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  1. #1

    riddle_'s Avatar
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    Nov 15, 2006
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    Can I upgrade an iMac?
    I'm going to buy an iMac fairly soon and I wondered whether you can upgrade a iMac in a similar way to a XP (More Memory, Graphics Card etc..). I;m new to Mac and trying to find out about building and upgrading computers/macs.

    Thanks.

  2. #2

    BIG D 04's Avatar
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    Oct 16, 2006
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    Birmingham (S), UK
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    Specs:
    20" iMac Intel Core Duo 2 (Standard)
    You can upgrade memory easily enough....

    However from looking on the Net before a while back, people have changed Hard Drives and CD Drives but not 100% sure whether many people have changed Graphics Card or CPU's but maybe the more experienced on here can help you out.
    Damien Healy
    iMac 20" OSX 10.4.9 Tiger | thebigman87.com |

  3. #3

    Alexis's Avatar
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    Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    The IMac is more like a laptop with a screen on top and separate keyboard, so the only thing that can be upgraded really is the memory.

    The Mac Pro is the only one really upgradable like a PC.

  4. #4

    wytwolf's Avatar
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    Specs:
    2.2Ghz i7 Late 2011 MBP: 16GB Ram 500GB Seagate XT HD
    Memory is easy, the slots are accessible from the bottom of the monitor. To replace the harddrive your have to take the back off the monitor and get access to the hard drive that way.

    CPU and graphics card is pretty much permanent. I think the cpu is actually soldered to the motherboard (like the apple laptops).

  5. #5

    riddle_'s Avatar
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    Nov 15, 2006
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    Ok. I originally wanted to buy a mac because I was fed up of Dell Computers and the many problems which inhabit Windows. However, I do not have the money to constantly buy whole new systems and was hoping that the iMac was as upgradeable as a Windows. Oh well...

  6. #6


    Member Since
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    Hmmm I think you're missing a couple of points somewhat here...

    Firstly, the main reason you need to keep upgrading Windows PCs is because each incarnation of Windows requires more and more resources to do the same stuff. Mac OS's aren't like that and each release is quicker than previous releases so you haven't got as much of a reason for upgrading. Hardware useful lifespan is longer.

    Secondly, the second hand value of a Mac is much greater than that of a PC, just take a look on eBay. So if you did want to upgrade it's cheaper to replace with something brand new and shiny and sell on the old machine. With a "bitsa" PC that you've played with, removed stuff, put more stuff in, it's much harder to price realistically and you won't attract as high a premium.

    I've got more PC bits kicking around my house than I know what to do with yet despite having paid good money for them over the years, they are effectively worthless.

    Thirdly, no one has mentioned this, USB and firewire. OK, you can't upgrade the graphics on an iMac, and it's a bit of a hassle replacing the internal drive, but you can upgrade the Hard drive by plugging in another one - no noticeable drop in performance there, you can even boot off it and make it your primary if you want. Plus you can plug in countless other USB / firewire peripherals this way.

    I suppose if you enjoy changing your PCs hardware every couple of months and re-installing drivers and OSs and suchlike then Windows is the way to go. If you would rather have a fast stable system that does everything you want I know which way I'd go (and did... used PC's for 20 years and switched 6 months ago and can't say I regret it at all )

  7. #7

    geoffstgermaine's Avatar
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    Aug 30, 2006
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    Quote Originally Posted by wytwolf View Post
    Memory is easy, the slots are accessible from the bottom of the monitor. To replace the harddrive your have to take the back off the monitor and get access to the hard drive that way.

    CPU and graphics card is pretty much permanent. I think the cpu is actually soldered to the motherboard (like the apple laptops).
    The CPU in the Intel iMac is not soldered to the board. There are instructions on the net already for changing the processor. People have already swapped the CD for the C2D in the iMacs.

  8. #8

    Alexis's Avatar
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    Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    It's about as easy as replacing the CPU in a laptop though, and not recommended.

  9. #9


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexis View Post
    It's about as easy as replacing the CPU in a laptop though, and not recommended.
    Sorry, I don't get that - changing a CPU is surely changing a CPU - you have to disconnect whatever cooling is connected to it, pop out the old one, pop in the new one and (perhaps) set jumpers. Can't see it being any easier / harder on a PC?

    What difference laptop / desktop? I've never seen a CPU that's as easy as say, a PCI card, to install (oooh apart from that old Pentium... was it the 2? that came in a big black box with an edge connector....)

    But as the O.P. has disappeared I guess he's not interested anyways...

  10. #10

    Alexis's Avatar
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    Specs:
    Al iMac 20" 2.4Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo
    This is the G5 Imac, but as you can see, everything is crammed into the case: http://www.macbidouille.com/news/pho...erieur_big.jpg

    The processor is underneath the heat shields, I assume it's a similar setup with the Intels. There's no clipped heatsink and fan that's designed to be removed easily.

    It's possible, but I wouldn't like to attempt a CPU upgrade for an IMac.

  11. #11

    geoffstgermaine's Avatar
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    I've replaced a laptop processor before in a Dell Inspiron 8600. It isn't really that hard. It's harder than on a desktop for sure, but only harder in that it takes more time... there is no extra skill required other than keeping track of what you've taken apart and how it goes back together.

  12. #12

    Daddy Elmis's Avatar
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    Mar 28, 2006
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    "there is no extra skill required other than keeping track of what you've taken apart and how it goes back together."

    You can work on a Boeing 767 this way too. :cool:

  13. #13


    Member Since
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    Heehee I tried that but I think I did something wrong as I had enough bits left over to build 2 cars and a toaster...

  14. #14

    geoffstgermaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daddy Elmis View Post
    "there is no extra skill required other than keeping track of what you've taken apart and how it goes back together."

    You can work on a Boeing 767 this way too. :cool:
    Really? I've walked through the hangar at work and I'm relatively certain that there are tools there that require considerably more skill to operate than a phillips screwdriver.

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