CHALLENGE(S): iMac 17 Core 2 Duo 1.83Ghz just purchased: no LCD/brackets

Discussion in 'iMac' started by multipleman07, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. multipleman07 macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2010
    Hi everyone! I am new to macs and to this forum! although I have read a few things time to time about iPhones.

    I recently purchased an iMac 17 inch with the 1.83Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and it comes with everything except the LCD and the brackets. The seller stated that among the lot that he bought, this is the only one he forgot to transfer the settings for through firewire to the hard drive so that the setting for mirror is enabled so that it is usable with an external monitor. I actually have no problem using an external monitor, but I have some questions:

    Background info: The LCD for this item is a lot more than I actually thought it would be so I kind of made a mistake with buying this iMac before finding out that the video card is the GMA 950 64MB integrated graphics processor blah blah. While this does suck, it's not that important that I have a killer graphics card. On the other hand, I have read everywhere and it says one must use the specific 661-4020 part # for the LCD, and the cheapest I can find anywhere online is about $400. My friends, this is what I would call ridiculous. I understand why it can be so expensive but here are my questions, which don't necessary coincide, they are for those of you that are far more experienced with Macs than I am and those of you that are gracious enough to try to help me.

    Assuming everything is there except for the LCD and the brackets:
    1. I have read extensively that I cannot upgrade the RAM on my unit past 2GB, but there is another 17 inch with a better video card that supports up to 3GB. It was also brought to my attention somewhere that if I were to install Windows 7, it has recognized the intel GMA as having 244 MB of VRAM available. I assume this is a restriction in the firmware on the logic board (I hope I know what I'm talking about...I'm good with computers, but new to Macs). So, if I were able to change the firmware on the iMac to fit one that accepts a video card with properties of my choosing, and assuming I can somehow bypass(remove the firmware from even recognizing its existence as long as a better and newer GPU has been soldered on (or combine/remove?) the GMA950 by removing it or shorting it from communicating with the logic board (yes, I know it is integrated, but I have a laptop with an Intel GMA GPU and a RAM dependent GPU made by Nvidia...they don't work adjunctly, but there are times when it has thought (through some tinkering) that I was using the integrated intel.Now, I could be wrong and it could have just detected it as a GMA 950.) I am rambling, so I'll get to the point.

    1.1: Is it possible to modify the firmware of the iMac in such a way that it would recognize a soldered on GPU of decent power? This leads me to my next question.
    1.2 Assuming I can modify the firmware itself, can I obtain a larger casing? Are the logic boards in terms of HARDWARE the same? I am inclined to think they are not because my model happens to be the only Core 2 Duo with a 2 MB L2 cache instead of a 4MB L2 cache as all the others I believe have as an options. Then again, this is processor related. They are all Core 2 Duos, and from what I know they are based on the same size in nm (nanometers and architecture) so I want to also know if I can upgrade the CPU. I realize the 667Mhz bus speed on the frontside bus is limiting, but let just forget about overheating right now if I were to be able to overclock it. So right now I am thinking that I sound crazy because I do this stuff all the time with PCs, but I do not know what is restricting one from upgrading Macs. I don't believe that it is impossible unless the hardware itself it different.

    2.0: After wasting your time reading the nonsense above (half-jk), is it possible to change specific settings of a firmware? Is it possible to use a different firmware? The seller told me that the casing NEAR the iSight is cracked but "minor," so as I thought of getting a new computer casing itself, what if I just straight up (let's forget about where the holes and drives and ports are located temporarily) used a relatively new aluminum chassis and LCD screen, but everything else is different. Assuming I could find a way, as unclean as it might look to make holes that don't match up with the board etc., would it still be possible? I see 20 inch or even 24 inch iMac LCDs being sold for around 200 or so? Compared to the LOWEST of 399.99$ with an average price of 550$ and some people for whatever reason asking for one thousand dollars. Is this possible? I know it would be a **** of a lot of work but I am very tempted to buy an IMac 27 inch with just the screen, then buy the GPU separately. Also, how do I go about finding out any sort of technical details about my logic board? By now I am thinking why go to all this trouble? I love trying, even if I fail several times, to accomplish something that people believe cannot be done. I know how insane this all sounds, but what complications might arise? I'm thinking the aluminum chassis thing would be much to complicated given the new components on the casing itself such as a new iSight camera (maybe different proprietary connector?) etc. etc. So I guess if you want to ignore that question, can I upgrade my computer? I know stuff is soldered on, but I am willing to do it and document it for the community. It suspect constant failure until I give up and/or don't have time OR the wonderful outcome of having it come to fruition!!!!

    2.1 So, if you think you want to address the Aluminum chassis and LCD, go ahead, but I guess a more feasable attempt would be trying to use a 20-24 inch WHITE INTEL IMAC casing and LCD.

    3.0 The biggest issue I can forsee is the very likely possibility that the connectors for different LCD sizes and models are slightly different. But what if this is all a matter of reprogramming firmware and removing and/or soldering a new GPU? Where the hell would I do that anyway? Oh yeah, here is a picture of the computer I am supposed to be getting.

    It would be particularly interesting if anyone notices anything that stands out off the bat (assuming this is the picture of the iMac arriving next week.)

    Guys (and gals), thank you so much for reading this pipedream of a thread, but if you happen to know that it is POSSIBLE, but very hard and less PROBABLE, then I would like to know that. It upsets me quite a bit that I cannot upgrade my iMac...I assumed that initially, though I didn't read up enough to realize that instead of an ATI-NVIDIA 128-512MB video card in WHITE CORE2DUO iMacs, my very uncommon video card was as lackluster as it is...residentially (likely for schools and to drop prices considerably.) I get the impression that the logic boards are different BUT this is a Core 2 Duo thats pretty stripped (no superdrive [ehn] or firewire 800 [upsets me considerably] or bluetooth [ehn]) since we don't want our kids playing video games at school, that for kids to do with the new iMacs :) Thanks again for reading this everyone. I hope I've asked some mildly interesting questions (that I know some of which have been answered, but noticed inconsistencies in answers).

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, scene one, take two...action!

    nah, wow I hope someone cares to reply in a way that is at least a little helpful. I recognize that this might as well be a blog or a book, but I like to think/hope/try/fail/succeed/ladfjlajsdlkajsdflksjfasd.

    Multiple Man
  2. flopticalcube, Nov 22, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2010

    flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    No. The iMac is basically a laptop inside aside from the hard drive. Nothing is upgradable except the CPU. 2.33ghz is the max. The multipliers are locked so there is no overclocking ability. If you can't live with it's current performance, sell it and buy a better one. Most white iMacs have the ati or nvdia cards but yours is the edu model. You could swap the motherboard with an ati version which was the only other 17" but it's not worth the expense or hassle.

    The edu models were the only C2Ds stuck at 2gb ram max, afaik.
  3. multipleman07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2010
    Thanks a lot for all that information, I like learning. I wonder how much that stuff would cost.

    Apple disinguishes these models with this:

    Intel Core 2 Duo

    MA710xx/A iMac (17-inch Late 2006 CD)
    MA590xx/A iMac (17-inch Late 2006)
    MA589xx/A iMac (20-inch Late 2006)
    MA456xx/A iMac (24-inch)
    MA876XX/A iMac (20-inch Mid 2007)
    MA877XX/A iMac (20-inch Mid 2007)
    MA878XX/A iMac (24-inch Mid 2007)

    and this:

    Intel Core 2 Duo for the EMC

    2124 iMac (17-inch Late 2006 CD)
    2114 iMac (17-inch Late 2006)
    2118 iMac (20-inch Late 2006)
    2111 iMac (24-inch)
    2133 iMac (20-inch Mid 2007)
    2134 iMac (24-inch Mid 2007)

    I assume I am 2124 as in the 17-inch late 2006 CD...though below the tables, they say this:

    iMac (Mid 2006)
    The iMac (Mid 2006) was introduced in July 2006. This computer has several features that distinguish it from the iMac (Early 2006):

    * A 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo processor with a 17-inch screen AND
    * Comes with the Intel GMA950 graphics processor using shared main memory.
    * Comes with a Combo drive (reads DVDs and CDs, writes CDs)
    * Does NOT come with built-in Bluetooth"

    I'm almost 100% sure my model is the MA710xx/A.

    So here are a few questions, short ones:
    1. Why can't I use a larger main display if I get the casing for it (assuming I can improvise fittings for the ports)?
  4. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    Well, you could but the ports would certainly not line up and neither would the mounting holes.
  5. sotiredofsoup macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2010
    Santa Monica, CA
    I bought a 20" iMac G5 iSight for fun to try and replace the logic board and sell it. It would have been a great plan if that machine wasn't awful to work on. I ended up making more than my money back by parting out the screen, ram, super drive, and junking the rest. Nothing else was salvagable... the owner removed the HD and severed the isight wires and a few other things in the process. And yes, those screens are RIDICULOUSLY expensive when you look for a replacement. Personally, I would find a different project or a Mac Mini.
  6. shoulin333 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    In theory anything is possible.

    In reality I think your time would be more valuable to you than it is worth. You are likely to come up short on your expectations and most certainly spend more money than that machine is worth.

    I would suggest either finding an iMAC of the same model with a dead logic board but good LCD and make one good one out of the two. If you are ok with an external monitor you might want to consider selling this and picking up a used Mac Mini off craigslist or eBay.

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