You Can Upgrade The New iMac – But Would You?

You Can Upgrade The New iMac – But Would You?

When I was a lad, one of the big selling features when you bought a new PC was the ability to upgrade it. Add memory, plug in a second-hand drive and, if the budget allowed, swap out the processor. But over recent years, Apple has taken that ability away. Even RAM upgrades, which used to be easy, were made impossible as Apple’s quest to make everything as thin as possible drove them to soldering everything in place. But iFixit has revealed in their teardown of the new 21.5-inch iMac that the memory and processor can both be upgraded.

The ability to add more memory is a no brainer for me. My usual buying behaviour used to be to purchase a computer with the least amount of memory I needed at the time and then upgrade a year or so later as a treat to myself. I’d do the same with hard drives although most recently that’s been about replacing hard drives with SSDs to give systems a performance boost.

iFixit says the new 21.5-inch iMac has a modular CPU so, in theory, you could swap it out for a faster unit when prices come down in future. Of course, you’ll be running the gauntlet of a “Warranty Void if Removed” sticker.

I’ve swapped out plenty of drives and added lots of memory but I’ve never bothered with the processor. So, would you do it? When was the last time you replaced a CPU in a PC? Have you ever done it?


  • Just looked at the tear down article.

    1 TB (5400-rpm) hard drive

    Way to slow down your “superior OS”, Apple.

    • I’m just cynical enough to think that’s a way to keep the entry level sticker price low. I would never recommend that spec (if I do it’s because I don’t like you!). I’d always go for the biggest SSD I could afford.

      • Personally, I think they can afford a 7200 RPM drive but just don’t want to and are (as usual) keeping the profit to themselves.

        Would be better value if they just put a 512 GB SSD instead.

        And considering the OS has become incredibly bloated of late, this is only gonna exacerbate the issue.

  • Have I opened and upgraded an iMac? Yes, back when the screen was held in with magnets rather than glue, to replace a failed Hard Drive.

    Would I buy a new iMac with the intention of within the Warranty period opening it to perform an upgrade? No, no and no.

    I figure you buy a machine with a suitable hard drive for the purpose (mass-data storage I keep external from the machine). Given the average life of a HDD, we’ll be outside the warranty when /if I need to consider opening the unit.

    With RAM, I make sure to buy the iMac with the access panel so I can upgrade it whenever.

    Graphics Cards, CPUs etc it’s been 15 years since I regularly did those sorts of things and the cost benefit ratio no longer seems worth the effort.

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