upgrade advice 2010 imac 11,2

Discussion in 'iMac' started by quigglyy, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. quigglyy macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2016

    I've inherited an imac 2010 21.5" (i5, 4Gb, slooowww hdd).

    Am considering whether to bother upgrading it, or just buy a new desktop

    If I were to do these upgrades it works out at £230 GBP or so;

    4x4Gb RAM (about £80)
    external firewire 800 HDD caddy (£40) (to boot OS from)
    samsung evo 850 500Gb (£110)

    Would those upgrades give it a decent amount of life - don't do video editing or any games that require intensive CPU usage so think the i5 is probably good enough. Also going via the firewire caddy as I don't want the faff of changing the internal hdd and it doesn't have USB 3.0.

    Appreciate advice....
  2. Weaselboy Moderator


    Staff Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Yep... I think that would be a worthwhile upgrade and give you a very usable machine for the usage you described.
  3. r6mile macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2010
    London, UK
    This is the exact iMac that I have (though with the i3), and upgraded it a few months ago. Let me tell you how I went about it.

    I went from 4GB (2x2GB) to 8GB (4x2GB). I thought about going up to 16GB but for my use it did not seem worth it.
    The Samsung 850 EVO is a good choice (though I went with 120GB).

    I highly recommend using the SSD as an internal drive though. A much neater solution that booting from firewire, that will also use the full SSD speed.

    The upgrade is not particularly difficult if you've done this sort of thing before. If you do that, keep in mind however that you will need extra parts as well. You will need a 2.5"-3.5" adapter (I used a Newertech Adaptadrive at £15-20); there are cheaper ones but I did not want to skimp out).

    You will also need a sensor cable for the hard drive, as well as the appropriate tools to open the iMac (like the suction cups). This kit by OWC includes everything you'll need (you can get it from here at £60 http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/OWC-Compl...189917?hash=item235cb4859d:g:eY0AAOSwu-BWP9Oj)

    All together, it was a very worthwhile upgrade that makes the desktop as fast as I could want it to be for my use. £200 is a lot less than the £1369 you'd shell out for a new 21.5 iMac with 16GB of RAM and an SSD drive, and the speed gain (while significant) is not worth that much.
  4. ElCani macrumors member

    Jun 15, 2012
    I second all of this. Fitting the SSD internally will give much better performance than Firewire, as well as looking neater. The 2011 iMacs are not too bad to work on, as long as you follow a good online guide and work carefully and methodically. Or if you're really not a DIY type of person, ask a friend who is. :)

    My 2011 27 2.7 is still a great machine (12GB RAM, 256BG SSD + 2TB HDD, configured as a Fusion Drive).
  5. quigglyy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2016
    Thanks for the advice guys. Not sure I'll want the faff of opening the iMac, but may look into it! Not fussed about the neatness (you should see my desk ;D)

    Also I was reading that the 2011's can take up to 32Gb RAM, so might just get 2x8Gb from crucial which is only £60 or so and put them into slot 2&3 to run 20Gb. Is that a bad idea?

    Might just got for a 250Gb SSD too as doubt i'll need more and can always use an external for storage...

  6. tyche macrumors 6502

    Jul 30, 2010
    Doesn't really sound like you need much memory. I'd buy whatever is cheaper (2x2gb if you can find them) or another 2x4gb. A SSD will make a huge difference even at sata II speeds.

    I have 2010 i5 which I put 16gb in and I have hard time using the memory. I looked the other day with my XCode running and a 2gb Linux vm and the system was using 5.6gb. Typical browsing, iTunes would be hard pressed to use 4gb let alone 20gb.

    I also put in an ssd years ago. With a little prep and reading/watching youtube installations up front it's not bad just need to be careful about cables being pulled there isn't a lot of slack. If you don't have a suction cup, I used a plastic shiv to jimmy the glass off the magnets. You do need the proper torx screwdriver. You also don't need any special cables or caddies. It's a 2010 computer, just put a little tape on the ssd to hold it in place. It's not heavy and no one throws around their iMac so it won't move.

    The hdd fan sensor will be gone but there is free OS X fan control software that will fix that and run whisper quiet. Been running this way for over 5 years.

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