New to Macs Advice please!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by johnpateley, Jun 11, 2012.

  1. johnpateley macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2012
    Yorkshire Dales England
    I am hoping to purchase a used imac (can't afford a new one!)
    Perhaps 2008 or thereabouts. I would want to upgrade the HD because my main use would be photos so bigger the better.
    I have built and upgraded pc's for years but never touched a mac.
    Should I upgrade the operating system or stick with the original? Would this effect performance on an older machine?
    How does one buy a new operating system are cd's available or do you have to download and make a cd / dvd are they self booting like windows?
    Would the latest OS work on a 4 year old machine?
    Any info greatfully received Thanks John
  2. SandboxGeneral, Jun 11, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012

    SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Upgrading the OS would be dependent on the CPU and RAM specs, but if you get anything with at least a C2D and 4GB RAM, you can run Lion easily. However, I'd recommend staying with or upgrading to Snow Leopard as there isn't any real advantages to going with Lion.

    You can still get Snow Leopard on disc for $29 here. Upgrading to Lion is done through the Mac App Store in Snow Leopard and done over the Internet. The Snow Leopard disc is self-loading just like Windows.

    Edit: Also, once you get your iMac, check out our Guides on OS X and various other Apple topics on this page. Look for the small section called Guides near the top of the listed forums. There are lot's of valuable information there.

  3. And macrumors 6502


    Feb 23, 2009
    92 ft above sea level, UK
    Upgrading the HD on imacs looks to be quite fiddly, check youtube for guidance. Personally, I'd just use an external drive for additional storage.
  4. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Note also that unlike Windows, you can easily run OS X from an external do you can see which runs better. A 2008 or later should have FW800 and will run well.

    I typically do this when trying out the new OS, install on external first until I am ready to upgrade.

  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Changing the hard drive in an iMac isn't so bad. has great guides, with detailed pictures and videos of every single step in the process. I selected a random iMac model where they show how to change a hard drive. - iMac hard drive replacement.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    And... of course if you are doing photos you will want RAM - lots and lots of RAM.

    I too recommend staying with Snow Leopard, I think it's currently at 10.6.8. It is, imo, the most stable version of the OS at the moment and it will work really well on older machines.

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