drive? I think it's 320GB. It is nowhere near full.

-Any other upgrades I should consider for this computer?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
You can put up to 6GB in that iMac. 8GB is not supported and will result in a very unstable slow machine. For better WiFi performance, upgrade your router to a N or AC device. Unless your hard drive is dieing or is full, it isn't worth the hassle to open and service the iMac just for the hard drive.
 

slayerizer

macrumors 6502a
Nov 9, 2012
881
502
After my "awesome" self-built Windows 7 desktop decided it didn't want to work anymore, I decided reinstalling Windows for the 5th time in two years would be a waste of time.

So I went downstairs and started using my brother's old 2008 iMac 24"/10.5.8. Worked like a charm.

I want to upgrade it to Mavericks and get it as close to a new computer as possible. I mostly do light tasks (word processing, web surfing, Netflix).

Questions:
-I understand Apple says the most RAM I can put in is 4GB, but keep seeing people successfully using 6 and 8GB. Can I go that high? Any suggestions on which RAM should I use?

-The router in our house is an old "g" type (I've been away at school). The iMac runs on wifi and is a little slow. What should I upgrade that to? Is the AP Express or Extreme worth the premium over other routers (e.g., Linksys)?

-Is it worth it to upgrade the hard drive? I think it's 320GB. It is nowhere near full.

-Any other upgrades I should consider for this computer?
I upgraded the disk to a 1tb drive and the ram to 6GB and the machine works very well. I originally did a upgrade from an older OS X version and it was initially very slow on Mavericks but I installed from scratch and it's very snappy (like the first year it was bought). Lightroom 5 & iphoto works well but iMovie like a faster system. If you're not an iMovie/Logic pro/Garage band user, you will be very happy with 6gb of ram.. if it's slow, consider to re-install from scratch. The ram is the most important update. You could add an external usb drive if you want more storage..
 

MSFT

macrumors member
Original poster
Dec 14, 2013
63
1
Thank you for your responses. If I want to upgrade to 6GB, do you have specific sticks you'd recommend?

Specific routers? I have my eye on the refurb Express ($75, June 2012) or the refurb Extreme Base Station ($99, June 2011). Should I go with one of these or a 3rd party device?

I think I am going to hold off on upgrading the hard drive. Not worth it.
 

excommie

macrumors regular
May 12, 2009
205
1
I have the same computer, use it daily.
I have 6GB of RAM + 256GB Samsung SSD.
The Ram bump from 4GB to 6GB will not provide much performance boost.
SSD, on the other saved me from upgrading to a new machine for another 2 years
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
For ram, use one 2GB stick and one 4GB stick. 3GB sticks were never made. You can use basically any brand. Intell iMacs of that generation aren't very picky. For a router, the October 2009 or June 2011 models would be perfect. They don't have AC abilities and neither does your iMac.
 

Mike in Kansas

macrumors 6502a
Sep 2, 2008
962
73
Metro Kansas City
I second the move to SSD. I have the same iMac; bought it new in August 2008. I installed 6gb of RAM from OWC, which helped a lot with Aperture. However the most noticeable difference came from replacing the HDD with an SSD; can't believe how fast the machine became.

Although taking the iMac apart may seem scary, it's actually quite easy. There are many video tutorials online (iFixit is a great place to start).
 

Brian33

macrumors 6502a
Apr 30, 2008
822
68
USA (Virginia)
I have (probably) the same machine -- it's my daily user and going great! I plan to use it for another few years. I'm running Mountain Lion 10.8.5 right now.

I have 6 GB RAM -- one 2 GB stick (forgot brand) and one 4 GB stick (Patriot PSD24G8002S) which tested fine in my machine using Apple Hardware Test and (I think) rember memory test.

I highly recommend the refurbished Airport Express routers for $75. I've recently bought two of them and really they're indistinguishable from new, except for the box. They have "N" speeds (you don't need AC yet), and are dual-band. Great configuration utility and rock-solid reliable performance.
Also, the Airplay feature where you plug your stereo or powered speakers into the Express to play your iTunes library is a great plus!

I would only go with the Extreme if you felt you needed one of the following:

1) want to plug in an external USB hard drive for shared network storage (can't do this with Express's USB port)

2) need the extra LAN ports and *really* don't want to use a network switch for some reason

3) you really want the Bonjour Sleep Proxy feature, which allows a Mac providing services to the network to sleep and be woken up by the router when another machine wants the service (e.g., remote screen sharing, remote login, iTunes sharing, etc.). (See this Apple document.


I opened my iMac and replaced the optical drive with a 1 TB HDD and the original HDD with an SSD, then made my own Fusion Drive. It's great! The SSD itself does make a noticeable improvement, but I can understand if you don't want to open up the machine. You might consider booting from an SSD connected via Firewire 800 -- I suspect (but don't know) that would feel snappier than the existing 320 GB drive. Since you don't seem to need a lot of storage, you could put just the OS and apps on a small SSD to save money. Probably 64 GB would be enough(? Not sure).
 
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