What is the last iMac that I can actually fix myself?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by luckyfoot15, Oct 30, 2014.

  1. luckyfoot15 macrumors newbie

    Oct 30, 2014
    Simple question, right? Probably been asked before, but I'm asking it again.

    I have an early 2008 MBP. I've upgraded the ram twice, and recently upgraded to an SSD. I love that Apple once allowed us to do that on our own!

    I am now looking to buy a desktop. I am very much turned off by the new ones that do not allow you to upgrade ram or hard drives. What is the most recent model iMac that I can buy (new or used) that allows me to pick up a mid level model (say 8GB of 1600MHz ram and a mechanical HDD) and then upgrade to say 16-32GB ram and an SSD?

    My technical level is above average. I have experience piecing together computer parts (albeit it's been a few years now), so I would be comfortable tearing apart a computer once or twice every year or two.
  2. ouimetnick macrumors 68020


    Aug 28, 2008
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    The iMac with the aluminum unibody October 20, 2009- October 2012 is the last easily repairable and upgradable iMac. October 2012 is when the introduced the current design of the iMac. While the low end 21.5" (1.4GHz) model has soldered ram, the other models do not, and thus can be replaced if you take the computer apart. The 27" iMac has user accessible RAM.
  3. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    Technically, all of them. The last one that Apple considered highly end user serviceable was the revision B G5 iMac also known as the ambient light sensor iMac G5.
  4. forg0t macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2014
    The riMac allows an easy to access ram upgrade. The hard drive and CPU are also replaceable/upgradeable but it's not an easy task. You have to pull off the screen and apply new adhesive each time you open it up.
  5. Caseynd macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2008
    ND, USA
  6. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Oct 21, 2012
    The old 2011 ones (before they went on a diet) are the best ones for upgradability.

    Mine started life with a 2.7Ghz i5, 4GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive. It now has a 3.4GHz i7, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB HDD and 2 SSDs in raid 0. It is missing it's optical drive though :p.
  7. nrubenstein macrumors 6502

    Aug 5, 2008
    Washington, DC
    A few tape strips are not an enormous barrier to internal access. Annoying, yes, but not that big a deal now that ifixit, et al. have worked out the tools to do it.

    But if you really just need to be able to get inside without having to replace the tape strips, your best bet is the 2011.
  8. ElectronGuru macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2013
    Oregon, USA
    You'll need pretty old to have easy access to the HD, but for ram just avoid the 21 size. I'd get a retina with ssd only and leave it in there.

    If you really want to tinker, get a suction cup kit.
  9. cb911 macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    I'll +1 the mid-2010 iMac. Just upgraded my HDD and added an SSD boot drive (still have the optical drive as well). As well as maxing out the RAM but all the 27" models have the RAM access door anyway so nothing to disassemble. It's pretty easy to work on, for what I did I just had to remove the screws holding the logic board so it could be lifted up a bit, didn't even have to remove it. Pretty good to work on...

    But like others have said you can still DIY the newer iMac but it's just harder to work on... I just quickly looked at the iMac 27" EMC 2639 teardown and when they mention adhesive/tape you know it's going to be just that bit more time consuming and frustrating.

    I would compare it to replacing an iPhone screen vs. an Android phone screen like the LG G2. iPhone is a breeze because it's all held by screws. The G2 has no screws, the screen is secured 100% with adhesive. Cutting new adhesive and getting it to align correctly... it's hard to convey the frustration the first time you attempt this! I can imagine the different iMacs being exactly like this as far as ease/difficulty of repair.

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