4 Replies Latest reply: Aug 22, 2010 12:34 PM by Simon Teale
legolas-woodelf Level 1 (0 points)
I have a 1.25 gHz, 17" iMac running 10.3.9 with 512 MB of RAM.

My problem is that the world seems to be moving away from me.

More and more websites say my Flash version is too old for them; YouTube tells me my browser is no longer supported to name but two of the problems I now face. As far as I know I have the latest version of everything (Flash, browser etc.) that will run on 10.3.9.

I gather the latest OS my Mac can run is 10.4.11. Assuming I can track down a copy cheap, will installing it resolve some of these type of issues?

The thing is, I'm a bit anxious about upgrades generally. From my modest experience, I've found that every time you do it you fix one bug and introduce six more which then starts you on a costly spiral of software purchases and hours and hours of setup headaches and learning curves in order to get you back where you started. I've spent a long time getting my system working in harmony with my various external devices and if it were down to me I'd just leave it alone. But sadly the world won't let me.

I realise this is a policy thing from the software industry, but for folk like me for whom cash is tight it's frustrating. I'm happy to live without new features - I just don't want to lose old ones.

So will upgrading make any difference at all to my issues or should I stay put?

Any thoughts or advice gratefully received.

17" iMac, Mac OS X (10.3.x), 1.25gHz; 512 MB RAM; 80 GB Hard Drive
  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 (46,565 points)
    Here's the spec page on your iMac. http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/stats/imac1.25_17fp.html It's capable of running Tiger 10.4 or Leopard 10.5.

    Here's the Tiger & Leopard requirements.
    *OS X 10.4 Tiger Requirements*
    *Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard installation system requirements*

    Either OS will run on 512MB RAM, but would run better with 1GB RAM. Tiger will probably be OK for another year or so, then you may begin to have the same problems you are experiencing with Panther. I made the Panther to Tiger upgrade on a G4 desktop & G3 laptop without problems.

    Tiger & Leopard install DVDs are in short supply and are no longer available at the Apple Store *but may be available for $129 by calling Apple Phone Sales @ 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753)*. For other sources for Tiger, do a Google search for MA453Z/A (10.4.6), MA190Z/A (10.4.3) and M9639Z/A (10.4) . Also look on eBay. Be sure & buy a retail version (black with silver X) and not a model specific version (gray) (See Can I use another Mac's system restore disc on my Mac? ).

    Also check these web stores: http://www.lacomputercompany.com/cgi-bin/rpcart/index.cgi?command=dispitem&type= sku&sku=19521 http://www.allmac.com/shop/index.php?cPath=5_10003

    Possible Alternative if you are currently using Panther 10.3 – Do a Google search for Tiger 10.4 Upgrade DVD . It will upgrade your 10.3 to 10.4, but it doesn’t contain the full retail Tiger installer. Should be cheaper than the retail Tiger install DVD.

    After you install the base 10.4.x, update to the final Tiger version 10.4.11. Here's the link for the 10.4.11 combo update http://support.apple.com/kb/TA24901?viewlocale=en_US

    Look at this link Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger Installing Software Support Page

    You can also download the Tiger Installation and Setup Guide

    Installing Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard

    Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Installation and Setup Guide

    When you upgrade the OS, do it via Archive & Install. See About the Archive and Install feature http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1710
    Be sure to select Preserve Users & Settings. Also, repair permissions before and after the install.

     Cheers, Tom

  • Simon Teale Level 5 (4,680 points)
    Of course, despite the big hooha from Youtube, videos still play fine on OSX 10.3.9 and the latest Firefox supported by that OS (that I still use).

    Like TMM said, Tiger will give you a more recent version of Flash and Java, but OSX 10.6 is already nearly a year old, so 10.4.11 will show it's age (if that matters to you) in a year or so.

    I still run OSX 10.3.9 and all the apps that go with it still run as good as they did the day I bought them. Word, Excel, FileMaker, GraphicConverter, iPhoto, Toast, iTunes, etc all still perform perfectly. Older versions sure, but there are no new "killer" features in the current versions these products yet to force me to make the switch to OSX 10.4 or 10.5 (bought both and installed on other disks, but they break to many older pieces of software that I still use.

    Little side story, I used to provide consultancy to one of the leading internet banks. Came up in a meeting that 2% of the web traffic came from a browser none of the so-called techies had never heard of, Safari. New DB, new platform, new Java was not going to support it. Instead of being able to manage their money the clients would be presented with a dialog box asking them to upgrade to the latest version of IE. "Big mistake" I pipped in with, "Safari is an Apple product, they're almost definitely Mac users and you're going to force them to re-invest thousands of pounds to downgrade to an inferior home computer platform and OS. Might be only 2% of your traffic, but I bet it's more than 2% of the company assets. They'll just take all their money to another bank".
    We analysed the web traffic for a month and found out the 2% userbase who used Mac /Safari held 12% of the company assets. Of course, Safari was supported with the recamped system.
  • cornelius Level 6 (17,825 points)

    Tiger will not necessarily help you catch up with the rest of the world, but it will be a step in the right direction. Indeed, Panther is a very stable and powerful system. However it is getting more difficult to find browsers supported by Panther. And to use the latest version of iTunes, you need a minimum of Tiger. Your 1.25 GHz iMac will, indeed, support Leopard, which is an even more powerful OS and still supported by Apple, and the Full Retail Version will cost about the same.

    Good luck.

  • Simon Teale Level 5 (4,680 points)
    legolas-woodelf wrote:
    I've found that every time you do it you fix one bug and introduce six more which then starts you on a costly spiral of software purchases

    Perhaps I was too subtle before. It's a decision only you can make.
    1. Identify your key software packages.
    2. Check for compatibility with OSX 10.4. It broke a lot of software, but patches were forthcoming from most software houses, but some just offered a paid-for upgrade rather than a free update. Identidy a cost to you here. Some of the upgrades may be available on eBay or similar (OSX 10.5 and OSX 10.6 broke even more software).
    3. Add in the cost of OSX 10.4. It used to be criminally expensive, ie. more than Leopard, but now I see it come up for about £40 / $60.
    4. Add in the cost of a memory upgrade, OSX 10.4 has a lot more background activity, these new features eat up CPU ticks too, you notice it on a single CPU Mac. They also eat up RAM. Look at your current RAM use (Activity Monitor) and decide if you're at the limit already.
    5. check what your iMac sells for on eBay and compare it to a newer iMac, Mac Mini, MacBook or MacBook Pro on Apples site, even a refurb. A refurb may give you a bigger screen, a completely modern OS, a 600% faster CPU, 900% faster graphics, 8x as much RAM, dual-layer DVD burner, 500% bigger hard disk, the full current iLife, warranty, etc, etc. Of course chek that all your key software can run in OSX 10.6.

    Maybe the others agree, it's usually time for an upgrade when the old kit becomes too painful to use day-to-day.