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Project Alice

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
1,785
1,777
Post Falls, ID
I thought since early Intel Macs have their own forum, they should have their own "what have you done with one today" thread too.
I have found early Intel Macs can have all sorts of uses. (Excluding from 2008+ Mac Pro's which are more powerful than some modern machines). If your early Intel can be patched to run up to Catalina I'd say the possibilities are pretty endless as far as day to day use.
Personally I have found Snow Leopard to be even harder to use today than Leopard on PPC. There is a very small amount of Macs that actually get limited at Snow Leopard so the community is smaller for support I guess.

I'll start the thread with my 2009 Mac Mini. It is a 2009, so it can run up to Catalina if I wanted it to, but I didn't have a use for that. I already have a Mac Pro, and a couple desktop PPC Macs already set up. But I wanted to use it for something.
IMG_7716.JPG Mini.jpeg
I installed Snow Leopard server on it. I missed the entire SL era because I only had a PPC Mac at the time, and the couple times I have used it I found software to be even more scarce than PPC Leopard.
It runs headless, and it serves a number of purposes for me now. Not just one.
It hosts NetBoot, that I can boot most PPC Macs from, and even some early Intel Macs. Unfortunately I can't get the OS 9 netboot to work, but other than it covers a pretty decent range of Mac OS versions from installers to full installs.
mini2.jpeg
I already have a NAS with TrueNAS and x4 4TB drives on that so I didn't really need an NAS (which is the HP Z400 hiding above if you noticed. same architecture as a 2009 Mac Pro, and a Xeon X5675😉) It also wouldn't have the redundancy if the Mini's single 2TB drive failed. But I thought it would be cool to actually use Time Machine. So, I created a folder and shared it. Now, any PPC Mac running Leopard can back up to the Mini. If the drive fails, I don't really care because anything backed up on there is also on the NAS, and a couple other drives. But you can't really beat the convenience of Time Machine can you?
mini3.jpeg Lastly, I copied over the Music from my NAS and put it in iTunes, and set iTunes to share it. So if I want to play a song on another computer I don't have to go searching for the file on the NAS. Plus having it all stored in two places was a plus (99.9% of this library I ripped from actual CDs to ALAC format. It took awhile).

I don't keep in running 24/7, but it boots up very fast when I need it to.
 

RogerWilco6502

macrumors 68000
Jan 12, 2019
1,823
1,897
Tír na nÓg
Great idea! I've been helping my girlfriend get the two early-Intel machines she just received in the mail a few days ago up and running. I've primarily been helping find software and such. I also got the Macintosh Garden IRC/Discord bridge up and running on my '08 MacBook. The beauty of IRC is that most anything with a client can connect, meaning I can talk on Discord on almost any device from my PowerBook 1400 to my ThinkPad P53. :)
 

MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,447
1,441
Tampa, Florida
I did change up my setup at school a bit. In place of the 2008 20", I've put in a 2009 21"! The 20" is now at home on my tech workbench. It's nice to have the higher-res screen of the 21", and it aesthetically matches the 27" 2010 next to it :D

I feel like I could post in this thread every day "I did everything for my job with early Intel Macs" :p

IMG_0507.jpg

IMG_0475.jpg
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,952
1,933
Kiel, Germany
I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to clone Win10Pro from the spinning drive of my early-2009 24" iMac onto an external SSD-drive without the convenience of CCC, TDM, FireWire etc. ...
No success with PartitionWizard9, since the bootable CD-version of PartitionWizard wouldn't want to boot at all and a PartitionWizard installation located on the spinning drive got stuck at "grub" in the process of rebooting ...
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 65816
Mar 27, 2017
1,238
2,058
London, UK
I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to clone Win10Pro from the spinning drive of my early-2009 24" iMac onto an external SSD-drive without the convenience of CCC, TDM, FireWire etc. ...
No success with PartitionWizard9, since the bootable CD-version of PartitionWizard wouldn't want to boot at all and a PartitionWizard installation located on the spinning drive got stuck at "grub" in the process of rebooting ...
How about Norton Ghost? That was always my default choice for cloning Windows installations and its seldom let me down. :)
 
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MultiFinder17

macrumors 68020
Jan 8, 2008
2,447
1,441
Tampa, Florida
It's also IPS, unlike the POS used in the 20".
Yeah, that's my biggest issue with the 20"; I don't find that it looks unusably awful or anything, but it's certainly nothing amazing and the bottom third or so of it is noticeably washed out compared to the top two-thirds, probably because I'm tall and am looking at the bottom third at a much steeper angle. Oh well. I still think that the 2007 design of the iMac is my absolute favorite. I love the thin strip of aluminum around the glass, and the matte black back is just to die for :D
 
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Raging Dufus

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2018
545
967
Kansas USA
It's also IPS, unlike the POS used in the 20".
I've seen you comment repeatedly on this, and never knew what you were talking about until I got my hands on a 2011 21.5" iMac for my wife. The difference in the screens between that and my 2008 20" is quite noticeable. But I still use my 20" every day, and have no issues with its display. It's not as good as my wife's, but fine for my uses, which include very little graphics work.

I've upgraded this 20" with 6 GB of RAM, a 500 GB SSD, and a 3.06 GHz C2D. It runs unsupported High Sierra like a dream, it's my daily driver, and if there's something more I could do to improve it I would. I haven't found any suggestions online for a panel upgrade, but since it's so easy to replace the LCD panels in these things, I'm wondering if you have any recommendations?
 

mortlocli

macrumors regular
Feb 23, 2020
235
137
Im using my intel 17 inch iMac (5,1) to learn to cook.
Ive an Eyetv usb DTT tuner dongle connected for picking up Freeview tv - where Jamie Oliver does a weekly 5 ingredient cooking lesson.
I record them so can do play backs to relearn how things are done.

Also lets me check out the internet while the ads are on in every day tv viewing.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 13, 2008
1,785
1,777
Post Falls, ID
I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to clone Win10Pro from the spinning drive of my early-2009 24" iMac onto an external SSD-drive without the convenience of CCC, TDM, FireWire etc. ...
No success with PartitionWizard9, since the bootable CD-version of PartitionWizard wouldn't want to boot at all and a PartitionWizard installation located on the spinning drive got stuck at "grub" in the process of rebooting ...
I would try clonezilla. I haven't used it on a Mac, but it should work. It actually supports HFS if you did intend on using for actual Mac stuff.
 
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Jack Neill

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2015
1,734
1,510
San Antonio Texas
I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to clone Win10Pro from the spinning drive of my early-2009 24" iMac onto an external SSD-drive without the convenience of CCC, TDM, FireWire etc. ...
No success with PartitionWizard9, since the bootable CD-version of PartitionWizard wouldn't want to boot at all and a PartitionWizard installation located on the spinning drive got stuck at "grub" in the process of rebooting ...

I used a earlier version of WinClone and it worked great.
 
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bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,952
1,933
Kiel, Germany
How about Norton Ghost? That was always my default choice for cloning Windows installations and its seldom let me down. :)

I would try clonezilla. I haven't used it on a Mac, but it should work. It actually supports HFS if you did intend on using for actual Mac stuff.


I used a earlier version of WinClone and it worked great.
Thanks guys!
I finally stuck with PartitionWizard9, took the courage to open the iMac for the first time and removed the internal drive, connected both old spinning drive and new SSD to my "new" 2009 c2duo 15" Win10BookPro and successfully ran PartitionWizard from that Book and cloned the spinning drive to the SSD ...
"Puh!" Even though Win10 does seem to run pretty decent on Early intel Mac hardware, maintainance of Win10 is still quirky.
I'm really happy now 😊 - first time that I've opened an aluminum-iMac. Uuh - that dust-bowl really needed a little attention after 12y of duty!
For a long time I have been scared to open an aluminum iMac because I feared to deal with the glass panel. An now - it was the easiest part to open a Mac I've ever came across. Strange - the screen is only held in place by some magnets! Brilliant concept!
Now there are two early-2009 24" iMacs migrated to Win10pro and ready for duty and I don't have to buy any new Windows-machine.

OT: there's another "Late" Early-intel mid-2010 21.5" iMac, that got serviced today too with SSD-upgrade and Win10pro. So all office-rooms are equipped now with Win10-machines as demanded by my bread&butter-software-provider.
Funny: the temperature-sensor for the harddrive of that iMac has a special plug to fit into a 6-pin-socket of the harddrive (not just a sensor sticked onto the harddrive's surface like with the c2duo-iMacs). Any SSD doesn't sport a 6pin-socket like that. Just removing the cable does make the fans get beserk. The only proper option to solve this problem is to get a special combined sensor cable from iFixit at about 30$. Instead I used the quick and dirty alternative (proposed in several forum postings) and made a shortcut by using a bent metal (cut in shape from a paperclip) to connect both relevant pins of the temperature-sensor cable's plug.
It's all quiet now...

Unfortunately I haven't been able to install the BootCamp-SystemTray-Preferences for Win10 yet.
Anyone here been successful in this matter?
 
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MacFoxG4

macrumors 6502
Nov 22, 2019
357
459
Been focused on my 2009 Mini lately. I finally got it to run the patched Mojave and Catalina. Still not sure what I did that fixed it, but I can run those OSes now. I have Ubuntu 20 on this Mini, which I installed because I couldn't get Mojave or Catalina to work at the time. I like Ubuntu and I am familiar with it. I prefer it over Catalina. I have Ubuntu dual booted with Mojave currently. I think Ubuntu runs a tad faster than Mojave on here. I like Mojave because it still has iTunes and it has dark mode. I'm currently using Mojave in dark mode now. My only gripe with Mojave is that Apple will very likely stop updating it this year due to Apple's unwritten rule about only supporting an OS for 3 years. This is part of the reason why I want to keep Ubuntu on this Mac since Ubuntu will keep getting updates for a few more years.

It is amazing how many modern tasks I am able to do on this Mini and it is amazing how good the performance feels for being a 2009 C2D. I think I could get away with using it as a daily driver instead of my 2017 Lenovo Ideapad. I have even done some of my homework this semester using the Mini. I don't hate the IdeaPad as much as I used to since I put in the SSD upgrade, but the keyboard on that thing is still terrible. I'm tempted to move my Itunes library to the Mini. It would be one less thing I would need the IdeaPad for. I even purchased a web cam to see if I can do my meetings on the Mini. The 2.0 ghz C2D does show its age sometimes, but compared to a budget 2.3ghz i3 laptop from 2017, the performance difference is not that bad. I would still keep the IdeaPad though in case I need it. Having two computers that can be used as daily drivers would be beneficial.
 

Jack Neill

macrumors 68000
Sep 13, 2015
1,734
1,510
San Antonio Texas
Been focused on my 2009 Mini lately. I finally got it to run the patched Mojave and Catalina. Still not sure what I did that fixed it, but I can run those OSes now. I have Ubuntu 20 on this Mini, which I installed because I couldn't get Mojave or Catalina to work at the time. I like Ubuntu and I am familiar with it. I prefer it over Catalina. I have Ubuntu dual booted with Mojave currently. I think Ubuntu runs a tad faster than Mojave on here. I like Mojave because it still has iTunes and it has dark mode. I'm currently using Mojave in dark mode now. My only gripe with Mojave is that Apple will very likely stop updating it this year due to Apple's unwritten rule about only supporting an OS for 3 years. This is part of the reason why I want to keep Ubuntu on this Mac since Ubuntu will keep getting updates for a few more years.

It is amazing how many modern tasks I am able to do on this Mini and it is amazing how good the performance feels for being a 2009 C2D. I think I could get away with using it as a daily driver instead of my 2017 Lenovo Ideapad. I have even done some of my homework this semester using the Mini. I don't hate the IdeaPad as much as I used to since I put in the SSD upgrade, but the keyboard on that thing is still terrible. I'm tempted to move my Itunes library to the Mini. It would be one less thing I would need the IdeaPad for. I even purchased a web cam to see if I can do my meetings on the Mini. The 2.0 ghz C2D does show its age sometimes, but compared to a budget 2.3ghz i3 laptop from 2017, the performance difference is not that bad. I would still keep the IdeaPad though in case I need it. Having two computers that can be used as daily drivers would be beneficial.
With Retroactive you can install iTunes on 10.15 and 11.
 
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AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
482
559
Idaho, USA
I did change up my setup at school a bit. In place of the 2008 20", I've put in a 2009 21"! The 20" is now at home on my tech workbench. It's nice to have the higher-res screen of the 21", and it aesthetically matches the 27" 2010 next to it :D

I feel like I could post in this thread every day "I did everything for my job with early Intel Macs" :p

View attachment 1732310

View attachment 1732309
Same here! I use a Mac Pro 1,1 every day for my school work and google meet, and a MB 5,2 for my web browsing needs. Old hardware still works great! I have a feeling my firewire iSight looks pretty fuzzy in the video calls though. :)
 

retta283

Cancelled
Jun 8, 2018
2,846
2,901
Victoria, British Columbia
I could post in this thread every day as well. I use early Intel daily as my main machines (although Windows is creeping into the equation a bit) and have for quite some time.

However I am currently looking at new machines, but these are also early Intel. I'm looking to move away from the iMac line gradually, as mine are all starting to die and I don't trust to buy more really. I don't want another aluminum 20" because of TN, and the 24"s are notable for turning very yellow even brown with time and displaying uneven backlights. Image retention is another fear as well. I've dealt with that one quite a bit myself on the 24"s and it's an issue I've seen replicated by many forum members going back to 2007 when these were new. 21.5" and 27" are generally okay but have yellowing issues themselves and some other oddities, and I'd prefer to avoid the AIO in the future if possible...

I'm just debating between Mac minis and Mac Pros right now. I don't really like the size and especially power consumption of the Pros. If I'm going to have 2-3 of these running at the same time along with 2 displays switched between them it's going to suck a lot of power. The only bummer is that the Tiger compatible minis have sucky GMA graphics that cannot handle my monitors properly. For later machines I would consider a 2011 i7 mini, but I don't know how much worse Intel 3000 graphics are than the 320m in the 2010 mini. Ideally I will be running a 1600p and 1200p monitor off the same machine. A single 1200p monitor is laggy on my 2007 mini. I'm also not particularly a fan of the process to open the Minis, I can take care of it but I don't like it. Not something I'd be willing to crack open once a month like I do with my towers. So I may just have to suck it up and get some Pros in. If anyone has feedback to add on the current effectiveness of minis vs Pros for various uses I'd appreciate it.
 

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
482
559
Idaho, USA
I could post in this thread every day as well. I use early Intel daily as my main machines (although Windows is creeping into the equation a bit) and have for quite some time.

However I am currently looking at new machines, but these are also early Intel. I'm looking to move away from the iMac line gradually, as mine are all starting to die and I don't trust to buy more really. I don't want another aluminum 20" because of TN, and the 24"s are notable for turning very yellow even brown with time and displaying uneven backlights. Image retention is another fear as well. I've dealt with that one quite a bit myself on the 24"s and it's an issue I've seen replicated by many forum members going back to 2007 when these were new. 21.5" and 27" are generally okay but have yellowing issues themselves and some other oddities, and I'd prefer to avoid the AIO in the future if possible...

I'm just debating between Mac minis and Mac Pros right now. I don't really like the size and especially power consumption of the Pros. If I'm going to have 2-3 of these running at the same time along with 2 displays switched between them it's going to suck a lot of power. The only bummer is that the Tiger compatible minis have sucky GMA graphics that cannot handle my monitors properly. For later machines I would consider a 2011 i7 mini, but I don't know how much worse Intel 3000 graphics are than the 320m in the 2010 mini. Ideally I will be running a 1600p and 1200p monitor off the same machine. A single 1200p monitor is laggy on my 2007 mini. I'm also not particularly a fan of the process to open the Minis, I can take care of it but I don't like it. Not something I'd be willing to crack open once a month like I do with my towers. So I may just have to suck it up and get some Pros in. If anyone has feedback to add on the current effectiveness of minis vs Pros for various uses I'd appreciate it.
I agree, never been the biggest fan of iMacs as daily drivers just because if one part dies or starts to go bad the whole computer goes down, then it's a massive pain to replace. Not sure what your workflow is and what you need to do but minis are going to be a lot cheaper to buy and operate. Would getting one Pro for your main machine and a couple minis for other tasks be an option? That way you can get the power of an MP when you need it but the setup doesn't use as much electricity. Although for your case with the monitors it sounds like just MPs might fit you better. The power use is pretty bad though.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,952
1,933
Kiel, Germany
Funny, I didn't dare to open an aluminum iMac until now!
But after I found out, how easy it is, to lift up the glass-panel (it's just fixed with magnets - easy to lift up with a pair of succion-cups) this afternood I did springclean on the last "dust-bowl" left for maintainance (the other two had been opened in order to fit in an SSD on the weekend).
Good fun! Not only a mass of lint and dust within, that I gently blew out with the cold airstream of a hairdryer (helped by a soft cosmetic-brush), but also a "nebulized" backside of the glas-panel, that could be easily cleaned with a dry microfibre-towel.
The cosmetic-brush/microfiber-towel in combination with the hairdryer were also of good help to remove tiny spots of lint and dust from both display and backside of the glass-panel before reassembly.
 

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
482
559
Idaho, USA
Funny, I didn't dare to open an aluminum iMac until now!
But after I found out, how easy it is, to lift up the glass-panel (it's just fixed with magnets - easy to lift up with a pair of succion-cups) this afternood I did springclean on the last "dust-bowl" left for maintainance (the other two had been opened in order to fit in an SSD on the weekend).
Good fun! Not only a mass of lint and dust within, that I gently blew out with the cold airstream of a hairdryer (helped by a soft cosmetic-brush), but also a "nebulized" backside of the glas-panel, that could be easily cleaned with a dry microfibre-towel.
The cosmetic-brush/microfiber-towel in combination with the hairdryer were also of good help to remove tiny spots of lint and dust from both display and backside of the glass-panel before reassembly.
I actually didn't know they were held on with magnets! I thought they were adhesive like the newer ones. Well, guess I can be less scared of opening one up now.
 

Applicator

macrumors regular
Jan 20, 2021
108
221
Germany
For later machines I would consider a 2011 i7 mini, but I don't know how much worse Intel 3000 graphics are than the 320m in the 2010 mini. Ideally I will be running a 1600p and 1200p monitor off the same machine. A single 1200p monitor is laggy on my 2007 mini. I'm also not particularly a fan of the process to open the Minis, I can take care of it but I don't like it. Not something I'd be willing to crack open once a month like I do with my towers.
I replaced a MBP 13" with 320m graphics with a Mac mini and HD3000 some years ago. The mini was CCC'ed of the MBP and both were used with a 24" ACD plus a 20" ACD for the Mini, so this works quite well for a comparison.
In office use, safari and all the usual tasks, they performed the same, while in games the 320m was just a tiny little bit stronger. On the other hand, Macs with Intel GPUs are way more reliable and run cooler. So I would definitely choose a 2011/2012 over the 2010.
For the opening thing you mentioned: Opening the unibody minis is a matter of seconds but replacing the HDDs is a 25min job. If you go for a 2012 model, there's Usb 3.0, or you spend the extra money on a thunderbolt solution, so there's no need for ripping these poor machines apart on a daily basis.
As much as I like the Mac Pro, it uses 50% more power in idle than a Mac mini under full load. You could easily buy a 4th mini for the saving.
 

Amethyst1

macrumors 603
Oct 28, 2015
5,709
6,614
Another thing to consider is that the 2011/2012 mini's CPU, especially the Quadcore, absolutely runs circles around the 2010's. I'd not bother with a 2010 anymore.
 
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