2011 iMac CPU,GPU,Ram upgrade Plans

Discussion in 'iMac' started by kennyap, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. kennyap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    rabidz7: I'm just quoting what I already wrote earlier in this thread (see below). I suggest you read the whole thread or you might miss something important. Here you go:

    Ok, here are more details regarding the Upgrade:

    2011 iMac 27” Upgrade

    Starting Config:
    Core i5-2500S (2.7ghz ) Processor
    Radeon HD 6770 (512mb)
    16gb 1333mhz RAM

    Upgraded Config:
    Core i7-2700K (3.5ghz ) Processor
    Radeon HD 6970 (2gb)
    32gb 1333mhz RAM

    Component Purchases:
    1. RAM Memory from www.macsales.com : OWC1333DDR3S32S, 32.0GB (8GB x 4) 317.99 (kit)
    2. Processor from www.tigerdirect.com : Intel Core i7-2700K item#: I69-2700K $304
    3. Graphics Card from www.dvwarehouse.com : AMD Radeon HD 6970M 2GB for iMac 27" Mid 2011 661-5969 - NEW (661-5969) $588

    Materials I used:

    1) www.macsales.com
    OWC Internal SSD DIY Kit
    For All Apple 27" iMac 2011 Models
    SKU: OWCDIYIM27SSD11 $44.99
    Note: This Kit includes all tools necessary besides the medium-head Phillips screwdriver for taking off the CPU & GPU heatsinks, and the small Phillips for changing out the RAM.

    2) www.tigerdirect.com
    -Cooler Master Thermal Compound Item#: C283-1147 $7.99
    (This is for putting on the new CPU before you re-attach the Heatsink)
    -StarTech.com ESD Anti Static Wrist Strap Item#: YYI1-CH4525 $9.89

    3) Soft Packing Material (foam-like sheets) that I got from an HP Workstation computer box. I used this to place the motherboard and components on.

    Videos / Walkthroughs
    1. OWC SSD Drive install to 2011 iMac Video Walkthrough. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03Lg4IgJd04
    The above video took me to where I had a few wires left to disconnect before I could remove the Motherboard:
    Several wires in the lower right and lower left corners, and drive connectors & main power connector at top, backside (you have to pull the MB slightly toward you to reach in and disconnect them). After this I could swivel and ease the MB out completely to get to the CPU & GPU.

    2. TECH REPUBLIC 2011 iMac Teardown
    this Teardown contains 138 photos of the 2011 iMac disassembly. It gave me a peek at the CPU and GPU so I knew what to expect before getting there. Both Heaksinks need to be removed; CPU needs to then be replaced (use Thermal Grease on new CPU before replacing Heatsink). GPU is one piece total and so is more simple (no Thermal Grease required). Take time disassembling so you know how to put the new ones on.

    NOTE: the Heatsinks on both CPU & GPU have the same medium-head Phillips screws holding them on (4 on each Heatsink). They are easy enough to remove, but to get the Heatsinks back on, you have to hold your finger on the little screw on the other side of MB or else the big screw will just keep turning (not tighten). In other words, each of these big Phillips screws tighten by somehow screwing into a smaller screw, the head of which is on the opposite side of MB.

    TIP: when everything is done and you’re putting the MB back in, before you put the MB screws in, look at the RAM ports at bottom and make sure they are lined up. Mine weren’t and I had to take my screen back off, unscrew and realign the MB to get it right.

    TIP: Lastly, make sure all wires are connected to motherboard before replacing screen. All wire connectors in same area are different sizes, so there's no danger of connecting a wire incorrectly. All wire connectors should be occupied with a wire, except for one connector at middle, top facing the iMac screen. Sorry I didn't note the connector's label, but I'm sure this connector was unoccupied from the start.

    That's it.
  2. mrsavage1 macrumors regular

    Feb 1, 2010
    I thought many people were reporting problems with intel k CPU's on ml?
  3. robster2644 macrumors newbie

    Jun 6, 2012
    Its it possible to do the same with a 21.5" Mid 2011. I have already added an extra SSD. Looking for better graphics and CPU
  4. kennyap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    It depends on what intel generation, but it's confirmed ML can't be installed problem-free. My CPU works like a charm otherwise, but I'm stuck with Lion until something changes.
  5. Palad1 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2004
    London, UK
    Hi there

    My 2009 iMac suffered from a fried GPU... so I tried upgrading from a radeon hd4850 to a radeon hd 6770 and I sadly have to report that I get a black screen (with chime) at startup.

    I might have damaged the LED sync ribbon cable, as a connector seems worn out, I will order another one and give it a go, but so far, I have to report failure :(

    Anybody here successfully ran an iMac headless (with no GPU) ?
  6. just1ed macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2010
  7. zenonox macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2013
    I can report successful replacement with i7 2600 in 3 iMacs 27" mid-2011 + installation of Samsung 830 series SSD's.

    I experience an overall snappier performance due to the SSD; processor intensive tasks like video conversion and photo editing are also significantly faster.

    No Mountain Lion issues at all.
  8. kennyap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands

    Thanks for posting these. I looked at these links and decided I'll leave well enough alone and stick with Lion on my machine. The first link is a procedure that was compiled before the official release of ML, and the second link describes numerous issues that remain after installation (no sound, icloud, etc).


    Mountian Lion issues are only with the 2700k processor. The 2600 was offered by apple in the 2011 iMac lineup and so should have no issues at all.
  9. cheezeit macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Man I was about to take my friends i7-2600k but ill hold back and hope for a good deal on gpu
  10. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012

    Seems to me what if all your upgrades work flawlesly you have saved a big chunk of money.....:D

    Kudos and well done.....!

  11. cheezeit macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Do you think the new GPUs from the newer iMacs wiil work in this system? Trying to see if I should get a newer 6xx card or will the 6970m be the best I can get for the 2011 27"imac
  12. kennyap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    The 2600k "unlocked" processor will be a problem, at least it always was prior to October 2012. You'd have to go with the 2600 to ensure compatibility.
  13. kennyap thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2012
    Cayman Islands
    I have no idea really, but you could find out if the two GPU's sockets are compatible/the same. Also search for availability of the replacement 6xx kit for 2012 iMac. These are likely a smaller form factor compared to 2011 iMac GPU kits, which is good if they don't need to be soldered to MB.
  14. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    The card will most likely physically fit if it's still an MXM card, however, it's the cooling apparatus that will be the problem.

    I have an odd issue with mine. I've upgraded to a 2600 (not k) with 32GB RAM and it works perfectly. Except I cannot install ML with 32GB installed. I have to take out at least one stick so that it's at 24GB, then it will install. Once installed, ML works perfectly with 32GB though :s.
  15. Vitalemazo macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2013
    Imac mid 2011 2700k Intel CPU also 3770k won't boot mavrick os

    No I have tried the install with a intel 3770 k on my mid 2011 27 inch imac with samsung 830 ssd the screen won't power on!! I'm back to my 2700k and mavrick but when I reboot mavrick running the 2700k CPU the computer gives me error screen and to press any key to reboot so mavrick and 2700k CPU don't work either unless some one figures out what's causing mavrick and the 2700k CPU glitch or which file to edit again the 3770k i7 intel did not even power in the screen so that was a waste of time trying !
  16. freeuser Suspended

    Apr 8, 2013
    and with a3770

    would it be a difference to choose a 3770 non K?
  17. Vitalemazo macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2013
    No none k 2700 or 3770 Intel CPU imac

    The CPU without the k still did not work on the 27 inch mid 2011 imac samsung 830 512 ssd 16 gigs 2 gig video card
  18. supermariofan25 macrumors regular


    Feb 7, 2011
    Ever tried Mavericks?

    kennyap, have you tried mavericks yet? its free and was released recently
  19. kironkp macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2013
    I want to try this


    I have the exact iMac that you started with and I'm planning on either hiring someone to change the graphics card or do it myself. How advanced is the process? Any suggestions?

  20. morpheuzlal macrumors newbie

    Apr 22, 2012
    Does it work on 21,5 inch?


    anyone knows if this GPU would work in a iMac Mid 2011 21.5 inch screen???

    Since this soltuion works fine with iMac 27 inc...i was just wondering what are my chances doing the same!
  21. ElPapo macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2014
    I want to know too if is possible to upgrade to the GPU that Kennyap are using now.

    Or, Kennyap, is possible that you can sell your HD 6770M gpu?, the fact is that my imac 21.5" 2.5ghz gpu is not working and here in Mexico is expensive the repair cost and as you know, the people explain as if the costumers know nothing about that.

    I apologize for my bad english.
  22. rahulrk macrumors newbie

    Oct 10, 2014
    Upgrading my 2011 Imac

    Hey guys i recently upgraded my processor from i5 to i7 2700k. All went well, except when i start my machine, i get a message saying "your computer restarted because there was a problem" And i get some error reports.

    But occasionally i get in and everything is fine. Do you think i made some mistake while installing the cpu?

    Attached Files:

  23. stassk8 macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2014
    work yosemite?
  24. spike315 macrumors newbie


    Feb 29, 2016
    Still working with all the current OS X updates/etc.? This interests me greatly.
  25. mhafeez macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2013
    I have done mine

    Basic iMac 27" mid-2011
    - Intel i5-2500S to i7-2600
    - standard 1TB to 2TB RAID0 SSD
    - Airport upgrade (handoff & continuity enabled)
    - ATI 6770m to GTX780m


    * attached photo shows previous OSX Yosemite. currently running smoothly on El Capitan.

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