Macs to the Max

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Upgrading Your Mac

- 2006.05.22

Possibly one of the most time- and moneysaving features of a computer, especially a Mac, is the ability to upgrade it. Be it a hard drive, memory, or even the optical drive, it can be changed to suit our needs.

There are many good, bad, and, well, actually ugly points about upgradeability. But take hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The Good

Upgrading gives you a chance to decide what you want to do to improve your computer - and you also have a say as to what goes in and what comes out.

You can order your new Mac customized with upgrades, but when that's not enough, or when you need that extra RAM or drive space to run a newer application or need whatever it is to increase your productivity, what are you going to do?

You have two choices: Buy a new (or newer) Mac or upgrade your current one. Upgrading is the best choice if you already have a decent computer that is running just a little slow compared to newer machines.

If you're running a machine that's too old to really upgrade and be able to do what you need, you'll probably need to buy a new(er) computer, because it can't be upgraded to meet your needs. Anyways, you save money when you upgrade, because you get to find the deals yourself - and even install the upgrades yourself.

You also get more speed, more space, or whatever it is from those upgrades that make your computer a little higher on the food chain.

The Bad

For many there is the issue of "I don't know how to install this", so if you're planning on upgrading and don't feel you know enough - or just plain just don't want to mess up your Mac - this can be a problem.

Or it can be a time to learn more about your Mac and figure out how to do the upgrade. This is a great way to improve your Mac knowledge while bettering your computer.

Another problem many of us have faced: The trials and tribulations of customer service and shipping "issues" that have been plaguing mankind since the first Sears mail order catalog.

The Ugly

Some things, like installing RAM in a slot-load iMac, can be pretty easy, but how about replacing a hard drive in a Power Mac 8500? Not so easy! And what if something goes wrong?

I know it can be very disheartening. If you know it's a hard operation, or if you don't know your mouse cord from your power cord, you can always ask for help on one of LEM's wonderful user groups or search the Mac Web. It will hopefully turn out all right.

Hardware upgrades aren't always for the faint of heart, so if you have any doubts about the process, it's better to be safe than sorry, so call in the cavalry if needed (a pro techie, Apple, or a knowledgeable friend).

The Reward

Hopefully it will all pay off, and you'll have a better computer for it. It can be satisfying to have done it all yourself and know that you have the knowledge to do it again.

You can improve your computer, increase your productivity, and do it all yourself with upgrades - the good, the bad, and the ugly. LEM

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