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sixsevenco

FUN CHALLENGE: 2006 iMac in 2019

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Overview:

A common goal we all share on this site is to preserve older, vintage Macs.  In concert with that goal, I would like to explore how a 13 year old iMac could be genuinely useful today. 

 

Award:

None! This is just for fun. :) I am not sure what to expect in terms of responses to this challenge.  As a result, I'm not sure how to determine a winner, or even if there will be one.  I am open to suggestions.  :)

 

Reference Machine:

Apple iMac "Core 2 Duo" 1.83 17-Inch

https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac-core-2-duo-1.83-17-inch-specs.html

 

Challenge Rules:

1. Briefly describe a usage scenario(s) where the reference 2006 iMac could be useful in 2019. Be sure to include the OS, apps, hardware, and/or anything required to implement your solution. You can assume that you have access to both wifi and wired internet access.

2. It is NOT required that your solution provide a full computing experience. (email, web, apps, etc...)  If you want to, you can propose single-use scenarios, for example: beginning python coding, web development, home automation/security, etc.

3. Do not feel confined to OSX. You can propose any OS that will run on the 2006 iMac hardware.

4. You solution should run reasonably well. Excessive load times or waiting should be avoided.

5. While not required, bonus points will be awarded for anything kid-oriented or educational. (STEM, etc)

6. You may propose as many solutions as you would like.

 

Have fun.  I am looking forward to you sharing your ideas!

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This is good!  A good friend just gave me a 2006 iMac 20 Inch with x1600 video.  I just loaded lion on it and did all the updates and put firefox esr 45.9 on it.  It works very well for web browsing and youtube, and with 4GB Ram, iwork 2009 and Toast 11 and ilife work great too.  Really it does everything I need a computer to do.  it plays the sims 2 and cod4 nicely.  the only thing i worry about is the backlight burning out some day.  Not really sure if thats a valid concern or not

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36 minutes ago, 68kMacx86 said:

This is good!  A good friend just gave me a 2006 iMac 20 Inch with x1600 video.  I just loaded lion on it and did all the updates and put firefox esr 45.9 on it.  It works very well for web browsing and youtube, and with 4GB Ram, iwork 2009 and Toast 11 and ilife work great too.  Really it does everything I need a computer to do.  it plays the sims 2 and cod4 nicely.  the only thing i worry about is the backlight burning out some day.  Not really sure if thats a valid concern or not

Ok! We're off to the races!  We have a contender with a clean, full computing experience.  I like it!

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Argh ... it's not very far from mine ...
I use it every day, several hours a day, as a TV in my kitchen ;-)
With a USB Stick EyeTV for TNT-HDTV, it serves me to watch TV (and record).
It works very well, in automatic start on EyeTV. In fact I only use the small white Apple remote to put it to sleep, change channels and sound level. Very simple and cool design.

 

iMac 2006 Core 2 Duo" 2.33 24-Inch

T7600 2.33MHz + NVIDIA GeForce 7600GT (BTO) + SSD SATA 240GB + RAM 4GB + Apple Remote white

Mac OSX 10.7.5

EyeTV version 3.6.9

USB Stick EyeTV Tuner

 

IMG_6064.thumb.JPG.e5dc9b84c051bf0fe642bca7107beee2.JPG

 

You dream of an Apple TV, I have it :-))

Edited by gpbonneau

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Shoot, I still use my 2.16GHz 20" as my daily machine in my bedroom, hooked up my hi-fi system (record, cassette, 8 track and graphic equalizer) for mp3/m4a library, cd/dvd, and mainly YouTube video playback. Never have had an issue using Chrome 45 and 2GB RAM. Runs 10.6 (because Front Row) and I intend to use it until it's last breath. I use this more than my MacBook and gaming PC some days. 

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5 hours ago, M235i said:

Shoot, I still use my 2.16GHz 20" as my daily machine in my bedroom, hooked up my hi-fi system (record, cassette, 8 track and graphic equalizer)

8 track??? I thought I was the only one here who liked such obscure audio formats! Does your 8 track record as well as play back? I never thought there was such a thing as an 8 track recorder until I bought one by chance a couple years ago, so they must be exceedingly rare, given how uncommon regular players are.

 

As for browsers, have you tried ArcticFox? It's pretty much a straight port of Pale Moon, a Firefox fork for Windows, with a few TenFourFox bits thrown in to make it work. I haven't tested it very extensively, so I don't know how compatible it is with things like YouTube, but it'll be much more up to date security-wise than Chrome 45, if that matters.

 

c

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I haven't really had the time to try setting up an older Mac to see how far i can push it for doing modern things, but last summer I did try using a 2006 15" MacBook Pro for a bit. While it worked decently well for offline stuff, even with max RAM and an SSD, it was quite slow for use online (I've since sold it, because not only did I already have a decent Late 2007 MBP I use for watching videos, I also found a much better Late 2007 MBP with a gorgeous HiRes 17" display).

 

c

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55 minutes ago, CC_333 said:

8 track??? I thought I was the only one here who liked such obscure audio formats! Does your 8 track record as well as play back? 

As for browsers, have you tried ArcticFox? 

Lol I thought I was one of the few 8 track listeners around here. I wish it was a recorder, but as you said trying to acquire anything 8 track (working or otherwise) is becoming difficult, I mean it took a year to find a player that would hook up to my system that didn't cost $60 and needed work. I use a Hanimex combo system that has external speaker output linking to my line in/out switch to my amp, the tone control in that thing makes a worn 8 track sound better than some of my Type II cassettes. 

 

Any way, I have yet to give Arctic fox a try, solely due to my stubbornness of Chrome ecosystem continuity. I have Firefox installed on all my systems as a backup browser, so I would have to give it try for my 10.6 systems.

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On 8/2/2019 at 10:13 PM, M235i said:

Lol I thought I was one of the few 8 track listeners around here. I wish it was a recorder, but as you said trying to acquire anything 8 track (working or otherwise) is becoming difficult, I mean it took a year to find a player that would hook up to my system that didn't cost $60 and needed work. I use a Hanimex combo system that has external speaker output linking to my line in/out switch to my amp, the tone control in that thing makes a worn 8 track sound better than some of my Type II cassettes. 

IMG_6119.thumb.JPG.37d3bdb5d433b99f2bde20540fcfcf0f.JPG

:):)

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The CPU aspect is definitely Interesting(TM) but remembering that even the slowest available intel iMacs/MacBooks and MacBook Pros (the minis did ship with some slower chips) meet the performance of some brand new machines is important.

 

I suspect the more interesting part of this challenge is managing the fact that 10.6 has solidly moved into retirement, in terms of being realistically productive. Fewer web sites work on it, No mainstream current browsers have support for it, and support for connecting to services like Dropbox, Office 365, and Google Drive is ending.

 

If you wanted to use this hardware productively as an average day-to-day home or office computer, Windows 10 or Linux would be the way to do it.

 

If you wanted to have "the vintage 10.6 experience" (which is kind of what it is now) then you could, but security would be Of Concern. You'd want it behind a good firewall/NAT, perhaps ideally on a VLAN which disallowed Internet access entirely.

 

You might also set up such a machine for tasks like file conversion or working with projects in older applications.

 

The security issues are enough that I would consider/recommend not trying to daily a 10.6 machine online even if you don't need "fancy" web sites, web/Internet-connected services are rapidly dropping support for this 10-year-old version of the OS. Even though things like the Office file formats are mostly unchanged from 2010/2011 (from 2007/2008, really) to now, there are huge quality of life updates in the newest versions, and of course iWork has moved to an entirely new set of file formats. It would be tough to daily 10.6 in the same way it was kind of tough to still be using system 7 or a 68k back in the early 2000s. Enough stuff still worked that people insisted on doing it, but that was changing very fast. 

 

To add: If you have ever used Mac OS X, literally ever, then mostly it won't be that exciting. OS X has had relatively stable design and user experience over the years. The main thing that changes is the trim color(s) and the desktop background.

 

I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on this. I don't think these machines are strictly speaking useless but I do believe that time has largely passed these machines by as primary daily driving computers. I love taking my Mac Pro 1,1 or my Mac mini 1,1 or 1,2 out for a spin on the weekend (to upload files to vtools) but the hardware and the software from this era aren't particularly practical any more, not to mention (yes, again) the possible security implications.

 

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No worries with internet for my use, connected only for the automatic update of the TV guide.
I use a small USB DVB-T tuner connected to an antenna (for digital terrestrial HDTV).
With the little Apple remote, I do not even have to leave EyeTV. I do not even use the OSX interface, I put it to sleep with the remote control, ditto to wake it up, like a TV.


I like the look with the nice white polycarbonate enclosure, the very easy to use small white Apple remote control (magnetic and placed on the side of the iMac when it is off ;-), the very good display 24" full HD (1080p), the TV guide, etc ...

It has replaced the small TV Sony 22 " that I used before, otherwise nobody wanted it and it's not worth much ...

A too expensive TV solution in 2006, but a good way today to recycle it ;-)

I have a hundred old Macs from the Mac128k to that model, it's the only one I use every day :-) 

 

Before that use, to try to continue to use it, the disc was formatted to NTFS with Windows installed, but no one was using it, too slow.

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On 8/13/2019 at 7:52 PM, bhtooefr said:

Your reference machine has identical CPU performance to a brand new laptop. (I took the liberty of using a Mac Mini for this, because nobody bothered benchmarking a Late 2006 iMac with that CPU.)

 

Not exactly an exciting challenge.

Thats...... kinda sad. I still have a Dell Inspiron e1405 laptop that gets used still with a similar CPU. I joked that it wasn't much slower than some new laptops..... turns out I was somewhat right!

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It is kind of remarkable just how wide the range of performance there is to be found in consumer-level machines these days. It kind of reminds me of how it was around 1993 when you could still pick up a "Computer Shopper" and buy from the same white-box sellers anything from a 386sx up to a Pentium off the same menu.

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On 8/13/2019 at 4:52 PM, bhtooefr said:

Your reference machine has identical CPU performance to a brand new laptop. (I took the liberty of using a Mac Mini for this, because nobody bothered benchmarking a Late 2006 iMac with that CPU.)

 

Not exactly an exciting challenge.

 

8 hours ago, NJRoadfan said:

Thats...... kinda sad. I still have a Dell Inspiron e1405 laptop that gets used still with a similar CPU. I joked that it wasn't much slower than some new laptops..... turns out I was somewhat right!

Agreed.

 

A more interesting challenge, I think, would be to try plodding along with a midrange G4 (like, say, a Quicksilver@933 MHz or a PowerBook@867 MHz, both with max RAM) if going Mac, or an early-ish Pentium 4 for PCs (believe it or not, P4s can still work! The early ones are miserably slow, but even at that they can do almost anything a modern PC can, and with patience, one can still daily drive it).

 

c

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On 8/15/2019 at 6:36 PM, Cory5412 said:

I suspect the more interesting part of this challenge is managing the fact that 10.6 has solidly moved into retirement, in terms of being realistically productive. Fewer web sites work on it, No mainstream current browsers have support for it, and support for connecting to services like Dropbox, Office 365, and Google Drive is ending.

And, of course, the challenge explicitly stated you could run whatever OS you wanted.

 

So, running an iMac5,2 with Windows 10 or Linux on it is basically the same experience as running a brand new $200 HP Stream 14 with Windows 10 or Linux on it, as far as the challenge is concerned, just physically bigger.

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