Which Mac Models Support NetBoot?

Revised: 2006-12-30 richard


The first iMac & Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White) models supported NetBoot using an older version of the technology called NetBoot 1. Mac OS X Server versions 10.0.3 to 10.2.8 offered support for both NetBoot 1 and NetBoot 2, which added support for DHCP during NetBoot. Newer versions of the Mac OS X Server, such as versions 10.3 and 10.4 only support NetBoot 2, so older Mac models that supported NetBoot 1 are NOT officially supported with newer versions of the server software. You can enable NetBoot 1 via the command line, but won't get support from Apple if you run into problems.

Mac Models that Support NetBoot 2

With exception of certain older models listed in the next section, the following listed Mac models can use NetBoot 2.
Intel Mac's
The transition to the Intel process hasn't affected support for NetBoot. The Intel based Mac's use EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface) instead of Open Firmware. Apple has implemented support for  NetBoot 2 on Intel Mac's and offers much better performance than Open Firmware based Mac's.

Firmware Update
Some older Mac models the use Open Firmware will require a firmware update to use NetBoot 2. Firmware 4.1.7 or later is required to support NetBoot 2. To check the firmware version, you can use System Profiler and check the "Boot ROM Version" in "Hardware Overview".

System Profiler -> Hardware Overview -> Boot ROM Version

Mac Models that DO NOT Support NetBoot 2

Certain Mac models supported NetBoot 1 but are NOT capable of NetBoot 2.
The original iBook that were released prior to iBook (Dual USB). Some versions of the original iBook are NetBoot 2 capable, and others are not. If an original iBook will accept firmware update 4.1.7 or later, then it is NetBoot 2 capable.

NetBoot 1
Though the Mac OS X Server 10.4 Server Admin supports only NetBoot 2.0, you can enable support for these NetBoot 1.0 clients using the following Terminal commands...

sudo nicl . create /config/dhcp old_netboot_enabled port_list
sudo killall bootpd

The "port_list" option, is a list of ports you want to enable for NetBoot 1.0, like:  en0 en1 en2.