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Model A1311 / Mid 2010 / 3.06 & 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 3.6 GHz Core i5 Processor

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Can I upgrade my CPU and GPU?

Hello eveybody. I own an iMac with these specifications:

iMac 21.5" (Mid 2010)

Processor: 3.2 GHz Intel Core i3

Memory: 12 GB 1333 MHz DDR3

Graphics: ATI Radeon HD 5670 512 MB

I want to upgrade my CPU to an i5 or i7. Also I want to upgrade my graphics card. Can I do these upgrades? If YES, can you tell me exactly what parts do I need? (CPU model, Graphics Card model).

Thanks

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Upgrading the processor and graphics card in any iMac is not something that is typically done or possible, in most cases. In order to upgrade your processor you would need to replace the entire logic board, which cost a lot of money and not worth doing. You may be able to upgrade the video card but you would have to buy a video card from apple that would be compatible with your iMac and again it would be very expensive. If you provide your serial number I can give you a better idea what options there are and pricing. Hope this helps!

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Hey ACP. Thanks for your answer. Here is my S/N: QP1140J4DB7

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The actual answer is "it depends". If you have an iMac that came with a basic processor (like an i5) and want to upgrade it to a faster one (like an i7) then the next step is to check for an i7 that uses the same socket as the i5 that came with your system. The early/mid 2011 i5 iMac 27" uses an LGA 1156 socket, so it can be upgraded to an i7-860 which uses the same socket (2.86GHz quad core using 95 watts).

So you really have to do your homework and shop aggressively before making the decision on whether to jump into it or not.

As for the GPU, ACP nailed it with his answer

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I have found that the i7 870s and 860s work fine paired with the lower wattage psu found in these units. make sure they are the low wattage versions of the i7 and everything works fine.

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I know I’m almost seven years late, but maybe someone else will find this helpful.

 ‍

For a 21.5” Mid-2010 iMac, the best CPU you can upgrade to is a Core i5-680 (https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/...). You can get one for under $25 on eBay right now. I don’t believe it’s possible to upgrade to an i7 as all the i7 processors I can find that fit in this iMac’s CPU socket have a higher TDP. I think (but am not even close to certain) that if you want a quad-core CPU, a Xeon L3426 (https://ark.intel.com/content/www/us/en/...) might work; please don’t quote me on this though.

To upgrade the CPU, you’ll want to follow the iFixit guide: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Replacement. I don’t know what ACP was saying about replacing the entire logic board in order to upgrade the processor—that’s just plain wrong.

 ‍

Regarding your question about the graphics card: I, too, am trying to find out what the best GPU upgrade is for a 21.5” Mid-2010 iMac. So far, the one you currently have is the best one that I know of that works. If anyone else does know of a better GPU for this iMac, I’d love to hear about it. I’ll also post an update if I find anything.

Here’s the iFixit guide for upgrading the GPU in a 21.5” Mid-2010 iMac: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 GPU Card Replacement.

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Afbeelding

Handleiding

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Replacement

Moeilijkheid:

Moeilijk

3 - 4 hours

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 GPU Card Afbeelding

Handleiding

iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 GPU Card Replacement

Moeilijkheid:

Moeilijk

50 minutes - 3 hours

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This is awesome. Thanks Gabriel. I just picked up a mid 2010 21.5 inch iMac with the 3.02ghz i3 CPU.

In looking to upgrade it.

Looks like i5 it is.

Got it super cheap. $0 as the person was having trouble with it booting. No big issue, just a failing platter hdd.

I'll replace it with an SSD and throw in the i5. Got an extra stick of RAM to double the capacity.

Will be a lightning little machine once I'm done.

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Andrei Raileanu zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.
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