Upgrading iMac Hardware.

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Insight, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. Insight macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    #1
    Hi. I'd like to start by saying excuse the stupid questions, I'm still very new with using macs. I'm a long time PC user, but I've recently made plans to replace my PC with an iMac. Specifically a 21.5" with an Intel i3 processor. This mac comes with 4gb ram, and a Radeon 5650 HD graphics card.

    Now I'm a fairly big gamer, and I like my hardware to be as high-end and up-to-date as possible. If I were to plan on upgrading the graphics card, ram, and processor, could this be easily done at home?

    I'm asking because of the unusual structure of the iMac. i.e. the lack of tower, and all the hardware being merged with the screen. I'm assuming it would be a lot easier on a mac pro because it actually has a tower that I can easily open/customize.

    Lastly, granted that the above is possible, are the generic graphics cards, processor, and ram chips compatible with iMacs? Or would I need to buy a special iMac compatible version from an Apple specialist shop?

    Thanks for any advice you can give, it is very much appreciated :)
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2007
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    You can upgrade the RAM, but not the graphics or CPU.
     
  3. stridemat Moderator

    stridemat

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Upgrading the hardware within an iMac is near enough impossible. You are better off getting the biggest bang for buck machine that you can get.
     
  4. Rodus macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    #4
    If you're a gamer then go to the online Apple store and order the entry level 27" iMac but bump up the GPU to a 5750.
     
  5. TMRaven macrumors 68020

    TMRaven

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #5
    The gpu in the iMac your'e planning on getting is mobility 5730, which is decent. You could possibly upgrade it to the mobility 5850 that's in the higher-end iMacs, but the chances of getting an mxm mobility 5850 card on the market and finding a workaround for getting mobility 5800 series drivers in your iMac would probably make it very not worthwhile.

    An i3 clarkdale and mobility 5730 should be enough to make your computer last for a long enough time, but if you're looking at a dedicated gaming machine, then you should probably just as well get the lowest end iMac and then custom build a very cheap gaming tower with best gpu possible, and then use the iMac's screen whenever gaming.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #6
    OP was looking for 21.5" iMac, it has no video input thus it cannot be used as display.

    I agree with you that it's better option to get low-end iMac, even refurb and then build a cheapish gaming rig for gaming. OP, if you already have a desktop PC, you could upgrade it. A new GPU will do magics. Then use the iMac for everything non-intensive stuff.

    If an iMac is a must and you don't want a PC, then take a look at 27" i5 refurb, it's the best bang for buck
     
  7. Insight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    #7
    Thanks for the info guys, however disappointing it was to read :(

    Money is my biggest issue which is why I was going for a 21.5" iMac. Otherwise I would have kept my current gaming PC and bought a mac just for work (I'm a graphic designer) But I don't think its worth it. I might save for a bit longer and buy a Mac Pro, or do what TMRaven mentioned with a 27" iMac.
     
  8. lobeyonekenobi macrumors regular

    lobeyonekenobi

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #8
    An i5 Quad is plenty good for gaming as i have just found out and is a fair bit cheaper tahn a Mac Pro, especially as the recent ones will probably come to a refurb store near you pretty soon:):)
     
  9. u26055 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2007
    Location:
    San Deigo, CA
    #9
    I called the Apple about about this & for $30 there is a program, sorry I forgot the name, that will allow you to use the 21.5" as a monitor, it also works on older iMac's too.
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #10
    It's called ScreenRecycler but it's not suitable for things like gaming
     

Share This Page