What to do with an old iMac!

codger

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2015
40
3
Cobham, England
Hi,
I have a mid 2009 27" iMac with a melted graphics card. It was £600 plus labour to repair so I decided to buy a new one which I have now done. What options do I have in getting some money for the "broken" machine (if any) before I take it down the refuse dump!!
 

whodatrr

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2004
672
490
Tough without knowing whether it's just the GPU, or other components were damaged. The good news is that older year iMacs were easier to disassemble than recent ones, and you have more room to play with. Also, since that year has a 2.5k screen, it's somewhat modern.

Poking around a bit, you can probably find a GPU for about $80. For a bit more, you can dig up a 256G SSD while you're at it. A few places sell kits for taking this units apart for about $20.

So, throw $200 at it and you can have a better performing iMac than you did before, as the SSD will make a huge difference. Heck, you can even buy kits that let you use both your old spinning disk and SSDs, for those years.

Throw $200-$300 at it, and then either use it as another workstation, or sell it for $800 or so? Just be sure to purchase from places with a generous return policy, and try the stuff out within that time period. You may find out, once you tear it apart, that your problems aren't isolated to just the card?
 

codger

macrumors member
Original poster
Oct 15, 2015
40
3
Cobham, England
"You may find out, once you tear it apart, that your problems aren't isolated to just the card?"

This is what worries me!
 

whodatrr

macrumors 6502a
Jan 12, 2004
672
490
Here's an article that describes replacing the GPU...

https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/iMac+Intel+27-Inch+EMC+2309+or+2374+Graphics+Card+Replacement/9553

Apparently some replaced it with newer models, simply to improve performance.

As long as you have it apart, you can add something like this...

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/DDIMSSD120/

Ads a 120GB SSD and lets you keep your existing drive, for $97. Of course, you can go with a bigger SSD more more money. I think their kits (specialty tools, suction cups, etc.) for disassembling your iMac are around $30.

If your GPU melted, I wonder why? Did a fan go bad, was a temp sensor bad, or was it something else? Did you push your old GPU?

If you roll the dice and decide to give it a shot, just buy everything so that it shops at the same time. then, try the repair right away. If you tear that sucker down and find it's more than just the GPU, you can return all the stuff you've just bought.

Another option is to investigate using your iMac in Target mode, as a 2nd display? Have you tried that? Not sure if your system will boot, or of target mode is supported without a GPU?


"You may find out, once you tear it apart, that your problems aren't isolated to just the card?"

This is what worries me!
 

toofargone

macrumors newbie
May 15, 2015
15
3
I also have 2009 retired after only 2 years due to unfixable graphics issues (new gpu, new logic board, second new gpu, gave up, $$ from Apple Care for a 2011 replacement). Here are some ways I'm trying to give her new life:

* Fixing her or figuring out the problem (see below).
* Using her as an external monitor for my MBP using a minidisplay port-to-minidsiplay port cable.
* Using her as a file server by enabling file sharing and awake for network activity.
* Connecting her to the TV (need to test this) with a minidisplay-to-hdmi adapter.
* Since she has CD drive an nearly empty 1TB hard drive, I might use her for the long put off project of ripping my CD collection.

A few weeks ago, on a whim, I pulled her out of the garage to see if El Capitan would fix the mysterious issues. She booted right up with an El Cap install drive and eagerly installed the new OS. She looked great! But after about a day graphics problems appeared out of nowhere (overlapping text in the menu bar, black filled dialog boxes and windows). Fixed with an erase and fresh OS install. Ran great for about a week, then the graphics problem returned. Fixed, oddly, by booting into recovery mode (I think it was) and using the Safari browser there. Again, this stuck for about a week. Fixed by logging in as Guest and making a new user account--that was yesterday so not sure how long that will last or if it will be a reproducible fix. Either a very intermittent hardware issue (like a loose connection) or somehow software related. Vexing, but I hate to give up such a beautiful screen and the storage.