Industry watchers had been anticipating Apple moving the iMac to Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor, which is “up to 50% more powerful” (according to Apple) than the Core Duo used in the Early 2006 iMac. As if that wasn’t enough, Apple added the biggest iMac to date to the line, a whopping 24″ model with a 1920 x 1200 pixel display.
There’s more variety than ever before in the iMac line. The 2.0 GHz 17″ iMac ships with 1 GB of RAM and a 160 GB hard drive, an 8x SuperDrive, AirPort Extreme, Bluetooth 2.0, and Apple’s USB keyboard and Mighty Mouse. It uses the ATI Radeon X1600 graphics processor with 128 MB of dedicated video memory. Although you can install two 2 GB modules to achieve 4 GB of system memory, the computer can only access 3 GB of RAM, making that a smarter, lower cost upgrade option.
Apple offered a 2.16 GHz CPU as a build-to-order option.
The entry-level 1.83 GHz model uses Intel GMA 950 graphics, carried over from the education iMac introduced in July 2006. Because this model dedicates 80 MB of RAM to video, we strongly recommend at least 1 GB of RAM.
This was the last time Apple offered a 17″ iMac.
The new iMac ships with Mac OS X 10.4.7 and iLife ’06.
What You Need to Know
With 1 GB of system memory, this iMac is well suited for OS X 10.4 Tiger, and going to 2-3 GB further improves things. Base memory is enough to run OS X 10.5 Leopard decently, and 2-3 GB really improves things. OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard can run on a 1 GB Mac but really cries out for 2 GB of memory and is unleashed with 3 GB. OS X 10.7 Lion wants 2 GB minimum and is much happier with 3 GB installed.
The CPU is mounted in Socket M, allowing upgrades as high as 2.33 GHz.
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.
- introduced 2006.09.06 at US$1,199
- Model identifier: iMac5,1
- Model no.: A1208
- Part no.: MA590
- Latest EFI Boot ROM: EFI 1.2
- requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 Tiger to 10.7 Lion, not compatible with 10.8 Mountain Lion or later.
- Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
- Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
- 64-bit operation is supported.
- OpenCL is not supported.
- CPU: 2.0/2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo Merom, Socket M makes upgrades possible
- L2 cache: 4 MB shared cache on CPU
- Bus: 667 MHz
- Performance, Geekbench 2:
- Leopard: 2596
- Tiger: 2649
- Performance, Geekbench 3:
- 32-bit single core: 1075 (2.0 GHz)
- 32-bit multicore: 1889 (2.0 GHz)
- 64-bit single core: 1164 (2.0 GHz)
- 64-bit multicore: 2054 (2.0 GHz)
- RAM: 1 GB, expandable to 4 GB using two PC2-5300 DDR2 SODIMMs, but only 3 GB is recognized.
- Graphics: ATI Radeon X1600 with 128 MB RAM (256 MB optional), supports up to 1920 x 1200 external digital display, 2048 x 1536 analog display, and monitor spanning
- Display: 17″ 1440 x 900 flat panel display
- Video out: mini-DVI, VGA, S-video, composite (requires adapter)
- Hard drive bus: 1.5 Gbps SATA Rev. 1
- Hard drive: 160 GB 7200 rpm SATA drive
- Optical drive bus: Ultra ATA/100 (operates at ATA/33)
- SuperDrive: writes DVD±R discs at up to 8x speed, dual layer at up to 2.4x; DVD±RW 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 8x, reads CDs at up to 24x
- USB: 3 USB 2.0 ports
- FireWire 400: 2 ports, 8W shared output
- Modem: optional 56 kbps USB modem supports v.92
- Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
- WiFi: 802.11g AirPort Extreme included
- Bluetooth 2.0: included on all but 17″ 1.83 GHz model
- IR receiver: supports Apple Remote (included)
- Microphone: internal
- H x W x D: 16.9 x 16.8 x 6.8 in/43 x 42.6 x 17.3 cm
- Weight: 15.5 lb/7 kg
- Power supply: 180W
- CPU can be replaced with faster Socket M Core 2 Duo.
- What’s the Best Version of OS X for My Mac?, Ian R Campbell, The Sensible Mac, 2008.02.28. Which version of Mac OS X is best for your hardware depends on several factors.
- The iMac Legacy: After the G3, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.08.15. The G3 iMac influenced the whole industry, but Apple continued to move forward with innovative designs using G4, G5, and Intel processors.
- Know Your Mac’s Upgrade Options, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. Any Mac can be upgraded, but it’s a question of what can be upgraded – RAM, hard drive, video, CPU – and how far it can be upgraded.
- Why the 20″ iMac is perfect for home or school, John Hatchett, Recycled Computing, 2009.09.29. The aluminum iMac has plenty of power and screen space, yet it’s small enough and light enough to tote from place to place.
- 5 best desktop Macs for gaming for under $1,000, Dan Bashur, Apple, Tech, and Gaming, 2009.09.10. You can have a decently configured gaming Mac for as little as $300 – and the ultimate for under $700.
- The 64-bitness of Mac OS X 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.08.19. Although Apple is promoting ‘Snow Leopard’ as a fully 64-bit operating system, it defaults to running in 32-bit mode.
- The Road Ahead: 64-bit Computing, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.08.19. Personal computers started with 8-bit CPUs, Macs started out with a 24-bit operating system, and 32-bit computing is starting to give way to 64 bits.
- OS X 10.6 requirements, why Apple owns the high end, when to upgrade your Mac, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.08.14. Also Microsoft Word patent infringement, BackPack shelf for iMac and Cinema Displays, two updated Bible study programs, and more.
- OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard for $29, run Windows on your Mac for Free, Update Breaks Office 2008, and more, Mac News Review, 2009.08.07. Also getting your Mac ready for Snow Leopard, Time Capsule doubles capacity, Picasa 3 for Mac, Bodega Mac app store, and more.
- Computer disaster ends happily, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2009.08.05. The iMac was getting slower and slower, and Disk Utility kept trying to fix the same problems. With a new hard drive, the iMac is running as well as ever.
- Optimized Software Builds Bring Out the Best in Your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- Intel’s promise fulfilled: More processing power per processor cycle, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2009.06.30. Apple promised improved CPU efficiencies when it announced the move to Intel in 2005. Three years of MacBooks show the progress.
- Ubuntu Linux and Boot camp make it easy to create a triple boot Mac, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.12.24. Boot Camp makes it easy to install Windows on Intel Macs, and Ubuntu now makes it easy to install Linux to a virtual Windows drive.
- The ‘Better Safe Than Sorry’ Guide to Installing Mac OS X Updates, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why You Should Partition Your Mac’s Hard Drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ’emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- Virtualization shootout: VMWare Fusion 2 vs. Parallels Desktop 4, Kev Kitchens, Kitchens Sync, 2008.11.20. Both programs do the same thing, but one runs Windows XP smoothly alongside Mac apps, while the other bogs down everything but Windows.
- How to clone Mac OS X to a new hard drive, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here’s the simple process.
- CodeWeavers brings Google’s Chrome browser to Intel Macs, Alan Zisman, Zis Mac, 2008.10.02. Google’s new Chrome browser uses separate processes for each tab and brings other changes to Windows users. Now Mac fans can try it as well.
- Tiger vs. Leopard: Which is best for you?, Simon Royal, Tech Spectrum, 2008.09.22. Two great versions of Mac OS X, but unless your Mac is well above the minimum spec for Leopard and has lots of RAM, stick with Tiger.
- Apple Trumps Microsoft in Making the 64-bit Transition Transparent to Users, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.09.18. To use more than 4 GB of RAM under Windows, you need a 64-bit PC and the 64-bit version of Windows. On the Mac, OS X 10.4 and later already support it.
- SATA, SATA II, SATA 600, and Product Confusion Fatigue, Frank Fox, Stop the Noiz, 2008.09.08. In addition to the original SATA specification and the current 3 Gb/s specification, SATA revision 3.0 is just around the corner.
- Does running OS X system maintenance routines really do any good?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.08.26. Mac OS X is designed to run certain maintenance routines daily, weekly, and monthly – but can’t if your Mac is off or asleep.
- The Compressed Air Keyboard Repair, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn’t working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- Free VirtualBox for Mac now a virtual contender, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.07.21. A year ago, the Mac version of VirtualBox lacked some essential features. Over the past year, it’s grown into a very useful tool.
- Virtual PC works with Leopard, Intel vs. PowerPC performance, beyond the Mac mini, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.05.20. Also upgrading Intel iMacs, Compact Flash in a PowerBook 2400, and thoughts on low-end Macs.
- SheepShaver brings Classic Mac OS to Intel Macs and Leopard, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2008.05.20. Mac OS X 10.5 doesn’t support Classic Mode. Neither does Leopard. But SheepShaver lets you emulate a PowerPC Mac and run the Classic Mac OS.
- Windows on Macs: Three paths for integration, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.05.14. Mac users have three routes for running Windows apps: Run Windows using Boot Camp or virtualization, or use a compatibility layer such as WINE.
- The 2008 Penryn iMac value equation, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.04.29. Comparing prices, features, and performance, three of four new models are value champions, and there are some surprising refurb values as well.
- Restore stability to a troubled Mac with a clean system install, Keith Winston, Linux to Mac, 2008.01.15. If your Mac is misbehaving, the best fix just might be a fresh reinstallation of Mac OS X – don’t forget to backup first.
- Mac hits 6.8% share on Net, Intel iMac screen problems, Classic on Leopard, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.12.07. Also adding hierarchical menus to the Leopard Dock, speeding up Leopard with less colors, a new OS X email client, and Parallels Premium Edition.
- Merely adequate: Why you want to avoid integrated graphics, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.11.10. A couple years ago, Apple laughingly pointed at Windows PCs with ‘integrated Intel graphics’ as substandard. Today low-end Macs all suffer from those barely adequate graphics processors.
- Beyond Google, 10 years on the G3, the Cube is not a Road Apple, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.11.13. Also the 64-bit advantage of Core 2, OS 9 on a USB flash drive, sound problems since switching to Leopard, and 7200 rpm in an eMac.
- Proof Macs cost less, Leopard spanks Vista, Mac pride pins, Arabic OS X 10.4.10, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.11.09. Also the pitfalls of Macintel recovery, waiting for the 10.5.1 update, QuickTime 7.3 released, new Leopard books, and more.
- Refurb 17″ Intel iMac deals, PowerBook 540 on Compact Flash, Newton as a mobile phone, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.11.07. Also PCI cards for older Macs, no such thing as a 933 MHz Digital Audio Power Mac, Mac OS longevity, and prospects for XPostFacto 5.
- Faster flash memory makes a big difference, more RAM or a faster CPU?, OS X 10.4.10 problems, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.10.16. Also Level 2 vs. Level 3 cache, the 64-bitness of Mac OS X, another Road Apple nomination, and gaming on Macs.
- External $100 Sony DVD burner likes Macs, Brian Gray, Fruitful Editing, 2007.10.10. The box and manual say nothing about Mac compatibility, but this 18x USB 2.0 DVD burner is plug-and-play (at least with Tiger).
- FastMac 8x SuperDrive and BurnAgain DVD: Fast and easy multisession disc burning, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.10.08. FastMac’s 8x SuperDrive upgrade is remarkably fast compared with older PowerBook burners, and BurnAgain DVD makes it easy to append files to a previously burned CD or DVD.
- New Macs expected August 7, Apple keyboard repair tutorial, Linux vs. Mac vs. Widows, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.08.03. Also new Apple keyboard inspired by MacBook?, Logitech’s new Wave keyboard, iNeck lets G5 and Intel iMacs pivot, TechTool Pro updated for latest Macs, and more.
- Does a college freshman need to run Windows on a MacBook?, Al Poulin, My Turn, 2007.07.24. While you can run Windows on today’s Intel-based Macs, is there any reason most college students would want to or need to?
- Software to darken iMac display, columnist returns iPhone, Logitech introduces air mouse, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.07.20. Also a USB turntable for turning your record albums into MP3s, a retractable flash drive, iPhone: The Missing Manual, Parallels Desktop 3 a major update, and more.
- The gaping hole in Apple’s desktop line, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.07.13. $599 for a Mac mini with very limited expandability, $999 for an iMac with limited expandability, or $2,200 for a the very expandable Mac Pro.
- iMac update in June?, OS 9/X file sharing fixed, Apple offers free recycling to schools, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.05.25. Also an iChat headset, a happy Apple service story, new technology for future Intel CPUs, 802.11n for 24″ iMac, and more.
- VMware Fusion beta 3 adds new features, takes a giant step toward release, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2007.04.11. Looking for a virtualization solution for your Intel Mac? The latest beta of VMWare Fusion makes several improvements and includes some unique features.
- 1 core, 2 cores, 4 cores, 8: How Much Difference Does It Make?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.04.10. Geekbench scores make it possible to compare the newest 3 GHz 8-core Mac Pro with the 1.5 GHz Core Solo Mac mini – and all the models in between.
- 11 No Cost Tips for Optimizing Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger Performance, Ed Eubanks Jr, The Efficient Mac User, 2007.03.12. If your Mac is getting sluggish, here are 11 tips that can help restore its original performance.
- DST fixes & info for OS X, Classic Mac OS; Maynor demos WiFi hack; Samsung’s hybrid drive; and more, The ‘Book Review, 2007.03.09. Also glossy vs. matte displays, troubleshooting slot-loading drives, 802.11n upgrade for MacBooks and Intel iMacs, bargain ‘Books from $209 to $2,299, and more.
- CrossOver: Run Windows Apps on Intel Macs Without Windows, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2007.02.28. If you need to run Windows apps on your Intel Mac once in a while, CrossOver may be the least expensive way to do so since it eliminates the need to buy a copy of Windows.
- The annoying white iMac, Andrew J Fishkin, Best Tools for the Job, 2007.02.15. From a design standpoint, the iMac is brilliant, but the massive amounts of white plastic can distract you from what’s on the display.
- Which Intel Macs Take CPU Upgrades?, $2 802.11n Enabler, USB Drive Adapter, and More, Mac News Review, 2007.02.02. Also a DST fix for Panther, Logos coming to Macs, Intel’s chip breakthrough, iConnect iPod integration for GM vehicles, a waterproof iPod, and more.
- ‘Poor boy’ .mac alternatives, Mac Pro ruled in 2006, Apple closing on HP, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.01.05. Also Mac mini in a Subaru, frugal Mighty Mouse, what to do when your 2006 iMac won’t start, compact Pentax scanner, wireless USB extender, new drive enclosures, and more.
- Parallels Revisited: Release Version Far More Polished than Beta, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2006.11.21. Parallels lets you run Windows or Linux without rebooting your Intel-based Mac, and it’s made great strides since the beta came out earlier this year.
- To AppleCare or not to AppleCare?, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.11.20. Consumer Reports, which generally recommends against extended warranties, says AppleCare makes sense. But does it?
- Mac Pro blows away competition, extended warranties crummy deals, firmware updates for Intel mini and iMac, more, Mac News Review, 2006.11.17. Also 7 free Mac maintenance utilities, dual LCD monitors, a vacuum tube amp for the iPod, and more.
- Pre-2006 Software: The Big Reason You Shouldn’t Buy an Intel Mac in 2006, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.11.09. If you work with software that predates the Intel transition, you may be better off sticking with PowerPC Macs. And if you use classic apps, you definitely want to avoid Intel.
- New iMacs have 802.11n, Apple may go AMD, Japan’s PM uses a Mac, a germ free mouse, and more, Mac News Review, 2006.09.29. Also Intel offers a million dollars for a Mac mini killer, 24″ iMac ‘a great system’, a new ergonomic keyboard, and Windows-to-Mac migration software from Laplink.
- Apple II Greatest PC Ever, Core 2 in a Mac mini, iMac Core 2 Duo ‘Ultimate Mac Value’, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.22. Also firmware restoration for Intel Macs, Mac Pro firmware updates, iron on iPod nano cases, Boot Camp beta 1.1.1, and more.
- Core 2 iMac Praise, Windows Vista ‘a Pile of Crap’, Cube Redux?, High Capacity iPod Battery, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.15. Also the Mac Pro’s ‘pure, unadulterated power’, Parallels now runs on the Mac Pro, iMac Core 2 specs, dual G4 upgrade for MDD and Xserve G4, and more.
- Region Free DVD Viewing Options for Intel and PowerPC Macs, Andrew J Fishkin, The Mobile Mac, 2006.09.12. Several hardware and software options that will let your view ‘wrong region’ DVDs on your PowerPC or Intel Mac.
- Core 2 7% Faster, iMac Goes Core 2, G4/1.6 GHz Dual, SAFE Drive Secures Data, Wireless Headphones, and More, Mac News Review, 2006.09.08. Also how to share a printer with OS 9, more praise for Logitech Revolution mouse, CrossOver lets you run Windows apps without Windows, a USB car charger for the iPod, and more.
- The iMac Core 2 value equation: Practically perfect pricing, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.09.06. The new iMacs, build with Core 2 Duo processors, are a great value – and refurbished prices on the older Core Duo models are right where they should be.
- Is 512 MB enough?, Macs gain share in business, wireless Mighty Mouse, Toast adds Blu-ray support, and more, Mac News Review, 2006.07.28. Also OWC’s FireWire 400 & 800/USB 2.0/eSATA drives, miniXpress 160 GB drive, Jeep flash drives, SteerMouse supports up to 8 buttons plus vertical and horizontal scrolling, and miniStat2 system monitor.
- Edu-iMac too compromised, Mac Portables return to mothership, SheepShaver unstable, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2006.07.12. Thoughts on the education iMac, the Mac Portable, and the value of a Mac Plus in 2006. Also SheepShaver feedback, OS X ligature problems, and MP3 software for OS 8.
- Is the new edu-iMac a good value or simply too compromised?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.07.10. The new education-only iMac is mostly the same as the consumer model, but how big an impact will the Intel graphics have on performance?
- Symantec says buy a Mac, SheepShaver supports Classic on Macintel, painted minis, and more, Mac News Review, 2006.05.19. Also email on a Mac Plus, firmware updates for Intel iMac and mini, $159 G4/933 MHz upgrade, FW800/USB 2.0 to SATA bridge board, and more.
- Apple joins ‘Win on Mac’ army with Boot Camp, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2006.04.07. The hackers did it first, but Apple’s Boot Camp is a much more elegant solution to putting Windows XP on Macintel hardware.
- Boot Camp: Apple officially supports Windows XP booting on Macintel hardware, The Macintel Report, 2006.04.06. No more need to do any hacks to get WinXP booting on Apple’s Intel-based Macs. Apple’s new Boot Camp software fully supports it.
- Windows XP on Macintel a reality, Alan Zisman, Mac2Windows, 2006.03.23. It took a while, but it’s now possible to boot Windows XP on the new Intel-based Macs.
- WinXP boots on Macintel, real world thinking about Rosetta performance, and Intel’s impact on future Macs, The Macintel Report, 2006.03.23. If you want to run Windows XP on Macintel hardware, it’s now possible. Also, common sense thinking about Rosetta speed and how Intel’s future CPU plans will shape the Mac.
- Comparing Apples to Apples: When is Macintel faster? When does PowerPC make more sense?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2006.01.29. Benchmarks show the Intel Core Duo flies through native code but plods through PowerPC programs. Will PowerPC or Intel give you the more productive workflow?
- Macintel stumbling block: Sometimes you need Classic, Jeff Adkins, Mac Lab Report, 2006.01.25. As nice as the new Intel Macs seem to be, the lack of any Classic environment makes it impossible for some people to upgrade.
- Apple Specs for iMac (Late 2006)
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