Introduction

Use this guide to replace the GPU card.

Image 1/2: Be sure there isn't any dirt or debris on your work surface, as it may scratch the glass panel on the front of your iMac. We recommend placing a towel between the iMac and the work surface.
  • Lay your iMac face-down on a soft, clean surface as shown.

  • Be sure there isn't any dirt or debris on your work surface, as it may scratch the glass panel on the front of your iMac. We recommend placing a towel between the iMac and the work surface.

  • Loosen the three Phillips screws securing the access door to the bottom edge of your iMac.

  • All three screws will remain captive in the access door.

  • Remove the access door.

Before beginning unplug your iMac.

Henry Barnett - Reply

Image 1/3: Pull the black plastic tab away from the bottom edge of the iMac to eject the module(s) on that side of the RAM bay.
  • Gently slide the black plastic RAM pull tab out from the RAM slot.

  • Pull the black plastic tab away from the bottom edge of the iMac to eject the module(s) on that side of the RAM bay.

  • This may require a bit of force.

i pulled very hard on this tab, could not get it to release?

is this common?

Arjun Govindjee - Reply

It is far harder than I thought you have to pull REALLY hard and then there will be a little click and than you can gently pull out the RAM.

Alison Newton - Reply

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  • Slide the old RAM module(s) out of their slots in the RAM bay and set them aside.

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  • Repeat the process in the previous steps to remove the RAM module(s) from the other side of the RAM bay.

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Image 1/3: Be sure the small notch cut into each RAM module (shown in the first picture) mates with the protrusion in each RAM slot (shown in the second picture).
  • When installing new RAM modules, it is important to orient them correctly.

  • Be sure the small notch cut into each RAM module (shown in the first picture) mates with the protrusion in each RAM slot (shown in the second picture).

  • Your iMac has four RAM slots. Be sure to slide each RAM module into its slot horizontally. This will prevent getting the modules stuck between two of the adjacent slots.

  • Once you have oriented the new RAM modules correctly, gently slide them completely into the iMac and use your thumbs to firmly seat them in their sockets.

When reinstalling RAM in this machine or any iMac with upgradable RAM slots push hard to get them to go in (Apple really did make this one harder than it needed to be). If you don't push hard it won't go in and your computer won't work. (trust me on this learned the hard way)

Robert Wacker - Reply

Image 1/2: Stick a suction cup near each of the two top corners of the glass panel.
  • Before beginning, unplug your iMac and lay it on a soft surface as shown.

  • Stick a suction cup near each of the two top corners of the glass panel.

  • To attach the suction cups we sell, first position the suction cup with the movable handle parallel to the face of the glass panel. While lightly holding the suction cup against the glass, raise the movable handle until it is parallel with the other handle.

  • If your suction cups refuse to stick, try cleaning both the glass panel and the suction cup with a mild solvent.

Change "Before beginning, unplug your iMac and lay it on a soft surface as shown." to "Lay your iMac on a soft surface as shown"

Henry Barnett - Reply

my imac power sullye not powering

tahir - Reply

imac 2544 2.5 core i5 i touched the motherboard to supply and it spark now it is not powering

please tell me the directions

thanks witting for answering .

tahir - Reply

Im sorry to say, If it sparked when you touched it your motherboard s now fried. You need a new one.

Robert Wacker -

Very easy to lift the glass out. Don't jerk too hard.

kctipton - Reply

Success replacing the stock ST31000528AS with a STBD3000100 (Dead 1TB to new 3TB, both Seagate). First try. Using another Mac and a quality Firewire 800 cable, I formatted it using Target Disk mode, 2 partitions (defaults, except I made the first one bigger than the second). To the second, smaller one, I copied a bootable Install OS X Mavericks partition. Tried to boot. It booted, and I installed; nary a glitch. (Running the Installer over Firewire would have been faster, but I didn't want to reboot this machine.)

See part 2 below...

Matthew Elvey - Reply

(Part 2:)

I SKIPPED steps 6, 7 AND 8! Instead, after doing Step 5, I noticed I then had enough room and cable length to access the screws in Step 11 if I lifted the LCD up an inch or so, rotated it about 20-30 degrees clockwise and moved it a couple inches toward the base, and put it down. After removing them (Step 11), I propped up the LCD (with a spare spudger) and had enough room to do Steps 12, 13, and 14 without much difficulty. Felt safer/less work and risk than not skipping steps 6-8. No risk of the damage Ersan and Michael caused performing Step 7!

Matthew Elvey -

I just edited that step to add a note about the shortcut.

Matthew Elvey -

What the ???

Geoff Wacker has REJECTED my edit: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/history/ste...

I wonder why. What's the deal, Geoff? I mean I'd understand if I suggested folks didn't need the suction cups, as that could cut into iFixit's income stream, but what's wrong with suggesting that a few steps aren't needed? It worked for me; the EMC 2389 I fixed is humming along with a new 3TB HD I installed while skipping those steps.

Matthew Elvey -

I did not have to remove a single cable! After undoing the torx screws from the sides, I was able to rotate the LCD out of the way enough to reach all the screws holding in the ODD bracket. One of them was a bit challenging to get to, but I never felt that I was risking the cables by leaving them connected. Also, it wasn't totally clear, but you have to actually remove the ODD itself from the ODD bracket - 4 torx screws. The SDD mounts into the hard drive enclosure, then the enclosure is screwed into the bracket. Those holes (enclosure <-> Bracket) did not line up correctly for me, and I had to go with only three of them connected in the end. Seems to work fine.

cdansmith1 - Reply

Another comment on DATA & LCD Temp. Sensor cables: I had to remove the vertical sync, and the backlight cable, however, if you have an assistant or/can carefully rotate the screen clockwise/and then have it held up about 5" to 6" at a slight angle, you do not need to remove LCD data cable or LCD thermal cable, however - IMPORTANT: you must have a second pair of hands/or way to securely prop up the LCD. Also, don't rotate too much, since then you will pull out LCD data cable, and it renders the whole exercise moot, or can damage the cable or connector.

MaximBorzov - Reply

You don't need suction cups. The screen, held by magnets, can simply be pried off using a very thin blade such as a screw driver and fingers.

Deepsurvival - Reply

That's a bad idea. using a metal tool to pry off glass is likely to end with an expensive broken front glass.

Suction cups are common. Find a couple and do it the safe way. I use some cheap ones that came with iPhone repair kit.

max damage -

Image 1/2: Pull the glass panel away from the lower edge of the iMac and carefully set it aside.
  • Gently lift the glass panel perpendicular to the face of the LCD enough to clear the steel mounting pins attached along the underside of the top edge of the glass panel.

  • Pull the glass panel away from the lower edge of the iMac and carefully set it aside.

  • During reinstallation, be sure to meticulously clean the inside of the glass panel and the face of the LCD as any dust or fingerprints trapped inside will be annoyingly visible when the machine is turned on.

What's the best product to clean the face of the LCD?

Steve Speirs - Reply

Microfiber Cloth

Leonardo Fournier -

Image 1/3: The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display.
  • Remove the eight 8 mm T10 Torx screws securing the display to the outer case.

    • The last two pictures are detail shots of each side of the display.

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Image 1/1: Do not lift it too much. There are several cables attaching the display to the logic board.
  • Slightly lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case.

  • Do not lift it too much. There are several cables attaching the display to the logic board.

After sliding the display slightly towards the top edge, enough for the bottom edge to clear the retainers, an alternative is to raise the bottom edge out. Then unplug the LED backlight power cable (this step + 2), unplug the LCD thermal sensor cable (this step + 4), unplug the display data cable (this step + 3), and the display may be rotated over the top edge while leaving the vertical sync cable attached (this step + 1).

Jerry - Reply

Image 1/2:
  • Pull the vertical sync cable connector out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

Do not try to pull the plug off the circuit board as it's soldered. Pull the cable sideways out of the socket.

Alex Campbell - Reply

Skipped step 5-10. I used two 5-6" chopsticks to prop up the display, this gave me more than enough room to complete the rest of the steps. I only had to disconnect the 3 cables are directly connected to the hard drive. Replacing the Seagate hard drive with another Seagate hard drive eliminated any cable issues. Now I have 2TB SSDH

jaime martinez - Reply

I was also able to skip steps 5 thru 10, which meant no messing with any cables except for the two for the HD (steps 13+14). Used a credit card to start the removal of glass panel (step 2) - much easier than I imagined. After removing display screws (step 3) I simply had a friend hold up the display's bottom edge as far as the cables would allow (careful not to stress at connection to logic board) and this provided enough room to remove the HD bracket screws (step 11), detach the HD cables, and remove the HD. Was replacing a failed 1TB Seagate with a 3TB Seagate so no problems with compatibility when reattaching the HD cables and everything worked fine when I restored the OS and data to the new HD. No fan issues. I did take great care to not get fingerprints on the inside of the glass panel and to blow off any dust specks before reinstalling it. It was a bit tricky to get the new HD back in without letting the magnets get a hold of it, so thanks for the warning posted here about that!

Chuckles McBunny - Reply

Image 1/2: Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac).
  • Rotate the display out of the outer case enough to disconnect the LED backlight power cable from the LED driver board.

  • Disconnect the LED backlight power cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket (toward the bottom edge of the iMac).

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Image 1/2: Pull the display data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board.
  • The display data cable plug has a wire lock. Disengage the plug's lock by rotating the plastic tab so that it points upward. (It is not a pull tab.)

  • Pull the display data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board.

    • Do not lift up on the display data cable, as its socket is very fragile. Pull the cable parallel to the face of the logic board.

This cable is very short, I would remove it before any of the others. First time I did this, I didn't realize this and this cable just popped out of it's socket. Luckily, the board wasn't damaged.

maccentric - Reply

i damaged my (step7) cable, and my iMac screen won't work, how to fix this?

Ersan Rasubala - Reply

I did the same thing. The pins are VERY easy to bend. I replaced it with a new cable from this company.

http://www.macpalace.com/922-9497-cable-...

Waiting for it to arrive.

Michael -

I wish this step was listed as a warning before lifting the monitor and as the first cable to undo. I broke it as it popped up and out, had to trash my Mac and I am stuck with a new hard drive.

Frank1701a - Reply

I followed the directions to a T and everything worked going back together. That cable in step 7 is delicate so one must be very careful.

dustynnelson -

Same problem for me. I damaged this cable and am ordering one now.

This is a tough step so I would also suggest removing this cable first.

lyleberman - Reply

Yes, damaged mine too. It is better to take it out of the LCD and install it carefully on the logic board, then install it to the LCD.

asle -

Ok finally got the cable and was able to successfully finish the project.

That video cable is ROUGH to install.

lyleberman - Reply

The same thing happened for me. That cable was by far the shortest and a slight pull of the display up caused the connector to come free. Luckily it wasn't damaged by this. It was pretty unclear to me how that connector fit in as well. It slides in and out parallel to the surface of the mother board, up towards the top of the iMac to unplug and down towards the bottom to plug in. I agree, if I were to do this repair again that is the first interior cable I would disconnect. Maybe a closeup of the cable plugged in and unplugged to show exactly how it engages and disengages would be good as well.

danieljseta - Reply

It is fine to remove the cable from the logic board when when you remove the screen. But when when assembling back together I found it better to take the LVDS cable out of the LCD and install it carefully on the logic board. Then connect it to the top of the LCD. Also the connector to the LCD is much more solid and not so easy to bend.

asle - Reply

This is by far the best way round to do this as trying to refit the cable to the logic board is a complete nightmare.

Russ -

I agree with asle, manipulating the display end of the cable would be easier - at least it cannot be any harder then manipulating the motherboard end.

Jerry -

well I did all t these steps and now the iMac won't turn on at all. I guess the big cable is not connected to the board as it used to... Mac is out of warranty so it's going out the door. RIP

Gilbert Palau - Reply

this thing is super fragile. i had to order a new one. i'd recommend removing the other end at the top of the display.

m Burm - Reply

Image 1/2: If your fan is spinning full speed after completion, check this connection or the hard drive's thermal sensor cable.
  • Disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.

  • If your fan is spinning full speed after completion, check this connection or the hard drive's thermal sensor cable.

Be very careful - this connector very difficult to disconnect, and you have a high risk of pulling the cable pins out of the connect. If you have disconnected the 3 other cables, you can have a helper rotate the screen out of the way while you remove the hard drive.

Brian Tsai - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Carefully pull the display toward the top edge of your iMac and lift it out of the outer case, minding any cables that may get caught.

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Image 1/1: One 9.3 mm T10 Torx screw with a large head
  • Remove the following four screws:

    • One 9.3 mm T10 Torx screw with a large head

    • Three 9.3 mm T10 Torx screws with a normal sized head

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Image 1/2:
  • Pull the optical drive thermal sensor connector toward the top edge of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

No need to do this! Just gently pull up the felt-pad sticky on top of the thermal sensor (looks like a tiny circuit board), then (again gently) peel the thermal sensor off the ODD. Leave it hanging while you remove the ODD and replace it with the SSD, then just put the thermal sensor covered by the protective felt-pad back onto the SSD enclosure.

cdansmith1 - Reply

I agree with cdansmith1, above.

I had removed the sensor completely. Booted up and the fan was like a jet engine - 4200rpm! I opened up the mac again to check the LCD thermal sensor cable was connected properly (as warned in Step 8). It was.

So, I simply used the spudger to peel off the felt sticky pad from and then the optical drive sensor too from the drive I'd taken out. Stuck the sensor onto the SSD using the same sticky pad, plugged it back into the original socket. Bingo. Booted up and everything was back to normal.

Monkeyrebirth - Reply

Image 1/2: Carefully pull the optical drive off its mounting pins on the right side of the outer case to gain clearance for disconnecting the optical drive cable.
  • Lift the inner edge of the optical drive and maneuver its connector past the GPU frame attached to the logic board.

  • Carefully pull the optical drive off its mounting pins on the right side of the outer case to gain clearance for disconnecting the optical drive cable.

  • Allow the optical drive to hang down as you de-route the optical drive thermal sensor connector from behind the GPU heat sink.

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Image 1/1: Remove the optical drive from the iMac.
  • Disconnect the optical drive cable by pulling its connector away from the optical drive.

  • Remove the optical drive from the iMac.

  • Do not forget to also move the thermal sensor from the optical drive to the enclosure when you install the second hard drive.

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  • Remove the single 13 mm T10 Torx screw securing the optical drive fan to the outer case.

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  • Pull the optical drive fan off the pins attached to the outer case.

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Image 1/1: Remove the optical drive fan from the iMac.
  • Pull the optical drive fan connector out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the optical drive fan from the iMac.

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Image 1/1: SD Board and microphone
  • In the proceeding steps, you will disconnect the following cables:

    • SD Board and microphone

    • Left/Right Speaker

    • Wi-Fi Antenna

    • Bluetooth/Ambient Light Sensor/Camera/Left Temperature Sensor, Hard Drive Temperature Sensor and Hard Drive Fan

    • CPU Fan/Ambient Temperature and Power Button

    • IR Sensor

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  • Pull the microphone cable connector toward the top edge of the iMac to disconnect it from the logic board.

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  • Pull the SD board cable out of its socket on the logic board.

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  • Disconnect the left speaker and right speaker cables by pulling their connectors toward the right side of the iMac.

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Image 1/2: The gray antenna attaches to the socket on the left and the black antenna attaches to the socket on the right.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry both AirPort antenna connectors up from their sockets on the AirPort board.

  • The gray antenna attaches to the socket on the left and the black antenna attaches to the socket on the right.

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  • Disconnect the hard drive fan by pulling its connector toward the top edge of the iMac.

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  • Pull the hard drive thermal sensor cable out of its socket and toward the top edge of the iMac to disconnect it from the logic board.

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  • Use your thumbnails on both sides of the Bluetooth/ambient light sensor/camera/left temperature connector to push it toward the top edge of the iMac and out of its socket on the logic board.

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Image 1/3: Pull the power button connector toward the bottom left corner of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.
  • Pull the CPU fan/ambient temperature sensor connector toward the bottom left edge of the iMac and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the power button connector toward the bottom left corner of the iMac to disconnect it from its socket on the logic board.

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  • Remove the piece of tape covering the IR sensor cable.

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  • Use your thumbs to push the IR sensor connector out of its socket and toward the top edge of the iMac.

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Image 1/1: Remove the IR sensor and set it aside.
  • Pull the IR sensor board up from behind the front face of the outer case.

  • Remove the IR sensor and set it aside.

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Image 1/1: Two 7 mm T10 torx screws
  • Remove the following seven screws:

    • Two 7 mm T10 torx screws

    • One 30 mm T10 Torx screw

    • Two 25 mm T10 Torx screws

    • Two 21 mm T10 Torx screws

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Image 1/2: One 9.3 mm T10 coarse-threaded screw
  • Remove the following four screws:

    • One 9.3 mm T10 coarse-threaded screw

    • One 25 mm T10 coarse-threaded screw

    • Two 22 mm fine-threaded screws

  • Pull the upper right and lower left corners of the power supply away from the rear case to dislodge the mounting posts attached to the power supply's corners.

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Image 1/2: Disconnect the DC-out cable by depressing the locking mechanism on the connector while you pull the connector away from its socket on the power supply.
  • Carefully lift the power supply out of the outer case and rotate it to expose the cable lock as shown, minding the DC-out and AC-in cables still attaching it to the iMac.

  • Disconnect the DC-out cable by depressing the locking mechanism on the connector while you pull the connector away from its socket on the power supply.

  • Once the locking mechanism has cleared the socket, pull the DC-in connector away from the power supply.

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Image 1/1: Remove the power supply from the outer case.
  • Disconnect the AC-In cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket.

  • Remove the power supply from the outer case.

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  • Remove the plastic wall that is installed directly to the right of the LED driver board.

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  • Remove the plastic pressure wall installed next to the hard drive.

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  • Slightly pull the logic board away from the back of the outer case, then lift it upward to clear the lower front face of the outer case.

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  • Disconnect the audio port cable by pulling its connector away from the front face of the logic board.

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  • If present, peel off the tape securing the hard drive SATA cable to the logic board.

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  • Depress the locking mechanism and carefully pull the DC-In cable out of its socket on the back of the logic board.

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Image 1/1: Remove the logic board, minding any cables that may get caught.
  • Being careful not to damage the socket on the logic board, gently pull the hard drive SATA data cable straight out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the logic board, minding any cables that may get caught.

  • When reinstalling the logic board, plug in a mini display port cable and a USB cable into the outer USB port before tightening the logic board screws to ensure proper alignment.

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  • Remove the strip of tape securing the GPU thermal sensor cable to the logic board.

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Image 1/1: One 4.2 mm T10 Torx screw
  • Remove the following three screws:

    • One 4.2 mm T10 Torx screw

    • Two 5 mm T8 Torx screws

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Image 1/2: Do not pull the connector out by its cables.
  • Grab the GPU thermal sensor cable connector and pull it straight up and out of its socket on the logic board.

  • Do not pull the connector out by its cables.

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  • Lift the GPU heat sink slightly and pull the GPU board out of its socket on the logic board.

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Image 1/2: It may be necessary to use a #1 screwdriver to hold the sockets on the GPU heat sink stationary as you loosen the T8 Torx screws.
  • Remove the four 6.5 mm T8 Torx screws securing the GPU heat sink to the GPU.

  • It may be necessary to use a #1 screwdriver to hold the sockets on the GPU heat sink stationary as you loosen the T8 Torx screws.

I think this are also 6.5 mm T10 (!) Torx screws.

Max - Reply

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the clamping bracket from the back of the GPU.

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Image 1/3: Make sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste to the face of the GPU (the area boxed in red) before reattaching the heat sink. Our [guide|744|thermal paste guide] makes it easy.
  • Remove the GPU from the GPU heat sink.

  • Make sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste to the face of the GPU (the area boxed in red) before reattaching the heat sink. Our thermal paste guide makes it easy.

  • Before installing new thermal paste and mounting a new GPU to the GPU heat sink, use the flat end of a spudger to push the VRAM thermal goop closer together so it will better contact the VRAM when the GPU is installed.

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Conclusion

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

17 other people completed this guide.

5 Comments

Hi everyone,

Which GPUs can you use as upgrades for this 2010 model? Mine has a Radeon 5670 512mb and I'd like something a bit more powerful...

Thanks!

Tom Edkins - Reply

lucky, i have a 256 mb card

Ethan Farmer -

One question:

i can put this GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX460M

on my iMac Mid 2011?

or i will have problems with the Drivers?

Miguel Alonso - Reply

Wonderful guide! First time I opened a imac.

I need to replace the LCD cable connector on the motherboard. It is broken and it caused a short circuit on the motherboard. On the motherboard, underneath the grafic card, I've found a fried SMD inductance (L9000 on the motherboard) in the powerline of the grafic card. I restored the powerline with some solder leaving the inductance out. Should be no problem.

Marco Schmidt - Reply

If I have a 256mb card and put a 512mb in will there be any issues?

Thanks

Jamie H - Reply

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