Macs up to 8 years old can still run OS X El Capitan

“Apple on Monday unveiled OS X El Capitan, its next major update for Macs,” Chris Smith reports for BGR. “The OS brings several performance improvements and new features to the desktop, and Mac users will be able to install it on MacBooks, iMacs and other OS X computers as soon as this summer when the first OS X 10.11 beta will be released. But what are the system requirements for running El Capitan?”

“Online tips blog OS X Daily has listed the system requirements and compatible Macs that can run El Capitan,” Smith reports. “Unsurprisingly, the same laptops and desktops that are on Yosemite now will be able to run El Capitan when it arrives this summer (beta version) or fall (final software release).”

Read more in the full article here.

“For optimal performance, the newest Mac hardware will run the best,” OS X Daily reports. “A common thread is the Mac must have a 64-bit CPU, which is typically an Intel Core 2 Duo or newer processor. Beyond that, the requirements are pretty soft and forgiving. You’ll also need a few GB of available disk space to install the final version on your Mac, which is typical for updating any system software.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The minimum Mac model list for OS X El Capitan:

• iMac (Mid-2007 or newer)
• MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or newer)
• MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or newer), (15-inch, Mid / Late 2007 or newer), (17-inch, Late 2007 or newer)
• MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
• Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
• Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
• Xserve (Early 2009)

35 Comments

      1. I had 4k on my TRS-80 and Apple II. My BASIC programs ran soooo fast AND with bytes to spare! (Truth be told I also had a ZX81 with 1K but programming it was horrible so I try to forget about that particular beast).

          1. No I didn’t. I did however play the backgammon game that came with it though. I also wrote a clone, in BASIC, of that game where you steer a line around the screen hitting targets and growing longer each time you get one. Ahhh those were the days

    1. Still doing fine with my mid-2007 Intel iMac! Only Apple provides this kind of useful, productive longevity. But this might be one of the last OS X updates that will be compatible with my old iMac…

    2. I was particularly surprised about the inclusion of some 2007 Macs. Early in 2008, Apple started putting out their optimized 64-bit Macs, what I considered a milestone.

      But keep in mind that this list of Macs is for BETA TESTING OS X 10.11 El Capitan. It may not be the final list of compatible Macs.

      1. I’m running Yosemite on a late 2008 aluminum unibody Macbook. I’ve installed 8GB of RAM and a 1TB, 7200 RPM hard drive. Yosemite runs very, very well on it, and I anticipate that El Capitan will too. This particular model was one where Apple got ahead of itself. After releasing it they quickly realized that it was a bit too good and dropped back on Macbook features and made the unibody MacPro only. This is the very reason I bought two of them.

    1. Yeah, I’d have to agree with you there. I just put a PCIe card with a 960GB SSD in my 2009 Mac Pro. Runs Yosemite real nice, now. But I’m kinda thinking of installing Snow Leopard on the old HDD it replaced just to remember how well it used to run when I first got it.

      1. Yeah, that always bugs me but what can ya do. I probably shouldn’t be using five to eight year old Macs, but they still work well with Snow Leopard so I continue to use them. I simply need to buy a few new Macs. I have a relatively new MacMini quad-core i7 I bought for my HDTV and that’s running the latest Yosemite OS, so as long as I have at least one new Mac I get to see the state of art and use the latest applications. I can’t wait to upgrade the MacMini to El Capitan. My older 2009 iMac is supported by Yosemite and El Capitan but I’m skeptical on how well that 3.06 Core 2 Duo will run them even with 8 GBs of memory. It’ll be a trade off, no doubt.

      1. I seem to have missed all the press about Snow Leopard security breaches. Can you name one? As for optimizations, well, that’s an interesting spin on what has been bug-ridden distractions and flattening of what used to be an attractive interface.

        1. If you listen to the Security Now podcast they discuss what new vulnerabilities exist. It is a very useful podcast although frequently very technical. It is true that Snow Leopard is not being updated and has vulnerabilities. How serious of a problem that is when sitting behind a firewall and perhaps running security software I couldn’t say. I haven’t heard about any widespread Snow Leopard infections.

  1. This points up two of the things I love about Apple. First, their machines are built to last and second you don’t need to buy a new one every time a new OS is launched.

    At our office we needed another workstation for a new secretary. I just dusted off a mid-2007 iMac from the storage room, upgraded it with the newest software and presto–I had a very usable machine for everyday office tasks. Try that with a Dell and Windows 8.

    1. On the other hand, I have a 2006 Windows PC (apologies in advance) and it runs Win7 and could run Win 10 just fine. But I have a 2006 iMac that is stuck at Snow Leopard and a 2011 Mini that won’t be able to run Metal. So the obsolescence of Mac products is faster than at least my one PC.

      1. Your comments are not passing the sniff test – my 2006 iMac runs Lion with no problems. It is Lion that 2006 machines are stuck at not Snow Leopard.

        Also was your PC high end? I don’t know of any $1000(when new) 2006 Windows PC’s that are still in use, much less that run Windows 7.

        1. Hmmm, we’ll it’s been “out of service” now for about 3 years but I do still have it. I’ll have to boot it to know if it is Snow Leopard or Lion. It is the early 2006 model like that one mentioned by Duke on this thread.
          As far as the PC goes, I bought a 64-bit CPU motherboard from TigerDirect in 2006 for about $300 to replace the old one in this box I had assembled – probably for about $400 total, so that makes the machine cost around $700 – yes, I replaced the video card after for around $100, but that’s it – pretty cheap. There haven’t been any changes to Windows that require new hardware since then – only things got a little slower, then faster, then who knows – I try not to think about it much 🙂

  2. People wonder why the computer industry is in a slump, generally speaking. It’s because not just Macs but most computers hang around for at least 5 years now. It becomes hard to justify upgrading to a company. Yes this new Mac is lightning fast, but these lawyers, office workers, administrative assistants, students, etc. aren’t any faster. They still type just as slow as they ever did! And even if they could type twice as fast, 3 times as fast, they’d still come nowhere near maxing out the abilities of that 2007 computer.

    1. I answered my own question. The answer is no. That first iMac was 2006. Here are the specs for the 17″ model
      iMac “Core Duo” 1.83 17-Inch 1.83 GHz Core Duo (T2400)
      Intro. January 10, 2006 Disc. September 6, 2006
      Order MA199LL Model A1173 (EMC 2104)
      Family Early 2006 ID iMac4,1
      RAM 512 MB VRAM 128 MB
      Storage 160.0 GB (7200 RPM) Optical 8X DL “SuperDrive”

  3. I have a mid 2007 iMac with 6 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. Its running Yosemite. It boots in 20 seconds and launches apps in seconds. I can even run multiple memory demanding apps with no stress because the virtual swap file is running on the SSD also. I sell and service Macs and this baby runs faster on most daily tasks than an off the shelf new Mac running a traditional hard drive. It’s not hard to see that the only real bottleneck in machines not being used for more intensive graphics tasks is the drive I/O speed. I even kick ass playing COD4 (with albeit grainier resolution)

    1. Just changed the HDD on my 2007 iMac for the second time, now a 2TB hybrid drive. Booting isn’t as fast as a SSD, but performance is still fantastic for a machine that has seen me through my last year of high school, two university degrees and beyond.

    1. [Third try. I’ve had to drastically simplify this post in order to get it through the WordPress filters.]

      Thanks to Matthieu Riegler for his post at apple.stackexchange:

      “In the WWDC 2015 video “What’s new in Metal, Part 1″, Rav Dhiraj from the GPU software division states at 8’40”

      ‘Metal is supported by all Macs introduced since 2012. (Nvidia, AMD and Intel)’

      This means :

      Intel HD Graphics 4000, Iris 5000 & 6000 family,
      nVidia GT 600M, 700M family,
      AMD R9 M family”

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