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Archive for the ‘Leopard’ tag

MacMedics Frequently Asked Macintosh Service Questions: Is The Power Mac G5 Still Suitable For Designers?

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The Power Mac G5 is really pretty much over in terms of being powerful enough for someone who is doing professional design work. We have very few clients left still doing professional design work on G5’s. Some of the more recent Power Mac G5’s are “okay” for some use, but at this point, it’s really time to move on. In some cases, even the Mac Mini is a better machine in certain situations. If someone comes to us with a Power Mac G5 that needs, more RAM, a new hard drive, AND wants to also upgrade to Leopard, it’s pretty much not even worth it. Leopard (10.5) is the last OS that will run on the G5 and is no longer available for sale from Apple. With a Mac Mini you get a new OS (10.6) and iLife ’09 for free. A new Mini is only $599. Same holds true for a unit that needs a major repair, in almost all cases a repair is not worth pursuing.

If you “retire” a Power Mac G5 you can reuse your keyboard and mouse, and in most cases your monitor too with the new Mac Mini.

Now that the new iMacs can support up to 8 GBs of RAM, even the low end one is pretty nice for a designer (it now is 21.5″ and has a great display), but the high end iMacs are even better for design work with better video performance and a 27″ display. You can get one with a Quad-Core processor for $2000.

Some of the G5’s are now on Apple’s “Vintage” list and we’ll start having issues finding parts here pretty soon. Also, Apple’s newest OS 10.6 (Snow Leopard) won’t run on the Power PC platform.

If you have a G5 and you’re still using it, the hard drive is really beyond it’s life expectancy, so if you plan on continuing to use it, the hard drive should be replaced at some point. I have a whole website about hard drive retirement. And, as always make sure you have your data backed up as hard drives seem to have way of dying at the worst possible time.

See my web page about why you should consider “retiring” your hard drive before it fails at:

For more facts on why retiring a Power Mac G4 or G5 is a good idea, take a look at this previous MacMedics Blog post from earlier this year.

If you’re thinking about a new Macintosh system for Graphic Design (or anything else!), please give your closest MacMedics office a call. We would be delighted to help you pick out a new model.

Before installing Snow Leopard be sure to read our Apple upgrade warning page first.

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Update 10/23/13 See our Mac OX X 10.9 (Mavericks) upgrade warnings page here:

Update 1/27/10: This topic was mentioned on the Apple forums. See the link here.

Apple released Snow Leopard to the public on August 28. This new version of OS X leaves behind support for the Power PC and it will only run on Intel based Macintosh computers. It’s faster, smaller in size, and much cheaper then previous Apple operating systems. At $29 it’s a good value and well worth the investment. It’s $29 for the single user, $49 for a 5 user family pack, and Tiger users can upgrade via the Mac Box Set which includes iLife ’09 and iWork ’09 as well as Snow Leopard.

Update 9/12/08: MacMedics has both Snow Leopard and Snow Leopard Family Packs in stock in both Lanham and Millersville locations.

Our initial reaction to Snow Leopard has been good, and most of the MacMedics are running it now and have been using it and testing it for some time. While we are excited for it, we have not yet begun to install it for clients just yet.

Before you take the leap to Snow Leopard (or any other update to Apple’s OS) be sure to read our software upgrade warnings page first. It can be found here, but to get the word our we’ve copied the text of the page to this Blog post.

As noted below, MacMedics also strongly recommends you have a tested and fully functional back up in place BEFORE you install any Apple system software update. Something could go wrong, and you could have a major problem on your hands. Whenever Apple releases a major update to OS X we usually see 4 or 5 clients’ hard drives die that first day. If your hard drive is dying or already unhealthy, the extra hard drive activity needed to install a major update is often all it takes to kill a hard drive. Please see our web page on the subject of hard drive failures.

For more detailed information on installing Apple system updates, please see details below.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard and/or installing any Apple OS X software update

Running a software update from Apple (or elsewhere) as soon as it pops up is not always the best plan. In our travels we very frequently see clients who have run a software update without planning ahead for it, and as a result end up with annoying issues, sudden incompatibilities, and even data loss. One thing to consider is how healthy your hard drive is overall before running an update. Never try to solve an issue such as system lock ups or crashing by installing the latest update, as symptoms like those can be exasperated by applying a software update.

Here’s our safety checklist for running software updates or installing a system upgrade.

1. Back up your data, and double check your back up before installing any update. [Don’t forget to unplug that back-up before installing an update]

2. Repair permissions – It’s not going to hurt anything, so a quick permission repair is always a good idea.

3. Disconnect any USB or FireWire hard drives, devices, or hubs.

4. Make sure you have enough free space on your hard drive – A safe bet is to have 10% of your total hard drive free.

5. Quit all applications while running software updates. The updates should be the only process running.

6. Consider the possibility that major applications and/or features might be affected by an Apple software update or system upgrade.

Don’t run a software update on a production machine while on a deadline. You want to be certain that the update will not cause more problems than it was designed to fix. If your machine is working, let it continue working as is, and plan to install the update after you know it’s not going to cause any issues for you. We install the updates on our test machines here at MacMedics as soon as they are released to Apple Developers, and again when they are released to the public.

Can your hard drive handle Snow Leopard?

Installing a new OS is like taking your hard drive to the gym. It can be quite a workout for an older hard drive, and whenever a new OS comes out, we always see a few dead hard drives as a result. No matter what you do, make sure you have a back up of your data before you begin! Also, don’t forget (or skip over) the important task of TESTING your back up. Time Machine is what many clients are running, and while it works most of the time, it can suffer from issues. It’s very hard to test that a Time Machine back up is totally working, and we often find ones that don’t work. Just keep that in mind when you plan your upgrade.

Prices have dropped significantly on hard drives over the last year or so. MacMedics now recommends retiring hard drives after three years in desktops, and two years in laptops. Be sure to check out new web page to find out why you should retire your older hard drive and to learn about our 5 rules of data protection and preservation. Why take a chance with your data when faster, larger, and generally more reliable drives are available. Moving to Snow Leopard is a great opportunity to get a new drive, while at the same time insuring your data is safe.

Apple releases Leopard 10.5.8

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Apple released Leopard 10.5.8 today. MacMedics always recommends that you don’t install Apple software updates right away. See all of the details on our software update warnings webpage for the reasons for that advice.

10.5.8 DOES include some security updates, so it is an update that we’d like to see get installed as soon as it’s clear that it’s not going to cause any major problems. And, it should probably be noted that 10.5.8 includes Safari 4.0.2. If for some reason anybody has been avoiding Safari 4, they would not want to apply this update.

Follow MacMedics on Twitter for our up to the second advice on this update.

Here’s what Apple posted in Software Update regarding 10.5.8:

The 10.5.8 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac, as well as specific fixes for:

Compatibility and reliability issues when joining AirPort networks.

An issue that could cause some monitor resolutions to no longer appear in Displays System Preferences.

Issues that may affect Bluetooth reliability.

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website:
For information on the security content of this update, please visit:

Written by Dana Stibolt

August 5th, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Apple releases Leopard 10.5.6 – Always make a back up before applying a new update

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Apple released 10.5.6 yesterday. It’s a major update. When you go to install it, ensure you follow Apple’s advice:

1. Back up your computer prior to installing any updates.
2. Quit any open applications before starting the installation.
3. Do not interrupt the installation process.
4. You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you have modified the operating system through other means, or if you have moved Apple applications from their default locations

This is all sound advice – we highly advise that you follow these four items. To read more about the update be sure to see Apple’s page on it.

These guidelines are pretty much the same as ours here at MacMedics. What we often see is that a major system update will cause one of two issues.

Running an update may seem like a good idea, but beware! Very frequently an update will cause an issue with a major application like Quark or InDesign, and cause a problem during production. That’s never a good thing. Never run a major update during a deadline, and don’t run an update to try and solve a larger issue without knowing what that problem is.

The other thing we often see is that an update like this can be a heavy duty workout for a sick or dying hard drive (see to learn more on this). Ensure that you’ve got a healthy drive before you run the update. Repair permissions, boot in safe mode, check things out, unplug external devices, and make sure you have File Vault or any other encryption software turned off.

Make sure your data is 100% backed up, and do that by actually checking your back up to ensure your data is where you think it is. If your back up is bootable, try booting off of it to check to see if its working. You don’t want to find out you can’t immediately bounce back from a problem if one should pop up. Sadly Time Machine is NOT a bootable back up, unless you have another system you can test on, but be sure you check it and maybe try pulling a few sample files off of it to test it’s validity.

If your Mac is on MacMedics Scheduled Service, then we’ll perform this update for you when we deem it safe. If you like to live up to the second, follow us on Twitter to watch what’s going on with us and the very latest updates.

Written by Dana Stibolt

December 16th, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Leopard is being released tonight – Be safe with your update!

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Leopard will be released tonight. It’s an exciting upgrade, and everyone will be anxious to get it installed to start taking advantage of all of the 300+ new features. Before you take the leap, please read our page on system upgrades and software updates for advice on how to perform an upgrade with the least amount of risk.

Written by Dana Stibolt

October 26th, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Apple

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