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 to Intel i7?

I have a mid 2010 iMac 21.5" with the 3.2 ghz i3 processor. I would like to upgrade to the Intel i7 6700 4ghz, but I know nothing about computers. Will it physically fit? is my computer compatible? Basically can I upgrade to this processor with my computer or no?

edit: after realizing that an i7 is not only excessive, but also not possible, I would like to know this: Can I put in a later generation i3? like the i3 6320?

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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The series of your iMac: iMac11,2

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Here's the specs of your current CPU: Intel 3.2 GHz Core i3 (I3-550

The best you can put in is this CPU: Intel 3.6 GHz Core i5 (I5-680)

Here is the IFIXIT guide to switch it: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Replacement.

This is not an easy job! Are you sure you're up to it?

While you will gain some performance you might want to look at upping the RAM to 8 or 12 GB. I would also look at putting in a SSD replacing your optical drive and set it up as your startup disk. Here is the IFIXIT guide to install it: Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Hard Drive.

Both of these upgrades will give you a better bang for the buck than the CPU upgrade!

Update (03/13/2016)

Theres more than just TDP to worry about. The socket needs to support the chip and the FSB clock needs to match. Lastly the systems BIOS (EFI) needs to recognize it within the series. So you'll need to stick with the chips Apple has used which is the ones I've pointed you to.

Unless you are doing something that requires more RAM 12 GB should be enough.

I'm not recommending you swap out your HD for a SSD that would be expensive if you went with a 2TB SSD!

The trick here is a dual drive setup replacing the optical drive for a SSD (review the guide I pointed out) Here we are using a smaller SSD (256/512 MB) for the boot drive. It will hold the OS and your Apps (leaving 1/3 of the rest of the drive empty for virtual RAM and any application paging. This is what will get you the performance bang you're looking for for a lot less expense. Depending on your OS you can also create a Fusion Drive.

If your current HD is getting tired then I would get a SSHD (hybrid drive) to replace it as it offers a faster alternative than a standard HD.

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The i7 CPU chip won't work in your system as the TDP is to high. For reference heres the specs: Intel 2.93 GHz Core i7 (i7-870)

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If you decide to do the hard drive upgrade talk to us first as there are temperature sensor issues with different drives and different solutions.

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Hi there. As it turns out I realized that an i7 is excessive anyway.

1.) So I can put in a first gen i5, Can I put in a later generation i3? like the i3 6320? idk what all to check for but the TPD if only 51W as opposed to the 73 the my current one uses.

I have a freind who loves to build computers, and I would mostly rely on him for all of the stuff that i'm "not up for"

2.) I definitely plan on putting in more ram. I have 8 now, would it be worth it to upgrade to 16 or do you think 12 would be fine?

Lastly i definitely won't be upgrading to a SSD because I have a 2 tb hard drive and $$$ you know, but if you know anything about hybrids I would love to have some more information on those.

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This answer was originally to another question.

Well stated question for a late Saturday night.

Let me address the hard drive issue first, you have several questions here and I may go to sleep before addressing them. The 2010 iMac used a Apple proprietary hard drive with special heat sensors. There are three different sensors for the three major brands of hard drives, Using the wrong drive or matching with the wrong sensor will cause the fans to run away and burn up the hard dive. OWC offers a fix for the drives without the custom sensor port, but it's about $40.

The Apple Hard drive sensors are:

Apple Part #'s

  • 922-9215 - Hitachi
  • 922-9216 - Seagate
  • 922-9622 - Western digital

I do like the Seagate SSHD drives, I've had one failure in the last 100 drives I've installed and it was bad from the git-go.

Here's the info on the OWC solution: http://eshop.macsales.com/item/OWC/DIDIM...

RAM Upgrade:

  • RAM Type: PC3-10600 DDR3 Min. RAM Speed: 1333 MHz
  • Details: Supports 1333 MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SO-DIMMs (204-pin).
  • Standard RAM: 4 GB Maximum RAM: 16 GB

Details: By default, 4 GB of RAM is installed as two 2 GB SO-DIMM modules. Two slots free.

To max out use 4X4 to get to 16.

Better is to just add 2 - 4 MB sticks and take it to 12MB. Just my opinion.

CPU Info:

The iMac "Core i5" 3.6 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010) technically is a "configure-to-order" configuration of the iMac "Core i3" 3.2 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010), The iMac "Core i5" 3.6 21.5-Inch Aluminum (Mid-2010) is powered by a dual core 3.6 GHz Intel "Core i5" I5-680 (Clarkdale) processor with a dedicated 256k level 2 cache for each core and a 4 MB shared level 3 cache. In lieu of a system bus, it has a "Direct Media Interface" (DMI) that "connects between the processor and chipset" at 2.5 GT/s.

That's all I will give you for tonight as It's past my bed time and they don't pay me for overtime. In fact they don't pay me at all, I'm just a volunteer here.

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