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Apple shutting older Mac models out of Mountain Lion upgrade

Bad news for Apple customers using older machines: Some 64-bit Macs will not be able to upgrade to Mountain Lion when the operating system is released later in July, Apple has confirmed.

A handful of MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, and Mac Mini models - some released as recently as 2009 - will not be eligible for the OS X 10.8 upgrade, according to the official Mountain Lion upgrade page.

These are the Macs that will be supported by Mountain Lion:

  • iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
  • MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminium, or Early 2009 or newer)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid/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)

Though Apple has not disclosed its reasons for shutting some machines out of the upgrade, it’s believed to be due to limitations related to those computers’ graphics processing capabilities. It appears that models running Intel GMA 950 or X3100 will not be supported, while models with NVIDIA 9400M, NVIDIA 320M, or Intel HD3000 will probably be good to go.

Though users with unsupported machines will not be able to download the new OS from the official Mac App Store, though it’s likely that a hack or workaround will emerge soon.

Apple has released the Golden Master of Mountain Lion to developers, meaning that a final version of the OS is close.