Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

Zack Stern's picture

Fire Your Mac Up! 9 Essential Mac Upgrades (Plus More Power Tips)

To consider upgrading to Leopard, we recommend a G4 iMac or better with as much memory as you can possibly add. Beyond adding RAM, however, iMacs are difficult to upgrade. The video card and connections (such as USB and FireWire) are all off-limits. If you have a more recent Intel Core Duo iMac, you may be able to swap in a Core 2 Duo chip (see "Give Your iMac a Brain Transplant"), but we don't recommend trying this unless you're really brave or the machine's warranty has expired.


Upgradeability: Low
Built-in slot for AirPort card. Accessible RAM slot.
Hard drive and optical drive upgrades difficult. Stuck with built-in connections. Processor upgrade is a near-superhuman feat.



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PowerBooks offer a few more upgrade options than iMacs. A built-in CardBus slot makes it possible to graft new connections - like FireWire 800 or eSATA (external Serial ATA) - onto an older Mac. Depending on your PowerBook's model, it may be possible to upgrade the hard drive by accessing the drive behind a door in the case (check your machine's manual to know for sure). PowerBooks sometimes have more RAM slots than iMacs or iBooks, so while processor upgrades are uncommon (and offer little benefit), at least you can juice the memory.


Upgradeability: Medium
Built-in slot for AirPort card. Accessible RAM slot(s). CardBus upgrade slot. Hard drives sometimes easy to access. Keyboard fairly easy to remove and replace.
Built-in graphics chip can't be upgraded. Processor upgrade impossible or of little value.







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