Add RAM to iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by NJFP, Jan 1, 2017.

  1. NJFP macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    #1
    Bought a refurbished iMac.
    Refurbished 21.5-inch iMac 1.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5

    Above is the model. It came with 8G of RAM, and I can't see anyway to increase the RAM. This thing is super SLOOOOOOOW! And it's new, with bare bones programs/apps installed. Is there ANY way to boot up the RAM to 16G or am I stuck?
     
  2. Clix Pix, Jan 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017

    Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #2
    Sorry to say this, but the 21.5" iMac is not upgradeable by the consumer. You will not be able to add RAM to it at all. The 27" iMac, however, IS upgradeable and the consumer can add more RAM as needed.

    By the way, one reason it is slow is because it is running with a 5200rpm "platter" hard drive rather than a 7200rpm or a Solid State Drive (SSD).....and that makes a big difference.

    Last year when the retina 21.5" was announced, I took a look at the specs and realized that the innards were not all that different from the 2012 iMac I already had.....so passed it up and instead went for a 15" rMBP which came with what I wanted: 16 GB RAM and a speedy 512 SSD. I've been much happier with this machine than I would have been with the retina iMac. It is more flexible in that I can also add a monitor of any size that I want as well, although I have not yet done so.
     
  3. Radiomarko, Jan 1, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2017

    Radiomarko macrumors member

    Radiomarko

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    #3
    Going by the Processor speed this is a model from 2015 or earlier. In which case, depending on exactly which model year it is (go to apple menu then "about this mac" to get more details) the RAM possibly could be changed by the user but it may be at the max anyway. Will need specific model details to be more precise 8)
     
  4. niploteksi macrumors regular

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    Dec 11, 2016
    #4
    It's probably the lack of SSD as Clix Pix said.

    Edit: Unless you do other tasks than browse the internet.
     
  5. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #5
    The RAM cannot be upgraded on a 2015 21.5-inch iMac, unless you want to spend a lot of money, and replace the logic board. o_O
    Best upgrade, when you have a spinning hard drive, is to get a nice external USB 3.0 case, with an SSD.
    Even better, a Thunderbolt external SSD, but you would like a USB 3.0 SSD which will be much cheaper than the Thunderbolt drive.
    Not as good as an internal SSD, but way-y-y better than the spinning hard drive.
     
  6. curmudgeonette macrumors 6502

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    #6
    Processor speed makes it a Late 2015 21.5" non-retina - which uses soldered RAM.
     
  7. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #7
    Although adding an external SSD would not solve the RAM problem, it definitely would speed up the machine in other ways. Samsung makes an external SSD (T3) in several capacities up to 2 TB and it can be used with USB 3 ports or the newer USB-C ports. It is tiny and it is very, very fast. I agree with DeltaMac that adding an external SSD would be one solution for your problem.
     
  8. niploteksi macrumors regular

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    #8
    Did they glue the drive as well? Not just the RAM?
     
  9. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #9
    The thing is, taking apart an iMac is no easy task.....and more importantly, getting it back together again, which is the significant part, can be problematic. So, regardless if the HD and the RAM are both soldered to the logic board, just getting at them to make changes is a challenge in itself.
     
  10. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #10
    Others have said it, but the spinning platter disk is your biggest problem. Get an external SSD and install OSX to it. Regarding RAM however, are you sure you even need more? Keep a look at Activity Monitor whilst doing your day to day tasks and see if you even put pressure on the RAM, cause if not, adding more will practically do nothing. More RAM than necessary gives no real benefit aside from allowing file caching. CPU and GPU aren't exactly speed-demons either though, but as long as you don't do super intensive things, an SSD should be all you need to get a more than fast enough computer.
     
  11. DeltaMac macrumors 604

    DeltaMac

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    #11
    Yes - the RAM is not glued, but is soldered in place. No open slots (or slots of any kind), so there's no way to add more to your iMac, unless you want to replace the logic board completely. The iMac is held together with (pretty strong) double-sided tape. You have to cut it open. Hard drive is inside. As was stated above, not easy to do.
     
  12. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

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    #12
    I have to agree with others that the problem is the HDD, not the 8GB ram which should be plenty. Booting from an external SSD would probably make a huge difference
     
  13. NJFP thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Thanks all for the great suggestions! I'll look into the Samsung external SSD. Anyone have a favorite site to shop for the Samsung?
     
  14. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #14
    Where are you from? I personally usually just start with amazon.co.uk
     
  15. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #15
    If you bought the 2015, then you cannot upgrade the memory because it's soldered. (You can if it's an older models.)

    How else do you expect Scrooge McDuck aka Tim Cook to make money?
     
  16. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #16
    You know, there is actually logic behind soldering the chips, It reduces heat, uses less space, and consumes slightly less power, similar to how BGA CPUs produce less heat than socketed once.
     
  17. tubeexperience, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017

    tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #17
    Whatever supposed differences don't matter in a desktop computer.

    Turning on the air conditioning unit for a couple of hours uses more energy than a does few sticks of RAM for a month.
     
  18. NJFP thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #18
    The States. Wife and I use Amazon for almost everything, I'll start there. Thanks
     
  19. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #19
    Indeed, but heat matters. Especially in an all in one. There's a reason they're still accessible in the 27" and the Mac Pro. More thermal headroom. And I know what you're thinking, but I must disagree with you. How thin and beautiful the iMacs are does make a difference, even on a desktop. The aesthetics are important for a lot of users, me included, and I care about how thin my iMac is. Would I care about 10mm to get replaceable RAM? Well, no, probably not, but then we might as well make everything removable and add a CD drive and now it's as thick as the G3.
    Do I agree with Apple's decisions? Not always, no. Do I understand them and avoid the temptation of writing conspiracy theories on all the walls? Yes
    --- Post Merged, Jan 2, 2017 ---
    Cheers, mate. Also heard a lot of positives about Newegg, but never been able to shop there since I'm in Europe and with the added shipping and tax it'd be pointless
     
  20. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #20
    Yes, Amazon has the Samsung T3 in the various capacities.....also, if you live near MicroCenter, they also have them. I know I have seen them somewhere else too but can't recall where -- might have been Best Buy? Amazon and MicroCenter are your best bets, though.
     
  21. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #21
    Strange how you said that because the previous model has the same thickness, yet was somehow able to accommodate removable RAM.

    Apple did the same thing with the Mac Mini: keep the same body as the previously model, but soldered the RAM in the new model.
     
  22. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #22
    When exactly did removable RAM stop being a thing on the 21.5" iMac? Wasn't it when they changed design in 2012? Or was it with the move to the 4K panels? If it was the design change, the new one is thinner. If it was with the 4k panels, the screens and components related to screen control produce slightly more heat. I'm not saying the business aspect didn't play into it, as is obvious with the Mac Mini. However, in defence of the Mini, I wager that has more to do with production optimisation than it does requiring consumers buy RAM directly from Apple, since I wager most people did that anyway. Even though swapping RAM is extremely easy and trivial, most consumers don't even bother with the easy. And if all the other computers used soldered RAM it's easier to move more of the production over to a similar style.
     
  23. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #23
    Late 2013 iMac 21.5" still have RAM slots.

    It obviously has nothing to do with 4K panel because the Mid 2014 (non-Retina/4K) iMac also has soldered RAM.

    In fact, it was the very same year that Apple released the Mac Mini with soldered RAM.

    16 GB (2 x 8GB) can be purchased for ~$85.

    Apple changes $200 to upgrade from 8GB to 16GB.

    The motive isn't exactly hard to determine
     
  24. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

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    #24
    As I said, obviously a business decision as well, but as I also stated in my last comment, I believe it has more to do with streamlining the production than it does removing the user's access to the RAM slots. But of course getting a larger markup on the RAM pins is only a plus in Apple's book
     
  25. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

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    #25
    It's safe to say that Apple as of late has been all about selling razor thin throwaway devices.

    Anything that would extend the life of devices, such as upgrading the memory, needs to be made impossible.
     

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