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Repair guides and support for 21.5" Intel iMacs by Apple.

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Who has looked inside an iMac

Hi, I figure this would be the right place to ask a question that doesn't seem to be answered anywhere.

I have some ideas and want to know if there are possibilities to customize.

I am leaning to my first IMAC 21 and want to buy aftermarket memory (32gb) and at least an SSD or HDD to install. So I am looking to buy a bare bones system, been looking at refurbished Apples too.

As the years go by Apple is restricting customization.

Which model and release year would be best to allow these changes.

Would it be easier to buy one with a HDD and then add the SSD of your choice or vice versa.

Could I choose the type of M.2 NVMe SSD to install

Could I install 3rd party memory and will the memory have booting problems on Apple of my choice of M.2 NVMe SSD, am I restricted in anyway on the choice of hardware by software.

Is there any advise anyone could give me on the choices and direction I should take will be so very much appreciated. The year models really sound confusing.

Would I need a technician to change things for me or could I do it.

Who else would know more about Apples then the people who get to core of it.

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IMHO Others here may have better suggestions

On selecting an upgradable Mac and also the last economically repairable one, you need one before the fused glass on the display. That's going to be approximately the Model A1311 / Mid 2011.

This one was the educational model and might be great for CPU , RAM and hard drive upgrades but be basically a low end machine to start with:

Apple iMac "Core i3" 3.1 21.5-Inch (Late 2011) Specs

Identifiers: Late 2011 (Edu) - MC978LL/A - iMac12,1 - A1311 - 2496

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Hello Mayer,

Thank you for your quick reply. Yes 2011 is too old and too basic.

Am I to assume I should buy IMAC with all the specs now, no change of mind later, if your needs change, buy another.

A bit sad, actually very sad and terribly expensive,

What could be a decent machine and good value


Well, you asked for a basic machine. Would you care to amend your criteria and we will try to accommodate your request. We can tell you how to upgrade everything from the CPU to the GPU, fusion drives and which M.2 NVMe SSD that'll actually work.


Ok, how could I get out there with a decent machine and the best way to get to it.


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Here are the upgradable iMacs 2009 ~ 2011:

- 21.5"

- 27"

Anything from 2012 onward are much harder to open and service.

  • The SATA drives can be replaced, the blade SSD's are custom (not M.2) and difficult to get to and get.
  • RAM is replaceable via a door in the 27". In the 21.5 you need to take the whole system apart.

I would stick with the 2011 models unless you need the horsepower then buy a MacPro (new or old)

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Ancient warrior zal eeuwig dankbaar zijn.

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