2013 iMac upgradability

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Hinds90, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. Hinds90 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    #1
    I'm just curious how much I can upgrade on my iMac. Specifically the processor, memory, and graphics card. It's a late 2013 27 inch model.

    Side note: I purchased my iMac early 2015 from Best Buy. If I purchased it from Apple would I have got a newer model at that time?
     
  2. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 9, 2014
    Location:
    Shanghai, PRC
    #2
    The only easy upgrade is the RAM. Processor can be done but it's a tricky job. GPU is soldered in as far as I know.

    The link below gives you some more insights, what can be done and how:
    https://www.ifixit.com/Device/iMac_Intel_27"_EMC_2639

    Regarding your second question: early 2015 the 4k model was already available, here you see a list of all iMacs:
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/index-imac.html
     
  3. Hinds90 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2017
    #3
    Thanks for the quick response. If you don't mind could you explain the benefits of upgrading the ram and processor? I'm mostly a casual user on my iMac so probably don't need to upgrade the processor just figured since I have the display off why not.
     
  4. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #4
    I believe your machine had 8 Gb memory standard. Depending on what sort of things you do, adding memory might improve performance by allowing more programs / data to be cached in memory. I suspect that a casual user won't see a lot of improvement, but it's hard to predict. With El Cap and Sierra, anecdotally the big jump is 4 Gb (or less) to 8 Gb, going higher doesn't get you as much in casual usage.

    The stock CPU is probably a Haswell core i5. If you were to upgrade the CPU you would probably see a performance improvement more or less directly related to clock speed. The 27 inch shipped with a minimum 3.2 Ghz CPU; I'm not sure what your options are, but it's unlikely that you could realize more than 10% improvement even on CPU bound tasks. Just leave the processor alone.

    I suspect that your best upgrade would be to replace the hard disk (assuming you have one) with an SSD. This can have a very noticeable effect on perceived performance. If you have a Fusion drive, going pure-SSD might help or might not, depending on your usage patterns.

    The next iMac iteration was the late 2015 model, so you wouldn't have seen anything different direct from Apple.
     
  5. Hinds90 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2017
    #5
    Thanks for your response. I'll take the advice from people who are more knowledgeable about this than me. SSD and ram it is
     
  6. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    I agree with the recommendation SSD + RAM. A CPU upgrade is not only very difficult but also will only help if you do very processor intensive tasks - you haven't mentioned yet what you are using your iMac for?

    However while the RAM upgrade is easy, the SSD is another story. You do realize that you have to take the whole iMac apart to get there?
     
  7. Hinds90 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2017
    #7
    I agree the CPU is way out of my league. For the SSD the display just has to come off correct?
     
  8. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    "just"? Did you have a look at the 'how to do it' on ifixit?
    https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2639+Hard+Drive+Replacement/19643

    The display is glue on and you have to disconnect a lot of stuff before you can access the harddrive. Also, you have to either get a kit with temperature sensor or use software to get the fan speed right, otherwise the harddrive fan will run at full speed all the time afterwards - see comments on ifixit guide at the bottom of the page.
     
  9. kschendel macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 9, 2014
    #9
    You could consider adding the SSD as an outboard device in a USB 3 enclosure. I don't know how the speed would compare with mounting it internally, but I bet you can find out elsewhere in the forums. The hard part of getting into the iMac is probably the screen adhesive, nothing after that is hard if you can work undisturbed and follow directions.
     
  10. Hinds90 thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 31, 2017
    #10

    I read through that tutorial and watched several videos. Looks fairly simple to me.
     
  11. triple-tap macrumors 6502

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    Feb 18, 2013
    #11
    I also have a 2013 27" iMac, and I have opted to use an SSD as the main drive. However, I placed it in a Thunderbolt enclosure. USB 3.0 (with the UASP) can be a big upgrade, but it still isn't as fast or reliable as a thunderbolt connection. As a boot drive, I'd look into an SSD in a thunderbolt enclosure before you decide to rip off your screen.

    My machine has been running for 2 years like this, and I don't have any problems (other than a USB port that failed, and apple replaced the entire motherboard under AppleCare).
     
  12. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Maybe you are just braver than me. I have stared building PCs 25 years back so I am not worried about opening a machine, it just seems like many things can go wrong here (and according to the comments often do). Report back how it went in the end, this might encourage me to finally put an SSD into my 2010 iMac (which supposedly is a lot easier to be done than in your thin 2013).
     
  13. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 6502a

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #13
    Even better would be a Thunderbolt external SSD which gives great performance speeds. I did this with my old mid 2011 model which came with the slow old 1TB Seagate drive. Used the internal Seagate for backups and one partition for beta testing operating systems.

    The Silicon Power 240GB external Thunderbolt was big enough for my needs as I am not into Photos and/or music. Speed was in excess of OWC models using the SATA III speeds as TB is faster. I recorded the actual read/write and if I come across them I will edit this.

    I had the TB external sitting on a Twelve South Back Pack which locks onto the iMac's 'leg'.
     
  14. cynics macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2012
    #14
    To answer your side note first. Yes at the Apple store its unlikely you would have got a 2013 model in 2015, not impossible but I don't think they actively stock previous model years or at the very least you would have know there was something newer available. Best Buy would have probably dropped the price on that 2013 though.

    You say you are a casual user. Can you be more specific because for even a casual user 8gb of RAM and 7200RPM HDD is "ok'ish". What exactly do you do and/or what do you possibly plan on doing?

    Upgrading to an SSD will be obvious in pretty much all task especially loading larger programs, moving around large files (this won't apply with APFS in the fall) and just general speed.

    Generally 8gb of RAM is enough however I always recommend at least 16gb. I think me having 24gb is why I never see the beachball of death even though I have an HDD.

    CPU is probably unnecessary however if you plan on doing any video work (even ripping your movie collection), certain photo editing task, and even certain games (Cities Skylines is CPU hungry for example) then it could be beneficial to upgrade. i7 CPU's are expensive even dating back to Haswell, and I'm not sure if there is any trickery preventing a drop in replacement (I'm sure someone here knows). But I'd probably forgo the CPU if its more involved then just a drop in replacement. However it would add a tiny bit more future proofing.
     
  15. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 6502a

    nambuccaheadsau

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    #15
    First up I am not from the US but have read in other forums of Best Buy in particular selling various Mac models as 'new'', i.e. being unused, up to eighteen months after a newer model has been released. Same as on eBay sellers sell 'new' Macs up to three years old. Possibly stocks from Resellers that have not moved.
     

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