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GamerGirlAlice 10-08-2012 10:23 PM

Max Upgrades in a 2.5 GHz (EMC No. 2428, Mid 2011) 21.5" iMac
I have a 2.5 GHz (EMC No. 2428, Mid 2011) 21.5" iMac and was wondering how much ram I can install in it. I used the Crucial Mac Scanner and it told me I can instal 4x 8gb sticks for 32gb of ram. but other sites say I can only install 16gb of ram. I was wondering if anyone in here knows for sure.

Also is there anyway I can find out what brand of hdd is in my mac without opening it? It seams like a pain to open it to find what brand I need then reassemble till I can get my new hdd ordered and delivered.

pigoo3 10-08-2012 11:20 PM

16gig of ram is the official max ram according to Apple. But folks have been successful installing 32gig. So if you want/need 32gig…go for it!:)

As far as the internal hard drive…I don't think that you REALLY want to mess with that. Apple has made it much more difficult to upgrade your own hard drive with the addition of an extra hard drive cable, which has to do with a temp. sensor on the hard drive. Without the proper HD which has an extra port to plug this temp. sensor into…you can run into issues with your iMac.

If you want to proceed with an HD upgrade…do some research first to identify your options.;)

- Nick

GamerGirlAlice 10-09-2012 01:42 AM

only reason i want that much ram is for video encoding. as for storage i supse ill get a wd my book thunderbolt

harryb2448 10-09-2012 05:00 PM

If you go to About this Mac > More Info >System Report > SATA it will in all probability tell you is it an ST31000528AS which is a Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm drive. As a suggestion don't fiddle under the bonnet of your iMac. That is a job for Apple trained technicians.

GamerGirlAlice 10-10-2012 10:09 PM

says i have a ST3500418AS Serial-ATA. i would take it to a shop to have a 3tb drive installed. all i feel safe doing is installing the ram. i would assume i can just install 1 8gb chip at a time no problem.

GamerGirlAlice 10-13-2012 12:31 PM

i just talked to a company that is a authrized apple servicer and said 265 to install a 3tb hdd.

chscag 10-13-2012 07:05 PM

Make absolute sure they know what they're doing. Any drive installed other than the Apple proprietary model will cause the hard drive fan to go to maximum RPM, and will drive you crazy with the noise besides probably damaging the fan bearings after a short time.

Lightcraftsman 10-13-2012 09:44 PM

Installing RAM is a two-minute job on the iMac. I added two 8 GB sticks in my 2011 21.5-inch iMac and have had no problems. I am flat amazed how fast entry-level computers are these days.

Mucking around with the internal hard drive is another matter. Other World Computing has some excellent videos on doing this.

iMac Installation Video at

I used to work tech support at Apple and went through a lot of training on tearing apart, diagnosing and repairing computers, monitors and laser printers. After watching the OWC install video I decided not to mess with the internal HD myself. I installed their Data Doubler in my 2009 MacBook Pro, but breaking into the iMac is a whole 'nother level of difficulty. YMMV.

GamerGirlAlice 10-14-2012 07:24 AM

the more i hear the more I'm thinking maybe a Western Digital My Book VelociRaptor Duo 2 TB thunderbolt drive would be safest way to go

Matt Russo 04-19-2014 06:10 PM

I have a mid 2011 21.5 IMac, that i just replaced the harddrive in. Mine went bad so i got a seagate 2TB hybrid drive. I watched the OWC videos bought some suction cups from home depot and had a computer tool kit all ready. Changing the harddrive took all of 30 mins maybe. I had zero issues and it was no where near as difficult as people make it out to be. As for the fan, you can get a program that controls your fan (tricks your apple) into running at a safer speed. It just depends what you are willing to save on.

I have been a PC guy forever and i all ways want to upgrade my computers, so i do. I do have experience building PC's so the scared factor isnt really there for me.

harryb2448 04-19-2014 06:36 PM

SMC Fan Control is not all it is set out to be. Your iMac will run the fans Alice as necessary. If replacing the hard drive do as chscag suggests and make sure they know about the Apple heat sensors. Failing to use the correct sensors will make the iMac roar like a 747! Why turn your lovely iMac into a Hackintosh?

Matt Russo 04-19-2014 06:49 PM

Not sure why you insist on scaring people out of doing some work to something they own but to start off with that post is from 5 years ago. Secondly just because apple puts it in their computers doesn't mean it is the only thing that can go in there. The HD that I pulled out was clearly a piece of junk considering it was a base model WD and lasted 3 years of barely any use. Much like people do with the RAM by adding third party you can do with your HD. People suggest this because it is only 3 screws to remove and you can just clip it in. But they don't suggest the HD because you have to remove the screen, glass, and about 10 screws maybe?

I don't mean offense by saying this stuff, but like i said i just did this and I am no expert. My system now runs faster, has more space and the fans are not an issue. The HD that i bought runs the fans no problem and i do not require a third party program. I paid all of $150 bucks out the door and it took 30 mins to do (and i have never done anything like this before with a mac)

I just think that people deserve to all options not just 1.


chscag 04-19-2014 08:15 PM


Not sure why you insist on scaring people out of doing some work to something they own but to start off with that post is from 5 years ago
You living in the future? :) That post was from 2012 - look again. Also, no one is trying to scare anyone, just making sure that folks don't bite off more than they can chew. Also, if you go to OWC and read their description of the procedure, they state up front that the task is difficult and recommend it be done by a trained technician.

Because you did it easily does not necessarily mean everyone else can. ;)

Matt Russo 04-19-2014 08:23 PM

I was refering to the link postedabove about fan controllers "12-14-2009, 06:46 PM " and yes it is considered difficult by them but that doesnt mean the option should be cast away as soon as it is introduced. I was just suggesting another option that had not been suggested, and gave my experience with it. I don't want to get into a battle on a forum. I have an opinion, please don't shoot it down instantly let the person decide for themselves and figure it out.

chscag 04-19-2014 08:32 PM


I have an opinion, please don't shoot it down instantly let the person decide for themselves and figure it out.
No one is shooting down your opinion. That's what forums are for but we do like to make sure both sides of something like that are presented. The whole point is that your ability to do the repair does not mean everyone else can do it. Since you were successful, that's more credit to you.

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