Low End Mac readers have one thing in common – we are not the biggest fans of frequent upgrades. On the other hand, the computer industry loves you if you keep buying stuff, which is why hardware and software manufacturers work to make their products so attractive. They want you to lust for what they have to sell, but you may not need what you want.
To make sure that your Mac lasts almost forever, you simply have to follow a few tips when managing your system.
The software upgrade is your worst enemy. If you use version 1.5, the title’s maker wants to sucker you into buying version 2.0. By throwing in a few goodies and improving the software’s packaging, a manufacturer wants you to hand over a few more dollars in exchange for added features. The problem with buying upgrades is getting sucked into the upgrade cycle. Newer software often requires more RAM, disk space, newer system software, and other resources to run properly – or at least to run well.
If you upgrade and update your software endlessly, your Mac will have to handle the increasing demands. With time, it will feel slower because you are running software designed with the latest computers in mind. Sometimes your Mac will grow unstable when running software (especially the OS) that only supports the hardware you have. What you need to use is software designed for your hardware.
The best strategy is to find what software you need, what software is compatible with your setup, and leave it at that. Upgrade only when newer software fulfills a critical need. If you are going to upgrade when the need is critical, shouldn’t you upgrade the hardware and software at the same time? This is food for thought.
An important argument to get you to buy the latest is that the latest is the best. You should be skeptical in the face of such a line of reasoning – even for minor updates! The smartest move you can make? Visit the manufacturer’s website to find out what’s new in the latest version and see if the changes do anything for you. You do not need to install newer versions unless they provide fixes for bugs that you are experiencing or enhancements that you actually need.
If You Buy New Hardware…
If you are about to hit the store – brick and mortar or online – make sure that you have enough cash in the bank. Your best bet is to get the best available machine instead of saving a few dollars today. In the long run, getting as much power as you can afford can be a much better deal than buying an almost outdated entry-level computer and regretting your purchase a couple of months later. Therefore, when you buy a new machine, aim high so your hardware will not become obsolete quickly.
Once you know which Mac you need, surround it with the peripherals and software you need, all at once. The idea is to create the ideal setup and then settle with it. The goal is to prevent a need to upgrade anything you buy. If you pick the right hardware and software at the start, further purchases may not be appealing or necessary; you can use your Mac for several years without feeling the slightest loss of speed and power. Your Mac will remain as fast as on day you bought it if you run the same software that you installed in the beginning.
Too many people want to run 2001 software on a 1999 machine, while we know that 2001 software often requires 2000 or 2001 hardware. This is a crucial element that makes the difference between a Mac that provides many fruitful years of faithful service and a Mac that feels old less than two years after getting out of the box.
Longevity is not limited to upgrades. A broken Mac is much less useful than a working Mac. To squeeze as many years as you can out of your favorite silicon-based intelligence, you need to take care of your hardware.
Perform routine maintenance with utilities and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions. Consider the warnings given about the things that you should not do with your computer. For example, Apple tells you that your Mac thrives in specific temperature conditions, so make sure to keep your Mac away from excessive heat or cold.
Physical maintenance can be a big plus. Because most computers use fans, most computers collect dust inside their cases. It is never a bad idea to clean up the mess with a can of compressed air.
In the same spirit, avoid exposing your hardware to physical abuse, because electronics rarely mix with physical mistreatment.
In conclusion, get what you need, settle with it, and take good care of it. There are no magical solutions to make sure that your Mac outlasts other people’s machines. Good old common sense and the above instructions will give great results if you follow them correctly.
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