Upgrading iMac

janis153

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 1, 2013
4
0
I'm looking for recommendations/advice on the best way to upgrade my desktop iMac. This is my present system, and it is badly in need of updating.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 9.27.31 AM.png


I can no longer update my browser, and everything seems to generally be slowing down. I believe the actual hardware is fine. I'm wondering if mac mini the way to go, or should I just get a new iMac? I have a MacBook Pro running the latest Mojave, so I have a backup when I need it. I really do enjoy my desktop and would like to have the latest version of everything. Any suggestions?
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
The latest version supported by that computer is El Capitan. You could update to it and it should improve software compatibility. I think there's a way to skip the paid upgrades and go straight to one of the free ones.

The OS shouldn't be affecting the performance though. You could install an external SSD over Firewire 800. Or if you feel brave enough an internal one. You could try doing a fresh install of macOS too.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Or if you feel brave enough an internal one.
No "brave enough" with these. Very easy to do. But if you don't want to, then pay someone for 45 minutes of his/her time and have it done.

My daughter still has hers. Dual boot 10.6.8 for an app she uses and El Capitán on the other partition. You'll get a few more years out of it.

SATA III SSDs are so inexpensive, it makes no sense not to throw one inside. Bracket is optional—these run cool enough that you can get away with double-stick foam tape to attach it to the back (I use the bracket, however). No temp sensor to purchase, either.

Replace the NV RAM battery with a CR2032 while you're in there. It's on the front of the motherboard and easy to change.
 

Glmnet1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2017
953
1,049
No "brave enough" with these. Very easy to do. But if you don't want to, then pay someone for 45 minutes of his/her time and have it done.

My daughter still has hers. Dual boot 10.6.8 for an app she uses and El Capitán on the other partition. You'll get a few more years out of it.

SATA III SSDs are so inexpensive, it makes no sense not to throw one inside. Bracket is optional—these run cool enough that you can get away with double-stick foam tape to attach it to the back (I use the bracket, however). No temp sensor to purchase, either.

Replace the NV RAM battery with a CR2032 while you're in there. It's on the front of the motherboard and easy to change.
Looks easier than the current one but still not something everyone would like to try: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+20-Inch+EMC+2133+and+2210+Hard+Drive+Replacement/100

But I agree, paying someone is an option if OP doesn't want to do it. Firewire enclosures aren't super expensive either though. https://www.amazon.com/OWC-Mercury-Portable-USB3-0-Enclosure/dp/B00AR9ZYYQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1542741929&sr=8-3&keywords=firewire+800+ssd
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
The 20" and 24" are ridiculously easy. There are a few tricks—many of those steps are not necessary. The only specialty tools required are a T6 and T8 magnetized Torx drivers. The suction cups are nice but guitar picks work, too.
 

tpivette89

macrumors 6502
Jan 1, 2018
411
212
Newark, DE
I have a pair of early 2009 24" models that my kids use in their bedrooms. Both have been updated with the best CPUs (3.06ghz), 8GB of 1066mhz RAM, and 120GB SSDs. Both are very useable under El Capitan for light web tasks and emails/texts. They can even FaceTime their grandparents due to the built in cameras and microphones.

These models aren't that hard to upgrade, just take your time and remember where everything goes when disassembling. For light tasks, it's worth it to throw less than $100 to upgrade the machines and get a few more years out of them. El Cap is still getting security updates, so it's not completely obsolete.

However, if you want the latest and greatest (Mojave), you're going to have to look elsewhere, as the 2008 just isn't capable of running it.
 

janis153

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 1, 2013
4
0
I'm looking for recommendations/advice on the best way to upgrade my desktop iMac. This is my present system, and it is badly in need of updating.

View attachment 805483

I can no longer update my browser, and everything seems to generally be slowing down. I believe the actual hardware is fine. I'm wondering if mac mini the way to go, or should I just get a new iMac? I have a MacBook Pro running the latest Mojave, so I have a backup when I need it. I really do enjoy my desktop and would like to have the latest version of everything. Any suggestions?
[doublepost=1542806516][/doublepost]According to my Mac, my software is up to date. And I'm not about to disassemble anything. I would really like to research and try to pursue a Mac mini. Is that a good option? Not really sure how it works, or if that's what I need.
 

STC1709

macrumors 6502
May 27, 2009
409
60
In the same predicament myself with the exact same situation except mine is an 09 imac. I dont want to buy the current imacs as an update should be close. Im leaning mac mini but part of me wants to see what new imacs are all about first
[doublepost=1542824229][/doublepost]
Not anymore.
Where did you see this? Im running an 09 24in with el capi
 

lizurd

macrumors newbie
Feb 5, 2013
18
8
[doublepost=1542806516][/doublepost]According to my Mac, my software is up to date. And I'm not about to disassemble anything. I would really like to research and try to pursue a Mac mini. Is that a good option? Not really sure how it works, or if that's what I need.
I am in a similar situation to you - I have a 2008 imac that I'm likely going to replace. In my case I am leaning towards getting the i5 256GB SSD mac mini and a 27" monitor that is 2560x1440.

Anyhow, what you want/need depends on the usual questions - what type of apps do you use, how much internal storage do you need, any particular needs regarding graphics, monitor size, do you have a budget, etc.

Oh, and one more thing - about your software being up to date. All that means is that you have the very latest available for your given OS, in your case Lion. Lion is very much out of date at this point with regards to security patches as well as various software bits.
 
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mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
Here are the tricks:

After removing the glass, lay it on its back and remove the RAM. I use the SSD box as a prop to make it easy to onscrew the cover and remove the RAM.

Remove the bezel screws. There are two lengths and they are not distributed symmetrically—pay attention to which holes had the long ones. Now, lift the bezel from the top and slide it down 1/4" or so and the bottom will now be clear.

Do not separate the microphone cable underneath the top of the bezel. Instead, with the bezel loose, rotate it 180° with the cable connected like a clamshell onto your table. Reconnecting that cable is a real bear and not doing it correctly leads to "I replaced the drive and my microphone doesn't work anymore".

Do not remove the screen (more of those difficult to reconnect plugs if you do). Lift the top up enough—you'll disconnect the mic cable from the board but that's an easy one—and use the SSD box to hold it in place. You will have plenty of room to work.

With the bezel off and screen loose, replace the NV RAM battery. Use a common CR2032. A 24" doesn't generate enough heat to require the BR2032 ($7–$8 on Amazon).

You don't really need the adapter bracket. Use foam double-stick tape to stick the SSD to the back if you want. I always use the bracket, though.
https://www.amazon.com/Fenlink-Internal-Hard-Drive-Converter/dp/B01ELRRKW8/ref=sr_1_14?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1542642585&sr=1-14&keywords=2.5+to+3.5+hard+drive+adapter

On reassembly, the only tricky part is getting the bottom of the bezel right. Until aligned properly, the RAM and cover don't go back in straight. Once done, I then tighten the bezel screws.

The easiest way to set the screen screws is to use a magnetic driver and approach the holes opposite of the magnets at a 45° angle. They'll want to pull the screws off the end of the driver. I can re-set them one handed this way (good thing as I have only one working arm).

Whole job takes me a half hour.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,160
5,520
OP:

Unless you want to upgrade the internal drive (as Mike describes above), the only other "real upgrade path" for a 10-year-old iMac is to start looking for something new (or newer) that can run more up-to-date software.

I'd consider a 2017 iMac, either new or Apple-refurbished.
Or.. perhaps a 2018 Mac Mini.
 

EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
765
1,549
Why don’t you buy a nice 21.5” monitor and use your MacBook Pro as your desktop?

I never understood people who have a desktop AND a laptop. Just seems like a terrible waste of money.
 

mikehalloran

macrumors 68000
Oct 14, 2018
1,600
390
The Sillie Con Valley
OP:

Unless you want to upgrade the internal drive (as Mike describes above), the only other "real upgrade path" for a 10-year-old iMac is to start looking for something new (or newer) that can run more up-to-date software.

I'd consider a 2017 iMac, either new or Apple-refurbished.
Or.. perhaps a 2018 Mac Mini.
Agreed 100%

Even though I post how to update old Macs, the ideal solution is to get something newer that's going to be able to keep up with future needs.

Why don’t you buy a nice 21.5” monitor and use your MacBook Pro as your desktop?

I never understood people who have a desktop AND a laptop. Just seems like a terrible waste of money.
Since you've made up your mind on the subject, no sense explaining it, is there?
 

EightyTwenty

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2015
765
1,549
Since you've made up your mind on the subject, no sense explaining it, is there?

What’s the explanation? His main issue is that his desktop can not run Mojave. He then says he has a laptop that is currently running Mojave. Use the laptop in clamshell mode as a desktop. Problem solved. He does not need 2 computers that do the exact same thing.