Most upgradable IMAC...

Discussion in 'iMac' started by FyerFyer, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. FyerFyer macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2015
    Hi guys

    I have maxed out my mid 2012 MBP non retina(wish I could replace the screen with retina but don’t think I can) and am now looking to buy a cheap iMac and do the same.

    Can anyone recommend the best of the old iMacs that can be updated eg ram, hard drive etc as it worked out so much cheaper with me to buy an old MBP and upgrade it myself.

    Thanks guys
  2. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
  3. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    The most upgradable iMacs would probably be the Late 2009 - Mid 2011 iMacs.

    AFAIK all iMacs can have their storage and RAM upgraded.

    But, the Late 2009 - Mid 2011 iMacs can have their video cards replaced or upgraded, unlike most
    other iMacs. I think there are a lot of options, and can even use video cards from certain PCs like some Dells.

    The Mid 2007 - Early 2009 iMacs can have their video cards swapped, but I think I remember reading that there was very limited number of compatible cards to use.

    The G3s could have the VRAM upgraded, but I think the GPU was soldered, like most iMacs.

    There might be a few others that can easily upgrade the GPU, but I cant think of any.

    Late 2009 - Mid 2011 iMacs had a spare SATA3 port on the logic board, and the optical drive (SATA2) could be replaced with a HDD or SSD, making it the only iMacs (IIRC) that have have 3 internal drives.

    You could run a SW RAID0 boot drive with the extra drive(s).

    Another good thing about it is that you can use these displays in Target Display Mode, and use it as a monitor.
  4. FyerFyer thread starter macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2015
    Thanks buddy

    I was under the impression that the IMACS were notorious for being difficult to do home upgrades, perhaps Im wrong.
    If not the case then perhaps a newer model may be better, 2015, 2016 etc..?

    Apparently the 27inch on the new models are easier to upgrade..?
  5. Razzerman macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2007
    I'd agree with vertical smile - those imacs are the easiest to upgrade. All imacs after 2011 are a pita to upgrade due to the fact the screen is glued to the frame. And any home upgrades to any of the imacs aren't going to be 'easy'. Check out ifixit for the procedures.
  6. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    Terms like "easy" and "difficult" are relative terms.

    Not as easy as a Mac Pro, but not as hard as some other Macs.

    As @Razzerman stated, iFixit is a very helpful resource to fix and upgrade these Macs. They have a gauge stating the difficulty, which I would say for me, the middle difficult area would be more of an easy fix.

    BTW, the Late 2012 and after iMacs and after do have their displayed glued in, and while I have not removed mine yet, it doesn't look that difficult. You can get a kit from iFixit with the strip cutting tool to remove the display and glue strips for when you put it back together.

    One thing that is really hard, IIRC, is removing the SSD portion of the storage on these iMacs, as I think the logic board needs to be totally removed. You would be better off just adding a SSD on the second SATA port or if there is a HDD, replacing it with a SSD.

    The RAM is super easy on those iMacs, or at least the 27" models.

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5 June 11, 2019