Trying to understand what I can and can't do with unsupported upgrade...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by herculeesjr, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. herculeesjr macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    So I just bought an old Late 2006 iMac, 2GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon X1600, OS X Lion 10.7.5, for $30 just to have fun with it as its usefulness is running out in the stock Mac world. Probably will just sit in the kitchen to look up recipes and watch videos. I more or less am just wanting to get some verification and suggestions on putting a later OS than it supports on it (either Yosemite or El Capitan) however I'm overloaded on information with different methods and things that work with some iMacs but not other iMacs with some OS versions but not other OS versions. So basically can anyone suggest a method for me that will give me the latest fully operational (including sound and video acceleration) OS? I know there are a lot of threads on this but it makes me a little nervous that my version of iMac seems to not be mentioned much or it's on a list of "with issues". I do own a 2007 MacBook Pro but it does not power on so I can't see it being useful, and an iMac G4 800MHz but it runs Lubuntu.
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
  3. herculeesjr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    Well as I said I'm working on installing UNsupported newer versions of OS X. There are multiple ways of doing so.
  4. herculeesjr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    Well I've found that 10.7 is still quite useable today, which surprises me with how horrible Apple typically is about that kind of thing. And also found out apparently this is the only computer in the house that can connect to two portable hard drives that stopped working and pull the data off. So what do you know it's saved me already haha. But does anyone else have any info on getting this thing upgraded? Starting to look like I'm just going to have to backup the computer and start trying different methods.
  5. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    You can throw in a larger drive or ssd. but you'd be hard pressed to be able to update the OS as the CPU & GPU are some of the bottlenecks and not upgradable, so its probably not worth your time or investment as there really is no clever way to do it - think about its a 10 year old machine
  6. Thermonuclear macrumors 6502

    May 23, 2009
    I have the 1.83 GHz education model variant. There are a few things which can be upgraded; see: and pick your model to start to see what can be done.

    The first and easiest upgrade would be to load the box with an much RAM as possible; but it looks like you're already at the limit with 4 GiB. (Mine is stuck at 2 GiB.)

    The next would be to replace the drive, and that would be a good idea for any machine that old. The result will be far more reliable, but not much faster as your iMac is stuck with the SATA v1 speed limit of 1.5 Gbps. That's true even if you were to replace the spinner with an SSD.

    I doubt if an OS upgrade past OS/X 10.7 Lion is possible because of having no easy way of bypassing the boot firmware's 32 bit addressing limit. Even if that were feasible, the truth is that newer versions of OS/X do not run very well with only 4 GiB RAM. It's possible, but note that today only the low end Mac Book Air notebooks are sold with 4 GiB RAM, and OS/X 10.11 ElCap is supported there mostly because the resulting high demand for paging is alleviated somewhat by having a fast PCIe SSD.

    My suggestion for an upgrade: get a quality stereo sound bar with optical input along with an appropriate phono-plug/optical cable. Use these to play iTunes output with something better than the iMac's cheap internal speakers. If you get a Bluetooth capable sound bar, then you can skip the cable.
  7. theosg macrumors newbie


    Oct 20, 2015
    Bay Area
    Trying to upgrade the OS past Lion is a waste of time and effort, imho.
    If you succeed, you'll wish you hadn't.
    The hardware limitations will make it a miserable experience if other problems don't make it worse than that.

    That said, for the usage you described, I'm not sure why sticking with Lion wouldn't be totally doable and pleasant.
    We still have a G5 with 10.5.8 and the thing runs rock solid used much as your – though it's no speed demon.

    Therm is spot on with advice: upgrade what hardware you can and leave the OS alone.
  8. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    Absolutely agree with the others here. I had an Early 2006, Core Duo (not Core 2 Duo) that I upgraded with SSD and installed a C2D processor, and flashed firmware to enable 3GB RAM and let it run Lion in order to get iCloud and Safari 6 running. That kept it going for almost 3 years until we replaced it just a few months ago with a new iMac. I would not even contemplate trying to get your computer onto anything past Lion; there's just not enough benefit for the hassle.
  9. herculeesjr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    Well I was hoping I could get some hands on experience opinions but looks like I'm not going to find it on this forum. I never claimed it would be a great idea or worth the effort, it's a $30 computer I could care less about, I just want to mess with it. Worst case scenario is I have to reinstall Lion. As it's just something I'm playing with its not a top priority however for the sake of others curious about the same thing I will post my results as I test things myself. Mainly seeing if I can get the video card to work.
  10. BrettApple macrumors 65816


    Apr 3, 2010
    Heart of the midwest
    As mentioned Lion is still quite usable with newer versions of Chrome and Firefox working just fine, and Office 2011 isn't that bad either. iTunes will be stuck at 12.2.x though so it doesn't officially support iOS 9 for what it's worth.

    However, even once Apple is totally done with Lion, you still have the option to go on the other side of the fence and run Windows. It's officially supported by Windows 7, but I'll bet you can run Windows 8.1 or 10 on it as well since the hardware does meet the requirements. I had Win 8 running on an old 2007 era MacBook just fine after some driver hunting. That'll let you run supported software even longer if needed.

    But for $30, a Lion machine will do just fine for browsing around and media consumption. I'd say it was a great deal! (especially if you don't have LCD lines!)
  11. herculeesjr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    Unfortunately it does have LCD lines (I find it odd that the screen is not protected, but seems Macs used to be this way and thus had more screen issues back then). However it's not bad enough to really be an annoyance. If I ever get some spare cash I already planned on a $50 replacement LCD and a $70 256GB SSD. However at the same time I could get a more decent Mac for not much more, so I'm not sure. I've also ditched Windows ever since Windows 8 came out, and I don't like Windows 10 either. So the only Boot Camp option is Ubuntu, and then that just ruins the Mac part of a Mac.
    Since I can not find any complete information on how to install OS X 10.8 and higher I'm going to hold off for now in hopes someone with experience will chime in.
  12. herculeesjr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2015
    Note for everyone reading this thread: Please do not post nonsense about how and why I should NOT upgrade past OS X Lion. I don't care. If I cared I wouldn't have signed up on this forum and started this thread. If it ends up being unstable/slow/whatever it's a piece of cake to restore the Time Machine backup. If installing a newer version of OS X causes a squirrel to shoot through my window and chew up my iMac's motherboard oh well it's a $30 iMac, who cares. Live a little people.
  13. G.McGilli macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2015
    Only thing I can add is that El Capitan works fast and flawlessly on n early 2009 base model iMac. Yosemite made it grind to a slow near death - but El Capitan has given it completely new life. 3 years difference from yours but....
  14. G.McGilli macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2015
    OP - sorry I meant to say it's a 2007 24" iMac running El Capitan and it runs great.

Share This Page