17″ iMac (Mid 2006)

Apple surprised a lot of people by introducing a scaled back version of the 17″ iMac Core Duo in July 2006. To shave US$400 from the 17″ Early 2006 iMac’s retail price for the education market, Apple replaced the SuperDrive with a 24x Combo drive, used an 80 GB hard drive instead of 160, and relied on Intel GMA 950 graphics instead of the ATI Radeon X1600 video with dedicated memory used in the Early 2006 iMacs.

iMac Core DuoThe Mid 2006 education iMac uses Intel GMA 950 graphics with “vampire video” (the video bites into system memory). The GMA 950 uses 80 MB of system memory for the display, leaving 432 MB for the operating system and software, so upgrading RAM beyond 512 MB is a good idea.

iSight remains, but the remote control included with the Late 2006 and Early 2006 versions of the iMac is not bundled with this education market iMac. Neither is Bluetooth included.

The two things missing are FireWire 800, which Apple still reserves for its “pro” models and has not yet put on an iMac (it does have FireWire 400), and AppleWorks, a product Apple has bundled with every previous iMac. This is the first iMac to officially support monitor spanning.

The Mid 2006 iMac ships with Mac OS X 10.4.7 and iLife ’06, which is also a universal binary.

What You Need to Know

While 512 MB of system memory is adequate for OS X 10.4 Tiger, upgrading to 1-2 GB of RAM will make a big difference. Base memory is barely enough to run OS X 10.5 Leopard, and you should upgrade to at least 1 GB for good performance. OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard can run on a 1 GB Mac but really cries out for 2 GB of memory.

Because the CPU uses Socket M, it is possible to upgrade this iMac as high as 2.33 GHz with a Core 2 Duo CPU (see CPU Upgrade Options for 2006 iMacs). This will not enable 64-bit operation on its own; you need to update to EFI firmware 5,1 for that – and you must have the Core 2 Duo CPU installed before performing the firmware update. This may allow this model to support 4 GB of RAM.

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 2006.07.05 at US$899 (education market only); replaced 2006.09.06 by iMac Core 2 Duo
  • Model identifier: iMac4,2
  • Model no.: A1195
  • Part no.: MA406
  • Latest EFI version: EFI 1.1

Mac OS

  • requires Mac OS X 10.4.7 Tiger to 10.6 Snow Leopard; not compatible with OS X 10.7 Lion or later.
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 64-bit operation is not supported with Core Solo or Core Duo CPUs. Upgrading with a Core 2 Duo CPU will not change that.
    • OpenCL is not supported with Intel GMA 950 GPU.

Core System

  • CPU: 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo Merom, Socket M makes upgrades possible (see CPU Upgrade Options for 2006 iMacs)
  • L2 cache: 2 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Bus: 667 MHz
  • RAM: 512 MB (two 256 MB modules), expandable to 2 GB using two PC2-5300 DDR2 SODIMMs


  • Graphics: integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics, supports monitor spanning, resolutions supported unknown at present
  • VRAM: none, uses 80 MB of system memory
  • Display: 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: 80 GB 7200 rpm SATA drive
  • Optical drive bus: Ultra ATA/100 (operates at ATA/33)
  • Combo drive: 24x


  • USB: 3 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400: 2 ports
  • Modem: optional 56 kbps USB modem supports v.92
  • Ethernet: 10/100/gigabit
  • WiFi: 802.11g AirPort Extreme included
  • Bluetooth 2.0: not included
  • 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 Upgrades

  • CPU can be replaced with Core 2 Duo or faster Core Duo.

Online Resources

Keywords: #educationimac #mid2006imac #imacmid2006

Short link: http://goo.gl/u7W74v

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