iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 Teardown

Teardown

Teardown

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Featured Guide

Featured Guide

This guide has been found to be exceptionally cool by the iFixit staff.

In the calm after the iPhone 5s/c storm, Apple thought it could slip a couple new iMacs by us. Time for us to get our pry on and pop this next generation 27" iMac wide open for a quick tour of the highlights.

We also tore apart the newly refreshed smaller-brother iMac 21.5"—head over to its teardown and check it out too.

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Relevant Parts
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Edit Step 1 iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 Teardown  ¶ 

  • Externally, the iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 looks identical to the previous generation, but the interior specs have been upgraded:

    • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz) with 6MB L3 cache

    • NVIDIA GeForce GT 755M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory

    • 802.11ac Wi-Fi

    • PCIe flash SSD available

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

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Edit Step 3  ¶ 

  • The AirPort/Bluetooth card, conforming to the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, still clings to the back of the logic board — making replacement no easier than before.

    • Not the first Mac to get updated with the new ac standard, we expected to see some similar hardware as in the refreshed MacBook Airs from earlier this year.

  • Chips off the old new block:

    • Broadcom BCM4360KML1G 5G WiFi 3-stream 802.11ac gigabit transceiver—as expected, this is the same chip driving the ac Wi-Fi in the 11" and 13" MacBook Air

    • Three Skyworks SE5516 : dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN front-end modules

    • Broadcom BCM20702 single-chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI solution with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support

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Edit Step 4  ¶ 

  • As is now standard across all new iMacs, the new iMac 27" features support for PCIe-based flash storage. This is a pleasant surprise compared to last year's 21.5" model, when we were left sorely disappointed by unpopulated solder pads on our low-end logic board.

  • According to Apple, the inclusion of PCIe flash storage allows for up to 50 percent faster speeds than the previous generation.

  • The Fusion Drive option combines the large storage capacity of a hard drive with the high performance of flash to deliver shorter boot times and faster access to apps and files.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Apple's iMac refresh included some sneaky changes to the 21.5" model, and we were more than a little perturbed to discover a soldered CPU.

  • Thankfully, its 27" big brother was saved from the same fate, and power users will still be able to upgrade their processor without a reflow oven.

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Edit Step 6  ¶ 

  • Heavy-weight ICs:

    • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor

    • Intel platform controller hub

  • As advertised, the iMac 27" now sports a fancy new graphics processor:

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • The B-side of our IC record:

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • iMac 27" EMC 2639 Repairability Score: 5 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • RAM is user-replaceable without opening the case, thanks to the rear access door.

  • You can still replace the hard drive and CPU inside this machine, albeit with some adhesive cutting.

  • Components are modular and fairly easy to remove.

  • Budget-minded folks now can add a second hard drive to the base iMac because the Fusion Drive connector is no longer missing from the logic board.

  • The glass and LCD are fused together, and there are no more magnets holding the glass in place.

  • You'll have to masterfully peel off the old double-sided sticky tape and apply new tape in order to reseal this iMac into original condition.

Required Tools

TR8 Torx Security Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

T5 Torx Screwdriver

$4.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Cards

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

iMac Opening Tool

$7.95 · 39 In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

You forget to mention *HOW* one should mount an extra SSD in the new port.

Do we need to remove the LCD panel or is there a slot you can access through the back, like with RAM?

Christian Bille, · Reply

You'll need to remove the LCD and dig your way inside.

Miroslav Djuric,

On the BTO "SSD flash memory only model", is the SSD connected to the rear PCIe port leaving an empty SATA port? So someone could add an additional SATA drive?

Thx

Matthias Gasser, · Reply

I am also looking for the same info. Anybody has an ans?

imacsps,

Is the Thunderbolt port "Redwood Ridge", ie. DisplayPort 1.2 capable?

Robert Le, · Reply

Thanks for the tear-down...very nice as usual.

I'm glad we can still easily upgrade RAM on the 27" iMac. I would still like to be able to easily upgrade the HDD and/or SSD though - especially as SSDs get cheaper.

Scott Adams, · Reply

What we be required to install a second drive? I would like to keep the stock 1tb hdd and add a Samsung S30 SSD.

John, · Reply

Do you think the cooling would support a 3 or 4TB hard drive and a 256 or 512GB SSD?

FredR, · Reply

1) In order to "upgrade" the CPU, would you just "pop out" the current i5/i7 and plop a new one in? Are some not going to work? Would you need to do any software upgrades, etc.?

2) Same sort of question regarding the fusion drive slot. Would this only work with an apple fusion flash drive? could you just plop in a samsung, etc SSD? Any max for storage space?

Ali Maadelat, · Reply

Ok just tore mine down thinking I could easily add a SSD drive to my 1TB sata setup. NOT. There is NO additional SATA port and the one that's on the MOBO is proprietary to Apple. So unless you have a converter that can adapt a STANDARD sata cable and power, then adding your own "Fusion Drive" setup is not going to happen. However, if you bought the SSD model then you can add the additional HDD but would still need to split power from their proprietary power cable. UGH.

Michael Ybarra, · Reply

Is the GPU upgradeable? Can I swap a GeForce GTX 780m for the base 755m card?

California Aggie, · Reply

Does the fusion drive have a PCIe SSD and a standard sata HD or is it a special drive? Can it be splitted into two individual drives again?

Thomas Mosch, · Reply

Replaceable Wifi card is excellent news. Question: is it possible to upgrade the WiFi card to 'ac' in previous Late 2012 iMac? If so, where can I buy that part?

fallenartist, · Reply

I've never heard of anyone buying a Mac expecting to upgrade the CPU (or ever having to replace one).

Scott Adams, · Reply

Not to mention that the reason the CPU is soldered in the 21.5" iMac is because it's the only formfactor Intel sells the CPU in with the Iris Pro graphics. You CANNOT get that chip with a socket. No way, no how.

Given this iMac does not need the Intel graphics, Apple went with the traditional socketed design.

Blame Intel for that one, not Apple.

(Though I agree - do people really upgrade their CPUs? Short of enthusiasts who upgrade every 6 months (who would never buy an iMac anyways...), by the time one finds the CPU too slow, it's time to upgrade the entire machine anyhow. Even on a PC you'd probably have to replace the motherboard, so soldered or not...).

Worf, · Reply

Do we know which i7 they're using in the 27"?

Daniel Gray, · Reply

can i put this wifi card in my 2010 imac 27 i7 2.93 ghz?

jess, · Reply

I've done it before. If you're happy with the shell it's a great way to spend 10% of a computer's replacement cost and still enjoy a generational leap forward in performance. Made my G4 last 10 years that way through RAM, Graphics Card and Processor upgrades. This is the same thing. I bought a Haswell iMac 27 only because the screen is so much better than my iMac 24. Otherwise I would have figured out a way to stretch my $2400 investment from 2008. Did the same with a Macintosh Plus too. Well a 2 Mb upgrade and cutting the 256k resister. Still. I've always enjoyed messing with out of the box items.

Mike, · Reply

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