Retina on an older iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by zoran, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. zoran macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    Is it possible to place a Retina display panel on an older 27" mid 2010 iMac?
  2. Glassed Silver macrumors 68020

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    Even if you managed to get it done, don't expect anything fruitful* coming out of it.

    Also, RIP to your GPU. Especially if it's an AMD model.

    Glassed Silver:mac

    *pun actually intended :p
  3. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    Why not? Just curious. :)


    Explain further please.

    My graphics card is the ATI Radeon HD 5750

    Don't get it :(

    Don't get this either :(
  4. Nee412 macrumors 6502

    Jun 25, 2010
    Sunny England!
    Why would you want to?

    You'd have to buy the Retina iMac to get the display, which already comes with way more upto date hardware than the 2010 model.
  5. Glassed Silver macrumors 68020

    Glassed Silver

    Mar 10, 2007
    Kassel, Germany
    1) Sure, you'd be looking at lousy frames per second. Let alone that GPU can't even handle that resolution. It also has no connector to drive that display resolution. It's basically impossible what you're looking to do. As in: No, you can't hack it together, sorry. :(

    2) Ouch, I'm sorry for you. Radeon M's are awful.

    3) No problem, it's just how I sign off my posts. (look at my user name ;) )

    4) that was referring to the pun I made. I marked it with an asterisk.
    fruitful -> fruit -> apple

    Glassed Silver:mac
  6. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    For the 5k display you will need the new chips that give life to those no, or very haard
  7. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    I want to have a 100% certain answer on this issue. So if i get the new graphics card and suppose i also get the display, can it fit right in?
  8. Slyth66 macrumors member

    Jul 23, 2013
    I don't understand how you don't see how ridiculous that sounds... I could have sworn this whole thread was a joke.
  9. Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
  10. robbie12345 macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2011
    United States

    I decided just to give you the short and sweet answer to it instead of elaborating on it haha, because either way it's impossible. First of all, the mac has to have support for the display its running which is both a hardware and software issue. For instance, go to display preferences and you'll see a list of possible resolutions and 5k isn't there. I'm not sure however, if osx can detect the native resolution of the panel, so it still may theoretically be possible, but likely not.

    Also, the 5k display is probably connected to the board by a very, very high bandwidth cable, something that would also need to be put in, and these cables on macs are typically soldered.

    Your gpu of course will never in a million years support it, bear in mind, you are using a midrange laptop gpu from 2010, and this 5k panel is the highest resolution panel the market will bear.

    I doubt your gpu will even support the display at all, especially considering there wasn't a resolution even close to 5k back in 2010.

    Also, I highly doubt all the connections are identical, so you will need a new motherboard for the computer, but the new motherboard might not support some of the older tech in your computer such as ram, pcie in your hard drive, and other things.

    So I will again answer:

  11. boast macrumors 65816


    Nov 12, 2007
    Phoenix, USA
  12. RyanJWilliams macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2014
    Where do you think you're even going to get the display from? They're made to extremely exacting standards specifically for Apple, there is no other product on the market where you can get hold of them and I find it extremely unlikely that Apple will provide it to third-party repair shops.
  13. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    Why not try to have a Retina display on an older iMac and why should it be ridiculous that i ask? I guess you are full of money and able anytime to make purchases, well i don't. I think its smart to be able to make upgrades with a few bucks just by replacing stuff!


    Perhaps get it from ebay or ifixit? :eek:
  14. 0x100 macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2014
    You can't do it because Apple and Amd has put in a custom displayportconnector with extra pins so that the display can be driven as one display and not two halves.
    This is also the reason why target display mode isn't available on the new Imacs.
  15. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    Might there be an adapter to resolve this? ;)
    Can you please post pics of this displayport connector?
  16. 0x100 macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2014
    It's a specific kind of displayport called embedded displayport (e.Dp.).
    Apple uses it for Ipads, retina macbook pros, et.c.

    Old one on top, new one on bottom

    I presume, since this is an Imac, that the connector also has the pins for the camera and the microphone.

    As I see it an adapter would be difficult, but it could totally work.
  17. zoran thread starter macrumors 68040

    Jun 30, 2005
    It could? :) I think were starting to get rolling now!
  18. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    In a 2010 iMac physically it wouldn't fit since its laminated to a piece of glass.

    on a 2012 or 2013 iMac the connector the display panel connects to inside your iMac is physically different on the retina models.

    Even if you made a magic adapter to make it "connect" it wouldn't matter since you don't have DisplayPort 1.2/1.3 on older macs.
  19. Seramir macrumors member


    Nov 10, 2006
    Replacing your panel with a Retina one is not possible, BUT...

    You can fake Retina by running your display in HiDPI mode, although at your display's native 2560 x 1440 resolution, you'll be only to run HiDPI mode at 1280 x 720 max.

    If you use SwitchResX however, you can add a custom scaled resolution such as 3840 x 2160, allowing you to achieve 1920 x 1080 HiDPI on the non-Retina 27" iMacs. I did this successfully on my 2013 27" iMac and the display looks surprisingly great. Of course, it isn't 5K (only 4K), but at this resolution the machine is fast and smooth. I don't want to attempt 5K on it, haha.

    You can see tutorial and results of other people doing the same in this thread:

    Not sure how your 2010 iMac will fare though, since the GPU on that machine is quite old.
  20. RUQRU macrumors regular


    Apr 14, 2011
    Mac Addict!
    Maybe not, see

    To tell all those pixels what to do and when, Apple needed to develop a new type of timing controller, or “TCON.” The chip used in non-Retina iMacs simply wouldn’t have been able to keep up. Apple’s new TCON has an effective bandwidth of 40Gbps, which provides enough power to keep all 14.7 million pixels in the display running smoothly.

    See also:

    Communicating to all of those pixels requires a lot of brain power. In a display, it's called the "timing controller" or T-CON. The T-CON tells ever pixel what to do and when to do it. For this new Retina display a T-CON didn't exist that could do the job. We had to create it. This single incredibly advanced chip is responsible for directing millions of pixels.​


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