Upgradeability questions.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pgseye, Feb 10, 2018.

  1. pgseye macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2007

    I've been a long time MBP user and my current 2013 model is starting to show it's age. I'm giving serious thought to buying an iMac this time around for the increased bang for buck. I use my MBP at a desk with a 4K monitor 90% of the time, so I figure it's effectively a desktop anyway.

    If I got one of the higher end 27inch iMacs:

    1. Is the ram a) easy to upgrade and install yourself, and b) more cost-effective than ordering from Apple? I'm thinking of 32Gb.

    2. I thought I'd go for a 1Tb SSD. Is there potential for this to be upgraded in a couple of years (say if I wanted to go to a 2Tb), or is the hard drive not an upgradeable item? The 2 Tb SSds are so expensive.

  2. mroy16 macrumors regular

    May 28, 2017
    The RAM on the 27" non-Pro iMacs are really easy to replace. There's a panel on the back that's designed to just pop open. The default 8 GB occupies two of the four RAM slots, so you can very easily purchase 2x16 GB cards and get to a total of 40GB for much less than Apple charges.

    Based on the iFixit guide, replacing the blade SSD that comes with the iMac takes quite a bit more work. You'd need to open up the case and remove the logic board entirely. I'd strongly recommend using external storage if you need more than 1TB but can't afford the 2TB internal. That said, it might be possible to add a SATA SSD in addition, though you'd also have to remove the screen to access the SATA bay. (Disclaimer: I'm not 100% sure if the SSD-only model still includes a place for a SATA drive. It looks like you can purchase the appropriate cable to install one, but you should double check this before purchasing a computer if you want to add a second drive.)
  3. nambuccaheadsau macrumors 68000


    Oct 19, 2007
    Nambucca Heads Australia
    1. Yes very easy. Suggest going over to Crucial or OWC when ready.

    2. You can replace the interior SSD but cracking a post 2012 iMac is not for the faint hearted. Consider if you need more drive space, an SSD in an external case connected via USBC-1 or even Thunderbolt.
  4. J.Gallardo macrumors regular


    Apr 4, 2017
    - Yes: RAM memory is quite easy to upgrade. Just check carefully specs. needed. (Going Crucial is a safe bet, but others should work if compatible. I'm using Ballistix RAM modules added to factory default).
    - There must be a way to change internal SSD... but Apple PCI-e blade uses no-standard connector, so I wouldn't recommend going that way. My 2017 iMac came with 1Tb ssd and I've come to realize that 512Gb could be enough, as I'm using also an external 1Tb Samsung 3D Ultra SSD through usb3 for media and I find it quite fast (coming from HDD).

    Really fast external SSD connected through Thunderbolt 3 are already on sell. They overcome limited speed of SATA, reaching same speed as internal pci-e SSD. They're quite expensive by now (about same price as internal pci-e blades, though). But it's reasonable to suppose they'll be more accessible in a near future.
    Thunderbolt 3 (and usb 3.1 gen. 1 & 2, also supported in new Macs) is the real key to upgradeability.
  5. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    RAM is upgradeable.

    For all practical purposes, the SSD -is not-.
    One could pry open the iMac (and void the warranty), but where does one get a replacement (Apple proprietary) SSD/flash?

    I wouldn't pay Apple's exorbitant price for the 1tb SSD, but perhaps you have extra $$ you don't need.

    Instead, I'd get the 512gb SSD, and add more storage via USB3 (either HDD or SSD).

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4 February 10, 2018