Are the older Imacs easier to upgrade?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by DeezelP, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. DeezelP, Jan 23, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2015

    DeezelP macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Hi guys

    Ive been looking at the most recent Imacs (except the Retina) and the specs dont seem that great without spending quite a bit on apple sotre upgrades. However the older Imacs, late 2012 for example looks like a much better deal.

    Can anyone tell me if the older imacs are easier to upgrade, eg add more ram, change hard drive etc... and if so why are the newer ones better?

    thx guys

    EDIT: Ive found this model for quite a good price and was wondering if anyone could help me whether its a good buy? Ill be using it for music production which requires quite a bit aswell as video editing..any advice would be great
  2. redheeler, Jan 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015

    redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    RAM can be easily upgraded with an access slot on any iMac model made within the last 10 years. For other upgrades, the older thicker ones (2011 and earlier) are slightly easier than the newer thin ones (2012 and later).

    Any thin iMac late 2012 and later is pretty much the same as the current ones (including the retina) when it comes to upgradability.

    Edit: The late 2012 and newer 21.5" iMacs don't have an access panel for the RAM, my bad.
  3. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014

    Does that mean I cant upgrade the hard drive either on this model?
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN

    The slim iMacs without the DVD drive are almost impossible to upgrade, aside from the RAM on the 27".

    Trying to replace the hard drive will involve taking apart the entire display. You may even have to remove the logic board.
  5. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I wouldn't describe any iMac as easy to upgrade, but it is doable. The older thicker ones that come with a DVD drive are the easiest. Since late 2012, the thinner model uses glue on the screen making it tricky. IFixit has tear down videos on their website. Certainly not for the faint hearted.
    If moding computers is what you like to do, get the old MacPro or Macmini and you can swap out drives to your hearts content.
  6. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Thanks guys

    Mmm Im a bit stuck now. The imac I am now looking at is fitted with 5400rpm ata 3, so no ssd or flash

    Ive looked at the old mac pro's and from what I understand, hard drives, ram etc can be upgraded real easily. However, Im wondering even with those mods being done, how well will they actually perform considering their age? The parts that cant be modded must be pretty out of date now (e.g motherboard etc)...?
  7. dogslobber macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2014
    Apple Campus, Cupertino CA
    Pre 2012 iMacs are easy to open. A couple of suction cups to remove the glass, about 8 screws holding the lcd down, and four wire connections from lcd to motherboard. Once a pre-2012 is open then the spinner is right there pleading to be upgraded to an SSD.

    A sandybridge imac with SSD is better than a later imac sans SSD as that's the bottleneck.
  8. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Mmm so a mid 2011 model with an i7 with 1666 speed 8gb ram but a 5400 rpm drive could be a good buy as the hard drive is easier to upgrade than a newer 2012 with similar specs?
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    If you don't mind the far-inferior graphics and lack of USB 3 (which I find that it's a big turn-off), by all means go for it.
  10. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Yhe the graphics thing isnt that important to me as I watch most of my stuff on my ipad.

    However, Ive found an even older model which seems ok for the price.

    Just wondering does anyone know if this computer can support faster ram?
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    Graphics as in for gaming, video editing, rendering...

    Not sure, but it's totally not worth it. Just buy a refurb recent-model Mac with an SSD.
  12. MacStu09 macrumors regular

    Aug 27, 2009
    I would highly recommend a Mac Pro, as it is probably the most well-designed computer Apple has ever made. After dealing with upgrades (as limited as they are) and repair on the 2014 imacs and macbook pros, I'm pretty much avoiding all apple computers post 2012. They are literally planned obsolescence, which I used to not believe in, until I opened some of these things up. It's ridiculous.

    And the upgradability is vast on the mac pro in every regard; more than any other apple computer. And it's all extremely simple. Even a 2008-2009 mac pro can easily outperform newer macs; and the upgrades are cheap. Most forums with 'everyday users' will probably give you very 'newer is better' answers, with benchmarks from stock machines vs other stock machines; but it's incredible to see what some of the mac pro communities out there have been able to get out of their machines for such relatively little cost.

    For starters : you can have 8-12 cores, 4 ssd's, 32gb ram, usb 3.0, blu-ray, and an hdmi 2.0 graphics card + a lower-end 4k monitor for the same price as the upgraded imac retina. And it will completely blow that thing out of the water. So, I'd say for any upgradeability, just get a mac pro; but no earlier than 2008. 2009-2010 is usually the best bang for your buck.

    My old mac pro was an 8core 2008, with 16gb ram, and 2 ssd's, with a radeon 7990 and total with all upgrades it cost me $900. And consider that the ssd's were a third of the total price.
  13. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Thanks mate

    Im hearing this more and more. However how upgradable are they? I mean can you upgrade the speed of the ram , change processor etc...? Ive found this 2008 for a good price but not sure how much I could do to it

    Any advice?
  14. DeezelP thread starter macrumors member

    May 26, 2014
    Still debating the above as it does seem like quite a good price. Yes it s old but for $200 can't be that bad

Share This Page

13 January 23, 2015