iMac for Education (Mid 2009)

Apple has finally replaced the last 17″ iMac, a holdover white model that has only been available to the education market at the same US$899 price as this new model. At 2.0 GHz, the new education iMac is 25% slower than the low-end consumer model and comes with half the RAM (1 GB) and half as big a hard drive (160 GB). It has the same Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics.

2009 education iMac

The Mid 2009 iMac has 4 USB 2.0 ports (one more than before), 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. It supports up to 8 GB of RAM.

The 20″ iMac ships with Apple’s aluminum keyboard and Mighty Mouse. 256 MB of system RAM is dedicated to video. This 2.0 GHz iMac sells for US$250 less than the 2.66 GHz Early 2009 20″ model with 2 GB of RAM and a 320 GB hard drive.

This iMac shipped with OS X 10.5.6 Leopard, and it can run OS X 10.11 El Capitan.

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.


  • introduced 2009.04.13 at US$899 only to the education market.
  • Requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 through 10.11 El Capitan, macOS Sierra via patch tool – see macOS Sierra on Low End Macs. macOS 10.4 Mojave and later are not supported.
  • Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard compatibility
    • Grand Central Dispatch is supported.
    • 64-bit operation is supported.
    • OpenCL is supported.
  • OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion compatibility
    • AirPlay Mirroring is not supported.
    • AirDrop is supported.
    • Power Nap is not supported.
  • CPU: 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Bus: 1066 MHz
  • Performance: not yet benchmarked
  • RAM: 1 GB, expandable to 8 GB using two 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM
  • Graphics, 2.66 GH: 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
  • L2 cache: 6 MB shared cache on CPU
  • Hard drive bus: 3 Gbps SATA Rev. 2
  • Hard drive: 160 GB 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
  • 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: 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
  • Part no.: MC015
  • Model identifier: iMac9,1

CPU Upgrades

  • none

Online Resources

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