In our continued series on getting ready for Mac OS X Leopard, here are a few things to consider. This is just and overview, and if you are interested in the full specs, you can read them Technical Specs directly from Apple.
The first thing is Macintosh system Requirements - You need A mac with an Intel processor, PowerPC G5 or G4 running at 867 MHZ or faster. This excludes all G3 models and a couple of the G4 models.
The minimum requirement is 512MB of RAM. However, it always holds true that the more memory -- the better. Memory increases your system performance. So, if you have some room to grow inside your Mac, you may want to look into upgrading your machine. It's usually inexpensive and the performance boost you will get is certainly worth the money. I usually buy all of my memory from Other World Computing, since they specialize in Macs and make it very easy to find the exact ram type you need for your Mac.
For Installation, you will need a DVD drive. If you have a Mac with a Combo or Super Drive, you will be fine. If you aren't sure what you have, go to the Apple Menu, choose 'About This Mac', and then click 'More Info'. Under Tiger, you can select the option 'Disc Burning' and it will say in the information whether or not your drive Reads DVDs. It just has to read the DVD not burn it, although that's a nice feature to have.
Leopard comes with a fairly hefty disk space requirement. According to Apple, it requires 9GB. So, Now is really a good time to take a look at your available hard drive space. To do this, Hold down Control and click on your Macintosh Hard drive on your desktop. When the contextual menu appears, choose 'GET INFO'. Under the General section, it will tell you what the gigabyte Capacity is and how much you have available. If you have a very small hard drive, say 30gb or so, be prepared for Leopard to take up at least 1/3 or your hard drive. If you have a fairly newer Mac, your hard drive is probably over 80GB, so it's not that big of a deal. Depending on the type of upgrade you do, either a clean install or an upgrade over your existing system, you may need to make room if you are running low on disk space. We'll talk more about installation options later in the week.
Add a new one for Time Machine
While you are looking at hard drives, you should also consider purchasing an external Firewire or USB 2.0 hard disk. Leopard comes with a new backup feature called Time Machine. To use it, It requires an external hard disk drive dedicated to it. Huge capacity drives (320 GB or larger) are now very inexpensive, usually around $100. Personally, I recommend a Firewire drive, since they offer better performance and are daisy-chainable if you want to add an extra one. Once again, Other World Computing can help you find a drive just perfect for your Mac.
I like the OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro solutions, they seem to be pretty good drives in my experience. Also the G-Drives are very good too, and even Apple is featuring them in some of their ads. Note: If you are buying an external firewire drive, try to get one with the Oxford 911 Chipset. Macs work better & are more compatible with this particular chipset in the enclosure. For RAM, I usually use OWC or TransIntl, since they both specialize in Macs. Some people really trust Crucial for their memory, but I can tell you in my experience with them, I have had RAM fail 3 times from them. Not once with these other companies. Plus, I like to patronize stores that support our Mac community. Good luck with your upgrades!!!