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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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GPU failure, can it be saved?

I have a mid 2010 iMac 21.5, EMC 2389. Forgive me, I don't remember the exact specs but I'm fairly certain it was the base model. I can't check since I'm experiencing a failure which I assume is the onboard graphics. Whenever I start the computer, it works for a few minutes and then I get either a checker pattern all over the screen or random lines. In either case, I am unable to click on anything on my display. From what I have read, my computer has a built in onboard graphics chipset. Given what it would take to replace this, I going to say it's pretty much unfixable. I understand (I could be wrong) that my computer also had an optional add on GPU card available when new. Would it be possible, if I could get my hands on one, to add this GPU to my computer and regain functionality? If this is possible, would the computer boot up using the new card or would I have to install an additional driver. I ask this since it might be impossible to install a driver with the old chipset acting up like it is. If anyone has any thoughts on this, please let me know.

Thank you,


Update (03/29/2017)

Ok, I looked up my serial number. Here is the URL: iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010)

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@boss2731 - Don, flip your system over so you can see the bottom of the stand foot you should be able to find the systems S/N there. Then plug it into here: EveryMac - Lookup it will help in ID'ing your system. Past the systems URL here for us to see then we can see what your options are.


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Your in luck your system has a removable graphics card! The original part in your system is an ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256 MB of onboard RAM.

Here are the two parts that would work in your system:

  • ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256 MB - Apple P/N 661-5539
  • ATI Radeon HD 5670 with 512 MB - Apple P/N 661-5546

Both are around $ 250 - 300 US

And here is the IFIXIT guide you'll need to follow: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 GPU Card Replacement. It's a bit of work so you may want to think this through if you can handle it.

Lastly, Keep in mind MacOS Sierra will be the last OS for this system.

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An additional resolution to Dan's excellent answer is to get the GPU re-balled. Here's one service that does that for $75 :

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don zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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