Cheap(er) Upgrading

Discussion in 'iMac' started by bfoust77, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. bfoust77 macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2012
    I just bought a 2006 model iMac 17'' for $150. My current plan is to find a newer model (2010 or newer) shell and transfer all the goodies inside mine into it giving me a better display (i.e 24"- 27"). I've found several people selling these shells (just the screen with nothing else inside) and am interested in doing it, but I need some guidance as to how practical (and/or difficult) this will be or if it is even possible at all. I talked to a guy at a computer repair shop, and he said that he would put it together for me for $130. Is this just going to result in my Mac being unusable and all my money gone? Oh, and I'm also wanting to upgrade the CPU to the core 2 duo and I'm not sure which is the best possible one I can get that will still be compatible. Thanks for any input.
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    First of all, I think you'e idea(although fun) is kind of crazy. It is completely doable and the guy offering to do it for $130 might be a good idea as long and you draw up some kind of contract first that states that you can keep all of your equipment and the service should only be paid for in full if the service results in a properly working computer.

    I think the 17" one that you bought only supports 1440x 900 and might look kind of strange on a 24" iMac. However, the hardware that you have does support a second display resolution max of 1920x1200, so you might be able to modify something when installing all the hardware to make it think that your main display is an external or secondary.

    An isn't the 17" 2006 model a C2D? Or do you have the 1.83 GHz Core Duo?
  3. omvs macrumors 6502

    May 15, 2011
    Not to be a downer, but I don't think there's a good chance of success.... I would think the connectors betweens the 17" and the 24"/27" display probably wouldn't be exactly the same.

    ex: A few years ago I swapped out the panel on a 15" laptop, and if I remember correctly there were some differences between connectors on the board that powered the backlight. Fortunately the panel connector to the backlight was the same, so I managed to use the old board with the new panel.

    Maybe this stuff is a lot more standardized these days -- but I could even see the connectors being identical, but at different locations on the mainboard or panel and screwing everything up. Then there's the questions of how stuff would mechanically mount, etc. And probably a ton of other details that I can't think of offhand.

    Consider me skeptical - I'd assume there's a good chance your money will be wasted, and a reasonable chance the the old equipment might not work either... If that doesn't bother you, go ahead! ;)
  4. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    The power supply from the old 17" may not be able to power a 27" iMac. The graphics on the 17" will not work with Mountain Lion and may not work with Lion.

    You will run in to a lot of issues that need to be worked around for the project you have in mind. I'm not sure it will really be cost effective. You might be better off looking for a 2009 (or so) iMac to buy used.
  5. pubjoe, Jul 18, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2012

    pubjoe macrumors 6502

    Aug 14, 2007
    Also you have the problem that the newer cases are thinner than the old. Below is a picture that compares the 2006 white iMac to the 2007 (and the 2009 models got even thinner still). I've opened up an intel 17" imac a couple of times and found the components to fit in very snugly. The optical drive has a daughter board mounted to the side that increases height, this would have to be replaced which would increase cost. The heat sink will need adapting or replacing, this would be a very difficult task and would increase the cost. The display connectors on the 17" are physically different and located in a different place, you would would need some sort of adapter/extension which would increase cost. ...Etc etc. I've only just scratched the surface and you can see where I'm going here.

    The case would need modifying to mount everything - some parts such as the ram slot and rear ports will be more difficult than others and result in an eye-sore. Even if you could get everything to fit, the differences in the airflow system would almost definitely cause it to overheat.

    By the time you replace the optical drive, cables, fans, heatsinks, and the cpu to a core2duo to run lion, you'd have spent more money on a slower computer that will certainly give you power supply and heat problems.

    My eyebrows raised when you said a computer repair shop guy told you he'd do it. I suspect he has no idea what he's talking about. It would be a miracle if he even got as far as creating an overheating underpowered frankenmachine - let alone for only $130. I bet he'd get no further than take everything apart, feel like crying, and then fob you off with a lie about pre-existing hardware faults.

    One last thing. The 17" intel imac is an excellent, smart looking machine. I bought one second hand a while ago and my Son has it now. The screen, although smaller, is clearly superior than the cheap TN panels that apple later put on the 2007/8/9 20" imac and the specifications are fine for most tasks. My Son even plays portal 2 on it (in windows7 through bootcamp) and it runs it really nicely.

    My advice is upgrade it to a core2duo, keep the case as it is and you've got yourself a very nice little computer for a bargain price.


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