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  1. #1
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...

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    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    I use the flight sim x-plane a lot on the imac and I would like to have smoother frame rates. What other faster graphics cards would be able to replace the radeon hd2600 that is in the faster 20'' iMac?

    I have heard nvidia makes the best... is that true?

    Thanks

    JJ

  2. #2
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Kash's Avatar
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    You can't replace the video card on an iMac, it's essentially hard wired to the logic board.

    The parts inside of an iMac are essentially laptop parts, which is why only the RAM is user accessible. If you tried to swap out the hard drive, you would void your warranty. I don't think replacing the CPU is even an option as that too is probably soldered to the board.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  3. #3
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...

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    well crap.

  4. #4
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Mac_Biodiesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kash View Post
    You can't replace the video card on an iMac, it's essentially hard wired to the logic board.
    Say what? According the Mac Genius at my local Apple Store, the graphics cards are no longer soldered to the motherboard, so they can be removed. However, she said they can only be replaced with one of the 2 cards that Apple currently offers with the iMac. So, if your graphics card is faulty, it can be swapped out for another one of the same type.

    I don't understand why this is, though. Does the software not support other cards? If it can be removed, what's to stop you from simply putting another type of graphics card in there? Is the slot physically customized to only accept those 2 cards?

  5. #5
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Stretch's Avatar
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    Its the firmware of the card that is the issue. Cards for Macs have different firmware than cards for Windows.
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  6. #6
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Kash's Avatar
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    You're right, after looking at a disassembled aluminum iMac, it would seem as though the video card is not soldered to the logic board. However, it definitely isn't a standard video card that you can just swap out, especially since getting to it would clearly nullify your warranty.

    June 2007
    July 2009

  7. #7
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Mac_Biodiesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stretch View Post
    Its the firmware of the card that is the issue. Cards for Macs have different firmware than cards for Windows.
    If that's the case, then any card that works in a Mac Pro should work in an iMac, correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kash
    You're right, after looking at a disassembled aluminum iMac, it would seem as though the video card is not soldered to the logic board. However, it definitely isn't a standard video card that you can just swap out, especially since getting to it would clearly nullify your warranty.
    3 years from now the warranty will have expired anyway, and that's a likely timeframe for someone to want to upgrade their GPU. I looked through Kas's dissection photos, but couldn't identify the graphics card. So you think it's not the same type of card that could go into a Mac Pro, then?

  8. #8
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Stretch's Avatar
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    Look at the size of the Mac Pro's vid cards, and then take another look at the iMacs. I highly doubt any of those cards will fit in there.
    Blog and Photo Gallery: http://philolin.me/

    Currently running OS X 10.10

  9. #9
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mac_Biodiesel View Post
    If that's the case, then any card that works in a Mac Pro should work in an iMac, correct?



    3 years from now the warranty will have expired anyway, and that's a likely timeframe for someone to want to upgrade their GPU. I looked through Kas's dissection photos, but couldn't identify the graphics card. So you think it's not the same type of card that could go into a Mac Pro, then?
    Nope, that won't work. I havent looked at the AI photos but there is no way the iMac could support a full size vid card. The 7300GT wouldnt be worth upgrading and the ATI cards are a lot thicker.
    Plus, the iMac has a mini DVI out. The Mac Pro cards have dual DVI out connections. If a Mac Pro card was to actually fit, the case would would have to be modded.

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  10. #10
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...

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    I haven't looked at it, but it's probably in a MXM or a mini PCI Express slot. Graphics cards with those connectors are flat out unavailable on the retail market and if you pick one up on ebay or whatever, it will still need to be flashed with a Mac BIOS. Something that is no easy task, particularly when the card has to connect to the monitor using a LVDS connector, meaning the bios has to retain all of the monitor information to be able to use the integrated LCD.

    In short: You're not going to upgrade it with anything other than a card out of another iMac unless you are very, very good at reverse engineering video BIOS files.
    MCCCXXXVII
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  11. #11
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Mac_Biodiesel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geeky1 View Post
    In short: You're not going to upgrade it with anything other than a card out of another iMac unless you are very, very good at reverse engineering video BIOS files.
    Ah, I see what you're getting at. That does sound fairly insurmountable.

    Hmmm. Each new iMac revision generally gets a new graphics card model, right? If those cards are also sold separately, perhaps that's what one could upgrade to in later years. Take the card for a 2009 iMac and put it in my 2007 iMac....

  12. #12
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...

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    Unlikely. Same problem: The video BIOS is different. For a normal computer (the PowerMacs/Mac Pro or just about any PC), that wouldn't matter. But the video card in the iMac is likely connected to the monitor by a LVDS connector, as I mentioned. Which means that all of the data about the monitor-supported input resolutions, etc.-is stored in the video BIOS. If the panel in the next generation iMac is different, it still won't work.
    MCCCXXXVII
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
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  13. #13
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Alexis's Avatar
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    3 years from now the warranty will have expired anyway, and that's a likely timeframe for someone to want to upgrade their GPU. I looked through Kas's dissection photos, but couldn't identify the graphics card. So you think it's not the same type of card that could go into a Mac Pro, then?
    In three years, stick your iMac on ebay and you'll get a big chunk towards a new one since Macs hold their value so well. No need to upgrade - just sell and buy new.

  14. #14
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    bryphotoguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
    In three years, stick your iMac on ebay and you'll get a big chunk towards a new one since Macs hold their value so well. No need to upgrade - just sell and buy new.
    True that.

    January 2008 Member of the Month

  15. #15
    new 20'' iMac... thinking of upgrading the graphics card...
    Mac_Biodiesel's Avatar
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    True for now, but maybe not in 3 years. Who knows how much Apple's market share will have grown by then....

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