This Mac tip is provided by Mark Greentree and was originally posted on Mark’s blog – Everyday Mac Support. For more of Mark’s tips visit his site, follow him on Twitter, or browse his archive of posts here.
How to: Decide Which Version Of OS X To Install
If you are the recent recipient of a secondhand Mac, which version of OS X is most appropriate for you to install?
The most important rule is not to put an operating system on your Mac that is older than when your Mac was manufactured and shipped brand new by Apple. It is imperative that you find out the specifications of the Mac you have prior to installing any version of the operating system.
To find out the performance of your Mac, navigate to the Menu Bar and click on the Apple icon. Then select About This Mac. You will then be presented with the following window of information:
This information will give an accurate insight into the limitations of your Mac, thereby allowing you to make an educated decision.
Apple’s knowledge base article: HT1159 presents a list of all Intel based Macs and the OS that originally shipped with them.
For PowerPC (pre-intel) Macs you can view knowledge base article: HT2191.
For more information please read Apple’s knowledge base article: HT2186.