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Thursday, February 16, 2012, 01:55 pm PT (04:55 pm ET)

Mountain Lion signals end of OS X support for older Macs

In its announcement of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion on Thursday, Apple failed to mention that a handful of Macs that will be cut from the fold when the next generation operating system debuts this summer due to end of support for older Intel integrated graphics chipsets.

Certain Macs made from 2006 to 2008 that incorporate Intel's GMA 950 and GMA X3100 integrated graphics processors will not be supported (machine translation) by Mountain Lion, which means that Apple's newest version of OS X marks the end of the software road for owners of these computers, according to French Apple blog MacGeneration.

Integrated graphics chipsets are used in power-critical applications like laptops that have run times limited to the size of their batteries. Some Apple laptops, and subsequently Mac mini and iMac models that use a reworked mobile logic board, incorporate the integrated graphics model to be more energy efficient. The trade off for this efficiency is processing power, as integrated solutions are not as fast as discrete power-hungry GPU's, and is most likely the reason why OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion no longer supports older models.

List of affected machines compiled by Cult of Mac:

  • Any Intel Core 2 Duo MacBook from late 2007 to late 2008 (Model Numbers: MB061*/B, MB062*/B, MB063*/B, MB402*/A MB403*/A MB404*/A, MB402*/B)

  • Mid 2007 Mac mini (Model Numbers: MB138*/A, MB139*/A)

  • Late 2006 polycarbonate iMac (Model Number: MA710xx/A)

  • Early 2008 MacBook Air (Model Number: MB003LL/A)


The cycle of ending support for previous generation machines is an inevitability with the ever evolving world of computing as new operating systems and software are simply too complex to run optimally on older hardware.

For example, when Mac OS X 10.7 Lion was released in July of 2011, the AirDrop file sharing feature was limited to modern machines due to WiFi hardware requirements.