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Sully

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 27, 2007
263
229
I can upgrade the RAM and change out the spinning hard drive with an SSD for about $300. The project looks fun. But, is it even with it given that it’s a 7 year old desk top computer? It’s used for email and web surfing.
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
7,536
8,871
Many people on the forum are so quick to recommend spending $$$$ on a new Mac just because a Mac is older.

I think if the Mac is generally adequate for the task, but could be improved by investing a (relatively) small amount of money, why spend thousands now, when you can spend a fraction of that and have a similar experience.

But, is it even with it given that it’s a 7 year old desk top computer?
It totally depends on what you plan on doing with it.

It’s used for email and web surfing.
If that is it, then those upgrades would totally be worth it.

Just make sure you know what you are getting into. It really isn't that big of a deal, and people act like it is rocket surgery, but you can damage the display and connectors if not done correctly.

Use the right tools, especially the pizza cutter-like tool, and know where to cut.

Get someone to help you when disconnecting the cable connectors, especially since you first time.

Use quality adhesive strips, and clean old strips really, really well. When putting back together, clamp with your hands or some tape for a while to make sure there is good adhesion, as some report that the display fell off a few weeks after. I am sure they didn't clean well, use quality strips (or they went bad), or give enough time squeezing it to make sure it was together.

I can upgrade the RAM and change out the spinning hard drive with an SSD for about $300.
What size SSD where you looking to get?

If you want to save yourself the trouble of opening your Mac, maybe consider using a USB or TB drive.

If it is SATA, it won't be as fast as an internal SSD swap, but it is quick, easy and could be about as cheap as doing an internal drive. while the speeds wouldn't be as fast, they would be faster than your HDD, and much more responsive.

You can get a 1TB SATA SSD and a USB3/SATA adapter for less than $90. You can always decide later to install it internally if you want a cleaner set up or faster drive.
 

Sully

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 27, 2007
263
229
Thank you for the detailed response. I’m going to do it. The RAM looks cumbersome, but it will be interesting. The machine is truly just an internet surfer and emailer. But, the spinning ball and bouncing icons are making it so it’s not enjoyable to use. Thinking 1Tb and 16 Gb or RAM.
 

cheaptech

macrumors newbie
Aug 10, 2020
29
9
Many people on the forum are so quick to recommend spending $$$$ on a new Mac just because a Mac is older.

I think if the Mac is generally adequate for the task, but could be improved by investing a (relatively) small amount of money, why spend thousands now, when you can spend a fraction of that and have a similar experience.


It totally depends on what you plan on doing with it.


If that is it, then those upgrades would totally be worth it.

Just make sure you know what you are getting into. It really isn't that big of a deal, and people act like it is rocket surgery, but you can damage the display and connectors if not done correctly.

Use the right tools, especially the pizza cutter-like tool, and know where to cut.

Get someone to help you when disconnecting the cable connectors, especially since you first time.

Use quality adhesive strips, and clean old strips really, really well. When putting back together, clamp with your hands or some tape for a while to make sure there is good adhesion, as some report that the display fell off a few weeks after. I am sure they didn't clean well, use quality strips (or they went bad), or give enough time squeezing it to make sure it was together.


What size SSD where you looking to get?

If you want to save yourself the trouble of opening your Mac, maybe consider using a USB or TB drive.

If it is SATA, it won't be as fast as an internal SSD swap, but it is quick, easy and could be about as cheap as doing an internal drive. while the speeds wouldn't be as fast, they would be faster than your HDD, and much more responsive.

You can get a 1TB SATA SSD and a USB3/SATA adapter for less than $90. You can always decide later to install it internally if you want a cleaner set up or faster drive.

i have read repeatedly that 16gb is max on the RAM. But that was also said of the 2009 - 2011 for sometime. I see the 14,1 only has two slots. So it would take 2x16 to step up. Is that possible?
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
7,536
8,871
i have read repeatedly that 16gb is max on the RAM. But that was also said of the 2009 - 2011 for sometime. I see the 14,1 only has two slots. So it would take 2x16 to step up. Is that possible?
According to EveryMac.com, it is only 16GB max RAM.

That is also Apple's official max RAM, but sometimes Apple's listing are wrong due to what was available at the time of release, and the maximum if often higher than what Apple lists. But, in this case, it looks like it is only 16GB.

That being said, if you are currently using only 8GB, I would consider using the activity monitor to determine the memory pressure and if you could benefit from more RAM versus getting a new computer with more than 16GB of RAM.
 

Juicy Box

macrumors 604
Sep 23, 2014
7,536
8,871
But, the spinning ball and bouncing icons are making it so it’s not enjoyable to use.
I would try using an external SSD first. I bet that spinning ball, bouncing icons, and general sluggishness probably has more to do with the HDD, and you would see a huge improvement with switching to a SSD. You can alway install it internally later if you want, and upgrade the RAM then.

Another thing, I am unsure what OS you are using, but HDDs run horribly with APFS and it has only gotten worse with Catalina. Using a SSD should improve things a lot.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Penryn
Feb 20, 2009
28,636
12,757
Do you really, really, need more RAM?
Or... is it doing well-enough as it is?

Actually, this question depends on how much "disk swapping" your RAM usage requires. The "swapping" will go much faster on a Mac with an SSD, even with the same amount of RAM (unchanged).

You will see about 80-85% of the speed of an internally-installed SATA SSD by using a USB3 SSD instead. Just "plug it in and go".

The advantages of doing it this way:
- You don't have to pry open the iMac, and risk breaking something
and
- When it comes time to upgrade, just unplug the SSD and plug it into your new Mac.

Just something to consider...
 

Sully

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Oct 27, 2007
263
229
I ended up adding an internal SSD and foregoing the memory. This was a great decision as the new SSD solves all of our issues and made an old computer function like new. It was a fun project and not too involved. Much better than buying new for our use.
 
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