It's mid-October and great weather for Apple picking! We've been eager to sink our teeth into a new Mac, so we've brought home a fresh, locally-sourced refresh of the 21.5" iMac: the iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2889. What's inside this juicy new device? Let's find out. It's teardown time!

Looking for this iMac's pixel-packed twin? Check out our teardown of the iMac Intel 21.5" Retina 4K Display.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2889, use our service manual.

  1. The 2015 edition of the 21.5" iMac has some newfangled specs:
    • The 2015 edition of the 21.5" iMac has some newfangled specs:

      • 1.6 GHz dual‑core or 2.8GHz quad‑core Intel Core i5

      • 8 GB (4x2 GB) of 1867 MHz LPDDR3 RAM (Configurable to 16GB)

      • Intel HD Graphics 6000 or Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200

      • 1 TB (5400-rpm) hard drive, configurable up to 1 TB Fusion Drive or 256 GB of flash storage.

      • 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0

    • More on those accessories later...

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  2. As tempted as we are to play with the new Magic things, we briefly turn our attention to the port side rear of this refreshed iMac.
    • As tempted as we are to play with the new Magic things, we briefly turn our attention to the port side rear of this refreshed iMac.

      • The ports on the rear: headphone jack, SD card slot, four USB 3.0, two Thunderbolt 2, and gigabit ethernet.

    • This iteration iMac keeps the standard 21.5" model number, A1418 but adopts a new EMC number: 2889.

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    • Thanks to our specially designed iMac service wedge, opening is a breeze. The wedge keeps the hinge solid while you work—no flop, no slop.

    • Nope, there's no pizza here folks. We're just using our handy iMac opening tool to cut the display adhesive. We're on a roll!

    • Just as with the previous generation, the display cables on the new iMac keep the opening procedure from being totally painless.

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    • The multi-talented iMac opening tool helps us slice away the last of the adhesive.

    • We have separation—and the display's away!

    • Time to see what this machine is really packing...

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    • Once again, this high resolution display is brought to you by LG.

    • A few turns of the old screwdriver shows us the first glimpse of the good stuff.

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    • Like previous iterations, this iMac display gets its own full set of control hardware:

      • Texas Instruments BUF16821 Programmable Gamma-Voltage Generator

      • Richtek RT8250 Synchronous Step-Down Converter

      • ST Microelectronics 404RP K516

      • Winbond W25X20CL 2 Mb Serial NOR Flash Memory

      • Parade DP627HDE DisplayPort LCD timing controller

      • Texas Instruments TPS54231 Step-Down Converter

      • Texas Instruments TPS65161 Bias Power Supply for TFT LCD Panels

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    • Are we lost in time or are does this look exactly the same as last year's 21.5" iMac?

      • Answer: Time travel has not been invented yet.

    • Despite the similar appearance, the Fusion Drive in this model has a significantly smaller flash partition than the previous generation.

    • We've yet to see something new or interesting here—if you're really itching to see how the speakers, hard drive, and fan come out, check our previous gen guides for details!

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    • Our breakneck advance on the logic board is stymied by a bit of novelty!

    • The antenna cables are now fastened to the AirPort card with new screw-secured cable clamps.

    • AirPort card released, the logic board is free to be wriggled out of the rear case.

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    • Next up—the logic board:

      • Intel SR26C Core i5-5250U 1.6 GHz Processor (3M Cache, TurboBoost up to 2.70 GHz) with Intel HD Graphics 6000

      • Samsung K4E6E304EE-EGCF 16 Gb LPDDR3 1867 MHz SDRAM (4 chips for a total of 8 GB)

      • Broadcom BCM5776 Gigabit Ethernet Controller

      • Texas Instruments LM4FS1EH SMC Controller

      • Adesto AT45DB021E 2 Mb SPI Serial Flash Memory

      • National Semiconductor 545AR6SU

      • Delta 8904C-F Filter

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    • Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller

    • Cirrus Logic 4208-CRZ Audio Controller

    • Macronix MX25L6473E 64 Mb Serial Multi I/O Flash Memory

    • Vimicro VC0359 Camera Processor

    • Intersil ISL62383CHRTZ Power Supply Controller

    • Intersil ISL95826

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    • We also take the time to remove the AirPort card, but it's more of the same ol', same ol'.

    • See the 2013 teardown for details on this bad boy if you really gotta know.

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    • iMac 21.5" EMC 2889 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

      • Cutting the tape to open the iMac isn't too difficult with the right tools, but it must then be replaced to complete any repair.

      • The RAM is still soldered to the logic board—you're stuck with what you bought.

      • The Fusion Drive connector is again missing from the logic board, killing all hope of storage hacking.

      • The CPU is soldered to the logic board, and cannot be replaced or upgraded.

      • The glass and LCD are fused together, increasing the cost of replacement.

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Seems like the assembly and disassembly was pretty straight forward. The repairability score should be somewhat higher. The upgradeability score should be "1".

pgoodwin1 - Reply

Is it not a 1.6 ghz i5 but a 3.1 ghz intel i5

The 1.6 ghz is a non-retina mac. The only 21.5 2015 retina model has a 3.1 ghz i5 with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200


NickiNice7321 - Reply

This is a basic, entry level computer for people who want an iMac but can't afford one. Don't be harsh with entry level product that nobody would consider upgrading.

Bob Forsberg - Reply

It's not the rear side, it's the stern.

It would be nice to have picked up a BTO with 256 or 512GB flash storage to see what the bus speed is. Apple only talks in generalizations about the speed being 2.5X faster but is that only for the 27" or also for the 21.5"? Maybe you'll get a BTO 27" for your take apart.

When you look at a BTO 21.5" iMac, getting the quad-core i7, the possibility of real fast flash storage, then the only thing holding it back is the 16GB RAM limitation. This configuration is not a basic entry-level computer (except for the RAM).

plink53 - Reply


Amazing how people buy a median hardware their weight in gold. Here in Brazil, Apple put the sale this computer imaginable $ $ 3,840 ...


Geraldo Lopes - Reply

Hi. Can you do the iMac 27" 5k late 2015 refresh ?

Adil A - Reply

This model can upgrade 1tb ssd?

Abe Zard - Reply

Hi. Is it possible to upgrade the RAM from 8GB to 16GB after purchase please?

Mark Aston - Reply

MRk Ashton. No. Not after purchase. There's no slots any more like my mid 2010 model

pgoodwin1 - Reply

Hey Guys! So does anyone know if the SATA connector is still on the motherboard if you order an iMac with the 256gb PCIe SSD? thx.. :)

Niklaus Stengele - Reply

I have this model but not the retina 4k display. I've recently accidentally broke my screen. :(* I can't seem to find a non-retina one. Would anyone know the exact model number for it?

LFa - Reply

i would like to ask if i can upgrade this current Processor to Intel i7-6700k?

Hoang Nguyen - Reply

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