iMac's with dedicated graphics and swapping said cards.

jamosdeyamos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2010
4
0
Toronto
So I've searched and found old posts about this topic, but none recent enough to be relevant.

I have an iMac with an ATI Radeon HD 4670 graphics card. This is a dedicated graphics card using an internal PCIe slot. Despite being hard to reach, this SHOULD mean it's swappable with a different card, am I right? Driver issues aside, it theoretically should be possible. Only thing is, I don't know anyone who's done it, or where I'd even begin to buy one.

Any thoughts?

James!

PS, I want to play SC2 on 'ultra' everything! BOOYAH!


Hardware Overview:

Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac10,1
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
Processor Speed: 3.33 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache: 6 MB
Memory: 4 GB
Bus Speed: 1.33 GHz
Boot ROM Version: IM101.00CC.B00
SMC Version (system): 1.52f9
Serial Number (system): ---------------
Hardware UUID: F7DDCCFB-539A-51BC-B31F-1FDCAEB84164


ATI Radeon HD 4670:

Chipset Model: ATI Radeon HD 4670
Type: GPU
Bus: PCIe
PCIe Lane Width: x16
VRAM (Total): 256 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x9488
Revision ID: 0x0000
ROM Revision: 113-B8030C-253
EFI Driver Version: 01.00.367
Displays:
iMac:
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Built-In: Yes
W2243:
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz
Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Rotation: Supported
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
It isn't just a regular PCIe slot. It's some very odd slot that is rare outside of Apple iMacs. That being said the only swapping can be down between compatible iMacs.
 

jamosdeyamos

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 5, 2010
4
0
Toronto
nice find on the pic! I had seen one similar and expected the layout. what about salvaging do you think? I don't know enough about the mechanics to know what would be compatible, but even if I could swap a 512 card from another iMac it would be a kick.
 

xraydoc

macrumors demi-god
Oct 9, 2005
7,698
1,860
192.168.1.1
The iMacs currently use a graphics chip on something called an MXM Type III card. While theoretically the cards are removable and can be replaced with another compatible card, they are fairly hard to come by. Additionally, since the iMacs' heat pipe cooling system is designed specifically for the card that is included in the machine, it's unlikely that any replacement card's main chip would line up and mount to the cooler properly.

So, while, yes - it is theoretically possible to upgrade the graphics system on certain iMacs (ones w/out integrated Intel or nVidia graphics), it is far more complicated than dropping a new card in and closing up the case.
 

Hellhammer

Moderator emeritus
Dec 10, 2008
22,164
581
Finland
You're better off selling your current because if you managed to find a compatible card, it would cost hundreds, replacement cards I've seen go for ~500$. That would get you ATI 5970 on PC world. Plus, you would be looking at minor upgrade if you want the 5670 (aka 5730M), so it's definitely not worth it. It costs you less to sell it and buy a new one
 

TMRaven

macrumors 68020
Nov 5, 2009
2,099
1
It isn't just a regular PCIe slot. It's some very odd slot that is rare outside of Apple iMacs. That being said the only swapping can be down between compatible iMacs.
MXM cards are pretty universal.

On another note, finding an actual mxm card on the market would be rather hard. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it might take a while. Probably the biggest reason not to upgrade is that upgrading to say.. the current mobility 5730 that replaced your iMac's mobility 4670 is not that much worth it. If you were to upgrade to a different mobility 5k series, there's no guarantee that apple's updated drivers would cover them.
 

bolen

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2008
351
0
Sweden
You're better off selling your current because if you managed to find a compatible card, it would cost hundreds, replacement cards I've seen go for ~500$. That would get you ATI 5970 on PC world. Plus, you would be looking at minor upgrade if you want the 5670 (aka 5730M), so it's definitely not worth it. It costs you less to sell it and buy a new one
Very well said, there's no use in trying to do this. A MXM replacement is crazy expensive.

Selling the current and getting a new iMac will probably cost about the same as getting the MXM card... except that you don't have to risk destroying the iMac in the process.
 
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