Photos: installing a 6970M in a 2011 27"

Discussion in 'iMac' started by JPamplin, Jul 26, 2016.

  1. JPamplin, Jul 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2016

    JPamplin macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #1
    I've put too much into this iMac, but honestly it's more of a hobby now more than anything. I bought a 2011 iMac 27" 2.7Ghz i5 for $600 last year, and upgraded it as follows:
    • Core i7-2600S 2.8Ghz - $150
    • 2x Samsung 500GB 850 EVO SSDs - $140 each (SATA3 RAID0)
    • 1x PNY 240GB SSD for the SuperDrive bay - $60
    • 32GB (4x8GB) DDR3L-1600 RAM (runs at 1333) - $85
    • 6970M 2GB card - $240
    • 6970 3-pipe heatsink - $35
    I've seen all the issues with the 6970M, and I think it's all related to HEAT. So if you're going to install one of these beasts in your iMac, keeping it cool is so important. So learn from this thread and apply the thermal pads in just the way I have shown in the pictures.

    I'll upload the photos I took showing how easy it is - but you NEED thermal pads and the correct, 3-pipe heatsink to make this work. The 2 pipe is NOT correct - you can see in one of the pics below that the 3-pipe has much larger pipes, and the cooling zone matches the various chips on the PCB.

    I took 99% alcohol and a toothbrush to clean all the old thermal paste off the 6970M first, before applying new thermal paste. Don't go nuts with the new paste - 1/4" on the die should be plenty.

    Be sure to remove the protective film on the pads before applying, and apply thermal paste (I use Arctic Silver 5) with a baggie / saran wrap wrapped around your finger to smooth out. It's a pretty easy process once you get the logic board out.

    I opened Portal 2 at max settings and played it for a few minutes. GPU temp got up to 165 F (apparently it's rated for 200 F) but everything worked great, and it cooled down rapidly. I do notice the 6970M is a fair bit smoother than the 6770M at full resolution - it does offer twice the bandwidth and 4x the RAM after all. Too bad there's no Metal on it.

    UPDATE: Frickin' thing suffered damage after a power surge in my office building. Welp, it's back to the 6770M again.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #2
    And to anyone who's curious about how fast a SATA3 RAID0 is on this iMac:

    SATA3.RAID0.png
     
  3. ajsimeon macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2007
  4. tubeexperience macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    #4
    Is this a RAID0 of all three SSDs?
     
  5. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #5
    No! You should never try to mix SATA2 ports with SATA3 ports in a RAID0 - this is just the 2 500GB EVOs on the SATA3 ports.
     
  6. TheChemist macrumors regular

    TheChemist

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    #6
    I am subscribing to this excellent thread, as I'm looking to do the same conversions.
     
  7. tjgonzo macrumors member

    tjgonzo

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2013
    Location:
    California
    #7
    What size thermal pads did you buy? I am going to bake my dying 6790m to see if I can get a couple more months of use.
     
  8. JPamplin thread starter macrumors 6502

    JPamplin

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    #8

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