10 Replies Latest reply: Dec 1, 2012 7:19 PM by drummerjoe
drummerjoe Level 1 (0 points)

After 4.5 years, the hard drive on my beloved 2007 Intel iMac has died on me.  I've been eyeing a Macbook Pro for awhile now, and I think it's time to make the switch.


I was wondering with some modifications, can I convert the iMac to serve as a display for the Macbook Pro?

iMac 10.5.4, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Don't think so.  Newer iMacs can run in what's called target (disk) display mode but not your model (also see this).

  • drummerjoe Level 1 (0 points)

    I understand that - but is there anything that can be done to upgrade old iMacs to have this ability?  I have to imagine there's some time of 3rd party accessory that can do the same thing.

  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Never heard of one.  The older imacs video port is  for video out only.  Short of opening the machine up and figuring out how to solder to the pc boards in some key places (assuming there are key places) there isn't going to be any single device you simply plug in from the outside. 


    Of course you have USB and firewire and there are devices for TV input to them but I still know of no device for computer-to-computer video inut using those channels.


    All I could suggest is start googling for usb and fw video input devices and see if such a thing exists.  Of course even if they do it may be an academic exercise since all new macs use thunderbolt video out and they can only connect to other thunderbolt (or mini displayport) devices.

  • drummerjoe Level 1 (0 points)

    Alright, I'll start investigating that route. 


    But I am comfortable with soldering, so that's not a concern.  I'm just not the type to figure out how to do it all on my own. 


    I'm just trying to maximize the value of this iMac.  It should be worth more than the $200 or so that buyers from Gazelle and similar sites want to pay for it (even if I open it up and replace the HD).  But I don't need an old iMac and a new MBP.  Which is why I want to use it as a display.

  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    But I am comfortable with soldering, so that's not a concern.  I'm just not the type to figure out how to do it all on my own.


    If you're comfortable unsoldering and soldering tiny tiny surface mounted parts then you are much better than me at soldering!  I'm comfortable soldering too but even I wouldn't go near something like that (eyes aren't what they used to be anyhow).


    I'd say forget it.  It's just not worth all the time or effort.  If you want a second monitor there are plenty to be had at relatively cheap prices. $200 could certainly accommodate a wide variety of possibilities.

  • captfred Level 7 (26,290 points)

    A product like Screenrecycler will do it.






  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)

    Ahh, connecting the two machines via VNC.  Didn't think of that one.  Cute.

  • drummerjoe Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks, this is worth a shot.

  • iTouch, You Don't!!! Level 1 (0 points)

    Did this work??




    Excuse the 12 year old created username...

  • drummerjoe Level 1 (0 points)

    It didn't really work as well as I would have liked.  I ended up selling it for a couple hundred dollars and upgraded my Mac Mini instead.  Oh well!