Upgrading RAM, SSD on 2012 iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by vishavg, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. vishavg macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2014
    Hey everyone,

    I need an opinion on what to do with my mother's old iMac. She isn't willing to purchase a new one, so I am left figuring out how to best upgrade it.

    Current Specs:
    3.06 GHz Intel Core i3
    4GB 1333 MHz DDR3
    500GB HDD

    I am thinking of upgrading the RAM to 8GB and installing a 256 SSD. Would that be good enough? Can I update the processor as well, to an i5?

  2. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  3. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    The memory and SSD upgrades will make a very significant difference, and I expect you'll find that no more is needed -- unless your mother does CPU intensive processing, and I rather suspect not.

    Adding memory ought to be simple, and you might start with that just to see if it's good enough short term. I would want to eventually replace the hard disk though, simply because it's starting to get old and spinners always fail at some point.
  4. vishavg, Nov 19, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016

    vishavg thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2014
    okay that's good to know. I'll go ahead with the RAM upgrade and add another 8GB. I was thinking of buying an external SSD drive and removing internal HDD. Then installing yosemite and starting fresh with only the SSD drive? Can I do this without removing the HDD ?
  5. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    I'm not sure what external connectivity that iMac version has; it's likely that the external drive will be significantly limited by the external port speed. You can use a temporary external drive case to set up and verify the SSD, but I think for a real speed improvement you'll probably want to install it internally. There are plenty of guides (eg iFixit) on how to do it; it's not hard, but it's fiddly, and you definitely want to read the procedure all the way through first. Including all comments; the guide I followed for my 2009 iMac SSD install (as an HDD replacement) said to remove one of the display connectors that's fiendishly hard to reconnect, and the comments pointed out that it's not necessary to remove it, just tilt the display out of the way. That turned out to be correct.

    The memory installation is very simple. Internal SSD replacement not so much, and if you're unsure of your abilities, or don't have a quiet undisturbed place to work on it (no children / dogs / cats), maybe consider paying some a nominal fee to do it.

    My experience on our (2009) iMac with El Capitan was that going from 4 Gb to 8 Gb memory made the machine bearable; replacing the HDD with SSD made it a pleasure to use once again.
  6. vishavg thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2014
    The iMac 11,2 contains 4 USB 2.0 ports and one Firewire "800" port (7 watts). So I would be looking at purchasing an SSD that is able to connect via firewire.

    I haven't taken a computer apart myself, so for the internal SSD installation I will go with an expert, hopefully its not too hefty of a charge.

    Do you have any internal SSD options?
  7. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    By options, you mean recommendations? Crucial or Samsung are common suggestions. I used a couple of Mushkin Reactor drives which have been working well and are good value.

    You can install an SSD internally either in addition to or replacing the hard drive. I think that iMac model uses a thermal sensor with (in?) the hard drive, so if you replace it you might need a thermal sensor cable. Whoever does the work should know the details for you particular model and configuration.
  8. vishavg thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2014
    yes I meant recommendations. I have seen the samsung evo 850 being used in several videos, but I was thinking of ordering the kit from OWC over at macsales.com. Do you have any experience with them?

    also most videos I've watched, leave the hardrive in and place the new SSD next to it under the logic board.
  9. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    Another internal option for the ssd is to put in place of the superdrive.
  10. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Dec 9, 2014
    Nothing wrong with the OWC stuff other than being a bit overpriced compared to other bare drives. A 500 Gb Mushkin Enhanced Reactor is maybe $120-ish on newegg.com, the OWC 480 Gb bare drive is listed at $190. (I think newegg lists the EVO 850 somewhere in the middle.)

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