Author Topic: iMac performance upgrade  (Read 3021 times)

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
iMac performance upgrade
« on: May 29, 2020, 09:58:49 am »
My local Apple dealer tells me it's not possible to upgrade the memory in my iMac.

Is this just the usual Apple bullshit, ie one of those things you can't do officially but can actually do in real life?

If the latter, is it easy to DIY?

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2020, 10:01:26 am »
I will ask Dez. Mrs. Wow and I each have a Mac Mini. Hers is the older. It was very slow so we upgraded the memory. Mine, the later model, can’t be upgraded.

Iirc it cost £39, and it made a massive difference to the machine’s speed.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 10:04:31 am »
Have a look here: https://www.macupgrades.co.uk/store/index.php.  Yours might have soldered-on RAM - certainly the later model MacBooks do.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 10:06:23 am »
Dez says mostly you can but it is age dependent. He says “Go to the Apple menu, look at “About this Mac” and that will tell you the age.” You ma be able to establish for yourself if it’s possible’, but he says ask him if not. There’s a cover round the back where extra memory can be fitted, if it’s possible.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2020, 10:18:11 am »
Thanks, both. I didn't realise the issue was with memory being soldered on. Will investigate...

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2020, 10:22:35 am »
I don't believe any of the current iMacs have soldered RAM. Some of them don't have a hatch for upgrading it so need a full disassembly.

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2020, 10:30:09 am »
Ours is a mid-2011, so quite old. I was able easily (via the hatch mentioned by Grams) to upgrade the memory. Said hatch is on the bottom edge of the screen, between the speaker grilles, secured by 2 small screws.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2020, 10:31:10 am »
Yes, it depends on the model. Chris N's website will help, as will Crucial.com

https://www.crucial.com/upgrades/apple/imac-systems

If there isn't a hatch, I think you have to take the screen off. Not for the faint hearted.
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2020, 10:38:28 am »
Yeah, model dependent, the base model iMac when I bought mine (c2017) was soldered. The better ones, like I got, let you feed them more memory (so this one has 24 GB).

Tbh, in practice, my mothership Macbook rarely burns through the entire 8 GB the factory blessed it with and that's with horrid stuff like ginormous Excel files.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2020, 01:23:18 pm »
Have a look here: https://www.macupgrades.co.uk/store/index.php.  Yours might have soldered-on RAM - certainly the later model MacBooks do.

That's really useful, thanks. I entered the serial no. and that site tells me it can be upgraded from its current 8GB to a maximum 16GB, which is probably worthwhile. Looks like it's also possible to upgrade the HD to an SSD, which would also make a big difference to performance. And cheaper than a new iMac.

(It's a late 2013 model, btw, so no hatch but also memory is not soldered.)

If there isn't a hatch, I think you have to take the screen off. Not for the faint hearted.

Just been watching a video.... hmmmmm... you're right, not for the faint hearted.  :sick:

I've dabbled with iPhones but this looks like the kind of job for which it would be worth getting in someone who knows what they're doing.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2020, 01:26:00 pm »
Tbh, in practice, my mothership Macbook rarely burns through the entire 8 GB the factory blessed it with and that's with horrid stuff like ginormous Excel files.

You know, come to think of it, I wonder if lack of memory is really the problem with my iMac... My Macbook also has a mere 8GB but seems fine with having lots of memory-hungry stuff all open at the same time.

I don't think it can be processor speed that's the issue either - Macbook has a 1.6GHz dual-core i5, iMac has 2.7GHz quad-core i5.

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 02:09:18 pm »
What is the Disc, SSD or spinner?
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2020, 02:16:33 pm »
If it's a 2013 machine it'll be a spinner, and not best suited to the current OS.
I'm having this problem with my 2015 spinny disc machine.
Ironically, my 2012 iMac (running an ancient Power PC processor using an ancient OS) is faster.
I really should get a SSD for the 2015 machine.

My 2020 MacBook Air is light years away from the two older machines, by comparison.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2020, 02:18:39 pm »
Yes, it's a spinner. So upgrading to an SSD would be the best way to improve performance?

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2020, 02:20:10 pm »
Yes, it's a spinner. So upgrading to an SSD would be the best way to improve performance?
Yes.

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2020, 02:21:02 pm »
Yes, it's a spinner. So upgrading to an SSD would be the best way to improve performance?

Which involves taking the screen off.....  something I meant to do one rainy day, I’ve the SSD and other bits, including tools, to hand.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2020, 02:22:29 pm »
Yes, it's a spinner. So upgrading to an SSD would be the best way to improve performance?

Which involves taking the screen off.....  something I meant to do one rainy day, I’ve the SSD and other bits, including tools, to hand.
Is an external SSD not an option?

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2020, 02:33:42 pm »
I'm in the same boat: I've got a late 2015 iMac that can be frustratingly slow at times. I don't fancy taking the screen off though...

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2020, 03:01:04 pm »
Yes, it's a spinner. So upgrading to an SSD would be the best way to improve performance?

If you're taking it apart to fit an SSD you might as well put more ram in it at the same time.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2020, 03:01:47 pm »
Is an external SSD not an option?

Is it? Can you make an iMac start up from an external disk?

If you're taking it apart to fit an SSD you might as well put more ram in it at the same time.

Indeed. Although if an external SSD is an option, that would be a lot easier all round!

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2020, 03:05:14 pm »
Is an external SSD not an option?

Is it? Can you make an iMac start up from an external disk?

If you're taking it apart to fit an SSD you might as well put more ram in it at the same time.

Indeed. Although if an external SSD is an option, that would be a lot easier all round!
Macs of old always used to look for an external OS first, when starting up.
I think that is still the case, which is why on my 2012 machine, it checks the optical device - remember them? (you can hear it scanning it) before it starts up.
I'm in the same boat: I've got a late 2015 iMac that can be frustratingly slow at times. I don't fancy taking the screen off though...
Mine is at its worst when starting up or launching browsers.
Once it is running, I can live with the speed it works at.
It's only glacial when you compare it to my 2020 MacBook Air.

ETA - According to the Mac guy in our IT department at work, the biggest problem with taking the screen off a Mac is "Fuck - where am I supposed to put this now?" - Space being an issue.
It isn't for me as my desk at home is 2440 x 1200  :smug:

Jaded

  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2020, 03:28:33 pm »
I believe it is the T2 chip that causes problems with external booting. If you have thunderbolt or USB3 you have enough interface speed to boot externally. Clone the internal drive to an external SSD, then set the boot drive in system preferences. And fly!
If you don't like your democracy, vote against it.

Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2020, 03:35:34 pm »
It's unlikely there'll be USB3 on a 2013 machine, but there should be Thunderbolt.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2020, 04:05:59 pm »
If you have thunderbolt or USB3 you have enough interface speed to boot externally. Clone the internal drive to an external SSD, then set the boot drive in system preferences. And fly!

 :thumbsup:

It's unlikely there'll be USB3 on a 2013 machine, but there should be Thunderbolt.

Yep, just bog standard USB 2, but I do have Thunderbolt - not sure if that's 1 or 2, but it's definitely not 3.

ian

  • feat. Undead Jess & Finestre, Queen of Hell
Re: iMac memory upgrade
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2020, 07:22:51 pm »
Tbh, in practice, my mothership Macbook rarely burns through the entire 8 GB the factory blessed it with and that's with horrid stuff like ginormous Excel files.

You know, come to think of it, I wonder if lack of memory is really the problem with my iMac... My Macbook also has a mere 8GB but seems fine with having lots of memory-hungry stuff all open at the same time.

I don't think it can be processor speed that's the issue either - Macbook has a 1.6GHz dual-core i5, iMac has 2.7GHz quad-core i5.

I don't look often, but when I did, there's was only a swap file on my 8 GB Macbook with huge Excel files. Despite being fairly old, it's still spritely. I should replace it but that involves negotiating with the mothership.

But yes, has said, the big difference will be an SSD. Memory and processor power are more marginal. Plenty of places (possibly Apple themselves) will do upgrades.
Support the Great Surrey Bear Census 2020