Teardown of New iMac Reveals Replaceable CPU, RAM

Specifically, iFixit found that both the RAM (or memory), the CPU (or processor) and the 2.5-inch hard drive (not the SSD) can both be upgraded without professional help.

After removing the adhesive securing the display, removing all the glass and reaching the logic board, removing the power supply, HDD, and fan, iFixit gets to the RAM part and notices the great surprise.

The iPad and iPhone maker's product ranges are known for being notoriously hard, if not close to impossible, to DIY upgrade.

This means that a capable enthusiast can, in theory, buy the cheapest new 21.5-inch iMac and upgrade it to be a far more powerful machine.

Don't expect upgrades to be easy, however.

Not so fast. Apple already told you about the updated iMac 4K's fancy specs, but we're here to reveal what wasn't in the press release. With some time and effort, you could at least double the base 8GB memory of the model without forking out an extra thousand dollars or so for the same performance.

Heres the deal. All-in-Ones like the iMac were not made to be easily serviceable, so youll have to be careful as you pry open the display (its secured with adhesive tape).

The CPU is equally solder-free, iFixit found, although it is tightly glued to its heatsink. There is a downside though, as most replaceable components are stuck behind the logic board, so most of the system does need to be taken apart to access those areas.

"Looking at the rest of the Kaby Lake lineup, we're actually not seeing any desktop-class CPUs in a BGA package", iFixit noted. It's also the first with a removable CPU since 2012.

In short, you can certainly upgrade the new, smaller iMac. When was the last time you replaced a CPU in a PC? Despite the challenges, however, the possibility is now there - if you are willing to risk the warranty.

No, it's not 1 April, iFixit has indeed confirmed that Apple's new-and-improved 21.5in iMac is upgradeable.

You can see more photos over at iFixit.

  • Geraldine Cohen