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All the files and folders within private are needed to run the Operating System and it exists in every version of OS X. The folder private has lost its hidden attribute.


Normally "private" is about 2-2.5GB, it contains "private" information for the OSX. You should not mess around in it. It also contains the "sleepimage" file which is the largest file of all in this folder. BTW: 10.5... is Leopard, 10.6 is SnowLeopard, I assume a typo.


I just experienced the same issue for the past week on a mid-2012 quad-core MBPr w/ 16 GB ram. Turns out it was caused by a program called Memory Monitor. After disabling this program the issue stopped and I get smooth video playback. Update: After more observation it appears to be a memory issue. If I spin up a Parallels VM the stutter comes back, but ...


Every iMac from the mid-2007 release onwards can run Yosemite, and the last model that couldn't could also only address 3GB of RAM. So it's almost certain that your iMac will be able to run Yosemite.

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