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Desktops (Apple) iMac Apple Hardware Technology

Teardown of New iMac Reveals Upgradable Processors, RAM (macrumors.com) 205

According to an iFixit teardown, Apple's new 4K 21.5-inch iMac has both removable RAM and a Kaby Lake processor that's not soldered onto the logic board. Whereas the previous models had soldered memory modules, the new iMac's memory sit in two removable SO-DIMM slots. MacRumors reports: iFixit made the discovery by disassembling Apple's $1,299 mid-range 3.0GHz stock option, which includes 8GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, a Radeon Pro 555 graphics card with 2GB of VRAM, and a 1TB 5400-RPM hard drive. After slicing through the adhesive that secures the 4K display to the iMac's housing and removing the power supply, hard drive, and fan, iFixit discovered that the memory modules aren't soldered onto the logic board like previous models, but instead sit in two removable SO-DIMM slots. Similarly, after detaching the heatsink and removing the warranty voiding stickers on the backside of the logic board, iFixit found that the Intel SR32W Core i5-7400 Kaby Lake processor sits in a standard LGA 1151 CPU socket, making it possible to replace or upgrade the CPU without a reflow station.
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Teardown of New iMac Reveals Upgradable Processors, RAM

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now thats premium. It a 5.25 inch drive?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @11:13PM (#54582443)
    Having to slice the adhesive securing the screen to the housing, remove the power supply, hard drive, and fan, and tilt out the logic board to swap memory modules isn't exactly user-friendly. It still gets only a 3/10 for repair-ability.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      yeah apple just didn't bother yet with soldering the components yet since they don't have market data about demand so it's easier for now.. and you have to break the glue anyways, making it a no no for most users.

      they might start doing that for cost cutting without telling anyone though once the new line is up to speed in production.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@worf . n et> on Friday June 09, 2017 @01:29AM (#54582895)

        yeah apple just didn't bother yet with soldering the components yet since they don't have market data about demand so it's easier for now.. and you have to break the glue anyways, making it a no no for most users.

        they might start doing that for cost cutting without telling anyone though once the new line is up to speed in production.

        Well, the processor is easy. Intel doesn't sell BGA parts yet. Apple's only one customer of Intel and they're only able to buy what Intel can supply. Most likely what Intel can supply immediately in the quantities Apple wants at the price they want precludes BGA parts and soldering.

        Apple did the math - Intel can custom produce the CPUs for Apple, but likely the demand is such that Intel doesn't really want to (everyone is waiting for Kaby Lake processors, so when Intel started providing them in quantity, Apple became like everyone else) so quoted Apple the "if you really want it, we can do it" price. Or they can take what Intel is making right now and supplying everyone, with the benefit that it's no longer a custom order and Apple can buy what they need, at the expense of making it socketed. Or in other words, it's cheaper socketed right now because Intel is providing them in quantities to everyone in that format.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      It's not really about repairability, for consumer electronics that doesn't really happen. Apple needs to get back to it's roots for PC, computers as a hobby. Fully customisable PCs with a range of parts to choose from, either sold as kit or built in store to customers specifications. Apple lacks that power user computer, the computer aficionado's range of parts to build from.

      This as a new line separate from the consumer just use it ranges, if it really wants to tackle M$ head on. Start selling power user'

      • > Apple needs to get back to it's roots for PC, computers as a hobby.

        Apple could do that if somehow their products completely failed and they were in survival mode. Apple is currently the largest computer company in the world and the ninth largest company in the world. They sell 17 MILLION Macs every year, for 23 BILLION dollars in Mac sales.

        The entire "computers as a hobby" market is maybe a 23 million dollars each year, one tenth of one percent of Mac sales. They would literally give up 99.9% of their

        • Hobbyists aren't going to buy Apple-branded RAM for $300 if they can get similarly speced RAM from Kingston for $200.

          Neither are professionals. My mom had a Mac IIci back when those were hot, for graphic arts. She ordered it with minimum specs, and then I helped her to source RAM, HD, and laser printer from other vendors, saving her thousands of dollars. Only idiots will buy that stuff from Apple, which is why Apple focuses on the idiot market.

      • It's not really about repairability, for consumer electronics that doesn't really happen.

        What? That's crap. Only Apple makes it so hard to work on desktop PCs. Which I have to say is fucking pathetic, if you go back in time Apple's machines used to be the easiest to work on. You didn't even need a screwdriver to open a Mac II series machine, for example, or to replace its power supply.

        • by Holi ( 250190 )
          That ended when the Classic Mac Pro was replaced with the stupid tube, it was also the same time as the launch of their Retina screens. So 2012 was the last year Apple made a decent Mac in my opinion.
          • by Megane ( 129182 )

            It was also the time of the last good mac mini. 2011-2012 had the best models of Mac Pro, MacBook Pro, and mac mini. They are even still relevant, since Intel's CPUs haven't gotten significantly better in that time.

            In my opinion, it was not a coincidence that this started after Steve Jobs died. He was no longer there to say "fuck you" to people to prevent this kind of crap from happening.

            It's also not the first time that Apple made crap computers. In the '90s, before Steve came back, Apple made some reall

        • You didn't need one for a G4, G5, or Mac Pro either - there was just a latch you pull on, and the whole side comes off, or hinges open.

          I absolutely loved working on the G4, where the logic board was mounted to the hinged door. It was a brilliant design.

          • by Megane ( 129182 )
            I once had to re-spackle the heat-sink compound in a dual-CPU "Windtunnel" G4. It took me fifteen minutes from start to finish, and that's while it was still on the floor.
    • This sounds like my iPod Video (5G). Sure, I can replace the hard drive and battery, but I'd have to gently separate the case clips and screen from the front cover just to get in.

      Dedicated people can do it, but clumsy people like me can't. This sort of thing is what made 3rd party repair shops a thing, whether or not Apple gets money from it.

      Either they want to give a nod to those 3rd party shops (doubtful) or they cut costs on the entire manufacturing line to use default, mass produced parts that are also

    • Having to slice the adhesive securing the screen to the housing, remove the power supply, hard drive, and fan, and tilt out the logic board to swap memory modules isn't exactly user-friendly. It still gets only a 3/10 for repair-ability.

      Reminds me of the guy who upgraded the SSD in his Surface Pro 3 by cutting a SDD sized hole in the metal case with a Dremel based on pictures he'd seen of a teardown. The SP3 has a standard upgradable SSD, but it wasn't exactly user friendly either.

      http://surfacepro3ssdupgrade.b... [blogspot.co.uk]

    • They weren't going for user friendly. They were going for simpler manufacturing. Sockets and DIMM slots gives you that - only one manufacturing line for all 21" models, with chips snapped in at the end based on the orders.

      They could still give a shit about upgradeability - if you want that, go buy a ridiculously expensive and wholly outdated 4 year old Mac Pro!

  • Upgrade process (Score:5, Insightful)

    by psy ( 88244 ) on Thursday June 08, 2017 @11:21PM (#54582503)
    1) Buy lower end system
    2) Upgrade using cheaper 3rd party components
    3) ???
    4) Error 53
  • No (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Thursday June 08, 2017 @11:55PM (#54582639) Homepage Journal

    "removing the warranty voiding stickers on the backside of the logic board"

    We've got case law that explicitly forbids this. Quit spreading this fucking rumor.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      We've got case law that explicitly forbids this. Quit spreading this fucking rumor.

      The stickers probably Do say something like "Warranty Void if Removed", and there might be a term of "supplementary" contracts such as Applecare that you not touch the stickers.

      Even if not; as far as I know in the US there's no law against manufacturers Falsely telling consumers in the wording that the warranty will be void if sticker removed, then it becomes a lesser known fact that the company might still have to ho

      • The stickers probably Do say something like "Warranty Void if Removed", and there might be a term of "supplementary" contracts such as Applecare that you not touch the stickers.

        Contracts cannot trump the law. You have a right to repair with any compatible parts. It doesn't matter what you've agreed to. Computers that are actually illegal for you to open are covered by law, like smog test machines.

        Even if not; as far as I know in the US there's no law against manufacturers Falsely telling consumers in the wording that the warranty will be void if sticker removed, then it becomes a lesser known fact that the company might still have to honor warranty.

        That's correct, it's totally legal for Apple to defraud customers in this way.

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          Contracts cannot trump the law. You have a right to repair with any compatible parts. It doesn't matter what you've agreed to.

          If you sign up for an additional contract which you pay more money for such as "Applecare", then it is Not your product warranty --- your warranty was promises your manufacturer made about the fitness of your product; instead Applecare, Etc, is is a service plan which you have acquired as a separate agreement.

          Contracts don't trump the law, but it doesn't have to --- special ext

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      There's an actual photo of it in TFA:

      https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfr... [cloudfront.net]

      It might be unenforcable, but lots of manufacturers still do it and then try to bullshit ignorant customers.

    • "removing the warranty voiding stickers on the backside of the logic board"

      We've got case law that explicitly forbids this. Quit spreading this fucking rumor.

      Buying lawyers to fight Apple is cheaper than buying new hardware? Quit spreading this fucking rumor.

      Consumer laws hardly mean shit anymore. Even a class-action suit would be pocket change for Apple to pay, and would result in you getting pocket change as a reward years from now.

  • a Kaby Lake processor that's not soldered onto the logic board.

    ...that you could upgrade the CPU in the future with something that fit the same socket?

    • Theoretically, yes. Though, theoretically it would be equally possible for Apple to block compatibility with non-stock parts through firmware or software mechanisms.

    • In theory yes, for Kaby Lake the answer is probably no, because you shouldn't expect many new processors for that socket because Intel has already brought out the new socket. Kaby Lake X is actually inferior to Kaby Lake, but they'll have real processors out for the new socket soon enough.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      ...that you could upgrade the CPU in the future with something that fit the same socket?

      It is more about repairing, or salvaging.
      I never upgraded a CPU in my life without also changing the motherboard and RAM, or the complete laptop.
      By the time you'll want a better CPU, the latest generation will probably won't be compatible. And you might end up limited by basically everything else.

  • by ledow ( 319597 ) on Friday June 09, 2017 @05:24AM (#54583669) Homepage

    Cor.

    It's almost as powerful as the laptop I bought many years ago, though it obviously has a later generation of processor. It might even be "as upgradeable" but I think it's unlikely unless it has a SODIMM slot underneath a flap on the back of the case (you shouldn't need to "dismantle" in order to "upgrade").

    I still don't get the Apple thing at all.

    • I still don't get the Apple thing at all.

      Perhaps I can help.

      Computers just got so reliable, inexpensive, and integrated now that it just does not make sense for a large portion of the population to upgrade or repair computers on their own. I've seen this happen in less than five years at work.

      It used to be that we'd have parts on hand to replace all kinds of components on computers. We had a box of Ethernet cards. We had a box of video cards. Another box with RAM. A few other boxes of more random parts like sound cards, parallel port cards, h

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        I agree with almost everything you say.

        It's been YEARS since I had to slot in an expansion card or do anything particularly complicated. I specifying desktops and servers and expect my suppliers to supply the right bits (I don't mind putting them in, so long as they are certified compatible by my supplier).

        However, the problem I have is with this:

        "Computers just got so cheap that it's just not worth the time to fix them or upgrade them any more."

        Apparently, not so. My laptop cost half the price of a MacBo

  • I don't think I would be getting another MBP or iMac.

    For a company with a quarter of a trillion in assets to offer their users 16GB MBPs, shitty Radeons, and no 10nm CPUs (sure, blame Intel on your supply management issues), is just beyond acceptable level for me. And the price markup is just insulting, its like I'm being trolled by mediocracy.

  • This clearly proves beyond any reasonable doubt that a Mac IS a PC. This has never been questioned by anyone who knows the slightest bit about computers, of course, but you still here this nonsense terminology thrown around. Now that they are both using the same commodity components, there really is no excuse.

    • The important thing about a computer is the applications available and, to a lesser extent, the OS. The hardware is only important to support that.

Real computer scientists like having a computer on their desk, else how could they read their mail?

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