Just like clockwork, the folks doing the Lord’s work at iFixit (opens in new tab) have torn into the latest 21.5-inch iMac and have found that, shockingly, it can be upgraded without a trip to the Genius Bar.
That said, it’s a laborious process that, unless you’ve taken apart Apple computers before, should most definitely not be tried at home.
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. That’s because, for one, the memory is not soldered onto the logic board, but rather housed within standard, laptop-sized DIMM slots.
Similarly, the CPU housed within the computer is not soldered on either, sitting inside a modular, LGA1151 Intel processor socket, just like any Windows 10 PC you might build at home.
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Speaking of which, don’t do this at home
Look, the thing about upgrading Mac computers on your own is that Apple is incredibly particular about what type and make of components its devices support. That’s before you even get into TDP, or thermal design power, considerations.
This isn’t as much the case for RAM or hard drive as it is the processor. So long as the memory or storage you’re replacing is of a similar size and doesn’t exceed the frequency or capacity that the Mac is rated to support in the first place, you should be fine.
The processor, on the other hand, will require you to stay within the confines of the TDP or otherwise possibly face a iMac that's too power strained to turn on once it’s back together. On top of that, and we repeat, Apple is awfully particular about which specific processors its computers support, so you would have to pick from a tiny list of parts anyway, limiting your budget options.
Finally, iFixit uses specific tools to get into Apple computers and put them back together again. While the outlet sells these tools, we wouldn’t recommend trying your hand at them unless you’re either well-versed in computer building or are willing to (read: can afford to) possibly damage your already-pricey computer.
In short, you can certainly upgrade the new, smaller iMac. But, just because you can doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Via The Verge (opens in new tab)