It turns out that my quest to upgrade my iMac wasn’t as critical as I thought (though certainly not a waste of time). One of the gifts my wife bought me for Christmas was a new iMac! The system is considerably more faster than the older iMac.
I’ve managed to test out some of the differences. DVD conversions dropped from taking about an hour and thirty minutes down to about forty minutes. Blu-Ray conversions are much improved. Ripping from disc takes the same amount of time (mostly likely caused by the limitation of using a USB 2.0 drive) but conversions have dropped from 10-12 hours down to about 2 hours. That’s a very impressive difference.
Though I haven’t used Windows 7 via VM Ware Fusion very much I did up the number of cores that it’s using along with the RAM. According to Crucial.com I can max the system out at 16 GBs for about $100, which is much less than I expected it would cost.
In the immediate future I will probably expand the RAM above 4 GBs.
The previous iMac will probably move to my wife’s craft room where it may spend much of its time capturing VHS tapes to digital files.
Updated 12/27/2011: It looks like I’ll be buying my RAM upgrade from Crucial, as usual. I swung by Best Buy today and checked out the prices. It would cost me $40-$50 more to upgrade with RAM from Best Buy. The store only sells the 4GB modules for about $35. I can buy two 4 GB sticks from Crucial for a total cost of about $46. I’ll need four 4 GB sticks to max the system out with 16 GB.
I’m not surprised. It’s rare that I find anything at a good price at Best Buy that isn’t on clearance. I was shopping for some Apple earbuds with the microphone and saw that they charge $40. Walmart sells them for just under $30 and I think both Amazon and Apple sell them for about $30.
Updated 10/25/2011: Note that despite my comments in this post I decided to upgrade the processor and install Lion. Visit that post for more information. I decided to leave this post since it records what I was thinking at the time and some may still find this information useful.
I was recently disappointed to learn that my iMac, which is an Intel Core Duo system, will not be compatible with OS X Lion (10.7). Core Solo system will also not be supported. At first, I was annoyed. After all, my iMac is still a good system that can run most software rather well, especially considering that it only supports a maximum of 2 GBs of RAM.
However, while I’m still disappointed, I no longer think this is just a strategy to force Mac users to upgrade sooner than necessary. Based on some light reading of several different posts and articles the compatibility cut-off may be an intelligent move. While Snow Leopard does have 64-bit support it runs many system processes and apps in 32-bit mode. The compatibility cut-off for older Intel Macs is apparently attributed to the lack 64-bit support within the Intel Core Duo and Intel Core Solo processors.