Upgrading Hardware On An iMac?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Dan2142, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. Dan2142 macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    I would like to upgrade my hardware (RAM, Processor, Graphics Card). I don't know if this is possible. Somewhere I remember hearing that Mac's have permanent, built in hardware. Is this true? And what hardware can I get that will improve the performance of graphic intensive games like Call Of Duty 4?
  2. rkaufmann87 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2009
    Folsom, CA
    Although there will be those that disagree with me the only user upgradeable parts for iMacs is the RAM. Upgrading HD's is possible but for most users is major surgery, upgrading graphics cards on iMacs ranges from impossible to major major expensive surgery. If you want a Mac that you can upgrade graphics cards & hard drives get a Mac Pro, if you can't afford a new Mac Pro buy a refurbished one from Apple
  3. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Hard core gamers will get the best results with a PC and gobs of money. ;)
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    My answer is: no, it is not possible. You can only upgrade RAM.

    A more "true" answer: yes, it is possible, but it would involve you disassembling the iMac completely. And the parts would cost a fortune - if they were available at the market. And you would probably have to hack OS X with custom-build drivers etc. in order for the new hardware to work.

    Anyway, what do you want to update? The high-end iMac already contains the fastest Intel CPU and one of the fastest mobile graphics cards available.
  5. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Yeah, not really financially or technically feasible. If you like soldering and what not for the fun of it, and can sacrifice the computer, give it a shot. But nobody makes much in the way of replacement parts for the iMac except for drives and RAM. You can see good tear-downs on iFixit.com, and some parts are available. I've replaced some, but it's usually OEM stuff or very generic parts, not upgrades. And take a look at the Apple repair manuals; even Apple techs can only replace certain stuff.

    It would be way cheaper and less frustrating to build a gaming PC.

  6. timtom33 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Do you need gobs of money, you can build a faster PC for a lot less than it costs to buy an iMac though?
  7. philipma1957 macrumors 603


    Apr 13, 2010
    Howell, New Jersey
    just remember to add about 800 for the 27 inch screen or the comparision is jaded
  8. timtom33 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    27" screen isn't a deal breaker. In fact its quite hard to use and read text on, not to mention the glossy finish. With the array of output ports available on most graphics cards these days your options for what screen you use are huge. If i were to spend £800 on a screen though, i would not want this tied to a single machine that will eventually die or become too slow. I would want an £800 screen that was versatile and i could on lots of devices and for 5 years or so.
  9. iSayuSay macrumors 68040


    Feb 6, 2011
    It's okay if u want another screen with your custom built pc. All he was trying to say is when u build gaming pc which has similar spec with hi end 27" imac (using same size and resolution display) you just cant make it significantly cheaper compared to iMac

    In short, $2000 iMac is quite a good deal and value, even compared to custom built pc on the same price. Something you dont see often with Apple products.
  10. Dan2142 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 20, 2011
    Why I want to upgrade (Leman)

    From what I have seen the iMac 10.6.7 21.5'' i3 Intel Core, is terrible for gaming, I should have bought a PC or at least waited until the next generation of iMacs came out. I'm just trying to jack-up what I already have. This computer does not have the best of anything in my opinion.
  11. MMbassist macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2010
    Charleston SC
    I used to be into gaming and grew very, very, very tired of upgrading my system every year just play a game. What I think is funny is how hardcore PC gamers will spend well over $500 to do an upgrade just to play a $60 game. I bought my imac just to everything but gaming. I bought my PS3 for that. Here's an example of what I was spending compared to what I am spending now, 3 years ago I was spending roughly $1500 to $2000 a year on upgrades like ram, video cards, and better monitors, and I was only playing about 4 different PC games. Those systems were only good for about a year if you wanted to push the game at full capacity with a really good frame rate. I spent $300 on a PS3, and I've got about 20 games I play on it right now, plus I use it for the Blueray. With the money I wasn't blowing on the upgrades, I bought my imac last September a 21.5" 3.06 i3. Honestly I couldn't be happier with the decision I made. I gave my PC to my parents, but kept the monitor because it was 1080p, and I use it for my PS3. I highly suggest using consoles for gaming, practically everything on PC is on them as well. And you don't have to worry if your system will run a game.
  12. caughtintheweb macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    I am not a fanatic and definitely dont think mac is a perfect product, but frankly speaking choosing a PC just because you can upgrade is just a silly argument used by people who just want to find faults with mac.

    Custom built PC's are not that easily up-gradable as you would think. I used to build PC's before I switched to mac and every two years I had to throw out the entire motherboard to upgrade. This is how it goes .. hey I need a new graphics card, okie nvidia has the best one right now, but oops it does not run well with my current processor, so i need to upgrade that too. But the new processor does not run well with old motherboard, so upgrade that too. The RAM would not fit well in the new motherboard .. change my RAM. In the end I end up paying 800-900 for upgrading my graphics card.

    I am no expert in computer hardware, but I always have some kind of compatibility issue when I upgraded anything in my PC. All in all .. if you really know computers in and out, you can build you own custom built pc. If not buy an all in one (either mac or pc), use it for 2-3 years and sell it in case it gets old. All in ones have pretty good resale value and you really dont have to go through all the pains. High end macs easily last for 5-6 years which is a long enough time. Once SSD gets cheaper, you can probably push it further by doing an upgrade.
  13. timtom33 macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Ah so you were just chasing frame rates and bench marks. You see you sound like you have more money than sense to be honest, most people upgrade their PC 2-3 years, every year is mental and pointless. You don't need to spend a fortune on a PC to run today's game's well. A good monitor should last 3-5 years as well. Probably a good thing you have broken out of that insane cycle, and bought an iMac to do everything other than gaming. Just seems to me a fair few threads on here are people wanting to know if they can game on their iMac and how XYZ game runs etc. Seem like some people are confused about what they want to use it for. I agree console's were good, but PS3 for example has gone downhill a lot in the last year or so, mostly bad ports now.
  14. Badger^2 macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2009
    Best way to jack it up is sell it and buy something better.
  15. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    Agreed. Apple kit holds it's value well.
  16. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Sell yours, buy newer, faster. Or build a gaming rig. iMacs are great all around machines but it is a mobile or under clocked GPU. If you want a gaming machine, build it.

    As for the iMacs they hold there value very well so selling and upgrading can literally be as cheap as the tax and a couple hundred dollars a year. Less than upgrading $500 video cards every time one comes out. You will spend way more on just the latest GPU for your iMac than selling and buying new.
  17. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    +1 on using a PS3 instead of a PC or Mac for gaming. It's just so much easier. Especially as part of a home theater set up. I like driving games and it's a huge paint to do that on a computer.

    As others have mentioned, you get BluRay as well. And you can access all your movies, music and photos from the PS3 on your wonderful HDTV. All for less than upgrading the computer. Trying to make one device do everything usually results in compromises; here it's definitely better to get a specialized game console.


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