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Mac OS X - minimum useable system ?

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First post, by snorg

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I wasn't sure if this would fall under Milliways or here so I'm posting here since I guess it is more a hardware question.

Anyway, if I want a minimum useable system for OS X, what am I looking at? I would like to have the most recent (or 2nd to most recent) version of OS X with tolerable to reasonably snappy performance for the modern web (but not necessarily flash) and very basic apps (like iWork or Open Office or something). I don't intend to use it as a gaming machine, for web dev or for video/audio editing.
Mainly, I just need to be able to use it to support my clients that have Macs, since I'm tired of either flying blind or frantically hunting for a screenshot of whatever it is I'm looking for.

Thanks in advanced for any suggestions.

Reply 1 of 37, by dank0

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build the hackintosh - it is pretty easy these days. I'm using few of them at my home.

Last edited by dank0 on 2015-02-10, 02:20. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 37, by leonardo

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You won't save any money building a system to run OS X as opposed to just shelling out for a Mac Mini. Apple does a great job with the hardware.

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Reply 3 of 37, by snorg

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Yes, no way in hell am I building a hackintosh. I don't want to spend more than $100-$200, less if at all possible. I've found a couple systems in the $50-$80 range but I'm not sure that those are going to be anything but misery to use, since they are single core Power PC G4 systems with 512MB RAM. I admit I have next to no knowledge of Macs, though, so if that is a decent system (or would be with a $20 RAM upgrade) then let me know.

I'd prefer to get something that had better than GMA 950 graphics but on my budget I just don't think that's going to be possible. Since the primary use is for just using it as a live guide to locating stuff in OS X, I don't need much more than that.

Reply 4 of 37, by dank0

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well the browsing even on G5 is not really pleasure thing ...

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Reply 6 of 37, by SquallStrife

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The "most recent and 2nd to most recent" versions of OSX (10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite) will only run nicely on 2011 or newer hardware.

So Core i5's with Intel HD3000 or better, basically.

In practice, you probably wouldn't want to run anything older than Lion. Mountain Lion is the earliest supported version at the moment, but Lion still seems to be getting updates despite support stopping late last year.

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Reply 8 of 37, by smeezekitty

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SquallStrife wrote:

The "most recent and 2nd to most recent" versions of OSX (10.9 Mavericks and 10.10 Yosemite) will only run nicely on 2011 or newer hardware.

So Core i5's with Intel HD3000 or better, basically.

In practice, you probably wouldn't want to run anything older than Lion. Mountain Lion is the earliest supported version at the moment, but Lion still seems to be getting updates despite support stopping late last year.

I don't know much about Mac but I find that hard to believe. A core 2 isn't THAT much slower than an I5. If it has enough RAM, I can't see it being a problem

Reply 9 of 37, by SquallStrife

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It's more that going from 2010 to 2011, they also went from SATA2 to SATA3 and stuff like that.

Lion will install in anything 2008 onwards, but it's really only "nice" on 2011+ systems.

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Reply 10 of 37, by smeezekitty

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SquallStrife wrote:

It's more that going from 2010 to 2011, they also went from SATA2 to SATA3 and stuff like that.

Lion will install in anything 2008 onwards, but it's really only "nice" on 2011+ systems.

On a mechanical drive SATA3 won't make much if any difference. Once hardware gets to the 2007+ era, it becomes the law of diminishing returns

Reply 11 of 37, by Dominus

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Or use a VM. I'm running OS X 10.5 - 10.8 in WmWare Fusion...

Anyway a machine from 2009 or 2010 will also run good enough with Lion, Mavericks or even Yosemite. Been there, done that with an iMac middle/end of 2009.
For the use you want these will be fine.

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Reply 12 of 37, by SquallStrife

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smeezekitty wrote:
SquallStrife wrote:

It's more that going from 2010 to 2011, they also went from SATA2 to SATA3 and stuff like that.

Lion will install in anything 2008 onwards, but it's really only "nice" on 2011+ systems.

On a mechanical drive SATA3 won't make much if any difference. Once hardware gets to the 2007+ era, it becomes the law of diminishing returns

All these things "Core 2 isn't 'that much' slower" "won't make much difference" are cumulative, in my experience anyway.

They also went from lower-end Core 2's to middle-of-the-road Core i5's with greater FSB bandwidth, HyperThreading and TurboBoost.

Lots of small and incremental improvements that made the overall package noticeably better. Not night-and-day better, usable vs un-usable better, but definitely noticeable. Enough to make Lion go from "Probably should have stayed on Snow Leopard" to "This is fine hey."

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Reply 13 of 37, by Dominus

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Worked fine for me. Note also that the minimum system requirements didn't change much between the last few OS X versions. If the machine ran Snow Leopard it is likely to run Yosemite as well.
The iMac I mentioned csme with Leopard and ran both Mavericks and Yosemite just fine...

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Reply 14 of 37, by mwdmeyer

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10.10.2 is the minimum. Most Mac users seem to upgrade very quickly and Apple likes to change lots of things. A Mac with a 9400m video card or better basically means 10.10 will run. Min 2GB ram, but recommended 4GB.

Owning a Mac is very different from a PC. You want it to be supported by Apple otherwise it is pretty worthless.

I love my MacBook Pro but I wouldn't want to run on old hardware.

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Reply 15 of 37, by sliderider

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Mac Pro 3,1 (2008) is still supported in the latest version. You can get an 8-core for around $500-$550 now and a quad core for less than that. You can also get a 4,1 (2009) quad core for around the same price as a 3,1 8-core.

I wouldn't buy any Mac at this point that didn't come with at least 10.7 installed and that would only be on it long enough for me to connect to the Apple store and upgrade it.

Reply 16 of 37, by Dominus

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OS X 10.10 will run on iMacs from the mid-2007 model on; on 13-in. MacBooks from late 2008 (aluminum case) and early 2009 (plastic case) forward; MacBook Pro notebooks from mid-2009 and later (13-in.) and late-2007 and after (15-in., discontinued 17-in.) and on; MacBook Air ultra-light laptops from late 2008 and later; Mac Mini desktops from early 2009 and after; and the much beefier Mac Pro desktops from early 2008 and forward.

Which is almost the same list as for OS X 10.8.
Any of those will meet your requirements. Don't worry 😀

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Reply 17 of 37, by dank0

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you can build for $350 hackintosh - http://www.tonymacx86.com/buying-advice/11815 … can-you-go.html
and you got system fully compatible with newest OS X. I own Real mac machines: macbook pro 2014 and Mac Pro. And I also have two very loaded workstations (using it for 3D rendering etc.) And I have to say that I work more on hackintosh machines than on genuine machines. Main reason is that I have two Nvidia Titan in SLI which you cannot get in real mac. In my Mac pro I have Quadro card that cost me more than those two Titans. And i'm not saying that the benchmark of my hackintosh machines are faster than newest Mac Pro machine that will cost me over $6000. You should guys realize that OS X is nothing special (old BSD core) and it is fully compatible with any other HW with couple tweaks... All is today very well documented on Hackintosh sites. Today the hack is that good that you updating OS X from app store like real HW.

Last edited by dank0 on 2015-02-10, 16:11. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 18 of 37, by Dominus

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Dank0 got a point, especially since you aim at getting faniliar with the system for support not necessarily do everything with it (hence my VM alternative as well).

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Reply 19 of 37, by SquallStrife

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dank0 wrote:

You should guys realize that OS X is nothing special (old BSD core) and it is fully compatible with any other HW with couple tweaks

Using TonyMac's butchered installation images isn't really "a couple of tweaks". They do a shitload of kext hacking to get simple things like sleep, shut down, hardware monitoring, non-Apple-OEM video cards, various flavours of onboard audio, etc working.

That said, they do a great job of packaging it all up, and once it is up and running, it's just like the real thing, and probably suits OP's needs just fine. Dominus is on the money.

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