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Apple officially posts list of Mountain Lion-eligible Macs

updated 03:49 am EDT, Thu July 12, 2012

Graphic chipsets limits some fairly recent models

After much speculation and hints from developers testing the forthcoming OS X update, Apple has posted a list on the Mountain Lion page of its website exactly which models are able to upgrade to version 10.8, which is coming out later this month and will sell for $20 exclusively through the Mac App Store. The new version of OS X relies even further on solid video-card specifications, which mean some economy models and other Macs from recent years may not be qualified to update.

Generally speaking, Macs made in 2008 or more recently that don't use Intel video chipsets as their sole GPU are likely to qualify. The lowest-end models and machines that didn't emphasis graphic performance from a few years back are in some cases left out due to the Intel GMA series (specifically the 900, 950 and X3100), which used shared system memory rather than discreet processing to provide graphic horsepower.

Mac mini and Xserve owners are the most likely to be affected by this, as only the early 2009 models -- just over three years old -- and newer meet Mountain Lion's requirements. OS X has, over recent years, relied ever more strongly on Core Animation and Core Graphics to present a smooth and polished user interface, putting more and more of the CPU load onto the GPU.

Those with iMacs and MacBook Pros -- both of which tended to use better video cards -- qualify from mid-2007 onwards, as well as Mac Pros from 2008 onwards. Early reports indicate that Mountain Lion will not install on machines that don't meet its guidelines, which raises the issue of whether an upgraded early Mac Pro with beefier video hardware could obtain or run Mountain Lion. The Mac Pros, unlike most Mac models, have the ability to upgrade video cards, though this may not be the sole criteria for determining eligibility.

MacBook owners with the short-lived "aluminum unibody" model (late 2008) or any of the later models up until the line was discontinued entirely can use Mountain Lion, as can all but the original 2008 model of MacBook Air. As a rule of thumb, if a user's machine is using an Nvidia GeForce 9400M or better, it is likely to work with Mountain Lion.

Users who did not upgrade to Lion are able to "leap" directly to Mountain Lion if their machine qualifies, but must be running at at least the latest version of Snow Leopard (10.6.8), as access to the Mac App Store is required to be able to download and install Mountain Lion. Among the new features in Mountain Lion are new Reminders and Notes apps (mirroring -- and syncing via iCloud with -- their iOS counterparts), a Notifications Center that handles alerts and incoming messages, a Messages app that combines iChat, SMS text messaging and iMessage messaging, changes in Safari and Mail and additions like Siri Dictation (not to be confused with Siri, Siri Dictation simply allows users to speak text and punctuation where they might normally type), Game Center and some 200 other features, tweaks and improvements.

Developers received the Golden Master for 10.8 earlier this week, and Apple has already opened app submissions for any programs that require or are updated for Mountain Lion to be officially submitted to the Mac App Store, indicating that the official release is coming soon. As with any major system upgrade, uses should make sure their boot drives and user folders (among other data) is backed up using Time Machine or some other method before upgrading.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    Wait...for.....it.....

    Here come the whiners complaining about how Apple is so mean because they can't upgrade their iBook to ML.

  1. Aryu Gaetu

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-12-12

    Very true, msuper69. For as long as I can remember (which gets shorter every day), Apple has always had a 5-year limit on supporting devices. This includes all hardware and software. This is nothing new. Unfortunately, many of the switchers from Microsoftland are accustomed to expecting their Walmart eMachine from 1999 to run the latest OS, regardless if they have to reboot every 15 minutes.

    That being said, I know many friends that have older Macs with their older OS running Safari and Mail just fine. While they cannot run the latest OS and software, Apple's older software and hardware can still challenge the latest MS Windows. Remember, the typical Windows machine lasts only 3 years, Macs are double that. Based on TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) over the life of a computer, Macs are less expensive... and that's WITHOUT the cost of a Windows user's numerous calls and trips to tech support.

  1. ghporter

    Administrator

    Joined: 04-25-01

    It appears that my iMac and my wife's MacBook are both still in luck, though my 2006 MBP has been left in the dust (as it was with Lion). Ah well. At least they didn't leave the iMac (mid-2007) off the list.

  1. bobolicious

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 08-15-02

    ...the balance between progress & stability may thwart business adoption, as life cycles include access to historical business data & in the case of design, the forced migration of labour intensive client assets & reinvention of workflows which may or may not translate to newer versions easily. Additionally staff training can have significant costs in time, fees & opportunity, not to mention increasing the potential for risk & error.

    QTVR technology and iWeb are but 2 examples of Apple orphaned technologies requiring reinvention & migration which if past assets/project data relied heavily on, may limit businesses migration. Legal record keeping and access also varies along with statute of limitations, in one jurisdiction I know from 7 to 16 years. Beyond that there is the remarkable cultural aspect that we may be in the first time in history when archival records will be impossible to access within a few decades, a relatively unprecedented realm for historians, archivists & researchers... Are we creating a black hole in history...?

    I applaud Apple's efforts to advance the state of computing, however the increasingly orphaned OSX support makes the 14 year run of XP seem more remarkable (and appealing) in terms of business stability and access to records & business data, even if it is in virtualization in W7, and something Apple might presumably offer simply by extending the EULA so that options such as VirtualBox might run Snow Leopard & Rosetta...?

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    People tend to forget that the reason XP had a 14-year run was that Microsoft bit off way more than they could chew for the next-generation operating system, canceled four-fifths of what would have made an upgrade worthwhile, while introducing massive compatibility issues.

    They completely botched the Vista introduction and had to maintain XP until Windows 7 became a realistic alternative.

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-28-02

    Apple needs to stop shipping machines with last years graphics card. They don't need to be the latest and greatest, but I find that even high end macs with discreet graphics tend to have less graphics processing power than their alot of mid tier PC's. I would pay through the nose if the 13inch MBP had a better graphics card.

    On a side note, it would have been amazing if my MacPro 1,1 was supported : I still get tons of use out of that machine.

  1. discotronic

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-21-03

    I can understand why Apple stops support for older hardware. They can't continue to support every system out there. The original Intel Mac mini with single core CPU and Intel graphics and some of the MacBooks from that time period just don't have the get up and go for what Apple is doing with OSX. No doubt they are still great machines and will be usable for years.

    I have a quad Xeon 3GHz MacPro 1.1 with 16GB RAM and a Radeon 3870. It came out in 2006 but still has plenty of power for any new OS. This isn't like the days of the G3 when OSX would just about kill the usability of a system and that was when it was a brand new system.

    My MacPro still has some years left it in so Mountain Lion is not going to be a deal breaker.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    Apple needs to stop shipping machines with last years graphics card.

    Exactly. If Apple would simply stop cheaping on the graphics for ALL of their hardware, a lot of pissed off customers wouldn't be pissed off.

    Case and point: I'm looking at buying a new MacBook something early next year. It's going to be a tri-boot system and I'd like to game while in Windows. I'm not talking BF3, I'm talking Battlefield Play4Free (based on BF2). Guess what? Scratch the MacBook Air (integrated graphics). Scratch any 13" MacBook Pro (integrated graphics). To play any decent games on a new, Apple laptop, I have to buy a 15" MacBook Pro and drop $1,800. That is absolutely ridiculous. Any PC brand can blow the doors off a 15" Pro for almost half the cost.

    So is the Apple premium now all paying for design and aesthetics instead of hardware? It sure as hell looks like it when it comes to their laptops. I try to defend Apple hardware on the gaming forums, but you know what... the PC guys are right. You can't game on Macs. :thumbsdow

  1. Mr. Strat

    Junior Member

    Joined: 01-23-02

    I"m sorry I upgraded to Lion. Now we've got a new version (soon), and they haven't even fixed what they broke with the last one (SMBX). Ubuntu is looking better every day.

  1. Inkling

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 07-25-06

    I knew this sort of thing was a risk when I bought a MacBook and an iMac with those much maligned Intel built-in graphics. Oh well, I've got many years of service out of them. I just wish Apple could come up with an Ivy Bridge Mac mini and a laptop that I can like. Neither the MBA or the MacBook Pro quite fit my needs, so I'm planning to turn my iPad into a laptop when Scrivener for the iPad comes out later this year.

    The UI irritations of Lion and some of the enhancements of then new OS have little to do with graphics. Apple could please a lot of owners of older Macs if they created one last version of Lion with those features.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    What is it with the last year's graphics card?

    People have been saying this for years. OS X renders everything I need just fine.

    Is it the absolutely fastest in the world? I don't know and don't care as long as the job gets done.

    I suppose those who are into intensive gaming and want the fastest frame rate possible might be disappointed but frame rates are overrated anyway as the human eye has limits to what it can see anyway.
    It's much ado about nothing.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    I'm often amused at the people who complain that their "Pro" machine won't do high-end frame rates in...games.

    My 13" MacBook is plenty "Pro", and as long as it can drive an external 24" display, my productions sound the same, regardless of graphics chipset.

    Different pros, different needs.

    Gaming, however, is hardly ever among them.

  1. Grendelmon

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 12-26-07

    It's pretty sad that you've lowered the bar with Apple's laptops to running a single 24" screen. Geezus, my 4 year old ASUS NetBook can do that.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Read more carefully.

    I'm "lowering" the bar to what suits my production needs.

    Apologies if you're a professional gamer making a living off busting frame rates. Your professional mileage may vary.

  1. P

    Moderator

    Joined: 04-07-00

    Originally Posted by GrendelmonView Post



    Exactly. If Apple would simply stop cheaping on the graphics for ALL of their hardware, a lot of pissed off customers wouldn't be pissed off.
    Case and point: I'm looking at buying a new MacBook something early next year. It's going to be a tri-boot system and I'd like to game while in Windows. I'm not talking BF3, I'm talking Battlefield Play4Free (based on BF2). Guess what? Scratch the MacBook Air (integrated graphics). Scratch any 13" MacBook Pro (integrated graphics). To play any decent games on a new, Apple laptop, I have to buy a 15" MacBook Pro and drop $1,800. That is absolutely ridiculous. Any PC brand can blow the doors off a 15" Pro for almost half the cost.
    So is the Apple premium now all paying for design and aesthetics instead of hardware? It sure as hell looks like it when it comes to their laptops. I try to defend Apple hardware on the gaming forums, but you know what... the PC guys are right. You can't game on Macs. :thumbsdow


    Integrated graphics have come a long way. Intel HD 4000 is more than a match for low-end discrete graphics (ie Geforce GT 620M and similar that many wintel laptops have). To get a wintel laptop with a decent graphics card, like the GT 650M in the rMBP, you have to pay a bit. Not as much as Apple charges, probably, but the gap is not so large as you make it out to be. What you're seeing is not the "Apple premium", it's Apple focusing on battery life (less space spent on a MXM board) over the "Geforce!" sticker on the front.

  1. ghporter

    Administrator

    Joined: 04-25-01

    Originally Posted by bleeeView Post

    Apple needs to stop shipping machines with last years graphics card. They don't need to be the latest and greatest, but I find that even high end macs with discreet graphics tend to have less graphics processing power than their alot of mid tier PC's. I would pay through the nose if the 13inch MBP had a better graphics card.
    On a side note, it would have been amazing if my MacPro 1,1 was supported : I still get tons of use out of that machine.



    In the Windows world, "this year's video" cards are difficult to integrate because of the poor support with drivers and software compatibility. Using "last year's video" systems in Macs may mean that you get a few frames per second less in some game, but it does mean that software and driver issues are fairly uncommon. Remember the whole "it just works" thing?

    Sure, it would be nice to have both amazingly powerful graphics AND zero driver or compatibility issues, but it is hard to get even close to both at once...

  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-28-02

    @Grendelmon

    Case and point: I'm looking at buying a new MacBook something early next year. It's going to be a tri-boot system and I'd like to game while in Windows. I'm not talking BF3, I'm talking Battlefield Play4Free (based on BF2). Guess what? Scratch the MacBook Air (integrated graphics). Scratch any 13" MacBook Pro (integrated graphics). To play any decent games on a new, Apple laptop, I have to buy a 15" MacBook Pro and drop $1,800. That is absolutely ridiculous. Any PC brand can blow the doors off a 15" Pro for almost half the cost.


    I learned that when I bought my first Mac Pro 1,1.... the machine it self is fantastic (and so was the graphics card when I first bought it) but finding graphics card upgrades is extremely hard even replacement graphics cards. Apple doesn't care that much about gaming on Macs, it's always an after thought with Apple (same goes for the iPhone) it wasn't until games started pouring into the iOS app store that Apple took games on iOS seriously.

    I keep 2 machines handy and just blew $1800 on a high end gaming laptop... it's just the way things are for now.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Greetings. I am unable to delete my posts, and apparently you moderators are on some kind of a strike.

    Therefore, I have removed the content of the original post by hand.

    I am asking for this post to be deleted, since I don't seem to have the option to do that myself.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    WTF "Microsoft move"?

    Microsoft ****ed up ONCE with Vista. And beyond that, people are always bringing up MS as an example of the OPPOSITE of what you're accusing Apple of (they supported XP for ten years because Vista flopped).

    Which is it?

    Meanwhile, Apple runs a pretty constant obsoletion scheme of about five years, and has for what, two decades?

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    As Spheric Harlot posted, it's not like Apple's strategy for supporting older Macs is a secret.

    Get a grip.

  1. P

    Moderator

    Joined: 04-07-00

    Originally Posted by Spheric HarlotView Post


    WTF "Microsoft move"?
    Microsoft ****ed up ONCE with Vista. And beyond that, people are always bringing up MS as an example of the OPPOSITE of what you're accusing Apple of (they supported XP for ten years because Vista flopped).
    Which is it?
    Meanwhile, Apple runs a pretty constant obsoletion scheme of about five years, and has for what, two decades?

    MS ****ed up pretty royally with Windows ME as well, after Windows 2000 lost its consumer version among a massive number of bugs. Win 95 and NT4.0 also lost significant chunks of their original intended feature sets, but this was hidden by a massive marketing campaign in the case of 95 and a generally good OS in the case of NT 4.0. Vista is the mother of all ****ups, but all of MS' .0 releases have been flawed. It's the .1 releases (Win 7, XP, 98, 3.1, NT 3.5.1, and to some extent NT 4.0 after all those service packs) that really built their reputation. They are NOT given to dropping support early, however - even if Win 8 drops support for most of the Pentium 4 models

    Apple used to support things FOREVER. 7.5 was officially supported on a Mac Plus released a frigging DECADE earlier, and all through the Classic Mac OS, Apple kept support for older machines quite well even if they required RAM upgrades.

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by PView Post

    Apple used to support things FOREVER. 7.5 was officially supported on a Mac Plus released a frigging DECADE earlier, and all through the Classic Mac OS, Apple kept support for older machines quite well even if they required RAM upgrades.


    For one, requiring RAM upgrades is a bit of a weird one on the Mac Plus, because I don't think it was ever officially supported (cutting through two resistor traces on the board, uh-lala).

    But even if it was officially supported, Apple actually sold the same basic hardware as the Mac Plus all the way up to 1992, when they discontinued the Mac Classic.

    So yeah, they technically supported the Mac Plus running the latest OS until System 7.6 showed up in 1997, but they actually kept selling the standard 8-MHz MC68000 with varying RAM configs from 1984 to 1992!

    Things have certainly changed since then, haven't they!

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