Swap out CPU and GPU to future proof my iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tnewson, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. tnewson macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #1
    Hi,

    I wanna know if it's possible to future proof my iMac. I've had it apart a couple times and it looks as if the GPU is removable but I'd like to know if my computer would freak out if it noticed a change of hardware like that.

    Also would any sandy bridge i7 or i5 fit my base model 21.5" 2011 iMac?

    It's hard to gauge with apple stuff whether they don't offer an i7 on the base model because it wouldn't work or just because they dont want me to have a powerful base model.

    The 3.4 i7 will drop in price a **** load soon so if it is possible I'll be putting one of those straight in.


    Any info is much appreciated.
     
  2. W123 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2011
    #2
    Nope and nope. GPU is not swappable and CPU is soldered.
     
  3. Sonhascome macrumors 6502

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    #3
    W123 is right
     
  4. macmastersam macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

    Correct me if in wrong here, but can't the CPU be unsoldered using the soldering iron? I'm assuming here that the CPU is soldered using a low temp iron?
     
  5. rfs2005 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    #5
    Even if it is possible with soldering, IMHO it isn't worth the risk and the potential expense of having to replace the computer.

    If you try it, and mess it up...you're screwed.
     
  6. paulrbeers macrumors 68040

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    Dec 17, 2009
    #6
    Wow, really? Do you know how almost impossible that is? Theoretically yes, but by the human hand? No.
     
  7. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    Jul 28, 2006
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    UK
    #7
    Isn't it soldered in place using a ball grid array, made up of lots of little solder balls.

    So you won't be able to desolder it with a normal soldering iron, maybe something like an IR heater instead and focus it on only the CPU. Probably not very practical unless you have all the specialist equipment.
     
  8. tnewson thread starter macrumors member

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    Nov 15, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #8
    **** the bed.... Didn't realise they were freaking soldered in.. Looks like ill just have to do what i can with what I've got now and upgrade in a couple years...


    Still happy with how it performs now, especially with the SSD, Im just a born tinker'er i suppose.

    Thanks for the info fellas.
     
  9. The-Pro, Nov 22, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011

    The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    #9
    em people, the CPU is not soldered in. Its in a normal socket, and it can be upgraded!!!!!! Just look at iFixit teardown, and people have switched CPU's before. http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/iMac-Intel-21-5-Inch-EMC-2428-Teardown/5485/2 look at step 13, pic 3. Standard socketed CPU.
    Then look here http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1163142 for more info. @OP, Don't listen to the previous posters! (no offense people. You were probably thinking about the fact that all apple computers using mobile CPU's (MBA, MBP, MacMini etc.) had the CPU's soldered in an thus not upgradable)
    As far as the GPU. Its located on a separate board (forgot the name) and it can be removed. Which means it can technically be exchanged. Problem is no one makes GPU's on these boards (at least you cant buy them, or not at the moment) so you wont be able to do it. Step 12 of the iFixit link above shows the GPU board.
    The GPU in the Alienware m18x is also located on a board like this. It looks very similar to the one in the iMac. But even if it were possible to exchange there is always the problem of firmware and drivers.
     
  10. tnewson thread starter macrumors member

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    London
    #10

    Wow cool, Cheers man! So standard socket ay? Ill be putting a 3.4Ghz i7 as soon as they are a decent price!

    Thanks
     
  11. The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    Dec 2, 2010
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    Germany
    #11
    one of those would definetly fit. however you would need to look into the power supply and cooling if your imac. your cuurent cpu is 65W, the 3.4 i7 is 90 or 95W. so both power supply and cooling need to be able to handle that incease in 35W, which is 50%!!!!
    you needa check up on that, i cant help you with it. but yeh standard socket. read through that thread, should tell ya everything :)
    peace out
     
  12. W123 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 20, 2011
    #12
    Corrected.
     
  13. The-Pro macrumors 65816

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    Dec 2, 2010
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    #13
    no its not, look at the links I posted!!!!
     
  14. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #14
    You will almost always be better of selling your old iMac and buying a new one.
     
  15. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    Feb 6, 2009
    #15
    Looks like a socket to me:

    [​IMG]
     
  16. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #16
    It's socketed, but the best you can do for the 21.5" is the 2.8 i7, since the 3.4 has too high of a power requirement.
     
  17. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    Location:
    West Suburban Boston Ma
    #17
    There are way too many pins on the CPU for the human hand to unsolder it and re-solder a new one. They are put together by machines. Don't even think about it.
     
  18. jsolares macrumors 6502a

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    Land of eternal Spring
    #18
    i wouldn't count on them dropping a lot pricewise, i have the 2010 model and the i7 870 which is the best i can put to replace my i5 760 is still 290$ same as a year ago.
     
  19. toddybody Guest

    toddybody

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    May 13, 2010
    Location:
    On Mars, thinking about my father...
    #19
    IMO, nothing is ever wrong with iMac CPU choices...its the darn GPUS. I could live with a first gen i7 for 7+ years...the mGPU's they throw in there? thats what dates them
     
  20. tnewson thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2011
    Location:
    London
    #20


    Looks as if the 2.8 i7 are socket 1156 instead of socket 1155. I reckon I'll just leave it and once my mac is out of warranty I'll just overclock it.

    Intel must have really seen a difference in performance for that ONE extra pin lol.
     

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