iMac's with dedicated graphics and swapping said cards.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jamosdeyamos, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. jamosdeyamos macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    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?


    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
    Resolution: 1920 x 1080
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Main Display: Yes
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Built-In: Yes
    Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz
    Pixel Depth: 32-Bit Color (ARGB8888)
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Rotation: Supported
  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    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.
  3. jamosdeyamos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    there's no way to buy a compatible card from these companies? Specifically for iMac?
  4. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Pretty sure not. But you might want others to post their comments as well. I could be wrong.
  5. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    The 4670 is on a GPU daughterboard.


    That tiny thing with even more tiny things stuck to it :p

    You're most definitely not going to find anything like that sold outside of Apple.
  6. jamosdeyamos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2010
    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.
  7. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    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.
  8. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    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
  9. TMRaven macrumors 68020


    Nov 5, 2009
    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.
  10. aliensporebomb macrumors 68000


    Jun 19, 2005
    Minneapolis, MN, USA, Urth

    Why don't you try the graphics update that has produced great increases in graphics speed instead of swapping hardware?
  11. bolen macrumors 6502


    Jul 22, 2008
    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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