Model A1419 / Late 2012 / 2.9 & 3.2 GHz Core i5 or 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processor, ID iMac13,2

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Best possible processor for my iMac 2012 i5

Hello fellow fixateers!

I need to upgrade the processor in this mac, currently its a 2.9 ghz i5 and is struggling with video encoding and some general tasks.

I have already replaced the HDD with an SSD and upgraded ram to 24gb so there is little room for improvement there.

Does anyone know which processors are compatible, i know i can just put in the top end 2012 i7 but perhaps something more recent will also work?

I read some posts that a certain TDP is needed and the FSB speeds must be compatible but im struggling to find solid info on this particular model.


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Could you tell me the socket and chipset if you know it? I really need to know the socket, but not as much the chipset.


@reedcrosby - The socket in this series is FCLGA1155 and the iMac 27" 4.0 GHz i7 (5K, Late 2014) was the last model to use it. The newer Skylake systems use a FCLGA1151 socket. As you can see you couldn't even use a newer CPU. Even still the chipset used and what the systems firmware will allow also play into this.


Paul here's a good vid on encoding which might help explain things: Linus TechTips - Our 36 Core Video Rendering Server – Finally Explained Focus on the last half when he gets into codex's and the different apps do things.


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Sadly, your between a rock and a hard place here ;-{

The newer 'Thin Series' iMac's don't have as aggressive cooling system as the 2011 and older systems. This is mostly due to the fact the CPU's Apple has been using in this newer series run cooler so they don't need as much cooling as the older CPU's. So as an example many of the older iMac's had three fans unlike yours which only has one. So what ever CPU you put in, needs not to exceed the TDP (W) of the highest the system was designed for.

The only other CPU I know of that even fits within the FCLGA1155 socket is this one: Intel i7 - 4790 4.0 GHz (84 W) 4 cores/8 threads. But it won't work as it runs too hot and besides you're not getting that much of a bang from a performance perspective (review the performance numbers below). I should also point out I've never even tried doing it so it may not work as the system firmware may not allow it.

So where does this lead us to... Stick with the best this series offered (Intel i7 - 3770 3.90 GHz) if you are headstrong on upgrading the CPU. But be warned this is not a simple job! Given the risks here I would leave it be and either look at getting a newer model that has a Skylake CPU or hold out till the fall when a newer more powerful iMac series is expected.

Now lets talk about what you are doing as you may need to reconfigure your system to get more out of it. You talked about replacing the HD with a SSD can you tell us if your system came with a PCIe blade SSD? If it did you might not be leveraging it effectively here. So can you tell us what you have and how you've configured things.

Lastly, video encoding can be tricky! Depending on your apps you may need more clock than threads, I know that flies in the face of what most people tell you. We use Mac Pro's (yep the trash cans) we have two 6 core models and a 12 core model. Depending on what the App is and what we are converting the 12 core model may only be slightly faster than the 6 core models!

So you may want to review your apps & usage to see if adding cores or increasing speed will be better. Use Activity Monitor to map-out your processes to see what makes sense here.

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Hey Dan, thanks for the detailed answer. The cooling makes sense, i would hate for this thing to have fans blazing at 100% trying to cool it.

I have a SATA ssd currently and do not know if i have a vacant blade slot on the underside of the motherboard as i have not taken it out yet. It looks like the i7 3770 is around 130 pounds on ebay and has a larger cache and hyperthreading. The hyperthreading would be a huge boost i believe.

I rarely encode videos so its not a huge deal however using FCPX while other apps are running (photoshop, illustrator, mail, coda 2 and evernote) i noticed scrubbing was very slow which i believe would be improved with a beefier processor.

What ill do is next month (post pay-day) purchase the 3770, install and while doing that check for a blade slot, i can upgrade to a PCIe SSD then if there is one.



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(I5-3470S) CPU

uses a

FCLGA1155 socket

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It seems like lots of other people have this question, but I really don't think anything newer than the i7 will work. I'm not even sure that will work. Don't hold me to this, but I also think the RAM can go up to 32 GBs.

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@reedcrosby - Yes this series can support up to 32 GB of RAM!

- iMac 27" 3.4 GHz i7 (Late 2012) Specs


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paul will be eternally grateful.
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