Why does the iMac have soldered RAM?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by tubeexperience, Jun 30, 2016.

  1. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    I asked why the MacBook Pro Retina have soldered RAM. Some replied that having soldered RAM allow the MacBook Pro Retina to be thinner, never mind that there are laptops as thin as the MacBook Pro Retina that have upgradable RAM. I am letting this one slide it now.

    So, why does the 21.5-inch iMac have soldered RAM?

    Also, why does the Mac mini have soldered RAM?

    I can't help but to reason that this was done so that Apple can charge exorbitant upgrade prices at the time of purchase.

    After all, Scrooge McDuck ...I mean Tim Cook... needs more money so that he can build another solid gold swimming pool.
  2. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Why do you feel the need to post the same thing in each section?
  3. tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    ...because it applies to both
  4. redheeler, Jul 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016

    redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    For the iMac, a thinness argument can also be made, although thinness is a lot less of a concern on a desktop to pretty much everyone but Apple. The 27" iMac is thicker and has enough room for RAM slots and an access door in the back.

    For the Mac mini, I'd have to say it's mostly corporate greed. If everyone simply upgrades the RAM themselves, Apple loses a lot of money on their overpriced RAM upgrades, and it also means the RAM can be upgraded in the future to give Apple's entry-level Mac more longevity instead of getting rid of it and buying a new one. Edit: Oh, and soldering RAM directly to the board instead of using slots is also cheaper to produce.

    Another factor could be complaints made by customers when 3rd-party RAM is to blame for the issue, but I doubt this happens often.
  5. tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    This argument doesn't hold since an iMac is not a portable device.

    I don't agree with the last part. It may be cheaper to produce, but then Apple is going to have to stock a lot of expensive logic boards with different RAM configurations instead of just stocking the relatively cheap RAM.
  6. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    For the most part I agree, but it still could be a reason Apple chose to make upgradable RAM exclusive to the 27" with the late 2012 (although I know the RAM wasn't soldered on all 21.5" models until the most reason 2015 version, it doesn't have an access door and is extremely hard to upgrade).
    Not really, all the prebuilt tiers differ in more than just RAM and BTO configurations generally aren't stocked.
  7. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    There are excellent engineering reasaons for soldered ram over slots, reliability being the result. However this will never hold sway with those that like to tinker with their own commuters and seem incapable of realising that for the vast majority will never even consider upgrading a computer.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again if you don't like what apple producesnthen don't buy their products, the only way Apple will change is if you vote with your wallet. Unfortunately for you the vast majority don't seem to mind so I doubt your protest purchase will make a blind bit of difference.
  9. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    The use of soldered RAM wasn't down to thinness in the 21.5" iMac because the current design originally used standard replaceable RAM, even though it was very difficult to access.
  10. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Given that the 27" iMac doesn't have soldered ram (at least up through the 2015 model), I don't think you can explain the soldering away with thinness, because I believe apple could design the 21" iMac with accessible ram slots - at least that's my uneducated non-engineer opinion.

    Its my assessment that they're going this route, in an effort to make their Macs more like an appliance, that you buy, use and throw away. While there are certainly some small benefits being touted to soldered ram, such as faster ram speeds. I think the justification is more of a strategic nature rather then a technical reason.
  11. strukt macrumors regular


    Aug 8, 2012
    Because thin stuff are nicer than fat stuff according to the society.
  12. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I'm sure the bean counters at Apple found that it benefited them more. To make RAM user replaceable it needs to be user accessible which would require a ton of work (placing the RAM in a specific place, having an access door for it, case redesign, the appropriate connectors and probably a ton of technical stuff I'm overlooking). There is no point in making it replaceable if you need to remove the screen to get to it. Just putting the RAM in a specific location alone could be a technical nightmare when it comes to the cooling system.

    So I think there is more to it then Apple just wanting to price gouge. Although I'm sure they see that as a benefit.

    Regardless you know it's not user replaceable so you can buy (or not buy) accordingly. If anything this hurts the uninformed consumer that thinks it might be user replaceable but I'd argue that isn't Apples fault. Therefore this will only be a problem when the government makes us start buying 21" 4K iMacs...lol
  13. tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    In portable devices like the MacBook Pro, the devices are moved around and that might loosen the RAM and causes issues with reliability. I have never had issue with loosen RAM, but it theoretically could be possible.

    That said, the the iMac is not a portable device, so this isn't be a problem in the first place.

    Since the majority of the human population doesn't use wheelchairs, I guess we should stop making wheelchairs.

    Not knowing is not the same thing as don't care.

    There are likely many people who buy these products and later wanted to upgrade, only to realize that these products are not upgradable.
  14. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
    Soldered ram is cheaper to manufacture than replaceable ram. It's that simple.
  15. tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    I am pretty sure that if some need to upgrade the memory and can't do it herself/himself, then he/she can't bring the iMac to an AASP or a third party service provider to have it done if the memory is not soldered.

    ...and that's why I am shopping for an all-in-one that I can turn into a Hackintosh.
  16. roadkill401 macrumors 6502


    Jan 11, 2015
    It can be the same reason that Apple sold an 8gb or 16gb iPhone/iPad. You can't really even justify it as a price point issue as the cost of the memory is virtually peanuts. They do it as it drives forced obsolescence, along with they can make a very hefty profit driving upfront upgrades for people wanting a machine to be functional longer.

    I bought a 2012 Mac Mini that came standard with 4gb of RAM. If you tried to run Yosemite with the mac it would be just too slow and beach ball, making it functionally impossible to use. Does it work? Technically yes, but not really. The 2014 Mac Mini base model comes with 4gb of ram, but as it's soldered, you are forced into a higher bracket computer to get the 8gb of ram that will allow it to work well. If you could take that lower base model and put more memory in it, then the computer would work fine and last for multiple years.
  17. invisiblecube macrumors member

    Jul 30, 2014
  18. tubeexperience, Jul 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016

    tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  19. LorenK macrumors 6502

    Dec 26, 2007
    Because they can. Actually, I think that it's because they want things to just work. Once you put in elements of customer control, you introduce an element of chance. How many children put their fingers in light sockets and electric outlets? A RAM socket becomes another place for customers to put something that doesn't belong there then complain then it doesn't work. Realistic? If you work in customer service, you will know that customers are always putting things in holes that don't belong. Is it particularly customer friendly? No, but they're selling the product and get to decide how they want to configure their product and apparently don't care that a bit more flexibility would get them x% more sales. Something to be said for foregoing those extra sales to ensure customer satisfaction.

    And that's why I have a cMP and a 2012 Mac Mini, where I can put in my own RAM and fiddle about inside. I like Macs but I want to fiddle as well, and I'm willing to take the risk and not go whining to Apple when my fiddling screws something else up.
  20. jgelin macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2015
    St Petersburg, FL
    Also the thinness increased the amount of heat that remained around the inside of the case. Soldered on RAM can handle more of a heat load than that of a RAM socket(prone to warping and flexing). So thinness was a factor because heat needed to be accounted for more.
  21. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    They could however they'd be looking at a similar to higher price than Apple charges initially. Or risk it and try a non certified repair shop a little cheaper.

    Kind of a moot point unless you mean purely as an after purchase upgrade. Meaning you hit some unforeseen RAM related wall.

    Regardless that is built in expense (having 4 slots) Apple would need to eat or pass onto customers that the vast majority of people would never utilize (as it was in the past). It might as well be easily user accessible.

    I don't think any all-in-ones will work will they? Besides they are all junk are they not? Build a cased Hackintosh (or Win10 box) so you won't need to compromise so much. I've been thinking about building a Mac Mini style Hackintosh since the specs are blah on the current line up.
  22. tubeexperience thread starter macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
    Of cause I mean as an after purchase upgrade. Not everyone has money to dump on the highest configuration iMac out the door.

    ...and we all know that Apple is operating on slim margins and has to cut every corners just to make a profit. /s

    Of cause all-in-ones would work. Why wouldn't they?

    I am in college and my room isn't very big, so I don't want to have a big box in the room.
  23. AlexGraphicD macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2015
    New York
    4gb of ram in a 2014 computer model???!! This is just laughable. Apple, are you drunk or what?
  24. ardchoille50, Jul 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2016

    ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    If you're not happy with the product, then you should spend your time and money elsewhere. That would solve the problem if it were me. I doubt it would solve the problem for you because your problem isn't really about the RAM, your problem is that you choose to sit in anger/pity because Apple isn't doing what you want them to do - the fact that you've created multiple threads about this same issue makes this quite evident.

    The world isn't changed by your opinion, the world is changed, for better or for worse, by your example.
  25. Cole Slaw macrumors 6502a

    Cole Slaw

    Oct 6, 2006
    Because Apple makes more money that way.
    Whether or not it's better for the consumer does not factor in their decisions.

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