View Full Version : Installing RAM in New iMacs - Easy or Hard???

Nov 3, 2003, 03:47 PM
First off, my apologies if this question has been asked before, but I couldn't see any similar recent entries in the forum.

Anyway, I am planning on purchasing a new iMac and obviously do not want to buy extra RAM from Apple due to the cost. ;) I do want to max it out to 1 GB of RAM though, so my plan is to order the machine with a stick of 512 MB pre-installed, then purchase another stick of 512 MB on my own (for much less $$$) and install it myself.

I am wondering how hard it is to install RAM in the new iMacs. I have heard that the factory slot is inaccessible (not that I would want to get at it anyway), and that there is only one free slot. I have also heard that you have to install 144-pin RAM as opposed to the standard 168-pin RAM - is this true? Forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is 144-pin RAM? Laptop-sized RAM?

I have also heard from one source that RAM is simple to install (i.e. popping off the bottom plate and sticking it in), but also heard from another source that is is complicated (i.e. removing the base, breaking the thermal paste seals, moving the superdrive, etc.)

So as I said, some clarification, advice and instructions would be much appreciated!


Nov 3, 2003, 03:59 PM
I added an additional 512 MB RAM to my 15" iMac and it wasn't too difficult - remove 4 screws from bottom of iMac, insert RAM, don't break things - like the 2 thin RAM retaining clips.

The user-accessible slot on my machine used 144 pin SODIMM RAM, which is generally associated with laptop computers as you stated.

All this about thermal paste and such is only if you want to dig deeper than the intended user-accessible/upgradable area of the iMac.


Nov 3, 2003, 04:06 PM
It's super simple to install RAM in the user slot (this is where you are going to install your 512 since you are getting the computer with 512 base). It's laptop RAM. Go to Crucial.com and it will show you what RAM you need.

Nov 3, 2003, 04:45 PM
Just don't put it in the wrong way. It's hard to do, but I have seen it done. (install it backwards that is)

Nov 3, 2003, 04:48 PM
The only way you could max the iMac to 1Gig is if you buy the iMac from Apple with a BTO (build to order) - resellers don't do it, authorized or not.
at purchase time from Apple, you ask them to upgrade the iMac to 512MB 1 DIMM (add $200). This will mean that the external, 'user' memory slot is left unused for you to plug in a 512MB memory stick bought elsewhere (the pdf file posted by Squirrelissimo is good to know how).

Installing memory in the external slot is too easy to be called a task; more like a sub-task ;) I did it with two kids around - a toddler and a crawler, nary a problem ;)

The thermal seals issue is for reaching the internal slot. My advice is to leave that alone, and let Apple upgrade it for you.

btw, if you are okay with 'just' 768MB, then MacZone and others would give you an additional 512 MB stick free for you to upgrade (in the outer slot). if you wished to upgrade to 1Gig later, you would need to take it to an Apple store.

hope that helps.

Nov 3, 2003, 11:01 PM
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for all the advice! I think I'm going to order the iMac from my Apple reseller with 1 DIMM of 512 MB and then purchase another 512 stick on my own (for less money) and install it in the remaining slot - sounds like child's play!

Thanks again - it's great having a forum like this with such knowledgable members. :)