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Thursday, August 27, 2009, 05:05 am PT (08:05 am ET)

Apple's Snow Leopard disc will install on Tiger Macs

Though users of older Intel-based Macs were led to believe they would have to spend $169 to migrate from Tiger to Snow Leopard, new reports state the $29 upgrade disc will work just fine.

In his review of Snow Leopard, Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal, Mossberg reveals that those who have been hesitant to upgrade their Mac will be able to take advantage of Snow Leopard's bargain price, without the need to install the intermediate Leopard operating system first.

"For owners of Intel-based Macs who are still using the older Tiger version of the Mac OS, Apple is officially making Snow Leopard available only in a "boxed set" that includes other software and costs $169," Mossberg said. "The reasoning is that these folks never paid the $129 back in 2007 to upgrade to Leopard. But here’s a tip: Apple concedes that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140."

Wired also confirmed that they were able to upgrade a system directly from Tiger to Snow Leopard. In addition, it is possible to completely erase a hard drive and install Snow Leopard without a pre-existing operating system in place, enabling users to bypass the possible headaches of an upgrade and go with a clean install instead. Wired said many users upgrading from Tiger should probably consider backing up their files from Tiger and doing a clean install instead.

"Of course, the transition isn’t guaranteed to be as smooth as it would be from Leopard to Snow Leopard," the report said of the Tiger to Snow Leopard upgrade, "and that’s because some older, Tiger-only third-party applications need to be upgraded to newer versions that work with Leopard or Snow Leopard."

Originally released in April 2005, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is more than a little long in the tooth at this point, especially considering the astounding success of its follow-up, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.