iMac early 2009 upgrade

Discussion in 'iMac' started by CrashCocoB, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. CrashCocoB macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2015

    I recently received an iMac early 2009 model with Intel Core 2 Duo (2.66 GHz), 4 GB RAM and 320 GB HDD.
    It's currently running Mountain Lion.

    So far, what I've only done is:
    - delete the previous user account file, create a new admin account ;
    - downloaded (but not installed) El Capitan upgrade app.

    Before installing El Capitan, I'll do a back-up of the "cleaned" system with TimeMachine.

    The upgrades I'll do for sure are:
    - Max the RAM to 8GB
    - Replace the 320HDD to 500 GB SSD.

    The other hardware upgrade I'm thinking about is replacing the CPU with a Core 2 Duo (3.06 GHz) as they share the same socket.

    Once the upgrade is completed, then move the El Capitan.

    My usage (currently I'm doing this on a mid-2012 mbp with i5, 4GB RAM and 500 GB HDD) is:
    - DxO Optics Pro for raw processing (photography)
    - iMovie (max 1080p)
    - GoPro studio & Quik (max 1080p)

    I'd like to do these task on this iMac which would be way more confortable.

    Finally my question is: does it worth to upgrade the CPU ?
  2. CrashCocoB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2015
    Also, an additional question: I read that the HDD has a built-in heat sensor.
    If I pick the SSD from Crucial website - sold as upgrade for iMac early 2009, would I need to do something else or it has also the sensor built-in ?
  3. kschendel macrumors 65816

    Dec 9, 2014
    My early 2009 had a stick-on heat sensor, not an embedded one. I just taped it onto the SSD and all was well. I'm pretty sure they are all that way.

    The memory and SSD upgrades make it almost a whole different machine. The early 2009 isn't all that hard to get into, so I think if I were doing it, I'd start there and see if it's usable. If some operations are too draggy, then try the CPU upgrade. I don't know how twitchy the CPU upgrade would be; maybe if it's super easy, and you can get the CPU cheap, maybe do it all at once. Just from clock rates you can expect maybe 15% improvement on CPU bound work.

    By the way, if you are using the iFixit instructions for replacing the SSD, read the comments and do NOT disconnect the main display cable. It's the devil to get back on, apparently, and it's entirely unnecessary. You can get it all done just shifting the display to the side a bit.
  4. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    I am doing upgrades to a 2007 iMac.

    if you want clean desk or have external optical I bought a caddy to put a HDD in the optical bay.
    so 240GB SSD and a 500GB HDD. I plan on relocating my home folder to the HDD.
  5. CrashCocoB thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 15, 2015
    OK, thanks for the feed-back.
    I'll check if I can get this CPU for cheap, if so, I'll replace everything in one shot.

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4 February 10, 2018