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Ask Max: Should I buy a DVD drive to install Tiger?

Asked on 05/02/2007:

I recently purchased a nice used G3 from PowerMax. It has a CD-RW drive on it. I would like to upgrade to OS 10 Tiger, but the software comes on a DVD. I understand that the CD version comes on around 17 CDs. Would it be better to invest in an external DVD reader, or just get CDs of everything?


Whether or not to upgrade your optical drive depends on what you plan on doing with your computer. If cost is your primary concern, I would recommend just getting the CD set of Tiger. That’s going to be your cheapest option by far. The real reason to upgrade should be based on how long you plan to use this computer. More and more programs are going to come on DVD and one day Apple may not release OS updates on CDs. In the long term, you are probably going to want a DVD player and even a DVD burner. It may come to pass that you are planning on using the G3 as it is today and trading up in a year or two. In that case, you will not want or need an external optical drive as most newer systems have DVD players or DVD burners.

If you decide to get an external DVD drive, look for one that supports Mac booting. To install off a DVD it will have to be a supported external disc drive. I often recommend LaCie drives for compatibility.

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