Personal computing discussed

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The Swamp
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New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:23 pm

Hi guys,

I have just inherited an Apple iMac. I know next to nothing about Macs, other than they now run on x86 hardware. I could use some guidance from the masters of the art.

The specific Mac in question is Model A1224. The EMC No. is 2210. I have not powered it up yet, but it looks to be unmodified.

From what I understand, the RAM is not difficult to install. With only 1GB of RAM, it certainly needs a RAM boost. I see RAM kits that include 2 DIMMs. Are there two DIMM slots easy to access?

I read that everything else that could be upgraded requires an engineering degree, and to preferably be Lt. Commander Data, to access. Installing Linux, apparently, requires one to be a member (in good standing) of the Borg.
What can I do with this thing? Boot from an external SSD firewire enclosure? Run a modern OS on it? Something cool?

I'll say this, it sure is neat looking.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:27 pm

Honestly, I don't really think that particular machine is worth upgrading at all. It may be pretty, and maybe you can slap in some RAM, but that's an 11 year old Mac. You won't get updates. I'm just not sure what I would use it for at this point.
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The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:50 pm

Will it run a modern-ish version of OSX? I'd like to use it for something, even if it's not power computing. Just basic web surfing and stuff like that.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:54 pm

It should run El Capitan. Which was released in Sept 2015. How well will it run? no idea. Probably not great. The OS isn't really the issue though, it's more the web that's the problem. Lots of sites are just going to bog that thing down to a crawl.
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The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:17 pm

Will the upgrade option allow for a fresh install of the OS?

Although I'm going to need to add more RAM. Does anyone know how many additional RAM slots there are? If there is only two, can you get to both easily?
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:28 pm

The Swamp wrote:
Will the upgrade option allow for a fresh install of the OS?

Although I'm going to need to add more RAM. Does anyone know how many additional RAM slots there are? If there is only two, can you get to both easily?

Here's a start:
https://www.crucial.com/usa/en/advisor
and
https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel ... cement/990
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:33 pm

The Crucial search tool is a no-go. It only shows systems back to 2011. I think I need 2008.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:01 pm

You can go here to find out specs and upgradability on just about every Mac model made:
https://everymac.com/
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:09 pm

Until just last year, I used a workstation that I had built in 2009, which was not much faster than this system and it worked fine. Well, at least for surfing and light gaming. I just upgraded about a year ago.

So, that was my thought about this system, that it might still be able to be used in a light capacity. The RAM install looks like cake.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:37 pm

My dad is using a 2006 iMac still. It's on its last legs as it is no longer receiving OS updates (gets security for 6 more months I think). Anyway, at 3 GB it is always paging. I would consider 4 GB minimum to be able to web/email/document comfortably. So if you can't get 4 GB don't bother with macOS.
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:32 pm

I think I saw a 4GB DIMM for the system. That would give me 5GB total, which would (hopefully) be enough to prevent page file swapping.

I have no idea what OS is on it currently, but since the computer only has 1GB of RAM, I don't think it's El Capitan. If I upgrade to 5GB of RAM, would I be able to do a fresh install of El Capitan?

I saw a post from someone who was running the OS off of a firewire connected external drive. If that's doable, I wonder if it would be faster than the internal, mechanical drive? Cam one even get a firewire connected drive these days? Hmmmm.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:07 pm

If you're trying to be frugal, things like "large" (for 2008) RAM sticks and external FW drives are really throwing good money after bad. If you just want to tinker with OSX, a used or refurbished Mac Mini would probably be more affordable than pulling a decade-plus machine into usability.
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:52 pm

Well, I got the iMac for free, so there's that. The hardware is really not that bad. It's got a Core-2 processor, which is not that ancient. But, having never used OSX, I'm not sure how well it handles the hardware. Win7-Pro ran fine on about the same hardware. I can get a pair of 2GB RAM sticks for $18, so it's not an expensive upgrade. From what I can tell, it works fine. With only 1GB of RAM, I can see how it would bog down pretty badly even under modest conditions.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:18 pm

You could turn it into a stylish Windows or Linux machine.
I have an early 2006 iMac (32-bit Yonah processor), which only supports up to macOS 10.6. However, it runs Windows 7 and even 10 just fine. And though I haven't tried it, I'm pretty sure it would also be able to run the latest version of Ubuntu, unless they've gone 64-bit only.
 
tu2thepoo
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 12:29 am

If you really want to give Mac OSX a try, here's some resources!

First, full tech specs for your machine: https://everymac.com/ultimate-mac-looku ... ords=a1224 .It looks like you'll want 667 MHz PC2-5300 DDR2 SDRAM 200-pin SODIMMs. Stick with whatever's cheapest on ebay/amazon.

Don't waste time upgrading the internal drive - Mac OSX boots quite well from an external drive. Get a firewire800 enclosure, since they're dirt cheap now and a lot faster than USB2. The one I had for my 2009 Mac Pro is out of stock from the ebay seller, but you can find a listing here. More discussion here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/8375840 Pair that with a cheapish SATA SSD and you're good to go!

Here's a direct download link to El Capitan: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT206886 - download it, run it, and set your external drive as the install target. When it reboots, set your external drive as the default startup disk. Easy peasy!

If you want to try getting newer Mac OS versions to work, there's usually someone hacking away at that stuff on the macrumors forum. Look for threads with titles like mojave on supported macs. I stopped going to the macrumors forums because it's full of weirdos, but it's got useful info for older macs.

If you eventually throw windows on there, you can do a direct install and use brigadier to get the relevant Boot Camp drivers directly.

Also, if you really want the full Mac OSX experience, consider getting a magic trackpad. It's eye-opening how much better gesture navigation is in Mac OSX compared to windows (barring Win10+precision trackpads). But full disclosure, it only works as a basic trackpad in Windows (left/right click and vertical scrolling only).
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 7:02 am

Thank you for the information. I was thinking along the same lines. Going to 4GB from a single GB should provide a noticeable difference, I would think. It looks like Apple provides the OS for free? I saw the download page, and there was no mention of payment.

I have several SSDs laying around collecting dust. And they have gotten very inexpensive in the last year, anyway. All I'd need is the enclosure. I was able to power the system up last night. It works fine, although the software has not been updated. Safari was having trouble rendering several websites, which makes sense if it's still the 2008 version. I haven't checked to see if it can run modern versions of Windows, but that sounds like it would be a cool option if it can.
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The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:17 pm

It looks like firewire 800 enclosures are a bit scarce. Does anyone other than Apple still use them?
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derFunkenstein
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:33 pm

Not even Apple makes a Firewire device anymore.
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The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:13 pm

Sigh. I guess with the latest USB standards, 1394 simply isn't relevant anymore, even at 800 speeds.

Anyone know where I might find a Firewire 800 enclosure? For cheap?
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:22 pm

Ebay, or Craigslist, or something like that is probably your best bet. I doubt you're going to find anything in stock anywhere else.
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:37 pm

OWC still sells new FW800 enclosures but you're really better off getting one from ebay.
 
The Swamp
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:47 pm

I saw that one, but it's $60. I was hoping to get something a little cheaper. I'll check out ebay, although the listing I saw was sold out.

The $60 enclosure does look really nice, though. I take it the enclosure has to be Mac compatible?
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tu2thepoo
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Re: New (for me) Apple iMac

Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:28 am

The Swamp wrote:
The $60 enclosure does look really nice, though. I take it the enclosure has to be Mac compatible?

There's no specific requirement - FW800 works the same across any computer that supports it - but OWC products tend to be pretty good because they have a Mac-focused lineup. Getting one second-hand off eBay usually gets rid of the markup they charge vs other peripheral brands. But as long as you get a working FW800 enclosure it'll be pretty much the same (max throughput is ~60 mB/sec, so it's not like you're going to see huge performance differences between expensive enclosures and cheap ones).

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