Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Examining the Cost of Upgrades

I got quite a bit of feedback on the posts about upgrading to Apple's Macintosh OS X 10.7.1 Lion operating system and it started me thinking about all the hundreds of upgrades I have had over the years. The major issue with any upgrade is its true cost. By this, I do not mean just the initial cost of the upgrade, but the overall cost and impact any given upgrade may have on your entire computer system and your work flow.

Apple's new Lion system seems relatively inexpensive. But it is important to understand that the cost of the upgrade, especially a system upgrade is only the beginning. Let me give a worst case scenario.

I chose to pay the $29.95 and upgrade my system to 10.7.1. Then, in order to have my Parallels Desktop program work in order to access my PC programs, I find that I have to upgrade Parallels. Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac upgrade is $49.95. The immediate question is how many other programs will I need to upgrade to work with the new system. This domino effect with existing programs can get be a major expense.

The next consideration is the possibility of downtime while I try to get the new system to work. I have found reviews and received comments from a variety of sources about the new upgrade and the message is decidedly mixed. Some people have had no problem and can't imagine my concern. Others point out problems from slow downs in operation to loss of battery life on Mac laptops. Depending on the upgrade, you can experience similar problems. Upgrade does not guarantee that the program will be better or faster than the older program. Both Apple and Microsoft have come out with operating systems that were less than perfect in the past. There may be programs that won't work at all, in which case I will have to find a work around for those programs.

My computer involved son was of the opinion that I would need to upgrade my RAM in order to have the new operating system work more efficiently. He indicates that RAM upgrades are quite inexpensive.  Hmm. I just checked and the price for an upgrade runs about $70 for two 4GB Simms. I called the Mac store and they want about $400 to do the upgrade. Even if I did it myself, there would still be an expense in time. However, the store employee opined that the memory upgrade wasn't necessary.

Usually, people also forget the time it will take to get used to the new system, whatever the changes from the old. With Apple, the change is minimal, but with Windows 7 there was a learning curve that took a while to get used to.

Despite all this, I have been through the process so many times before, I will likely try the upgrade on my laptop to see what happens with the programs I use all the time and then move to upgrading my main iMac. I'll report back if there are or are not any problems. 

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