Thursday, October 15th, 2009

My Cost of Upgrading To Snow Leopard

September 7, 2009 by Juan Magdaraog  
Filed under Computers

Apple released Snow Leopard into the wild last August 28. As with other releases to Apple’s OS, this is widely anticipated. Much more so because Apple decided to sell it to existing Leopard users at a low price of $29 for a single user license and $49 for the family pack. On the surface it looks like a steal. 29 bucks for a new OS is quite cheap, even if other people say that it’s not much different from Leopard. This price point is normally reserved for independent small apps. Not for full blown operating system upgrades.

Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard

However, as I am preparing to upgrade to Snow Leopard, I discovered that there are hidden costs to it that will bring the cost of upgrade a little bit higher.

There are applications that are essential to both my work and personal life. I use my mac a lot and can’t imagine life without it. That being said, my Mac is only as useful as the applications I have installed. So these applications are must haves for me. If I can’t make it run on Snow Leopard or find an alternative to it then Snow Leopard isn’t that much use to me.

Let’s start of things with 1Password

1Password is currently on version 2 with the latest version partially compatible with Snow Leopard. The app works as well as the extensions for the other browsers except Safari. Safari in Snow Leopard runs in 64-bit mode thus the extension for it won’t work out of the box. You need to do some tweaking to get Safari to run in 32-bit mode in order for it to run 1Password.

Version three of 1Password will run in Snow Leopard out of the box with Safari support as well. However it’s still in beta mode with the final release set to launch at the end of the year. Agile Web Solutions, makers of 1Password currently has a promo for early bird upgraders. The license will only set you back $19.95 as opposed to $29.95 when it gets released. Buying now will get you access to the 3.0 beta.

Cost of upgrade – $19.95 (promo)

Next on my list is Adium. Both Adium 1.3.6 and 1.4 beta 9 work on Snow Leopard and Adium is free.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Adobe CS3

This suite of applications is the major workhorse of most Grahic/Web/Multimedia professionals in both Windows and Mac platforms. According to reports CS3 has minor bugs in Snow Leopard, Particularly Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I’m really more particular with Photoshop and Illustrator since those are the apps that I used. Adobe says the flaws are not critical and you can still use the Adobe CS3 apps.

Adobe CS4 is good to go for Snow Leopard.

So, Adobe CS3 for the most part should be ok for Snow Leopard but if you’re really a stickler for these things you’d probaly want to upgrade to CS4. In my case if I was to upgrade I would probably go and buy the Adobe Design Premium at a cost of $599.

Cost of upgrade – $599

Coda is one of the apps I use for designing web sites. The version I have is 1.6.4 and according to reports it is compatible with Snow Leopard. There’s an available upgrade to 1.6.5 that fixes some bugs.

Cost of upgrade – nada

CSSEdit is one of the apps that I really can’t live without. Since I code websites as my main job, this app literally paid for itself. The latest version supports Snow Leopard

Cost of upgrade – nada

FireFox is my main browser. Sure Safari is faster but Firefox just has a lot of extensions I use for work and so this is really my browser of choice. It works on Snow Leopard with some minor bugs reported. FireFox is free.

Cost of upgrade – nada

MAMP PRO is my server environment of choice. Thank god it’s also supported on Snow Leopard.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Microsoft Office 2008 is still my default office suite, however iWork is getting more and more work time with me. It works though with Snow Leopard although there are some reports that it is sluggish.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Parallels is an essential app because it allows me to run Windows on a Mac. It’s important because let’s face it majority of computer users all over the world still use the Windows operating system and as such, I need to test web sites on this platform. I currently have version 3.0 installed and it sucks that it’s not supported in Snow Leopard. I need to upgrade to 4.0. The upgrade will set me back $39.99 after a $10 dollar discount due to their ongoing promo. This is a must have. If I upgrade to Snow Leopard, I need to forkout the moolah because well… I just need it for work.

Cost of upgrade – $39.99

TextMate’s latest build for Snow Leopard works fine. This is my text editor of choice. All my web projects are coded with TextMate. So it’s also a must have.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Skype is one of the apps I use for communicating with clients. Along with Adium this gets me through most of my communication needs save for email. Skype’s latest build works with Snow Leopard.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Transmission is my bit-torrent client. The latest version is supported by Snow Leopard.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Transmit works in Snow Leopard with some warnings. It seems that automator actions do not work. I don’t use automator actions so as long as the file transfer works I’m ok.

Cost of upgrade – nada

Versions is one of the latest apps I’ve added to my toolbox. So I would really be bummed if I had to pay for an upgrade or if it didn’t work. Good thing it looks like it’s good to go for Snow Leopard.

Cost of upgrade – nada

VLC is freeware and it works. So this is not a problem.

Cost of upgrade – nada

While most of my apps will work on Snow Leopard, there are still 3 apps that might cause a potential problem. Of the three, two of them can be run with Snow Leopard albiet with some problems. Minor and workable. The one app I have that won’t work is Parallels which is really a bummer because apart from the upgrade cost I paid for Snow Leopard I will need to fork out $40 bucks for the upgrade. Bringing my total upgrade cost to $78. This is the minimum. If I want to upgrade to CS4 this will add to it significantly. But since CS3 is still workable I might hold out on this.

$78 is still not a high cost to pay for an upgrade of the OS however given the trying times it’s still added expense that I could otherwise save on. Being the Mac addict that I am… all reason flies out the window. So I guess it’s time to backup my files and find time to upgrade.

How much will upgrading to Snow Leopard going to cost you?

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24 Responses to “My Cost of Upgrading To Snow Leopard”
  1. ChrisWiegman says:

    Some good points on CS3. For Parallels however you could really replace it with the FREE Virtualbox (

    • Marius says:

      Virtual Box does not do DirectX 9. I’ve bought both Parallels and VMWare Fusion, and I have no cost in upgrading my VMWare.

      VMWare : Free

    • Paul says:

      I don’t think you can call VirtualBox a feature-complete replacement for Parallels, but it is free (as in beer). And if your needs aren’t too complex, it’s mostly usable. I’ve used both (and use VirtualBox for my own needs), and the I miss things like Dock integration for Windows apps.

    • Virtualbox is indeed free, however like the others pointed out, it doesn’t have some of the features of Parallels which I use. Also, I’m quite happy with the speed and performance of Parallels. Since I do use it mainly for work, I figured it would pay for itself anyway.

  2. Aaron says:

    What ever the cost of a new / used intel mac is. My g4PB15 is not capable of running it. I’m content with Leopard for now, until the apps I used daily require it, I’ll be fine.

  3. Trollface says:

    My cost to upgrade was 8.95 for the disc (i was included in the up-to-date) programe. OTher than that, I didn’t need to buy anything else (not even a new Wacom tablet) although i do now have some issues with GIMP, Growl And Firefox (minor annoyances really….) Even Toon Boom Studio 4.0 works fine, although Pixelmator 1.4.1 had issues (i just got the upgradee to 1.5 today and it all works again.)

    So yeah. total cost to upgrading to Snow Leopard: 8.95 €

  4. Andrew Murphy says:

    The cost of upgrading is high and rising for me: search for something like “cs4 crash 10.6″ and see what I mean! Apparently, SL and CS4 aren’t nearly as compatible as we were lead to believe (and apparently the issue is Apple’s).

    Viva Time Machine!

  5. Gary Iverson says:

    You could save some cash by using VirtualBox instead of Parallels. For the most part, they do the same things, but VirtualBox is free whereas Parallels is not.

  6. Marius says:

    Cost for me so far:

    1Password : $32.95 (I upgraded my single to family pack, so not too bad)
    VMWare : Free
    Safari/Firefox : Free
    VLC : Free
    TextMate : Free
    Office 2009 : Free

    Due to a mistake on my part I lost a little-used VM… Cost : Undetermined

    Total Cost: $32.95 + $49.00 = $81.95 (For 3 computers)

  7. sfmitch says:

    My total cost is $27.24 (Best Buy had Snow Leopard for $25 + Tax).

    I did a clean install and only put back the stuff I used. Since I had been copying over my user account from computer to computer to computer, it feels really good to start fresh.

    I have a Macbook Pro that I have yet to ugprade so I may not be going cold turkey on the things that I didn’t put on my main computer.

    I will be ugprading 1Passwd but would have anyway, Snow Leopard or not.

  8. Jack says:


    I am a slightly *different* case.

    When I moved to Snow Leopard. I decided to un-pirate some of the applications that I previously had been using.

    I think that my total cost was over £400.

    But to be honest. I don’t want to know.

    It’s life. At least we are not on Windows where the costs can be 4* as much when you have to upgrade software/os’.

    Oh, and my main printer no longer works in Snow Leopard. So I had to buy a new one. Another £100 down the drain.

    Whatever. ;)

  9. Guys, thanks for the comments. Looks like the upgrade to SL isn’t taking too much out of your pockets.

    I’ve been using it now for a day and I’m happy with it. Especially when I tried using it in 64bit mode. Some apps are definitely faster.

    The speed performance of is what I’m happiest about. It’s just snappier.

  10. Jesse says:

    a operating system update breaks some applications, news?

    Vista broke about 50% of the drivers and apps. This story is crap.

    I did it for being able to use the mail app at work, instead of entourage 2008, which would be the worst mail client ever produced had it not been for entourage 2004 and x.

    It’s great not having my iphone know 5 min. before my computer that there’s an email.

    • First of all saying this story is crap won’t make anything better. Vista broke 50% of drivers and apps and that’s why I don’t use Vista right? SL broke some apps but not as high as 50%. In fact most of my apps work.

      I wrote this story to illustrate that upgrading doesn’t really just cost the advertised price of the OS. It also has some other costs.

  11. bn says:

    i pre-ordered my family pack upgrade from amazon, and got it for 43.99. i had a gift card worth $40, so my total cost was $3.99.

    the only things that didn’t work on my MBA and iMac were the iPhoto screensaver and MacTheRipper. once i installed Rosetta, though, MacTheRipper came back to life.

    i’ve been rather happy with my upgrade, and definitely got my $4 worth. :P

  12. John says:

    Your cost is a bit misleading. Parallels 4.x has been current version for a long time now, so upgrading that should have been done some time ago. Why do you think you can upgrade to the latest OS and not have current version of applications? Developers can’t be expected to keep past versions of their software compatible.

    • John, it’s not misleading. Sure Parallels 4 has been around for quite some time but it doesn’t mean I had to upgrade. 3 was working well for me already. I was “forced” to upgrade because 3 wouldn’t work at all. Unlike some of my apps such as CS3 which had some bugs but it doesn’t mean I had to upgrade to CS4. I can still use it albeit with some bugs.

      I don’t have to have the latest apps. I’m happy as long as I get the job done. I upgraded to Snow Leopard well because I am a Mac fan plus I write about Apple and Macs so I needed to experience what I write about.

  13. clarus says:

    Canadian dollars…
    $619 for a refurb Mac mini to replace my G5
    $125 for a dual drive external FW800 case to house the two drives from my G5
    $75 for 4GB of RAM
    $13 for the up-to-date disc
    12% of all of the above for sales tax

    $0 for software
    Every app, utility and tool I use offers a free update or runs perfectly well with Rosetta.

    So depending on your perspective it was either very expensive or free (other than some of my time). I’m pleased with Snow Leopard. Some things are noticeably snappier than they were under Leopard and I know the under-the-hood changes bode well for the future.

  14. Bridget says:

    I’m a relatively new Mac user and have noticed my iPhoto screensaver no longer works now that I have upgraded to SL… How do I fix this?

  15. Richard says:

    Interesting points.

    I found Pictueresque decided it didn’t want to save my processed images however I just upgraded to the latest version release via the programs “update” function and all was well.

    I lost “coolbook” also but as I’m no longer in the tropics of Costa Rica it’s actually no biggie.

    PS CS3 seems fine.

    All in all I’m really pleased with SL, the performance improvements are most certainly noticeable and I gained an extra 9GB of hard disk space.


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