Cheapest Mac that will still run High Sierra

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by mzs.112000, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. mzs.112000 macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    I am not sure if this is the right forum section for this question, if it isn't, mods please move it to the right one.

    I would like to know what is the cheapest option for getting a Mac, that can run High Sierra, without any hacks or mods, or unofficial distros of macOS.
    If needed I can re-use parts from my laptop(it has 4gb of DDR2 SODIMM, Core 2 Duo P8700, 600GB HDD, Intel WiFI + Broadcomm WiFi)
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Probably the cheapest option would be a 2009 MacBook. Unibody plastic, really durable. Nice multitouch trackpad. They're dirt cheap on the used market and with an SSD coupled with 8GB RAM (2x 4GB DDR3 1066MHz SODIMM), it'll run High Sierra very smoothly.
  3. mzs.112000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 22, 2015
    Based on Apple's release schedule, do you think it will be able to run whatever comes after High Sierra?
    I can either buy a 2009 MacBook soon, or go the hackintosh route, of course with the hackintosh I am stuck on Yosemite due to bad USB support.
  4. vbctv macrumors 6502


    Sep 25, 2013
    Cleveland, OH
    I think there's gonna be a point here in the near future where 1 of 2 things or both will happen.

    1.) Cut support for all models older than 2012. (2012 is the earliest that support Handoff)

    2.) Cut 4Gb RAM, make 8GB the minimum (This is probably least likely because my 4GB RAM runs smoother with every new OS, but with rumors of 64 bit only on Mac after January 2018, this may be closer than we think.)
  5. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Personally I'd doubt it. I imagine Apple will be looking to drop C2D support ASAP.

    In which case, the best price/performance/longevity option would be the 2012 13" MBP. Extremely cheap due to market saturation, EOL date likely to be 2021 as it only stopped selling late last year. Support for up to 16GB RAM (2x8GB DDR3 1600MHz SODIMM) and will run the OS very quickly with an SSD.

    Also the OS support will certainly be for the next few iterations.
  6. v1597psh macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    Impossible to happen. There are so many Macs that shipped with 4GB of RAM. Even Mac mini is still shipping with 4GB at base model.

    I agree that High Sierra is likely to be the last OS to support Core 2 Duo Macs. And this likely to be not because of a slow CPU, but because of a poor integrated graphics inside of those Macs. I've got the last 2010 plastic MacBook and I'm able to run Sierra with many apps opened and Windows 7 in Parallels Desktop at the same time. I'm running with 5GB of RAM and SSD. It runs really well but Nvidia 320m is very slow at handling macOS animations. Sometimes it so bad that it pisses me off. But it might be because I'm used to much newer Macs. I suspect this is due to lack of vRam. 256MB is a joke for the latest macOS. I was really surprised that this MacBook got support for High Sierra. And it runs pretty well for its first beta.
  7. Glockworkorange macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2015
    Chicago, Illinois
    I think the minimum RAM is 2? I had a 2011 Air with 2 GB of RAM and I think it is still supported.

    But does not mean it will be any good……
  8. v1597psh macrumors regular


    Feb 4, 2014
    Yes, minimum is 2. And it's actually only usable if you have an SSD inside. With HDD and 2GB RAM, it's impossible to do any kind of serious work other than browsing the light web with a single tab opened
  9. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
  10. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    Software/OS support is not the same as hardware support (your linked article focuses on the latter). We don't know exactly what Macs, if any at all, will be dropped in the next OS release.

    But we can speculate, based on the Mac models dropped with MacOS Sierra, that the next wave of older Macs dropped will be at least 7 years old by the fall release of the OS.

    @keysofanxiety is incorrect, again inferring based on Apple's behavior last year with MacOS Sierra; it matters when the Mac model was introduced, not when it was discontinued. A 2012 MacBook Pro sold in 2016 will still be considered 7 years old in 2019.
  11. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    The EOL timescale I refer to is for hardware support, which with Apple typically goes from 5 years of last manufactured. As such the 13" MBP 2012 is likely to stop having hardware support and be deemed vintage in September 2021.

    With regards to the OS support, this typically lasts much longer than the hardware support as evidenced by Vintage Macs still supporting the latest OS. However it is likely that Apple will be looking to drop C2D support sooner rather than later.

    The OP also wanted a good value used Mac. Due to the length of time that the 13" 2012 was sold for, they are comparatively cheap used because of market saturation. In tandem with the estimated length of hardware support & OS support, I believe this would be their best choice for a used Mac (I changed this suggestion from the 09 MB based on the OP wanting support for later OSs too).

    I hope this clarifies things though please let me know if there's something I'm incorrectly advising. :)
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603


    May 3, 2014
    Just some historical notes:

    OS X 10.0, 10.1, and 10.2 did not change the system requirements. These were "rapid release" OSs, with 10.1 coming 6 months after the horribly buggy and mostly unusable 10.0(it was a free upgrade) and 10.2 coming 11 months after 10.1.

    10.3(Panther) came out 14 months later and dropped support for "Old World ROM" Macs(those without built-in USB). This was somewhat of a "soft" limit and Panther is easy to make run on OWR computers.

    10.4(Tiger) came 18 months later and dropped support for computers without built-in Firewire. Once again, this was a "soft" limit, and in fact with minimal work it can even run on 603 and 604 processors if you don't mind waiting a few minutes for a program to launch :) . The only real limit is in RAM.

    10.5(Leopard) came a full 27 months after Tiger. Officially, it dropped support for G3s and for G4s slower than 867mhz. Unofficially, the G3 limit is a "hard" limit while it will run on any G4 with enough RAM. The work-arounds for this depend on the computer-on all but one production G4, all that's needed is to defeat the speed check on the installer. Computers without AGP graphics need some additional work, but it can be made to run on most computers as far back as PowerSurge Macs(90s beige boxes) with a G4 upgrade. One of these days, I'll get it running on my 8600.

    10.6(Snow Leopard) came out 22 months later, and dropped support for all PPC Macs. This is a hard limit.

    10.7(Lion) came 23 months later, and dropped support for 32 bit(CoreDuo) Intel processors, the very first Intel Macs. This is a hard limit.

    10.8(Mountain Lion) came out 1 year later and dropped support for computers with 32 bit EFI. This covers several 2006-2008 era Macs, but is a soft limit.

    10.9, 10.10, and 10.11 pretty well established the 1 year cycle we are now use to. These three versions kept the same system requirements as Mountain Lion. With that said, increasing GPU demands meant that most computers hacked to run Mountain Lion couldn't realistically run any version past that. The notable exception is the Mac Pro 1,1/2,1, which could keep trucking on with a new graphics card.

    The change in system requirements for 10.12 was not unexpected. Many computers that were "cut off" like the MBP 3,1/4,1 and the later MacBooks can be made to work, although sometimes at the cost of USB and/or Airport. There is also a "hard limit" in needing SSE4 support, so the long-lived MP 1,1/2,1 can't be made to run it.

    High Sierra honestly cut off very few computers that Sierra supported, and I suspect that most of the computers that could be made to run Sierra can also run High Sierra.

    We'll see what 10.14 brings, but we may get another round or two of "complacency."
  13. saulinpa macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2008
    I am sure there is some flexibility. To help old hardware one of the things Apple does is state that some features are not supported on older machines. High Sierra comes out this fall and it will not support HEVC on the current Mac Pro (Late 2013) as well as the the mini, MacBook, and MacBook Air if they are still selling them.
  14. iamMacPerson macrumors 68030


    Jun 12, 2011
    That's not how 64-bit computing works. 64-bit has no real minimum RAM for usage per say, it's all dependent on how much RAM the rest of the OS requires. A 64-bit OS can run on, say, 2GB of RAM. Plus, all computers that are running macOS now are all 64-bit using all 64-bit based OS components. What they're talking about is removing 32-bit to 64-bit app translation from macOS starting in 2018 IIRC, just like what happened with iOS 11. macOS hasn't had any 32-bit components IIRC since Lion, when the boot loader was still 32-bit for the 2006 Mac Pro. Apple hasn't shipped a 32-bit Mac since 2007.

    I think you're thinking of the RAM ceiling for 32-bit due to addressing, which was limited at around 4GB.
  15. thingstoponder macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2014
    They wouldn't cut 4GB, makes no sense. I planned to upgrade from the default 4GB on my 2012 MBP when I bought it yet here we are five years later and it still runs perfectly fine even with my Safari tab addiction (currently have 44 open ). People on the internet vastly overestimate how much RAM is needed.
  16. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    Others have already listed Macs that can run High Sierra. But if you want a Mac that will run High Sierra at full capability, such as HEVC hardware support, you will need:
    • iMac: late 2015 27″ or newer (2015 model is about $1500 in many stores), mid-2017 21.5″ or newer ($1099 and up)
    • MacBook: early 2016 or newer (2016 model is about $1100 in many stores)
    • MacBook Pro: late 2016 or newer (2016 model is about $1300 in many stores)
  17. AppleComputer macrumors member


    Feb 16, 2012
    Cupertino, CA
    I was honestly surprised my 2010 mac mini met the specs to install high sierra beta.

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