MacBooks forum

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Buying a second hand macbook pro

by steven.1364 / December 18, 2012 10:33 PM PST

HI,im going to buy a used macbook pro 17" for my daughter its an early model core 2 duo 2.4ghz 2gb ram only been used a handful of times im not sure what osx is on it i would imagine it has never been updated since bought in 2009, will my daughter be able to facetime on it.If not how much does a new operating system cost also with this macbook will i be able to install the lastest osx or is this machine not capable of running it any answers would be very much apppreciated regards steve

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Couple of answers.
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 7:34 AM PST

This machine will support OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion) which is the latest version but it will require more RAM to be comfortable with it.
this machine max's out at 4GB. Buy it from

Alternatively, you could run a lower version of OS X, perhaps 10.6 (Snow Leopard) which was a little less demanding. Still go with the max RAM though.

How you get to 10.8 or 10.6 depends on where you are now. Until we know that, we cannot be certain of the route you will take. Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion were both upgrades from Leopard/Lion and sold for $30 (ish).
In the case of SL, it was possible on most machines to go from 10.4 straight to 10.6 and then to 10.8.
Some people even went directly to 10.8 but that was a great leap of faith that did not always work.

As for FaceTime, 10.6.6 was the first software to support it.


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Thanks mrmacfixit
by steven.1364 / December 19, 2012 5:19 PM PST
In reply to: Couple of answers.

Thanks for your response mrmacfixit,,.I have ,just a couple of questions,, is there a web cam on it suitable for face time also is it easy to install new updates ,as you can tell im totally new to mac's had pcs and iphones for a good few years. Not sure of the model number yet so i will wait to see before i buy some more ram is the ram easy to install ,,,,oh yes we live in the uk

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Couple more answers
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 19, 2012 8:49 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks mrmacfixit

Yes, the MBP has a camera built-in that is just fine for FaceTime or Skype.
Updates install automatically via the Software Updater software that can be set to check for updates regularly.
Once an update is found, it will inform you and, after agreeing to the license, it will install itself.
Software Updates are machine specific and my advice is to download them whenever one is available.

RAM is very easy to install. Here in the US, I use for all my RAM requirements. I don't know of similar sites in the UK, I guess there must be one or two, as I left there before the Internet arrived.


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Thanks again
by steven.1364 / December 20, 2012 6:13 PM PST
In reply to: Couple more answers

Hi there ive just took delivery of the macbook and it is in prestine condition as new looks wise,,,im going to leave it at the moment and not uprade there is a lot of software on there already phototbooth adobe photoshop microsoft word ms excel ms powerpoint ms entourage, garageband etc if i upgrade to snow leopard or above is there a chance i could lose all that ? my duaghter was 12 this year she was using apple computers at school around the time this came out so she will probably know how to use it all ,,some of the things she does on the pc with ms word astounds me she is so fast im still one finger typing .Thanks again mrmacfixit

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There is a possibility that if you move
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 20, 2012 9:01 PM PST
In reply to: Thanks again

to Lion, OS X 10.7, you will lose the functionality of the Adobe and MS products.
Before Apple moved to the Intel processor, they used a PPC processor. Applications written for the PPC processor did not run on the Intel processor, and vice versa.
To offset the pain of the transition, Apple used a piece of software called Rosetta. This enabled the Intel processor to run applications that were written solely for the PPC processor.

Over time, software manufactures, including MS and Adobe, rewrote their software to run on both processors (Universal Binary) and then to just the Intel processor.
With Lion, Apple removed all support for applications that needed the PPC processor which meant that if you had any apps that ran solely on the PPC processor, they would not run!

To check whether what processor your apps need, find the application in the application folder and SINGLE click it. On the menubar (top of the screen) to File > Get Info.
In the resulting window, in the General section, next to Kind: it will tell you what processor it needs.
PPC, Universal Binary, UB or Intel.
Intel is good if you want to move up to the latest OS version, PPC is not.

What OS X version is currently installed. Apple menu, top left of screen, About this Mac. That will give that information


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just an update
by steven.1364 / December 26, 2012 8:08 AM PST

Hi there mr macfixit just to give an update ,our daughter literally cried on christmas morning when she opened it bless she was that happy ,anyway ive updated to the latest ios mountain lion and it runs perfect seems to me faster than before ive not updated the ram yet as it seems lightning fast at the moment i have a pc with 4gb ram quad core and it seems faster than that we are all very happy with it .Thanks for all the advice ,and all the best for new year !!!

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Thanks for the feedback,
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / December 26, 2012 9:35 PM PST
In reply to: just an update

glad it all worked out for you and your daughter.

You might as well go ahead with the RAM, it's cheap enough, and will be the icing on the cake.

Happy New Year


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