27" iMac Upgrade Project - Input Welcome

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Old School Gamer, May 30, 2018.

  1. Old School Gamer, May 30, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018

    Old School Gamer macrumors newbie

    Old School Gamer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #1
    I am upgrading some of the components on my 27" iMac.

    Here is my current system:

    iMac (Late 2009) Model ID: 10.1 (27" Retina Display 2560x1440p)
    CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E7600 @ 3.06GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 65W TDP, 1066Mhz FSB
    GPU: ATI Radeon HD 4670M, 256mb
    HDD: 7200RPM SATA, 1 TB
    Memory: 4GB, 1067Mhz, DDR3

    The components to be added:

    CPU: Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83 GHz, 1333Mhz, 12MB L2 Cache, 65W TDP, 1333Mhz FSB
    GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6970M, 2GB
    HDD: SSD, 250GB (Installed in DVD Drive Bay. SSD as Master with OS/Programs)
    Memory: 16 GB, DDR3, 1067 MHz

    I will add any notes/updates. I am benchmarking the entire system with multiple programs pre upgrade and will also benchmark again after for comparison. If anyone has some input/advice I'd be happy to hear it!

    I would like to increase the FSB of the logic board from 1066Mhz to 1333Mhz to fully take advantage of the upgraded CPU. If anyone has good instructions on how, I'd love to hear them.

    Thank you,

    Quick Update on logic board FSB: I believe the best route is going to be through the EFI. If anyone knows the best way to access the EFI or best program to use I'd be happy to know! I'm looking at different options right now. I might mount the EFI partition later this evening and take a poke around but I won't be changing any settings until I complete the upgrade. Want to explore all the options first.

    Update: I was easily/successfully able to mount the EFI Partition on my iMac last night using Terminal and the diskutil mount commands. Again, not poking to modify the EFI yet but it is there and accessible. If anyone has input on changing the logic boards clock speed through the EFI, I'd appreciate it. I will continue to read through this book, Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach and if I can't find help online, I'll try myself and post the results. Thanks everyone!
     
  2. mreg376 macrumors 65816

    mreg376

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #2
    You don't say what you use the system for, so it's difficult to provide input. If I were you I would start with easiest upgrading to an SSD (at least 500GB -- they're no longer expensive), and maxing out the RAM to the 16GB, and see where that gets you. The performance jump will be significant, and quite possibly enough, although, as I said, I have absolutely no idea how you use the machine. Getting to and fiddling with the CPU and the GPU on the iMac's motherboard is not a trivial matter, with much potential for mischief, and I don't think you can up the FSB anyway.
     
  3. Old School Gamer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Old School Gamer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #3
    I am adding an SSD & maxing the ram. Those will not give me any performance boosts for my GPU/CPU which are two things I tend to use a lot of for various things like everyone else.

    Getting to and fiddling with the logic board actually is trivial. Simply tools and knowledge. I have the official technicians manual for my exact model, complete w/detailed guides & beautiful easy to follow pictures/instructions on how to disassemble every component.. Been building computers for over 20 years also so no worries about "fiddling" & "mischief" opening it up.

    Regardless, just looking for someone who has some info regarding the FSB of the iMac logic board. Thanks for your input though! Appreciated

    :)

    Oh, what do I use my system for. Everything.
     
  4. mreg376 macrumors 65816

    mreg376

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #4
    Sounds good. I was also building systems for 20 years, but Windows, mainly because of the constant maintenance needed to keep Windows working well. Then I went over the the Mac, and have done little other than replacing a hard drive with an SSD. I have heard of people upgrading their iMac's CPU, but I have heard of neither successful GPU upgrades nor people who have even tried FSB speed increases. Maybe others here will have more info. Keep us posted on your progress.

    I must admit, I ordered a new CPU and wireless card for my 2007 iMac (in which I have already maxed out the RAM and replaced the hard drive with an SSD) hoping to bolster it's processing speed and finagle installation of the forbidden High Sierra. The parts are here but I haven't had the courage. I've seen Youtubes and the seemingly dozens of connectors and screws to deal with to remove the motherboard, but my son wants the machine and I'm afraid of screwing it up...
     
  5. Old School Gamer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Old School Gamer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #5
    I wish I could upload the technicians manual I have for you to look at. It's one of the best I've ever used for assembly/disassembly of a computer. If you search around for one online, it's worth finding for your specific model.

    I will update as I go and I am prepared for failure or success ;-)
     
  6. mreg376 macrumors 65816

    mreg376

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #6
    I found the manual! Thanks. It does make it look simple.
     
  7. Old School Gamer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Old School Gamer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #7
    If you thought that was cool... Here is the Bible for anyone who owns a Mac & is a Tech Junkie.

    Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach
    http://crypto.cs.mcgill.ca/~simonpie/webdav/ipad/EBook/MacOSX/Mac Os X Internals - A Systems Approach (2006).pdf

    You can google the Book title itself and buy it from Amazon, Ebay or search for a link to the .pdf file yourself. I just included the link I used to get the book.

    It is EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about a Mac, the OS & how it all works together. Literally. I doubt anyone that works for Apple right now could tell you about everything that is contained in this beautiful book. This is the Mac Bible.
     
  8. mreg376 macrumors 65816

    mreg376

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
  9. tomscott1988, May 31, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018

    tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #9
    Is it worth it... a lot of effort for a machine that will still be slow. All those components are still old...

    You would be better off buying a 2010 mac pro for £250 and doing the same 4,1-5,1 3.46 hex £100 16gb ram rx560-80 £150-250 and using the imac as a display. Then you will get a machine that works well and is faster with the potential to add more SSDs (or PCI SSDs for 1000-1500mbs) and PCI cards with USB 3, 3.1 C etc etc.
     
  10. Old School Gamer, May 31, 2018
    Last edited: May 31, 2018

    Old School Gamer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Old School Gamer

    Joined:
    May 30, 2018
    #10
    Here are my reasons for this upgrade:

    Why I want to: I enjoy gaming on the 27" screen, it would be nice to simply play the games I currently enjoy at a higher Resolution/FPS, even modestly. I have many, many systems/consoles, etc... I have installed "Open Emu" on this iMac and it holds all my retro console roms, everything from Atari/NES to GameCube/PS2/Xbox... Open Emu is not available for PC/Windows and it is simply the best Emulation software available. Even newer games like League of Legends, The Witcher, Call of Duty play on the machine now even with 256mb GPU Ram so being able to play those games with higher Res/FPS or being able to run a few games I'm not currently able to run on this machine would be really nice.

    I do have other software/programs that I run and this system really is beautiful. These upgrades will make a big difference in overall performance no matter the task/operation and I like all my systems to run as well as they can.

    Is it worth it:

    I have the RAM already that I've taken from other systems so the 16GB upgrade cost me nothing and it is already installed into the Mac. I'm also lucky enough to have a friend with lots of storage and he gifted me one of his smaller SSD's for this project. I was able to find a really good deal on the Q9550S CPU, they're really cheap right now.... & going from a 256mb GPU to a 2GB is a big leap and will make the most difference for gaming. $200 for this specific GPU is high for the performance level compared to buying a GPU for a custom PC but that's not what I'm doing here and I have all the other parts so spending a a little bit for a nice GPU is worth it to me for this build and it's purposes.

    Thanks for all the input so far! I'm reading the entire Mac Bible right now, it will take me a few days to get through and hopefully I can set the logic board to 1333Mhz to take full advantage of the upgraded CPU. It can be done. Apple just likes to make things harder to do.

    I should note, I never upgrade logic/mother boards, that is my line in the sand for just going to a new build since you'll be buying modern everything to match it. Right now I'm just buying the best components that work with this system that are accessible/affordable to me. In this case, I need to overclock the logic board FSB to take full advantage of the Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S CPU.

    The few dollars I have invested into this project I can also recover from selling the slightly older GPU/CPU/RAM I'm removing.

    Also, I just like a good technical challenge! That is part of the fun of upgrading in this case. You can't learn something from easy/plug and play.

    :)
     
  11. tomscott1988 macrumors 6502a

    tomscott1988

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Fair enough!

    Cant beat a good challenge and nice to work on the machines to give them new life. Also good reading too. :)

    I thought it was a more day to day machine not for a specific reason.
     

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