Making Your Computer Run Faster

        Responding to a question about a "slow" computer, John Carter gives ideas on what to check and what to do.
        "A faster computer doesn’t actually improve computer performance that you would notice.
        "Most people who say their computer is too slow are really suffering from a slow Internet access and not a slow computer. To confirm this, do a speed test. If your Internet download speed is around 1 MB/s, you need to increase your Internet speed, and I recommend nothing less than 5 MB/s if browsing the Internet is a priority for you.
        "Another way to test your computer performance is to determine how long it takes just to launch an application that does NOT access the Internet. Every Mac comes with Pages. It takes about 12 seconds for Pages to come up on my brand new laptop (2.8 GHz, 8MB memory). Some people would say that is slow. Once you have launched an application and then exit, the next time you launch that same application during that same login session, it will come up in about 2 seconds. The thing to know is that it is always slow to launch any application the first time during a session on any computer.
        "If you want to do something to improve your computer performance, then you need to do some maintenance on your computer. There are several applications that can do this. Just do a Google search on 'mac maintenance' and take your pick. Some are free. One of the things to read is “Five Mac maintenance myths.”
        "If you have a large hard drive (say, 250GB) and it is almost full (say, less than 50GB free space), that can also slow your computer down. It’s important to clean out the old logs, the temporary files, and other stuff. Any one of the maintenance applications mentioned about will do that.
        "Another way to really boost the performance of your computer is to replace the internal hard drive with a SSD (Solid State Drive). It’s about $500 for a 240GB drive (prices are expected to drop soon). What this does is boot up almost instantly, launch all your applications almost instantly, and make all your applications run super fast, but it won’t access the Internet any faster (except for those web pages that are cached locally). If you have a lot of personal data files (movies, photos), then you’ll also need to turn your old internal hard drive into an external hard drive so all your personal files can be moved there, instead of taking up room in the internal hard drive.
        Here John closes with a personal opinion, "And to be honest with you, I thought my new laptop would be really fast. Compared to my three year-old iMac, it’s only a tiny bit faster. So, unless you think you really need to be able to upgrade beyond your current OS of 10.5, you can stay with your current computer for at least another four years. After that, you should really consider getting the latest model."
        Tagging on to John's recommendations take a look at finding out what files are taking up all that space; see this Macworld article.