Inherited an ancient iMac with a 2ghz Core Duo, ATi x1600, 2gb ddr2 RAM

elite.mafia

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This iMac is in great shape. The specs are obviously EXTREMELY dated. I think this was new in 2006 or 2007. My main questions are:

Can I install an SSD in this, and what would be a good operating system to run on this? Ubuntu? Is it powerful enough to play Youtube videos at 720P? Main things I want to use it for are watching videos with youtube and plex, as well as listening to music. Currently the version of Safari it has won't work with Youtube. Chrome and Firefox say they don't support the OS it currently has.

Also, what is the newest version of MacOS that this thing can run? Current version is 10.6.8

Any suggestions welcome. I really like how these things look so I feel like it'd be a shame to just throw it out.... If I can't get it to play videos like I want, maybe.... just maybe.... I could probably stuff a mini-itx setup in there at some point in the future


Full specs:

iMac 20 inch
OSX 10.6.8
2ghz dual core Intel Core Duo
ATi x1600 256mb
1680x1050 display
2gb DDR2-667mhz (2x 1gb)
250GB Western Digital Caviar SE 7200rpm 8mb cache
 

Spartacus09

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Based off the specs its likely an A1224 Mid-2007 model MA876LL/A 2 ~ the latest OS that can go to is 10.11.x (El Capitan).
The drive connector is SATA so you should be able to upgrade to a SSD with no issue (you will need a adapter for it to fit unless you just want it to flop around and then reinstall the OS)

Frankly that thing will struggle to watch videos with youtube/plex even at the 1680x1050 on Capitan without a ssd upgrade (and even still after that due to ram speed/size).
FYI max ram for that is 6GB (a 4gb+2gb kit) ~ technically apple only supported up to 4gb (2x2)
 
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NattyKathy

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if the CPU in that is indeed a Core Duo as opposed to Core 2 Duo, then 10.6.8 is the newest OS as anything newer requires 64-bit support. If you fancy tearing the thing apart, the CPU is socketed and will take up to a Core 2 T7600 (2.33Ghz) which will sort of give you 64-bit support, although you will need some patching to get newer OS than Snow Leopard.

I agree with Spartacus09 about the video playback- it won't be pretty; slow CPU + old GPU that doesn't support hardware acceleration of modern codecs = bad times. Windowed 480P and maybe 720P should be ok but it will certainly struggle with fullscreen playback.
 

elite.mafia

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if the CPU in that is indeed a Core Duo as opposed to Core 2 Duo, then 10.6.8 is the newest OS as anything newer requires 64-bit support. If you fancy tearing the thing apart, the CPU is socketed and will take up to a Core 2 T7600 (2.33Ghz) which will sort of give you 64-bit support, although you will need some patching to get newer OS than Snow Leopard.

I agree with Spartacus09 about the video playback- it won't be pretty; slow CPU + old GPU that doesn't support hardware acceleration of modern codecs = bad times. Windowed 480P and maybe 720P should be ok but it will certainly struggle with fullscreen playback.

Yeah I kind of figured that might be the case. It's definitely a core duo and NOT a core 2 duo. This is the machine:

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_cd_2.0_20.html
 

NattyKathy

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ok yep I am familiar with that particular iMac. That model will require a bit of fanangling to work with newer Mac OS but it can be done provided you upgrade the CPU to a Core 2 chip. Good news is a T7200 or T7600 can be had dirt cheap and will give a good performance boost vs the Core Duo, just make sure you get a Socket M version as they also came in Socket P. Memory-wise that one will take up to 4GB DDR2-667 but IIRC the OS will only see 3GB even with a 64-bit Core 2 because the chipset (i945P) is only 32-bit. But 2x2GB would be worth it IMO to get dual-channel even if you lose some of the capacity. No issues with SSDs other than sequential perf. being limited to 150MB/s due to SATA-1, just be sure to read up on manually enabling TRIM etc as Snow Leopard isn't very SSD-aware due to age.
Really the GPU is going to be the biggest sticking point in my estimation. An ok dual-core cpu, 4GB memory, and an SSD is still fine for basic stuff but holy moly is that old Radeon a dog. GPUs have come so far that anything that old just isn't even remotely in the same universe as even modern integrated graphics and it will show when anything on the web needs hardware acceleration.

blah blah hope all this was helpful
 

elite.mafia

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ok yep I am familiar with that particular iMac. That model will require a bit of fanangling to work with newer Mac OS but it can be done provided you upgrade the CPU to a Core 2 chip. Good news is a T7200 or T7600 can be had dirt cheap and will give a good performance boost vs the Core Duo, just make sure you get a Socket M version as they also came in Socket P. Memory-wise that one will take up to 4GB DDR2-667 but IIRC the OS will only see 3GB even with a 64-bit Core 2 because the chipset (i945P) is only 32-bit. But 2x2GB would be worth it IMO to get dual-channel even if you lose some of the capacity. No issues with SSDs other than sequential perf. being limited to 150MB/s due to SATA-1, just be sure to read up on manually enabling TRIM etc as Snow Leopard isn't very SSD-aware due to age.
Really the GPU is going to be the biggest sticking point in my estimation. An ok dual-core cpu, 4GB memory, and an SSD is still fine for basic stuff but holy moly is that old Radeon a dog. GPUs have come so far that anything that old just isn't even remotely in the same universe as even modern integrated graphics and it will show when anything on the web needs hardware acceleration.

blah blah hope all this was helpful


Wait, I can upgrade the CPU on this thing? It seems like the board only supports 2gb of RAM according to that page, or maybe they only allow you to configure it with 2gb? What's the fastest chip it can use? also does it take standard laptop ddr2-sodimm's?
 

Dreamerbydesign

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Wait, I can upgrade the CPU on this thing? It seems like the board only supports 2gb of RAM according to that page, or maybe they only allow you to configure it with 2gb? What's the fastest chip it can use? also does it take standard laptop ddr2-sodimm's?
Kate is referring to the cpu options with the T7200 etc being a socketed type M (mobile variant) cpu.
 

NattyKathy

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^ what they said. CPU upgrade isn't officially supported but if you tear the system down (requires a near-complete disassembly unfortunately) you will find a socketed CPU in the older iMacs. Core 2 T7600 (2.33Ghz) is the fastest this model will support; any T-series mobile Core 2 with 667Mhz bus should work but i'd stick to the T7x00 chips as the T5x00 won't be faster than what you have.

As for the memory, Apple only "officially" supports 2x1GB DDR2 for all 2006 and early 2007 iMac/Macbook/MBP systems (anything with the 945 chipset) but the memory controller does support 2x2GB, albiet with the 3GB limit i mentioned which is an OS thing (even with 64-bit CPU and 64-bit OS, the 945 Northbridge is only 32-bit). I think Apple set the official limit at 2GB so as to avoid confusion, understandable given that the 3GB barrier on 32-bit wasn't exactly well-known or understood outside of builders and power users. FWIW, Linux distros can get around that limit by using the 36-bit addressing (PAE) modes in 32-bit chips just not something that Apple and Microsoft supported on consumer OS due to application compatibility issues that >=4GB with PAE can cause.

These will take standard 667Mhz DDR2 laptop SODIMMs
 
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elite.mafia

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Does anyone know how to reset a keychain password? I've asked everyone for the password and none of the stuff they gave me works sadly.
 

elite.mafia

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I tried it already, it says some error. The only password that is showing up is root password... For the install DVD.... Uhh

20190310_161750.jpg


Just to be clear. I'm trying to backup all the images and other documents on this disk before I start screwing around with it. It keeps asking me for the password. I think it's the keychain pw?
 

NattyKathy

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weird. that's beyond me, sorry... usually i just wipe and reinstall when salvaging a secondhand system.
 

elite.mafia

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weird. that's beyond me, sorry... usually i just wipe and reinstall when salvaging a secondhand system.
Well it's got tons of pictures on it that I need to backup. I tried to reset the iCloud and it asks for the persons birthday which I know and it says its invalid. So freaking weird. Do you think I can pull the drive and plug it into a windows pc and grab all the images? Or even a linux VM?
 

NattyKathy

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it's possible to read HFS-formatted disks on Windows and Linux but it's a matter of installing the right drivers. not plug-and-go.

couple other thoughts...
another option is to spin a Mac OS VM instead and connect the iMac's disk to your workstation via a USB bridge. also having that VM may come handy if you have to prepare Linux disks for the Mac later

or
if you have access to another Mac, Firewire target disk could be the ticket
 

elite.mafia

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Don't have another Mac. I pulled the drive. Looking at the internals has me pretty confused. The display plugs into the main board but the x1600 is.... Where? The board at the top left appears to be the power supply. I'm guessing there is some more stuff behind the big pcb given the massive cooling system in the middle leading behind the board.
 

elite.mafia

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it's possible to read HFS-formatted disks on Windows and Linux but it's a matter of installing the right drivers. not plug-and-go.

couple other thoughts...
another option is to spin a Mac OS VM instead and connect the iMac's disk to your workstation via a USB bridge. also having that VM may come handy if you have to prepare Linux disks for the Mac later

or
if you have access to another Mac, Firewire target disk could be the ticket

Can you point me in the right direction for reading it on windows? I found a few paid solutions but definitely not paying. I have a friend who is going to help me crack the keychain password later on anyways if I can't figure this out.
 

elite.mafia

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Also a Pic if the inside. Very strange layout.
20190310_170819.jpg


Based on how the fans and heat pipes are laid out I think there is either another board behind the big board here, or there is a chip on the back of the board?
 

NattyKathy

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Also a Pic if the inside. Very strange layout.
<snip>

Based on how the fans and heat pipes are laid out I think there is either another board behind the big board here, or there is a chip on the back of the board?

the CPU and GPU are located on the back of the board, reverse of the big metal bracket that comes down from the heatsink. follow the heatpipes.
 

elite.mafia

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the CPU and GPU are located on the back of the board, reverse of the big metal bracket that comes down from the heatsink. follow the heatpipes.
Yeah I figured as much, just I don't think I've ever seen a double sided board like that. And I've gone thru a bunch of laptops... Was thinking there might be a second PCB on the back.
 
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Well it's got tons of pictures on it that I need to backup. I tried to reset the iCloud and it asks for the persons birthday which I know and it says its invalid. So freaking weird. Do you think I can pull the drive and plug it into a windows pc and grab all the images? Or even a linux VM?
Can confirm that ubuntu 18.04 can read the HFS+ partition that drive would be using. A live boot disc is probably the easiest way to copy files onto an external drive or dump on some cloud storage.
 
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