Can a Core 2 Duo iMac be upgraded to El Capitan?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by cosrocket, Feb 25, 2016.

  1. cosrocket macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #1
    My friend has an iMac running OS X 10.6.8 and several programs say they will soon no longer be supported due to the age of the OS. I looked under About This Mac to see if it meets the minimum requirements to upgrade to El Capitan, but it does not show the year of the iMac. When I checked for El Capitan's requirements it said it has to be a Mid 2007 or later iMac. I can only see the specs which is an Intel Core 2 Duo with 4GM of RAM.

    Would anyone know if it will be upgradeable to El Capitan, and if not what the latest version of OS X I could update it to. Thank you.
     
  2. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #2
    Is the iMac white? (not aluminum)
    A white core2duo iMac will not upgrade past 10.7.5
    Aluminum/black iMacs are newer, and can upgrade to current El Capitan, if there's sufficient RAM installed.

    Best answer will be if you can tell exactly which iMac you have. Go to the Apple Menu, then About this Mac.
    Click on the More Info.... button.
    Then in hardware, tell us what is listed for Model Identifier. Should be something like iMac8,2
     
  3. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #3
    Thanks. It's an aluminum iMac and the Model Identifier said 7.1.
     
  4. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #4
    Good.
    The iMac is, in fact, a Mid-2007 model (either a 20-inch, or 24-inch screen)
    You COULD upgrade the RAM to 6GB maximum.
    And you CAN upgrade to El Capitan.

    An El Cap upgrade, on an older Mac (and that 2007 model is the earliest that natively supports El Capitan) may not always be a happy player. I would recommend that you replace the spinning hard drive with an SSD for the best fit with El Capitan.
    You will, as a happy result, see performance from that old iMac that will be better than you ever remember. El Cap has multiple optimizations that will show a better result with an SSD, compared to a spinning hard drive.
    Don't take this wrong, a spinning hard drive will still work, and your friend may be OK with an El Capitan upgrade - but swapping out to an SSD at the same time will make your friend a "happy camper".
     
  5. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #5
    Thank! I appreciate your help. With the HDD that is already in the iMac do you think El Capitan would be slower than the current 10.6.8? I don' think he would want to chance it to replace the drive as it's not an easy job. Would it be better to upgrade to a couple of versions back like Yosemite or Mavericks or would that not make a difference. He just wants to get another year or two out of it and be able to use current software.

    Also, can you upgrade directly from 10.6.8 to Yosemite or El Capitan?
     
  6. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #6
    Yes, you can upgrade directly from 10.6.8 to El Capitan.

    My experience with older Macs upgrading to El Cap is that there may be older User Login Items (System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items) that need to be removed (major cause of beachballs) and there may also be other items in the Library that also need to be cleaned out. I've found EtreCheck http://etrecheck.com to be a huge help in that regard. In short, an upgrade may require some housecleaning afterwards.

    One benefit in moving from 10.6.8 is compressed memory - you'll get more "bang" out of installed RAM. Whether that initially counter-balances issues related to obsolete startup items and the like (see previous paragraph) will vary from system to system.

    For what it's worth, I'm running El Cap with excellent results on an Early 2008 iMac with a conventional HDD and 5GB RAM (the machine can only handle 6GB RAM - so at most, a 4GB and 2GB module - I didn't think buying both a 4 and 2 to replace a pair of 1s was worth the money).
     
  7. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #7
    The job of swapping out a hard drive is not easy, correct, but gets you a satisfying result.
    I would call it moderately difficult, but doable. There's good guides to follow.

    You CAN upgrade directly from Snow Leopard to El Capitan, although I would not do that.
    You may not necessarily appreciate the 9-year-old hard drive after the process is complete.
    I have all the needed OS X installers, so I would likely install Mountain Lion on an external drive, then import the users, apps and files from the Snow Leopard drive (using the Migration Assistant) to that drive.
    I would swap THAT hard drive with the internal, then upgrade install OS X to El Capitan.

    If you decide to do the one-time upgrade with the existing hard drive, be sure to do a complete backup of your drive as it exists now - before you begin.
     
  8. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #8
    I have a similar iMac (8,1) in a vacation home for occasional use. It's running El Capitan and has no significant performance issues. Startup and program launch is slower than on our SSD equipped machines but once running it is fine. Mainly used for web browsing and email. I may upgrade it to a SSD this summer.
     
  9. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #9
    I told my friend that it is possible for him to upgrade to El Capitan and he asked me what advantages there are to him doing it. Since he only uses it to go online and for iPhoto I told him not much, that his photo program would change to the Photo app and since he installed Firefox he's using it with no message that it will be ending support soon so he is OK with that.

    My last question is, if he chooses not to upgrade now, when the next version of OS X comes out his iMac most likely will not be able to upgrade to it, El Capitan would most likely be the last version he can upgrade to. If at the time the new version is released, would El Capitan still be available as an upgrade, to is it only the current version of OS X that Apple has downloadable upgrades to?
     
  10. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Location:
    Between the coasts
    #10
    I wouldn't bet that 10.12 will run on those old machines, though I think there are fair odds that it will run.

    Nobody's expecting earth-shattering changes to the OS that might move the minimum CPU requirements (I think its more likely they'd change the minimum RAM requirement to 4GB). Well, Siri will definitely have an impact, and may require a better CPU than those oldest Core 2 Duos, but since it'll be an optional feature anyway, it may just be that Siri won't install on those machines whose CPUs can't hack it.

    But if those old Macs can't upgrade to 10.12? Then based on Apple's current practices, it will not be possible to get El Capitan as an initial upgrade once 10.12 is released. Fortunately, you'll have advanced warning. 10.12 and its minimum requirements will be announced at WWDC in June - you'll have months after that to upgrade that old machine to El Capitan. Once you have it installed, it'll be available to reinstall, even after 10.12 is released.
     
  11. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    #11
    OK, Thanks. Appreciate it.
     
  12. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #12
    What he can do is download El Cap but not install it. Save the installation file as a bootable USB or dvd. That way he can upgrade when desired. Once you've "purchased" the free upgrade you can get it anytime. I keep archived copies of all the previous OS X versions.
     
  13. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2003
    Location:
    Delaware
    #13
    Just to look forward to that possibility, you could download the El Cap installer, and save it somewhere, to be used whenever you need it.

    If you have previous versions of the OS X installer in the Purchased tab of your App Store, those continue to be available.
    Recently, when a new version of OS X is released, the previous version quickly is unavailable to purchase, but remains available to you if you have previously purchased it. (Don't be confused by purchases. A free OS X download (or other free apps) through the App Store is called a "purchase"
     
  14. cosrocket thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008

Share This Page