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Advice on upgrade please!

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Paul Crowe
Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 7, 2010 at 2:34:08 am

Hi Folks,

this is partly an OS question partly hardware. Hopefully you guys don't mind helping me out on this one.

I have at home one of the early little 13inch MacBook 1.83ghz machines, it has had one drive change in it's lifetime and currently houses a 150GB HD. Running OSX 10.5.8. My daughter uses it for emails web surfing etc. But recently it's started to slow down. Only about 30GB of it's in built storage is used.

So i noticed it has a pitiful 512GB of RAM in it so I was going to up that to 2GB or whatever the max you can get in this machine. I've run carbon cloner to back it up to a FW drive prior to doing this. So my questions are...

A) If I do this will this machine run snow leopard?

B) What are the other reasons this machine might be running slow and how do I determine this and put them right?

c) If I can successfully upgrade the RAM and load snow leopard (or not) could I reasonably expect the machine run Adobe CS3 or 4 design premium programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, in design etc without going insane?

thanks in advance for any comment or advice.

Cheers
Paul



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Pasi Koivisto
Re: Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 7, 2010 at 6:53:56 pm

I've run carbon cloner to back it up to a FW drive prior to doing this.
It's always good to have a backup! Especialy if you're doing hardware stuff, good!

As for upgrading to Snow Leopard, I don't see the benefit to upgrade to Snow Leopard unless there is something you really need in it. The "big" things announced in Snow Leopard are OpenCL, Grand Central and Microsoft Exchange support. As for OpenCL and Grand Central this is something that developers need to support in code and that's not going to happen over night and the hardware you have don't really take advantage of that. Said that, there are a lot of fixes in Snow Leopard but I usually advice people to upgrade when the OS have come to the X.X.4 upgrade. This usually is the first really stable version of any OS X upgrade.

A) If I do this will this machine run snow leopard?
Yes. I think the MacBook can take 2 Gb. The system requirements for Snow Leopard are: 1Gb RAM, Intel CPU, 5Gb HD, DVD-rom

B) What are the other reasons this machine might be running slow and how do I determine this and put them right?
Usually the culprit is installed software that runs when the computer boots. A lot of menu extras is another. If the desktop is crowded that might also be a reason (OS X does live preview of what's in the files which can take up a lot of ram). If there are a lot of dashboard widgets that's also a place to look.

So the fix is to uninstall stuff you don't need, keep a clean desktop and don't have more widgets than you use on a regular basis.

c) If I can successfully upgrade the RAM and load snow leopard (or not) could I reasonably expect the machine run Adobe CS3 or 4 design premium programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, in design etc without going insane?
It will run them. The screen size is not optimal tough since the UI can take up a lot of space, connecting a second monitor to the macbook will help with that. As for going insane, that would depend on the size of the images you're going to work with. Basic web stuff should be workable.



/Pasi
--
Editor, Colorist.
Mac Pro, 8x3 Ghz, 8 Gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4870, KONA 3, Sony PVM20L4, Tangent Devices Wave.


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Paul Crowe
Re: Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 8, 2010 at 1:41:37 am

Wow. Brilliant and clear answers. I really appreciate your help with this Pasi. You make a lot of sense.

Cheers
Paul



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Paul Crowe
More Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 8, 2010 at 3:18:16 am

Hi again Pasi,

actually I made a bootable Carbon copy of the macbook onto a FW drive as discussed and it seems to have all gone well. I plugged the drive into a MacPro station at work and When I open programs such as itunes the playlists are all good and I've checked folders and the data is still there. Even Microsoft word in office X remembers recent documents and such.

One problem though - when I open Entourage (also in office x) which my daughter has been using for emails it hasn't retained any email info at all. Inbox empty, sents empty, drafts empty - everything empty. It behaves like it's never been opened and used before.

Any ideas how I can relink this data? I'm sure it'll be in the clone somewhere because the data count is exactly the same as the existing machine. The email data is of particular value so I'd really like to make especially sure the entourage data is there and working on the clone before I continue trying to upgrade the macbook.

Which has got me thinking - some more questions...

If I do a clean install of the OS I'm guessing I'll get an option to carry over the data, settings etc from the FW clone - is this correct?

Or do I just reload the OS (probably stick with 10.5) right over the top and just rely on the clone for a backup if needed?

Thanks again for your help with this.

Cheers
Paul



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Pasi Koivisto
Re: More Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 8, 2010 at 5:44:27 am

One problem though - when I open Entourage (also in office x) which my daughter has been using for emails it hasn't retained any email info at all. Inbox empty, sents empty, drafts empty - everything empty. It behaves like it's never been opened and used before.

All the data is stored inside the 'Microsoft User Data' folder that Office creates in your Documents folder. If office can't find this folder when it starts up (or one of the subfiles /folders) it will create a new one, giving you an apparent fresh start. So, I guess what you could do is to close all Office applications, throw away that folder on the clone, copy it over from the MacBook, start Entourage and see if that works better.

If I do a clean install of the OS I'm guessing I'll get an option to carry over the data, settings etc from the FW clone - is this correct?
Or do I just reload the OS (probably stick with 10.5) right over the top and just rely on the clone for a backup if needed?


What I would do is a clean install, or erase and install as it's called in the Leopard installer. This will erase your harddrive and install a fresh copy of leopard. Which I think it really the best way to install.

As for carrying over the data you do get the option to migrate the data, it's using a application called Migration assistant. If you want you can skip this during the install and then run the migration assistant from the utilities folder. I have never used this as I prefer to redo everything from scratch when I do a clean install. Just to make sure I don't have corrupt preference files etc carried over from the old system.

I'm happy you appreciate my help and the best to you!


/Pasi
--
Editor, Colorist.
Mac Pro, 8x3 Ghz, 8 Gb ram, ATI Radeon HD 4870, KONA 3, Sony PVM20L4, Tangent Devices Wave.


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John Davidson
Re: More Advice on upgrade please!
on Jan 11, 2010 at 5:55:38 am

You may consider using this Entourage issue as a good reason to dump the MS Office programs altogether. I was very happy switching to address book, apple mail, and also changing my mail to an imap format. Now I can get any email sent or received in the last 12 years on my phone or any computer.
Getting out of the Pop3 mail system has been a godsend. I used to have to organize every computer and phone I used after downloading emails and leaving copies on a server. My usage of Entourage was a holdover of my skepticism that applications that came preloaded with a computer must be sucky. That's what the Windows world teaches you, anyways.


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