Getting the Most Out of an Older MacBook or iMac

Getting the Most Out of an Older MacBook or iMac

Range Govindan
Jun 27, 2011

Not everyone can update their computer every year, which is why it makes sense to try and get the most out of your computer, especially if it's a Mac, which usually cost more than their PC equivalents. There are many things that you can do to make your computer last as long as possible, before you need to spend your precious cash on a new one.

1. Smart Tech Updates: There are two easy ways of upgrading your Mac. The first involves simply buying the right kind of RAM and installing it into your computer. You can do this yourself or have someone do it for you. The second option is for MacBooks and it requires some tech savvy. It involves replacing the Superdrive with another hard drive. This may sound somewhat surprising, but if you think about it, you've probably only used the Superdrive rarely. If this is the case for you, you can simply remove it and install a kit with a solid state hard drive. This will significantly update your Macbook, especially if OS X is installed onto this new, faster hard drive.

2. Updating to OS X Snow Leopard: If you're running an older version of OS X, it's time to update it as soon as possible since OS X Lion will be coming out next month. In this post, you'll find the necessary steps to update your Mac, even if you're running OS X Tiger.

3. Buying an External Hard Drive: This is a no-nonsense option, which everyone should do if your hard drive is starting to get full. While archiving your data on DVDs is also possible, if you have a MacBook, then having an external hard drive, between 1TB and 3TB, makes a lot of sense since you can dump all of the stuff that you don't need with you when you go on the road. You can easily archive movies, TV shows, music, and other larger media files which eat up a lot of storage. A HD will work well if it's being used at 30% capacity.

4. Converting an iMac to a Media Hub: If you've got an older iMac at home that you haven't changed in a few years, you can easily get more life out of it if you've got a newer MacBook. A few friends maximize the use of their MacBooks by using their older iMacs as a media hub, especially if you've got a more recent MacBook Air, which doesn't have much HD space. You'd basically be using the iMac to store data and stream it to your laptop. Since most of important tasks are taken care of by the newer laptop, you'll easily be able to get a few extra years out of your iMac.

5. If All Fails, Sell!: If you are still having trouble with your Mac and none of the things that we've mentioned have helped out, then maybe it's time to cut your losses and get a new computer. If your computer isn't too old, it might not cost too much money. It all depends on what you buy. Consider someone who's got a '09 MacBook Pro and decides to go with a new MacBook Air (once they have been updated, sometime in July). Odds are, depending on the specs of the MacBook Pro, that they won't lose too much money, since MacBooks have a tendency to keep their value longer than PCs.

MORE ON MACS
Our Favorite Mac App Store Downloads
Tips Learned From Living with an Older Mac
Extending the Life of Your Computer

(Images: Flickr member Cristiano Betta licensed for use under Creative Commons, click through images for other credits)

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