20″ iMac (Early 2009)

Apple updated the iMac with Nvidia graphics as a standard feature (Late 2008 iMacs used Radeon graphics). The low-end Early 2009 iMacs use the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU found in Early 2009 MacBooks and the Early 2009 Mac mini.

20" Aluminum iMac

Early 2009 iMacs have four USB 2.0 ports (one more than previous aluminum iMacs), FireWire 800 (but no longer 400), gigabit ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, and an 8x SuperDrive – as well as a slim keyboard with two USB 2.0 ports. They are the first iMacs to support up to 8 GB of RAM.

Early 2009 iMac

The 20″ iMac has 2.66 GHz CPU, 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB 7200 rpm hard drive, an 8x SuperDrive, Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics, and Apple’s aluminum keyboard and Mighty Mouse. 256 MB of system RAM is dedicated to video.

Early 2009 iMacs ship with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard, and they are compatible with OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

Although it is not officially supported, the Early 2009 iMac can run macOS Sierra using Colin Mistr’s Sierra Patch Tool. See our macOS Sierra page for more details and a link.

What You Need to Know

With 2 GB of system memory, the Early 2009 iMacs handle OS X 10.5 Leopard very nicely and have enough memory to run OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard decently, although upgrading RAM will further improve performance. You can install and run OS X 10.7 Lion on a 2 GB Mac, but you’ll be happier with 4 GB. For OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and 10.9 Mavericks, 4 GB is decent but 8 GB will be better. And if you want to run OS X 10.10 Yosemite or 10.11 El Capitan, plan on upgrading to 8 GB for decent performance.

Note that 20″ aluminum iMacs use an 18-bit LCD, which can only display 262,144 colors, not the “millions” all other iMacs can display. This should be good enough for most users.

Intel-based Macs use a partitioning scheme known as GPT. Only Macintel models can boot from GPT hard drives. Both PowerPC and Intel Macs can boot from APM (Apple’s old partitioning scheme) hard drives, which is the format you must use to create a universal boot drive in Leopard. PowerPC Macs running any version of the Mac OS prior to 10.4.2 cannot mount GPT volumes. PowerPC Macs won’t let you install OS X to a USB drive or choose it as your startup volume, although there is a work around for that.

Details

  • introduced 2009.03.03 at US$1,199; replaced by Late 2009 iMac on 2009.10.20.
  • Part no.: MB417
  • Model identifier: iMac9,1

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • L2 cache: 6 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • Performance, Geekbench 3:
    • 32-bit single core: 1459
    • 32-bit multicore: 2593
    • 64-bit single core: 1590
    • 64-bit multicore: 2844
  • RAM: 2 GB, expandable to 8 GB using two 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM

Video

  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 9400M, used 256 MB of system RAM RAM, supports up to 1920 x 1200 external digital display, 2048 x 1536 analog display, and monitor spanning
  • Display: 20″ 1680 x 1050 flat panel display (18-bit LCD)
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort, DVI and VGA with optional adapters

Drives

  • Hard drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
  • Hard drive: 320 GB 7200 rpm Serial ATA drive
  • SuperDrive: writes DVD±R, DVD+R, and DVD+RW discs at up to 8x speed, DVD-RW at up to 6x; dual layer at up to 4x; reads DVDs at up to 8x, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x, writes CD-RW discs at up to 16x, reads CDs at up to 24x

Expansion

  • USB: 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: none
  • FireWire 800: 1 port, 7 Watts
  • Modem: optional 56 kbps USB modem supports v.92
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • AirPort Extreme: 802.11n
  • Bluetooth 2.1: included
  • IR receiver: supports Apple Remote (not included)
  • Microphone: internal

Physical

  • Power supply: 200W
  • H x W x D: 18.5 x 19.1 x 7.4 in/46.9 x 48.5 x 18.9 cm
  • Weight: 20 lb/9.1 kg

CPU Upgrades

  • none

Online Resources

Keywords: #early2009imac #imacearly2009 #unsupportedsierra

Short link: https://goo.gl/QgHuds

searchword: early2009imac