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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > White Intel iMac (early 2006) and 802.11n?

White Intel iMac (early 2006) and 802.11n?
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Sebastien
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Dec 19, 2010, 11:37 PM
 
I've recently resurrected my early 2006 Intel iMac and using it in our bedroom; as we have wireless and no cabling in that room, I'm using airport for the networking, however I've been less than impressed at the transfer rates I get; signal seems strong (both router and iMac on 2nd floor), so that doesn't seem to be the problem.

I'm wondering if there's a way to upgrade the wireless card in these iMacs to 802.11n; my limited research (so far) suggest that it should be possible (possibly with a card for a MacBook Pro, but I might be wrong here).

Has anyone attempted this with any success?
     
kamina
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Dec 22, 2010, 03:47 PM
 
Have a look at ifixit, I believe your computer has a mini-pci airport card which is available also in .n and should not be hard to find.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 22, 2010, 07:38 PM
 
If you are running Snow Leopard any card that will fit the slot should work fine. Find them in most black and white MacBooks and pre unibody MacBook Pros as well as later iMacs than yours.

If you have Leopard, then some of the very new cards may not work but I imagine you would be fine. Tiger might give you problems though.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Dec 26, 2010, 09:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
If you are running Snow Leopard any card that will fit the slot should work fine. Find them in most black and white MacBooks and pre unibody MacBook Pros as well as later iMacs than yours.
.
Thanks for the info; I am running SL, but I'm wondering if you mean that *any* of these cards that could fit would work, or only any Apple card that fits would work?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 27, 2010, 10:50 AM
 
Any Apple mini-PCI-E card will work. Other might, but its hit or miss. If you go for a 3rd party card, get one that says Broadcom or Atheros on it. You do find them in Dells, HPs, Asus etc, particularly the Broadcoms but there is a good chance the Apple versions have Apple written or Apple optimised firmware.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Dec 28, 2010, 12:57 AM
 
My last concern would be if the original antenna would be adequate; ie. is an antenna just an antenna, or are there different kinds required for the different speeds?
     
Waragainstsleep
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Dec 30, 2010, 05:59 AM
 
They should be fine.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Feb 13, 2011, 02:35 PM
 
I ended up going with a wifi card I found cheap on ebay; the card shows up as 'Third party' but it works well. Took the opportunity to upgrade the CPU too.
     
P
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Feb 13, 2011, 06:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
Took the opportunity to upgrade the CPU too.
Really - to what? You'd need a Socket M Merom, and they can't be easy to source today.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Feb 14, 2011, 09:27 AM
 
There's plenty of them going around on ebay - Core2Duo T7200/T7400/T7600's
     
kmkkid
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Feb 25, 2011, 08:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
I ended up going with a wifi card I found cheap on ebay; the card shows up as 'Third party' but it works well. Took the opportunity to upgrade the CPU too.
I'm looking to upgrade my iMac to a core 2 duo ( I see t7200s can be had for ~$60).

1. Is it an extreme hassle?

2. Can the max memory then be 3 GB?
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Feb 25, 2011, 11:08 AM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
1. Is it an extreme hassle?
Well, that's relative on how comfortable you are with taking an iMac apart; I followed the instructions on ifixit to get the logic board out. The 'hardest' part for me was with a flimsy connector for the camera/IR/mic (step 30) - it basically fell apart when trying to remove it (was able to put it back together enough to make it work afterwards).

The instructions only get you as far as the logic board; it doesn't explain how to take the heatsink off. If you do try it, I would recommend that you only remove the heatsink for the CPU. IIRC, when holding the board with the chips facing you, and the aluminum heatsink cores at the top, the CPU is the left one (the 'angled' one, but double check by looking for a socket for the chip). The heatsink cores are attached to each other, so detach them there, and that should make it easy to remove the pipe bracket off the CPU.

Changing the wifi card was, of course, a breeze.

Also, note that upgrading to a Core 2 Duo won't give an immense boost (I could provide benchmark numbers pre/post upgrade) - I mostly did this for fun.

2. Can the max memory then be 3 GB?
I have no clue about this, as I haven't bothered to check; would be nice to know however.
     
P
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Feb 25, 2011, 01:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
2. Can the max memory then be 3 GB?
No, you'd need a newer firmware for that.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
kmkkid
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Feb 26, 2011, 07:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
Well, that's relative on how comfortable you are with taking an iMac apart; I followed the instructions on ifixit to get the logic board out. The 'hardest' part for me was with a flimsy connector for the camera/IR/mic (step 30) - it basically fell apart when trying to remove it (was able to put it back together enough to make it work afterwards).

The instructions only get you as far as the logic board; it doesn't explain how to take the heatsink off. If you do try it, I would recommend that you only remove the heatsink for the CPU. IIRC, when holding the board with the chips facing you, and the aluminum heatsink cores at the top, the CPU is the left one (the 'angled' one, but double check by looking for a socket for the chip). The heatsink cores are attached to each other, so detach them there, and that should make it easy to remove the pipe bracket off the CPU.

Changing the wifi card was, of course, a breeze.

Also, note that upgrading to a Core 2 Duo won't give an immense boost (I could provide benchmark numbers pre/post upgrade) - I mostly did this for fun.


I have no clue about this, as I haven't bothered to check; would be nice to know however.
Good info, thanks!

I'm not doing it for a speed boost really, just or 64bit compatibility, since lion seems to be dropping 32bit support.
     
kmkkid
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Feb 26, 2011, 07:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
No, you'd need a newer firmware for that.
Ah, ok thanks.

Any way to flash it with the core 2 duo iMacs firmware?


That probably playing with fire.
     
Rainy Day
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Feb 26, 2011, 07:56 PM
 
It looks like one can upgrade an early 2006 17-inch iMac (MA199LL, aka iMac4,1) with a 64-bit Core 2 Duo CPU, effectively turning it into a late 2006 17-inch iMac (MA590LL). Question is, will this allow it to address more RAM (i.e. up to 3GB), like the MA590LL? Was the 32-bit CPU the reason for the 2GB RAM limit?

Trying to decide if it makes sense to upgrade an old iMac running Mac OS X Leopard Server to Lion. The machine has adequate performance, but it would be nice to have more RAM. With compatible Core 2 Duo's running about $80, this may be a decent way to go.
     
P
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Feb 27, 2011, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid
Any way to flash it with the core 2 duo iMacs firmware?
Haven't seen any reports of anyone even trying that.
( Last edited by P; Feb 28, 2011 at 08:04 AM. )
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
P
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Feb 27, 2011, 03:23 PM
 
Just answered this in another thread... no, the RAM limit is due to the firmware, and I have no idea what happens if you try to reflash with the Core 2 firmware.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Rainy Day
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Feb 27, 2011, 04:05 PM
 
Thank you for the reply. (Looks like the other thread is White Intel iMac (early 2006) and 802.11n)

MOD ACTION: Yes it was. I merged these two threads now. This means that the posts above show up in the order they were posted, regardless of the thread they were originally in. If anyone thinks that the flow of conversation is a bit off, then that's why.

You're sure about it being a firmware limit?

Where might one get MA590LL firmware? I should think Apple doesn't make it easily available.
( Last edited by P; Feb 28, 2011 at 08:06 AM. )
     
Rainy Day
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Feb 27, 2011, 04:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Really - to what? You'd need a Socket M Merom, and they can't be easy to source today.
Actually, not so hard.

Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
Is it an extreme hassle?
Opening an iMac and getting to its guts is a bear, in my opinion. Did an HD upgrade a couple years ago. Not for the faint of heart, and not something you want to do every day. But it's definitely doable. This article describes the process: Upgrade Your iMac to a Core 2 Duo Processor.

Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
note that upgrading to a Core 2 Duo won't give an immense boost
Which CPU did you put in there? What speed?

Note: With Mac OS X, because it's so disk intensive, often times a faster HD speeds things up considerably more than a faster CPU. If one is going upgrade the CPU, it's a good idea to drop in a new 7200 RPM SATA HD. 1TB can be had for < $65 these days.

Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
I'm not doing it for a speed boost really, just for 64bit compatibility, since lion seems to be dropping 32bit support.
Yes, that seems to be the case. The question is: Will Lion support all Core 2 Duo Macs?

Specifically, will it support a late 2006 17-inch iMac (MA590LL)? Because, effectively, that's what an early 2006 17-inch iMac (MA199LL, aka iMac4,1) becomes with a T7200 CPU. I wonder if the logic board is the same/interchangeable? If so, then it would make sense to upgrade the firmware. And if P is correct, then that would raise the RAM ceiling to 3GB. Hmmm. Interesting.
     
P
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Feb 28, 2011, 08:00 AM
 
Everything points to it being a Firmware thing. Memory limits are determined by the chipset on models without an IMC, and the first Core 2 Duo iMacs use the same chipset as the Core Duo iMacs. The problem is how much addressing space you reserve for hardware other than RAM - something you'd generally put in the firmware.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Mar 1, 2011, 12:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day View Post
Way cheaper on eBay however.
     
Rainy Day
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Mar 1, 2011, 04:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
Way cheaper on eBay however.
Used electronics should be "way cheaper," don't you think? Especially if they aren't including free shipping and a warranty. Personally, i'd rather pay a bit more and get a CPU which hasn't been exposed to static discharge by some fool on eBay. YMMV.
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Mar 1, 2011, 05:58 PM
 
'Free shipping' doesn't mean much when you end up paying over twice the price for the same thing.

Besides, there's plenty of ebay sellers that ship for free these days.
     
Rainy Day
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Mar 1, 2011, 08:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sebastien View Post
'Free shipping' doesn't mean much when you end up paying over twice the price for the same thing.
Ah, but you aren't paying "over twice the price." I just looked on eBay: Used T7200's -- that actually sold on eBay in the last two weeks -- range from $43 to $93 delivered. Whereas new ones are selling for $69 on the website i mentioned (with free ground shipping). Even if all the used CPUs sold on eBay went for the lowest bid of $43 (which they don't), i'ld still gladly pay a $26 (38%) premium to ensure a new CPU. YMMV.

Interestingly, all the new T7200's on eBay are being offered for $69 and up.

eBay isn't the bargain store a lot of folks think it is. As with anything, people should shop around for the best price, and other requirements. I only shop eBay for hard to find, used items. I've learned that rarely can i find a true bargain on eBay on new stuff.
     
Sebastien  (op)
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Mar 2, 2011, 12:31 AM
 
I paid $40 for mine Buy It Now.
( Last edited by Sebastien; Mar 2, 2011 at 12:39 AM. )
     
kmkkid
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Mar 7, 2011, 09:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day View Post
Yes, that seems to be the case. The question is: Will Lion support all Core 2 Duo Macs?

Specifically, will it support a late 2006 17-inch iMac (MA590LL)? Because, effectively, that's what an early 2006 17-inch iMac (MA199LL, aka iMac4,1) becomes with a T7200 CPU. I wonder if the logic board is the same/interchangeable? If so, then it would make sense to upgrade the firmware. And if P is correct, then that would raise the RAM ceiling to 3GB. Hmmm. Interesting.
I'm holding off, because ATM Lion DOES NOT support the late 2006 Core2Duo. They say they will, however rumour is that lion will not be able to be installed on the 32bit EFI of those chips - without a new firmware flash that is - which may or may not be able to be done with the early 2006's mobo.


I just want Apple to release the new iMac already!!
     
P
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Mar 8, 2011, 04:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
They say they will, however rumour is that lion will not be able to be installed on the 32bit EFI of those chips - without a new firmware flash that is - which may or may not be able to be done with the early 2006's mobo.
Many of the Core 2 Duo models use a 32-bit EFI - even the first MP uses a 32-bit EFI. That is not the limitation, unless they plan some sort of big drive to upgrade the firmwares of everything.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Waragainstsleep
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Mar 8, 2011, 09:46 AM
 
Lion has been installed on a Core Duo already. Albeit installed on another Mac and transferred to the Core Duo. Also had to remove a .plist
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Rainy Day
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Mar 8, 2011, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Lion has been installed on a Core Duo already. Albeit installed on another Mac and transferred to the Core Duo. Also had to remove a .plist
Guess that would be /System/Library/CoreServices/PlatformSupport.plist

Here's an interesting article: Mac OS X Lion *does* run on Core Duos/Core Solos

Apple seems to have an arbitrary cutoff of the systems it supports with each OS refresh, maybe around 4 years? It's hard to say whether this cutoff is to drive sales of new Macs, or for other reasons, like performance concerns, to reduce their compatibility testing or other support costs… or some combination thereof.

I've seen this before. Thanks to XpostFacto, i was able to install and run Panther on a Wallstreet PowerBook, even though Apple dropped support for it when Tiger came out, IIRC. But each generation of Mac OS X that i installed on that old Wallstreet performed better than the previous, even under XpostFacto.

( Last edited by Rainy Day; Mar 8, 2011 at 05:19 PM. )
     
kmkkid
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Mar 10, 2011, 09:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
Many of the Core 2 Duo models use a 32-bit EFI - even the first MP uses a 32-bit EFI. That is not the limitation, unless they plan some sort of big drive to upgrade the firmwares of everything.
It seems that the limitation is currently an EFI check though, because Lion dev. Preview can't be installed on the core duo's OR the earliest core 2 duos, it has to be installed on a later core 2 duo and transferred.

This seems to me that it has to be the EFI, at least during installation, because changing the plist to include the mobo's id has no effect. Nor does changing various other plist to include support for 32bit systems. Believe me I tried changing almost everything except modifying binaries of course.

I'd love to be wrong but currently there seems to be no way to install lion directly on these currently unsupported machines.
     
Rainy Day
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Mar 10, 2011, 03:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
This seems to me that it has to be the EFI, at least during installation, because changing the plist to include the mobo's id has no effect. Nor does changing various other plist to include support for 32bit systems. Believe me I tried changing almost everything except modifying binaries of course.

I'd love to be wrong but currently there seems to be no way to install lion directly on these currently unsupported machines.
I think you're wrong, because there are reports of people installing using Core Duos and even Core Solos. However these people modified the plist on the installer disc, prior to installation, as well as the plist on the boot drive, after installation. I think some people are omitting the first step, and then report failures to install.

It makes sense when you think about it. The installer is booting into Lion prior to installing, and we already know Lion won't boot without the plist modification. So if the installer's plist isn't modified, it won't boot on the target machine. Remove that limitation, and it should work.

The workaround to not modifying the installer disc (to boot on the target machine) is simply to use a supported system to boot the installer, then install Lion on an HD which is subsequently transplanted to the target machine, as you describe. However installed, one must modify the plist on the boot device/drive/disc/disk in order for it to boot on an "unsupported" computer.

Therefore to install natively on unsupported computers requires two plist modifications, not one.

At least that is my understanding of the reading i've done. I have no actual experience in the matter.
     
kmkkid
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Mar 11, 2011, 12:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day View Post
I think you're wrong, because there are reports of people installing using Core Duos and even Core Solos. However these people modified the plist on the installer disc, prior to installation, as well as the plist on the boot drive, after installation. I think some people are omitting the first step, and then report failures to install.

It makes sense when you think about it. The installer is booting into Lion prior to installing, and we already know Lion won't boot without the plist modification. So if the installer's plist isn't modified, it won't boot on the target machine. Remove that limitation, and it should work.

The workaround to not modifying the installer disc (to boot on the target machine) is simply to use a supported system to boot the installer, then install Lion on an HD which is subsequently transplanted to the target machine, as you describe. However installed, one must modify the plist on the boot device/drive/disc/disk in order for it to boot on an "unsupported" computer.

Therefore to install natively on unsupported computers requires two plist modifications, not one.

At least that is my understanding of the reading i've done. I have no actual experience in the matter.

I DID modify the plist by restoring the install DMG to a USB drive, and adding my mobo ID. There was no effect.

The only way to get lion to boot on a core duo is to first install it on a core 2 duo and then image that to a core duo iMac it seems. So there is definitely a check going on somewhere else other than the plist.
     
Rainy Day
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Mar 13, 2011, 06:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by kmkkid View Post
I DID modify the plist by restoring the install DMG to a USB drive, and adding my mobo ID. There was no effect.
Just delete the plist on your installer USB drive altogether. Then try it again.
     
kmkkid
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Mar 13, 2011, 09:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by Rainy Day View Post
Just delete the plist on your installer USB drive altogether. Then try it again.
Tried that too.
     
tjlambert
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Jul 10, 2011, 03:03 PM
 
I've got a PCIe AirPort Extreme card out of a MacBook and it's model number is: AR5BXB72
I want to instal it in my 2006 MacMini 1.67GHz with an EMC: 2108. It's current AirPort Extreme card won't accept the "n" update from Apple, (card model: AR5BXB6).
Old card from the Mini has two antenna connectors labeled "main" and "aux" with the antenna plugged into the "main" socket.The new card from the MacBook has three connectors labeled "0", "1", and "2" with the "0" being the farthest from the antenna and out of range for the wire to connect.
Should I solder a longer wire to the antenna, or can I just plug it into the closest socket?

Thanks for any help.

TJ
     
Waragainstsleep
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Jul 10, 2011, 04:21 PM
 
The antennas should be largely interchangeable. The range may vary but functionality should be just fine.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
   
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