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Old Jul 14, 2012, 12:04 PM   #1
kennyap
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Thumbs up 2011 iMac CPU,GPU,Ram upgrade Plans

Hello all:

I'll be upgrading my iMac's CPU, Graphics Card & RAM this coming week.

current system:
2011 iMac 2.7ghz (27")
Radeon HD 6770M (512mb)
16gb RAM.

upgrading to:
Core i7-2700k (3.5ghz)
Radeon HD 6970M (2gb)
32gb RAM

I ordered the graphics card from www.dvwarehouse.com, so should have necessary firmware:
1 x Video Card AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB for iMac 27" Mid 2011 661-5969.

I will report back later in the week on my results, I'll post my before & after system info screenshot also. Wish me luck

Kenny

Last edited by kennyap; Jul 14, 2012 at 02:51 PM.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 12:59 PM   #2
chevalier433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
Hello all:

I'll be upgrading my iMac's CPU, Graphics Card & RAM this coming week.

current system:
2011 iMac 2.7ghz (27")
Radeon HD 6770M (512mb)
16gb RAM.

upgrading to:
Core i7-2700k (3.5ghz)
Radeon HD 6970M (2gb)
32gb RAM

I ordered the graphics card from www.dvwarehouse.com, so should have necessary firmware:
1 x Video Card AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB for iMac 27" Mid 2011 661-596.

I will report back later in the week on my results, I'll post my before & after system info screenshot also. Wish me luck

Kenny
Good luck with your mod i am interested to upgrade my iMac mid-2010 i7 graphics card with 6970M 2GB for editing purposes.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 01:35 PM   #3
kennyap
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chevalier433:

I see that on the following forum successful accounts of upgrading even the 2009 iMac with the 6970M 2GB card:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0

At least two people in the thread reported doing this upgrade, one had overheating problems while the others experienced no problems at all.

Kenny

Last edited by kennyap; Jul 14, 2012 at 01:43 PM. Reason: Update: found the link
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 01:51 PM   #4
Scrub175
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I will follow this as well. Didn't realize the 27 CPU/GPU could be upgraded as such.
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 02:09 PM   #5
mcpix
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Good Luck! I'll also be checking back for updates.

I was wondering though, if you're just doing video editing, would you gain that much by swapping video cards?
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 02:30 PM   #6
kennyap
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mcpix:

I don't do video editing. I believe the cpu & ram upgrade will benefit me the most, but just really wanted to include the gpu as well to have a kick-ass iMac

I use my iMac for:
streaming movies to my Popcorn Hour C300/TV in living room
streaming movies from apple tv to childrens' bedrooms
using Mac Office 2011 programs
using programs in Win7 via vmware fusion
Converting videos' format using handbrake
web browsing

all of the above happens concurrently quite often most days; honestly had no real problems, but I found the computer was visible slower at times. I think this upgrade should fix that. I will let you know the results...

btw, I already have internal hard drives: OWC 240gb 6G SSD (system), and the stock 1TB hdd for data. Adding the SSD drive recently did wonders for the overall speed.

Kenny

----------

Scrub175:

The 2011 27" iMac can certainly take the upgrades I will do. Will go fine, that is unless I accidentally break of fry something. I plan on doing it right though.

Kenny
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Old Jul 14, 2012, 07:50 PM   #7
dmax35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
chevalier433:

I see that on the following forum successful accounts of upgrading even the 2009 iMac with the 6970M 2GB card:
https://discussions.apple.com/thread...rt=15&tstart=0

At least two people in the thread reported doing this upgrade, one had overheating problems while the others experienced no problems at all.

Kenny
Kenny, I did a 2gb upgrade on my 2011. No overheating problems that u speak off, thou I was amazed with the amount of dust build up inside, also added a SSD and 32gb of ram and it really woke my system up.

Last edited by dmax35; Jul 15, 2012 at 05:53 AM.
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 04:31 AM   #8
PaulKemp
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Originally Posted by dmax35 View Post
Kenny, I did a 2gb upgrade on my 2010. No overheating problems that u speak off, thou I was amazed with the amount of dust build up inside, also added a SSS and 32gb of ram and it really woke my system up.
i bet it did
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 05:11 AM   #9
Lancer
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Dumb question but I thought the iMac couldn't have a CPU upgrade, is it worth the cost over just getting a newer iMac?
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 05:22 AM   #10
chevalier433
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax35 View Post
Kenny, I did a 2gb upgrade on my 2010. No overheating problems that u speak off, thou I was amazed with the amount of dust build up inside, also added a SSS and 32gb of ram and it really woke my system up.
What iMac do you have?
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 07:47 AM   #11
joe-h2o
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Originally Posted by Lancer View Post
Dumb question but I thought the iMac couldn't have a CPU upgrade, is it worth the cost over just getting a newer iMac?
The Core i iMacs (i5, i7 etc) all have standard socketed CPUs on the logic board. Removing them is no different to doing the same job in a tower PC. They're just a little trickier to get to since you have to take the screen off.

The cost of a new CPU is much less than the cost of a whole new iMac, especially since the current iMac is about 47 years old and not really worth buying new right now
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 08:50 AM   #12
ihuman:D
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Sounds interesting!Can't wait to see results.Please post back how much faster it is.
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 09:35 AM   #13
kennyap
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Originally Posted by ihuman:D View Post
Sounds interesting!Can't wait to see results.Please post back how much faster it is.
I should have the components by tuesday, plan to do this on Wednesday. To do the upgrade, I'll literally have to disconnect everything inside in order to take out the motherboard since the cpu & gpu sockets are on the other side (facing the metal backside of iMac). I've done a previous teardown on this machine, I'm guessing this upgrade will take about 3 hours.

Just so you know, I'll be using an anti-static wristband ($9 at tigerdirect.com), and placing all sensitive components on soft packing materials I took from inside an HP desktop computer shipping box my workplace received recently. So the whole thing should be an anti-static affair. The other precaution for this is just taking the time, however long it takes, to disconnect/remove everything carefully so as not to damage anything.

Done the right way, there is very little danger of things going awry. I'll post results afterward--

Kenny
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 10:07 AM   #14
ihuman:D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
I should have the components by tuesday, plan to do this on Wednesday. To do the upgrade, I'll literally have to disconnect everything inside in order to take out the motherboard since the cpu & gpu sockets are on the other side (facing the metal backside of iMac). I've done a previous teardown on this machine, I'm guessing this upgrade will take about 3 hours.

Just so you know, I'll be using an anti-static wristband ($9 at tigerdirect.com), and placing all sensitive components on soft packing materials I took from inside an HP desktop computer shipping box my workplace received recently. So the whole thing should be an anti-static affair. The other precaution for this is just taking the time, however long it takes, to disconnect/remove everything carefully so as not to damage anything.

Done the right way, there is very little danger of things going awry. I'll post results afterward--

Kenny
OK thanks.
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Old Jul 15, 2012, 05:35 PM   #15
Lancer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe-h2o View Post
The Core i iMacs (i5, i7 etc) all have standard socketed CPUs on the logic board. Removing them is no different to doing the same job in a tower PC. They're just a little trickier to get to since you have to take the screen off.
Thanks I had no idea, I'm getting a new iMac soon but it still might be easier to get the faster CPU now than in a few years.

Quote:
The cost of a new CPU is much less than the cost of a whole new iMac, especially since the current iMac is about 47 years old and not really worth buying new right now
:lol: feels like it.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 06:58 PM   #16
kennyap
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Success!!

Hello:

I got the last component today and couldn't wait: took me about 3 hours, but finally have my system upgraded to:
Core i-2700k (3.5ghz) processor
Radeon HD 6970M (2gb)
32gb Ram
I attached a screenshot of my "About this Mac, more info" to this post, not sure how it will show.

whew! putting all the wire connections back on the motherboad (~16 wires) and getting the MB back into place correctly adjusted was the hardest part I think.

My computer seems faster I finished maybe 15 minutes ago, and not sure how much faster it is yet, but once I start playing with it I'll post back my opinion.

Cheers,
Kenny
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 3.5ghz.pdf (272.4 KB, 1345 views)

Last edited by kennyap; Jul 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 07:56 PM   #17
Scrub175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
Hello:

I got the last component today and couldn't wait: took me about 3 hours, but finally have my system upgraded to:
Core i-2700k (3.5ghz) processor
Radeon HD 6970M (2gb)
32gb Ram
I attached a screenshot of my "About this Mac, more info" to this post, not sure how it will show.

whew! putting all the wire connections back on the motherboad (~16 wires) and getting the MB back into place correctly adjusted was the hardest part I think.

My computer seems faster I finished maybe 15 minutes ago, and not sure how much faster it is yet, but once I start playing with it I'll post back my opinion.

Cheers,
Kenny
was everything "plug and play"? Overall part prices. you are amazing...
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 08:38 PM   #18
kennyap
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Originally Posted by Scrub175 View Post
was everything "plug and play"? Overall part prices. you are amazing...
Core i-2700k Processor: $304 from www.tigerdirect.com
32gb Ram: $318 from www.macsales.com
Radeon HD 6970M $588 from www.dvwarehouse.com

The machine just booted right up, no need to install drivers or anything. Bear in mind that though the processor & ram are stock items, the Radeon HD 6970M has to be the one specifically "for the 2011 iMac" in order to work. I was told this one has the Apple firmware pre-installed.

Any upgrades you do, make sure you wear anti-static wrist strap properly connected to computer chasis, and be prepared procedure-wise. Read the teardowns, videos, etc so you know what you're doing. Also have the correct tools, i.e., a small torque screw set or computer repair set.

Cheers,
Kenny
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 08:47 PM   #19
dmax35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
Core i-2700k Processor: $304 from www.tigerdirect.com
32gb Ram: $318 from www.macsales.com
Radeon HD 6970M $588 from www.dvwarehouse.com

The machine just booted right up, no need to install drivers or anything. Bear in mind that though the processor & ram are stock items, the Radeon HD 6970M has to be the one specifically "for the 2011 iMac" in order to work. I was told this one has the Apple firmware pre-installed.

Any upgrades you do, make sure you wear anti-static wrist strap properly connected to computer chasis, and be prepared procedure-wise. Read the teardowns, videos, etc so you know what you're doing. Also have the correct tools, i.e., a small torque screw set or computer repair set.

Cheers,
Kenny
Great job and write up! congrats on your new baby.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 09:16 PM   #20
Scrub175
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wow you spent some bucks.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 09:29 PM   #21
kennyap
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Originally Posted by Scrub175 View Post
wow you spent some bucks.
Yeah, I know. Had to pay even more freight & duties to get them here to the Cayman Islands, but heck been thinking about it for awhile -- ever since my wife bought me the stripped down model -- couldn't return it since she got it from an apple store in Honduras.

All's well that ends well I say. I'm sure pleased now

UPDATE ON SYSTEM SPEED:
I didn't do any benchmarks, but I'll say my machine is definitely much much faster. Everything is faster. I converted 2 video files in Handbrake from .avi & .mp4 to .mkv and it did them each in just over 2 minutes. Sorry can't give a documented comparison, but before I'd swear it would take near twice as long. I'm pleased, it's the fastest computer I've ever used.

Last edited by kennyap; Jul 16, 2012 at 09:37 PM.
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Old Jul 16, 2012, 09:32 PM   #22
Scrub175
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Yeah, I know. Had to pay even more freight & duties to get them here to the Cayman Islands, but heck been thinking about it for awhile -- ever since my wife bought me the stripped down model -- couldn't return it since she got it from an apple store in Honduras.

All's well that ends well I say. I'm sure pleased now
understand. its almost a break even to order a mac like that stock, aside from RAM, but your method is way way cooler. thank you for the knowledge.
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 03:20 PM   #23
kennyap
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RE: My Upgrade Details, and a word of Caution:

RE: My Upgrade Details, and a word of Caution:

If anyone would like me to post more details of how I did the upgrade, I can list all the materials I used, the Video and the Teardown I worked from, and some insights that will be helpful throughout the process. Just let me know.

Warning: I haven't mentioned any warning regarding the possibility of voiding Apple's Warranty, because I assume every owner is well aware of this. Working on the inside of iMacs is much more difficult than what I was used to with PC's because there is almost no room to work. I've never had a problem myself with damaging anything, but be aware Mac's more intricate design makes it more difficult. Just so you're aware of this.

Cheers,
Kenny
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 04:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kennyap View Post
RE: My Upgrade Details, and a word of Caution:

If anyone would like me to post more details of how I did the upgrade, I can list all the materials I used, the Video and the Teardown I worked from, and some insights that will be helpful throughout the process. Just let me know.

Warning: I haven't mentioned any warning regarding the possibility of voiding Apple's Warranty, because I assume every owner is well aware of this. Working on the inside of iMacs is much more difficult than what I was used to with PC's because there is almost no room to work. I've never had a problem myself with damaging anything, but be aware Mac's more intricate design makes it more difficult. Just so you're aware of this.

Cheers,
Kenny
Kenny

I for one can't get enough of iMac upgrades and tear downs. Please post your workflow.

The only thing I have left to upgrade on my 2010 iMac is the graphics card.
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Old Jul 17, 2012, 04:29 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrub175 View Post
wow you spent some bucks.
Exactly my thoughts. I think I would just have kept the base model iMac and spent the cash towards more of a workstation PC if I was looking for a power upgrade.
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