Danger
Potentially Dangerous
Injury may result if this procedure is not followed properly. Use caution and follow all warnings.
Danger

Introduction

Use this guide to upgrade your CPU.

Loosen the three Phillips screws securing the access door to the bottom edge of your iMac. These screws will remain captive in the access door.
  • Loosen the three Phillips screws securing the access door to the bottom edge of your iMac.

  • These screws will remain captive in the access door.

  • Remove the access door from your iMac.

  • During reassembly, fasten the access door loosely and align it with the pocket cut into the outer case of the iMac before fully tightening the screws.

In order for the logic board to come out cleanly, one should remove the RAM at the end of this step.

kevmacmills - Reply

Definitely! The author should make this as a step in the description (because not everyone reads Comments)

finnik2d - Reply

Just did this procedure and the RAM must absolutely come out for the logic board to come free later.

matt - Reply

  • 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 -

Hello, I just need to replace a slightly cracked screen on my iMac. Where is it best to place the suction cups? Thanks in advance

michelemiller0 - Reply

No need for suction cups, I just stuck my nails (short like guys usually have) between the top part of the screen and body, and it came off easily. I've never done it before, so it seems to be very easy.

Nikolas Lintulaakso - Reply

Nails worked for me too

Rob Dale - Reply

Just completed the replacement of the optical drive with an SSD using an OWC Data Doubler kit. Attempted to remove the optical drive without disconnecting any cables but found it a bit fiddly to orient the screen for good access. I bit the bullet and disconnected them and found the process less daunting than I imagined. Reconnecting them was similarly straightforward if you're careful.

Tip: you can skip the step for removing the optical drive thermal sensor connector from the motherboard. Still need to remove the sensor from the optical drive but you can leave that hanging and reattach it to the SSD later.

osienna - Reply

I have an odd question -- I want to remove the polarizer from the LCD. With some monitors this is trivial, others not so much. My question is whether it is bonded to the Liquid crystal, or whether it's loose, or cutting it with a razor blade would remove it. Obviously I'd like to know before I go to the trouble of dismantling the thing... Thanks. Paul

Paul Kwiat - Reply

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.
  • 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 -

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. 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.

8 vis, pas 2

Charles Daenens - Reply

On reassembly, it is REALLY HARD to align those screws, because of the field of the strong magnets that hold the glass cover on. I'm sure there's a trick to it, but I'd love to know what it is for future reference.

Peter Shenkin - Reply

Slightly lift the top edge of the display out of the outer case.
  • 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.

When putting the display back I have resistance from the foam elements (on the top end where the iSight is) and have to press down really hard. Is that okay?

gm.konsortium - Reply

Well, stupid me put the 3.5" to 2.5" cage the wrong side up. ;)

gm.konsortium - Reply

Pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac. The vertical sync ribbon cable has a ZIF style end, but the socket has no lock or retaining flap. Simply pull the cable away from its socket toward the optical drive side of the iMac to disconnect it from the LED driver board. The vertical sync ribbon cable has a ZIF style end, but the socket has no lock or retaining flap. Simply pull the cable away from its socket toward the optical drive side of the iMac to disconnect it from the LED driver board.
  • Pull the vertical sync ribbon cable out of its socket on the LED driver board near the top left corner of your iMac.

  • The vertical sync ribbon cable has a ZIF style end, but the socket has no lock or retaining flap. Simply pull the cable away from its socket toward the optical drive side of the iMac to disconnect it from the LED driver board.

The vertical sync cable was snug initially and now is loose. I checked and the cable is intact. Has anyone had experience with making it fit better?

Rajan - Reply

Scotch tape on the upper side and sliding this in helped to secure the cable.

Rajan - Reply

Reassembly of this part was the closest I came to disaster on this project. I tried inserting the connector a few times without success, and when I looked it it the leads, which are fragile, were all mangled. I smoothed them out by hand as best I could and and reinserted, very carefully this time. The trick is that the tip of the connector should be pointed somewhat upwards when reconnecting.

I was pretty sure that when I was done, I would reboot but have no display; but fortunately, everything worked.

Peter Shenkin - Reply

Hi, I still have a question. What is the "Job" of the vertical sync ribbon cable. Thanks

Lutz Blum - Reply

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). 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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Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.
  • Squeeze the two display data cable connector arms together to unlock it from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the display data cable connector away from its socket on the logic board.

in Step 7, my connector (new 21.5 iMac - Dec 2010) was not attached that way and just came of easily.

erin - Reply

Aperte as duas exibição do conector do cabo de dados braços juntos para desbloqueá-lo de seu soquete na placa lógica.

Darlan Perira da Silva - Reply

I accidently broke the data cable socket on step 7. Any advice on what i should do?

Sam Tang - Reply

I feel pretty silly. I spent wayyyy too long trying to get these cables disconnected. Happy I found this guide; hopefully, I won't struggle with such simple things since you provide pretty good details! Thanks.

J.w. - Reply

Pas beaucoup de place pour déconnecter ce cable ! En essayant d'ouvrir trop l'écran pour passer mes "grosses mains" j'ai cossé le connecteur : je suis dans le caca :-( (et pourtant j'en fait des démontages !) Alors ATTENTION !!!

divers - Reply

Il vaut mieux déconnecter la partie du côté écran en premier (sous l'autocollant noir)

divers - Reply

Disconnect the LCD thermal sensor cable connector from its socket on the logic board.
  • 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.

This is important regarding the fan running full speed

http://blog.macsales.com/19617-diagnosin...

tobykirkland - Reply

Is there a way to test the power supply to see if it's dead?

professorminh - Reply

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.
  • 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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Remove the following four screws securing the power supply to the outer case:
  • Remove the following four screws securing the power supply to the outer case:

    • Two 22.2 mm fine-thread T10 Torx

    • One 25 mm coarse-thread T10 Torx

    • One 9 mm coarse-thread T10 Torx

  • The next few steps bring your hands close to the exposed face of the power supply. To avoid a high voltage shock from the many large capacitors attached to the board, do not touch the face of the power supply.

Watch orientation of iMac in relation to this picture: if the base is AWAY from you, the screw positions are reversed in this picture. Also use the black power cable for position reference.

finnik2d - Reply

Carefully lift the power supply out of the outer case and rotate it to expose the cable lock as shown, minding the DC-Out cable still attaching it to the iMac.
  • Carefully lift the power supply out of the outer case and rotate it to expose the cable lock as shown, minding the DC-Out cable still attaching it to the iMac.

  • Disconnect the DC-In 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.

I found my DC-In cable VERY difficult to detach. I depressed the locking mechanism, but still needed to use my iFixit Jimmy to carefully, gently, slowly work the cable connector (male) loose and away from the power supply (female).

Bryan Jensen - Reply

Disconnect the AC-In cable by depressing the locking mechanism while pulling the connector away from its socket.
  • 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.

This was not easy to disconnect with one hand holding the power supply (being careful while holding just to be cautious against any possible electrical discharge). Note that the connector is not on power supply side but on AC-In cable side. Couldn't quite see well enough from photo shown, but hold on the AC-In side of cable connector (depressing the locking mechanism of the male side) and pull away from the Power Supply (female side) cable.

Bryan Jensen - Reply

Pull the optical drive thermal sensor connector straight away from its socket on the logic board.
  • Pull the optical drive thermal sensor connector straight away from its socket on the logic board.

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Remove the four 9 mm T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive to the outer case.
  • Remove the four 9 mm T10 Torx screws securing the optical drive to the outer case.

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Lift the inner edge of the optical drive and maneuver its connector past the frame attached to the logic board.
  • Lift the inner edge of the optical drive and maneuver its connector past the frame attached to the logic board.

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

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Use the flat end of a spudger to help disconnect the optical drive cable.
  • Use the flat end of a spudger to help disconnect the optical drive cable.

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

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Pull the optical drive fan connector away from its socket on the logic board.
  • Pull the optical drive fan connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Remove the optical drive fan from the iMac.

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Pull the left and right speaker connectors toward the right side of the iMac to disconnect them from the logic board.
  • Pull the left and right speaker connectors toward the right side of the iMac to disconnect them from the logic board.

Use a RED marker to tag the RIGHT speaker cable since both speaker cables look identical

finnik2d - Reply

Disconnect the audio port cable by pulling its connector toward the right side of the iMac.
  • Disconnect the audio port cable by pulling its connector toward the right side of the iMac.

Use your fingernails to wiggle out the black tabs at the connector; DON'T use the cable itself to remove from the logic board

finnik2d - Reply

Disconnect the AirPort cable by lifting its connector off the socket on the logic board.
  • Disconnect the AirPort cable by lifting its connector off the socket on the logic board.

  • Lift the connector perpendicular to the face of the logic board.

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Disconnect the following cables by pulling their connectors toward the top edge of the iMac:
  • Disconnect the following cables by pulling their connectors toward the top edge of the iMac:

    • Camera cable

    • Hard drive thermal sensor

    • Hard drive fan

    • Microphone

  • Disconnect the following cables by pulling their connectors toward the right edge of the iMac:

    • Ambient temperature sensor

    • Bluetooth cable

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Disconnect the CPU fan and power button by pulling their connectors toward the left edge of the iMac.
  • Disconnect the CPU fan and power button by pulling their connectors toward the left edge of the iMac.

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If present, remove the piece of tape covering the IR sensor connector. Disconnect the IR sensor by pulling its connector toward the top edge of the iMac.
  • If present, remove the piece of tape covering the IR sensor connector.

  • Disconnect the IR sensor by pulling its connector toward the top edge of the iMac.

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Use your fingers to lift IR sensor assembly straight up out of the outer case.
  • Use your fingers to lift IR sensor assembly straight up out of the outer case.

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Remove the following six screws securing the logic board to the outer case:
  • Remove the following six screws securing the logic board to the outer case:

    • Three 25 mm T10 Torx

    • Two 21.5 mm T10 Torx

    • One 7 mm T10 Torx

These photos do not show this iMac's optional configuration that contains a discreet GPU. If a GPU card is present there is another Torx screw that must be removed that holds an additional heat sink to the upper right corner of the enclosure. Note that in this configuration, the optical drive fan has a different configuration with a plastic separator that points towards the top of the iMac. This looks to serve as channel for airflow and is noteworthy because it makes the optical drive's SATA connector much more difficult to remove and quite difficult (for me anyway) to reassemble as it is a very tight fit!

kevmacmills - Reply

I made it to this step, then carefully removed dust from the back part, not touching any components, then used compressed air to get dust out since getting the whole logic board was a challenge, assembled and when I turn it on it loads normally, white screen with the logo, but then the screen goes black, and then the fans start running at the actual speed (I used SMC fan control) I had before I unplugged it to clean it, what could have happened? thank you =(

Ricardo - Reply

I had the additional GPU card, as mentioned by kevmacmills above, and needed to remove two Torx screws, one short one at the plastic separator, and one 7mm approx at the heatsink in the top right of the enclosure.

Jurgen - Reply

Remove the plastic ducts from the side of the LED driver board and the hard drive by pulling them away from the outer case. Remove the plastic ducts from the side of the LED driver board and the hard drive by pulling them away from the outer case.
  • Remove the plastic ducts from the side of the LED driver board and the hard drive by pulling them away from the outer case.

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Carefully remove the aluminum tape attaching the GPU heat sink to the outer case.
  • Carefully remove the aluminum tape attaching the GPU heat sink to the outer case.

  • It is not necessary to completely remove the aluminum tape from the GPU heat sink.

OMG!

I cannot believe it!

Only by attaching one side of the golden GPU sionk with aluminum tape on the case, is it possible to well handle the thermal dissipation from the GPU

bruce ayng - Reply

Was anyone able to install the Q9550S cpu?

jimmakosp - Reply

In the following steps, you will maneuver the logic board out from the outer case. In doing so, be aware of the many cables still attaching the logic board to the outer case.
  • In the following steps, you will maneuver the logic board out from the outer case. In doing so, be aware of the many cables still attaching the logic board to the outer case.

  • Be sure the logic board clears the plastic lower optical drive fan mounting pin before lifting it up, as it is easily snapped off.

Be sure you have REMOVED YOUR RAM MEMORY before trying to wiggle out the logic board!

finnik2d - Reply

Carefully pull the logic board slightly away from the outer case.
  • Carefully pull the logic board slightly away from the outer case.

  • While holding the board away from the outer case, rotate the board back and forth while lifting up to release it from the outer case.

If you're having trouble getting the logic board to come free, you probably need to remove the RAM. That was keeping it from coming free in my case.

matt - Reply

Now that the lower edge of the board is free from the outer case, rotate the logic board toward yourself to expose its rear face. The following connector has a tendency to stick in its socket. If so, insert a metal spudger into the gap between the connecter and its socket. Twist the spudger to separate the two components.
  • Now that the lower edge of the board is free from the outer case, rotate the logic board toward yourself to expose its rear face.

  • The following connector has a tendency to stick in its socket. If so, insert a metal spudger into the gap between the connecter and its socket. Twist the spudger to separate the two components.

  • Carefully pull the optical drive connector away from its socket on the logic board.

  • Pull the connector perpendicular to the face of the logic board.

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Disconnect the DC-In cable from the logic board by simultaneously depressing the locking lever on the connector while pulling it away from its socket.
  • Disconnect the DC-In cable from the logic board by simultaneously depressing the locking lever on the connector while pulling it away from its socket.

  • Remove the logic board from the outer case.

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Use a pair of tweezers to lift the heat sink thermal sensor connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board.
  • Use a pair of tweezers to lift the heat sink thermal sensor connector straight up out of its socket on the logic board.

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If present, remove the &quot;Warranty void if removed&quot; stickers covering one screw on either side of the heat sink. If present, remove the &quot;Warranty void if removed&quot; stickers covering one screw on either side of the heat sink.
  • If present, remove the "Warranty void if removed" stickers covering one screw on either side of the heat sink.

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Remove the following six screws securing the heat sink to the logic board: Five 6.5 mm T8 Torx One 7 mm T10 Torx
  • Remove the following six screws securing the heat sink to the logic board:

    • Five 6.5 mm T8 Torx

    • One 7 mm T10 Torx

  • It may be necessary to hold the socket with a Phillips screwdriver on one side of the board while you unscrew the Torx screw on the other side of the board.

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Lift the heat sink bracket off the logic board.
  • Lift the heat sink bracket off the logic board.

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Carefully lift the logic board off the heat sink.
  • Carefully lift the logic board off the heat sink.

  • If the two components appear stuck together, carefully pry them apart with the flat end of a spudger, being careful not to disturb any surface-mount components on the logic board.

  • Make sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste before reattaching the heat sink. Our thermal paste guide makes it easy.

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Carefully pull the CPU retaining bar away from the CPU socket. Rotate the bar toward the center of the logic board.
  • Carefully pull the CPU retaining bar away from the CPU socket.

  • Rotate the bar toward the center of the logic board.

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Rotate the CPU clamp away from the CPU.
  • Rotate the CPU clamp away from the CPU.

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Carefully lift the CPU straight up off its socket.
  • Carefully lift the CPU straight up off its socket.

  • Be sure your new CPU is properly aligned and seated before clamping it back down.

  • Make sure to apply a new layer of thermal paste before reattaching the heat sink. Our thermal paste guide makes it easy.

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Conclusion

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

18 other people completed this guide.

7 Comments

Hello I fixit.!

Hello a lot of congrats! for your site! is very very helpfully for Mac Users

so. i have a question please if you want to help me.!

i have an i mac 21,5 late2009

3,06ghz intel core 2 duo

i have an idea to change the processor to. intel core i5 3,3 Ghz core

can be compatible . on main board .

thanks a lot for your time

ioannis ioannis - Reply

I installed a Q6700 Core 2 Quad into my late 2009 Core 2 Duo iMac.

Sadly it is not working, only recognize 2 Cores instead 4 under Windows 7.

Booting in the lates Mac OS, it gives up Kernel panic.

Any advise?

Tim - Reply

Hello,

I'd like to upgrade the Core 2 Duo 3.06 CPU of my iMac 10,1 21.5". I already done the same operation in a white Core Duo iMac, being able to install the unsupported OS X 10.7. I'd like to do the same on the 10,1 but what CPU can I install? It seems that the i3, i5 or i7 are phisically different, am I right? And the user Tim report in being unable to make it work with a Core 2 Quad. So... what are the possibilities? Thanks!

Francesco Vacca - Reply

hello, im planing to upgrade to i7 or i5 S type cpu with only 65w tdp(same tdp as my core 2 duo) , so im thinking, if the logic board supports those, and will i be able to even start up my mac...just want to see more cores in my computer...

reinis - Reply

Great guide, managed to replace my 3,06ghz core 2 duo by an core 2 duo E8600 3,3 Ghz.

I also replaced the HD by a SSD during this upgrade and everything went very well.

jmdick - Reply

dear ifitxit guys.. i have a 27" imac 306 dual. has anyone one tried to your knowledge using the q9550s quad core with any success. this could be an "ultimate" upgrade bringing it very close in speed to the i7s. seeing how th q9550s is running around 100 dollars on ebay it could make a very affordable upgrade. please let us know if you have any info on this. thanks

Michael Smith - Reply

It is impossible to replace a socket 775 cpu with an i3 , i5, i7 series , regardless the generation . They fit into a completely different socket . So , if you are lucky , maybe a Q6600 will work , as it's socket 775 core 2 quad cpu , 1066 mhz . Or a faster core 2 duo . Nothing else .

st3lly - Reply

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