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  10-10-03 | This column originally appeared in the Houston Chronicle.

 

Panthermania (and a rant about RAM)

 


By Bob LeVitus

I was going to write about my new digital camera—an Olympus C740 Ultra Zoom—this week, but when I arrived at the office this morning my fax machine was spewing Apple press releases hither and yon. So I will postpone the Olympus coverage until next week and provide you with the highlights of Apple's big announcements of 10/08/03.

Of course the biggest news is something I talked about here just two weeks ago, Mac OS X version 10.3 Panther (or, as Apple calls it, "the next major release of the world's most advanced operating system." That column concluded with the words, "Panther will be available before the end of 2003... Apple has a Web page that will tell you everything except when it will ship."

Well, Apple let the cat out of the bag last Wednesday: Panther will be available Friday, October 24, at 8:00 p.m., and The Apple Store (and other authorized Apple resellers) will be hosting special events that evening to celebrate the momentous occasion.

In the immortal words of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, "Panther sets the new gold standard for operating systems. With more than 150 new features, we're delivering innovations today that will not be seen in any other operating system for years to come."

Take that, Bill Gates!

As for Panther, I've had it running on one or more of my Macs most of the summer while I worked on two Panther books for Wiley Publishing: Mac OS X For Dummies, Panther Edition and Dr. Mac: The OS X Files, Panther Edition , so I'd say I'm somewhat familiar with the big cat already. And, in my humble opinion, Panther makes using your Mac a whole lot better. It's worth every penny.

Speaking of which, Panther's suggested retail price is $129 for a single user license, which is the same as previous versions of Mac OS X. But Apple is offering a new licensing scheme called the Mac OS X Panther Family Pack, which is a single-residence, five-user license with a suggested retail price of $199. As far as upgrades go, The Mac OS Up-To-Date upgrade package will be available to all customers who purchase a new Mac system on or after October 8; all customers who purchased a Power Mac G5 regardless of purchase date that do not have Panther included; and customers who purchase the Mac OS X version 10.2 "Jaguar" retail product on or after October 8 for a shipping and handling fee of $19.95.

Finally, Panther will run on the following Macs: iMac, iBook, Power Macintosh G3, Power Mac G4, Power Mac G4 Cube, and Power Mac G5, with a minimum of 128MB of memory.

Which brings us to the rant portion of today's column. 128MB is what Apple says is the minimum, but I beg to differ...

As far as I'm concerned, Apple's not doing themselves any favors implying that Mac OS X runs in 128MB. Technically, it's true—the Mac will run, but a Mac with only 128MB of RAM will run like frozen sludge, regardless of which version of Mac OS X you're using. And the more programs you run simultaneously, the worse it gets, but even if you only run a couple, 128MB isn't enough.

Apple should bite the bullet and say that OS X requires 256MB RAM, or better still, 512MB. Every Mac I own has the maximum RAM it can hold in it and I consider the cost of upgrading them money well spent.

Bottom line: Regardless of which version of OS X you use, your Mac will run better and faster if it has more than 128MB of RAM.

www.apple.com/macosx/


Bob LeVitus is a leading authority on Mac OS and the author of 41 books, including The Little iTunes Book and Mac OS X for Dummies, 2nd Edition. E-mail comments to doctormac@boblevitus.com.

Copyright © 2004 Bob LeVitus

 
   


 


 

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