24″ iMac (Early 2009)

Apple  updated the iMac with Nvidia graphics as a standard feature (Early 2008 iMacs used Radeon graphics, although there was an Nvidia GeForce 8800 GS build-to-order option). The low-end iMacs use the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M GPU found in the Early 2009 MacBook and the Early 2009 Mac mini, while the high-end iMacs use GeForce GT graphics. (ATI Radeon HD 4850 is a build-to-order option on the high-end iMacs.)

Early 2009 iMac

The Early 2009 iMacs have 4 USB 2.0 ports (one more than the previous aluminum iMac), FireWire 800 (but not 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 support up to 8 GB of RAM and are the first iMacs to use SATA optical drives.

The 24″  2.66 GHz iMac has 4 GB of RAM, a 640 GB 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.

The 2.93 GHz iMac replaces integrated 9400M graphics with discrete GeForce GT 120 graphics with 256 MB of dedicated video memory; this can be replaced by Radeon HD 4850 on a build-to-order basis. The top-end 3.06 GHz iMac has a 1 TB hard drive and GT 130 graphics with 512 MB of VRAM.

The Early 2009 iMacs ship with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard and 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, plan on upgrading to 8 GB for decent performance.

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 2009.03.03 at US$1,199 (20″ 2.66 GHz), US$1,499 (24″ 2.66 GHz), US$1,799 (2.93 GHz), and US$2,199 (3.06 GHz); replaced by Late 2009 iMac on 2009.10.20.
  • Part no.: MB418 (24″ 2.66 GHz), MB419 (2.93 GHz), MB420 (3.2 GHz)

Mac OS

Core System

  • CPU: 2.66/2.93/3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • L2 cache: 6 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • Performance, Geekbench 3:
    • 32-bit single core: 1459 (2.66 GHz), 1586 (2.93 GHz), 1639 (3.06 GHz)
    • 32-bit multicore: 2593 (2.66 GHz), 2829 (2.93 GHz), 2941 (3.06 GHz)
    • 64-bit single core: 1590 (2.66 GHz), 1696 (2.93 GHz), 1764 (3.06 GHz)
    • 64-bit multicore: 2844 (2.66 GHz), 3065 (2.93 GHz), 3174 (3.06 GHz)
  • RAM: 4 GB, expandable to 8 GB using two 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM


  • Graphics, 2.66 GHz: 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
  • Graphics, 2.93 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GT 120 with 256 MB dedicated VRAM
  • Graphics, 3.06 GHz: Nvidia GeForce GT 130 with 512 MB dedicated VRAM
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 4850 build-to-order option
  • Display: 24″ 1920 x 1200 flat panel display
  • Video out: Mini DisplayPort, DVI and VGA with optional adapters


  • Hard drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
  • Hard drive: 640 GB/1 TB 7200 rpm SATA 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


  • 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


  • Power supply: 248W
  • H x W x D: 20.5 x 22.4 x 8.1 in/52.0 x 56.9 x 20.7 cm
  • Weight: 25.4 lb/11.4 kg


  • none at present

Online Resources

Keywords: #early2009imac #imacearly2009 #unsupportedsierra

Short link: https://goo.gl/oqS7N2

searchword: early2009imac, imacearly2009