Get your hard drives ready, because Mountain Lion is on the verge of arrival. Apple released the golden master (GM) of Mountain Lion on Monday afternoon through its developer portal, and the company has already set up several pages on Apple.com to market the product, including a lengthy list of technical specifications.
As expected a few machines are getting cut from the list of compatible Macs. Does your existing Mac have what it takes to run Mac OS X Mountian Lion? Well here is what we know so far about system requirements for OS X 10.8:
General System Requirements for OS X Mountain Lion:
• OS X v10.6.8 or later
• 2GB of memory
• 8GB of available space
• Some features require an Apple ID; terms apply.
• Some features require a compatible Internet service provider; fees may apply.
You can check for 64 bit kernel boot suport by typing “uname -a” at the command line, launch the Terminal to do this. The uname -a command will return something like this:
Darwin MacBookAir 11.2.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.2.0: Tue Aug 9 20:54:00 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1699.24.8~1/RELEASE_X86_64 x86_64
Look for “x86_64” to verify that a Mac is booting into a 64 bit kernel. This will happen by default with most OS X Lion compatible Macs, but Snow Leopard users won’t necessarily boot into the 64 bit kernel by default and will have to verify compatibility with the list of hardware below.
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion Supported Models
As usual, the newer the Mac the better:
• iMac (Mid 2007 or newer)
• MacBook (Late 2008 Aluminum, or Early 2009 or newer)
• MacBook Pro (Mid/Late 2007 or newer)
• Xserve (Early 2009)
• MacBook Air (Late 2008 or newer)
• Mac mini (Early 2009 or newer)
• Mac Pro (Early 2008 or newer)
Macs That Are NOT Expected to Support OS X Mountain Lion
Older Macs and those with weaker GPU’s will likely be left behind:
• Anything with an Intel GMA 950 or x3100 integrated graphics card
• Anything with an ATI Radeon X1600
• MacBook models released prior to 2008
• Mac Mini released prior to 2007
• iMac models released prior to 2007
• Original MacBook Air
Apple’s thinking here is fairly transparent: consumers are probably more likely to know what model they own than the processor within their computer. However, the processor information is just a few clicks away in the “About This Mac” window, under the Apple menu.
The model name is hidden behind the “More Info…” button:
Back when Apple sold OS discs in its Stores, we used to have customers come in all the time, wanting a refund after they discovered the OS they had purchased wouldn’t run on their Mac. With the Mac App Store, what sort of recourse is there? Sure, Mountain Lion’s installer checks that it can run, but only after its been downloaded.
I’d love to see the Mac App Store run a check on the system before downloading the Mountain Lion installer, alerting consumers before a purchase if it could not be run on that particular system. Doing so might save a lot of heartache, since Mountain Lion won’t run on as many machines as Lion did.