Early 2008 iMac: best OS

Discussion in 'iMac' started by macizcool, Nov 30, 2013.

  1. macizcool macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I was given a 2008 iMac with a dead hard drive. I just ordered an SSD hard drive and a 2GB memory upgrade (for a total of 3GB now). I'm trying to decide which operating system to install when the drive arrives. I have always been under the impression that 10.6 was the most stable and least demanding on the hardware. However, it would be nice to have at least 10.7 on this computer. I would like to use it for editing photos, some which will be very large scans, but I also have a 2012 Macbook pro which can take over for larger demands. I would just like to keep this old iMac running as efficient as possible.

    The graphics card is an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT with 128 MB of memory. Would this be able to handle 10.7?

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...20-inch-aluminum-early-2008-penryn-specs.html
     
  2. Twimfy macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    I have a similar machine (just with the 2600 Pro). I'm running Mavericks on only 2GB of ram (until I can afford more...DDR2 is expensive) and it works way better than Mountain Lion.

    You mentioned putting 10.7 on it but I'd either go, 10.6, 10.8 or 10.9. Lion is a train wreck.

    I'd recommend a clean install and definitely take the RAM to 4GB if you can (6 if you can still find a 4GB stick, which is supported as long as it goes in the right hand slot).

    The SSD will work wonders, with my limited Ram and only a 7200rpm disk drive I'm getting a lot of access lag.

    EDIT: Did a bit of reading on the 2400 XT...it works with Mavericks.

    Yeah if I were you to go with Mavericks I don't think you'd be disappointed, it's a free OS after all and you can always go backwards. I'm not a "it's a bit slow but it'll do" kind of person so if I had any doubts that your machine couldn't handle it I wouldn't recommend it.
     
  3. macizcool thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2010
    #3
    Thank you so much for the insight, Twimfy.

    I'm really shocked at your review on Mavericks. I may have to try that. Since my Macbook Pro is my main machine, I don't need to worry about downtime. The iMac is more of a pet project, since it was free. However, I do hope to eventually use it for scanning/editing photos (or editing small videos, but that may have to remain on my Macbook Pro).

    The reason I mentioned 10.7 is because I have it installed on a Firewire hard drive, and when I boot the computer from that drive on the iMac (which still only has the pre-installed 1GB RAM until my 2GB chip comes in the mail), the OS seems to run fine. However, when I put my Macbook Pro into Firewire disk mode and boot the iMac into 10.8, the computer is almost unusable. That gave me the impression that Lion was less of a memory hog. And I didn't have any issues when I used that operating system in the past.

    I will probably up the RAM when I have more money to throw at this computer. I got the 2GB chip practically free with Rakuten's $30 off $100 when you use Masterpass to pay (The SSD was $79, then I added the 2GB memory for $30, which got my cart to $100 and I was able to use the $30 off... free memory!). So that will get me off the ground until I can afford the 4GB.
     
  4. Twimfy macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Remember that Mavericks has dynamic memory compression and intelligent cpu throttling, it makes life on older Macs so much better. You're basically getting all if the features from ML with almost the same performance of SL.
     
  5. macizcool thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2010
    #5
    With that said, it's surprising they left out machines prior to 2008.
     
  6. Twimfy macrumors 6502a

    Twimfy

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    Location:
    UK
    #6
    Yeah that's down to two reasons.

    If they're a C2D machine like many of the white MacBooks are, it's the video card that can't handle 64bit operations to go up to ML.

    Or if the machine isn't a C2D then the processor doesn't have full 64bit support.

    There is the weird exception of the first generation Mac Pro. With a graphics card update there's no reason why they can't run ML or Mavericks but yet it's still not supported (although many people have found a way around this).
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #7
    There are 2007 iMacs and 2007 Macbook Pros fully support 10.9.
     
  8. macizcool thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 4, 2010
    #8
    Oh, I thought it was only 2008 Macs and newer.
     
  9. cdrhoek macrumors newbie

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    Dec 2, 2013
    #9
    I have Mavericks installed on a mid 2007 24" iMac. No problems with the install. Runs fine on 6gb memory.
     
  10. dictoresno macrumors 601

    dictoresno

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Location:
    NJ
    #10
    i just installed Mavericks on a mid 2007 imac i bought used off my friend. i only have 3GB of RAM, 2.0 Mhz processor and a 2TB HDD. Mavericks runs perfectly fine, not hiccups or beachballing for me. Then again, Im just an average user and use it mostly for iTunes, internet browsing and pages/numbers. nothing very processor intense. i would say go for Mavericks.
     
  11. Quicksilver2001 macrumors newbie

    #11
    My advice from experience with a 24-inch MB325LL/A Early 2008 iMac

    Lion and even Mavericks run fine until you update them from 10.7.5 11G63 stock configuration or Mavericks 13A603 stock configuration, which is what is required to improve security. When you apply the latest updates to Lion or Mavericks after those reference configurations, the machine starts running the fans way too fast at idle, whereas without the updates, my MB325LL/A with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256MB graphics, 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo CPU with 6MB of L2 cache, and 320GB HD runs as smooth and effortless as it did with Leopard when I got it.

    I don't know whether security is so important that you could afford to kill the machine from just idling, but I couldn't, so I have to prevent Mavericks from updating in order for the computer to just work in the fashion Leopard does (of course without Internet capability now http://cdn.macrumors.com/vb/images/icons/icon9.gif)
     
  12. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
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    #12
    There is no increase in idle fan speed for 2008 iMacs running the latest version of Mac OS X or any version. If your iMac is experiencing faster fan speeds then it is either getting hot, needs its SMC reset, or has a faulty sensor. The idle fan speeds for 2007/2008 iMacs are 1,200, 1,300, and 1,000 for the CPU, hard drive, and optical drive fans. Security is a very big concern when using 10.7.5 with no security updates of 10.9.0. Two notable concerns are the bash exploits and the SSL vulnerability. Both are critical.
     
  13. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Location:
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    #13
    Mid 2007 onwards. Have a few out there with ssd and 6 gigs of ram, currently running 10.9 and they boot to desktop around 25 seconds. The 2008 4gb DDR 2 800 sticks are very expensive but if it's going to last another 3 years why not go for 6gb?

    If you are going to upgrade to ssd make sure you blow all the dust out the cooling system with compressed air too at least, though I always renew the thermal paste and polish the die plates on the heatsink to run significantly cooler.
     
  14. Quicksilver2001 macrumors newbie

    #14
    That is so what I was saying! It's getting hot because of stress!

    That is exactly the point I was trying to make. It's like a cow. You can't get both milk and beefsteak from the same cow, and yet when you run fully up to date versions of Lion or especially Mavericks on there, it has to work harder I see because of how much newer the software is than the hardware you desire to use with it. The OP's iMac won't have a very long lifespan if the software is heating it up enough to where the fans have to roar. If that is acceptable to him, then he can run the fully patched version. I myself do want the iMac to not need all of it's cooling system replaced when I have no money as I need to save up for a Mac that can run Yosemite since Windows 7 is too inept to even see it's own system image backup, which was never a problem for Time Machine on Leopard through Mavericks.

    I do agree both are critical, but since I need the hardware to work, I, like Qui-Gon Jinn says for Obi-Wan Kenobi to do in Star Wars Episode I, must do what I must because of one fact that I need to let everyone know:

    I bought the iMac as a college computer. I can't afford to eat $1400 plus tax of student loan money especially when I want to like the iMac and want it to sell me on a model with a Retina Display.

    I apologize that my desire to have a working iMac outweighs my desire to play it by the book, but I am not expecting charity, so I need to fend for my own self.

    I apologize for any friction my personal experiences have created, but unless you can go back in time and give me different childhood experiences, I have to do the best I can with my own situation.
     
  15. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #15
    You wrote your post as if the CPU was using less than 5%, not working on background tasks. About an hour or two after installation is completed, the CPU does return to less than 5% use and goes back to idle. The machine's longevity is not changed in a reasonably measurable amount of time if its fans have to rev up above their standard idle speeds. By the time the heat does start to cause problems, the machine will have long since been obsoleted.
     

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