Video Overview

Introduction

Think of the most colorful and radiant display you’ve ever seen. Now, discard that memory and stare at Apple’s newest iMac Intel 27” with Retina 5K Display. We're not talking 1080p or 4K, we're talking about 5K—millions and millions of pixels on a 27-inch display. Will the addition of a high-resolution display affect the repairability of the newest iMac Intel 27”? Let’s find out!

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display, use our service manual.

Image 1/2: 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz Image 2/2: 8 GB (2x4 GB) of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM
  • How do you herd together 14.7 million pixels? You can ask nicely, or you can brandish some heavy-duty hardware. Inside the Retina 5K iMac:

    • 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 3.9 GHz

    • 8 GB (2x4 GB) of 1600 MHz DDR3 RAM

    • AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2 GB of GDDR5 video memory

    • 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0

    • PCIe-based SSD storage and SATA hard drive

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Image 1/2: For a unique identifier, this is EMC 2806. Image 2/2: At the rear of the iMac, we find a plethora of I/O ports and a lone SDXC card slot:
  • Not one to waste a good model number on just a single device, Apple again recycles A1419.

    • For a unique identifier, this is EMC 2806.

  • At the rear of the iMac, we find a plethora of I/O ports and a lone SDXC card slot:

    • Headphone jack / Optical digital audio output

    • SDXC card slot

    • Four USB 3.0 ports

    • Two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports

    • Gigabit ethernet port

In step 2 photo we can read 'Assembled in USA'

Will it be the same for all the Retina 5K iMacs? All made in the US?

mattizeta - Reply

I wouldnt say all of it is assembled in US. If you look at step 5, it said assembled in china

john -

You get to see just how cheap made in china piece of crap it really is

Terry Vanderpuke - Reply

Which technology giant do you prefer instead that does not outsource its products to China? Please name one. Then after you can't give me a name of a single one, decide which one builds the best Made in China computer. You will see why Apple iMac has out-paced every other All-in-one computer. They are simply the best in their class (All-in-One).

Kendrich Heppner -

Image 1/2: For those who require assistance replacing their RAM modules, Apple has attempted to provide some direction—that you get to see after you're halfway through the process. Image 2/2: For anyone who would rather be guided by glorious high-resolution images and lovingly crafted text, that's [guide|20249|also available|new_window=true].
  • Fixers rejoice! The iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display retains the familiar, easily accessible RAM upgrade slot from iMacs of yore.

  • For those who require assistance replacing their RAM modules, Apple has attempted to provide some direction—that you get to see after you're halfway through the process.

    • For anyone who would rather be guided by glorious high-resolution images and lovingly crafted text, that's also available.

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  • We're pretty adept at slicing open iMacs with our ever-so-fancy iMac Opening Tool and our noble Plastic Card.

  • While the procedure still requires a steady hand and a willingness to replace the custom-cut, two-sided adhesive tape when you're done, it's otherwise pretty straightforward, and unchanged from previous models.

  • With the adhesive tape gone, we get our first peek at the hardware inside the Retina 5K iMac.

Do you need to reapply adhesive when you put the screen back in the frame?

billibala - Reply

Yep! Here's how to do it on the Late 2013 model: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 Adhesive Strips Replacement.

It'll be the exact same procedure on the Retina 5K.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

Image 1/3: This particular display was manufactured by LG Display. (So, magic is looking less likely.) Image 2/3: With a few twists of our screwdriver, a very long, very thin display board is revealed. Image 3/3: With a few twists of our screwdriver, a very long, very thin display board is revealed.
  • The first order of business is finding out whether this 5K display runs on actual magic, or something more susceptible to dissection.

  • This particular display was manufactured by LG Display. (So, magic is looking less likely.)

  • With a few twists of our screwdriver, a very long, very thin display board is revealed.

So is this imac sharing the same LM270QQ1 panel as the future Dell Ultrasharp 5K monitor?

(same way as the Dell UltraSharp U2711 shared the LM270WQ1 as the normal 27" imac?)

nikos232 - Reply

My iMac Late 2013 (non-5K) display damaged need replacement and I'm about to order a new display assembly.

Silly question, can I replace the standard QHD display with 5K display - will it work?

autodubai - Reply

Hi, have you make the change your iMac 27 "late 2013 with 5k ? i have the same and i don't know if works or not !!!

Thanks

Smadoiu Florin -

Image 1/3: Texas Instruments [link|http://www.ti.com/product/sn74lvc8t245|NH245|new_window=true] 8-Bit Dual-Supply Bus Transceiver Image 2/3: Texas Instruments [link|http://www.ti.com/product/buf16821|BUF16821|new_window=true] Programmable Gamma-Voltage Generator and Vcom Calibrator Image 3/3: Parade Technologies DP665 LCD [http://www.anandtech.com/show/8623/hands-on-apples-imac-with-retina-display|Timing Controller|new_window=true]
  • Let's take a look at the hardware that allows 14.7 million pixels with a resolution of 5120 x 2880 on a 27-inch display:

    • Texas Instruments NH245 8-Bit Dual-Supply Bus Transceiver

    • Texas Instruments BUF16821 Programmable Gamma-Voltage Generator and Vcom Calibrator

    • Parade Technologies DP665 LCD Timing Controller

      • We assume this is an Apple modified version of the DP663 LCD Timing Controller

    • Texas Instruments TPS65270 Monolithic Dual Synchronous Buck Regulator

    • Texas Instruments TPS65168 High Resolution Fully Programmable LCD Bias IC for TV

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Image 1/3: In fact, as we dive in deeper, we realize it is very nearly ''[guide|24341|exactly|stepid=49670]'' the same. Image 2/3: We would have documented the logic board removal, but we already have! We'll be following [guide|19650|last year's logic board guide|new_window=true]—check it out and head back here while we skip ahead. Image 3/3: And after following the guide to the letter, we've got our findings on the differences inside:
  • Barring the new display, the hardware inside the iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display looks much the same as last year's 27" iMac.

  • In fact, as we dive in deeper, we realize it is very nearly exactly the same.

    • We would have documented the logic board removal, but we already have! We'll be following last year's logic board guide—check it out and head back here while we skip ahead.

  • And after following the guide to the letter, we've got our findings on the differences inside:

    • The Retina 5K's display data cable is slightly wider—to support those extra pixels.

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Image 1/1: AMD Radeon [http://www.amd.com/en-us/products/graphics/notebook/r9-m200#|R9 M290X|new_window=true] GPU
  • Let's see what ICs this unsurprisingly familiar logic board is packing:

    • AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPU

    • Intel Core i5-4690 Processor

      • Just like last year, the CPU is not soldered to the logic board, and can be easily replaced (we just left it in the socket for the picture).

    • SK Hynix H5GC2H24BFR 256 MB GDDR5 SGRAM (256 MB x 8 modules = 2 GB total)

    • Delta Electronics 8904CF 143003

    • Intel NB430029A00200 Platform Controller Hub

    • Fairchild Semiconductor DE32GV

What is the model of this logic board and where can I find one? Any idea the model or part number of the 4.0ghz board with 4gb display memory?

ojcmolloy - Reply

There is not any cooler in the CPU. Nacked CPU? Maybe the i7 need a cooler and i5 could run without any cooler?

Very impressive to see a nacked CPU.

Well done iFixed!

Fixerr - Reply

They probably cleaned it for the purposes of photographing it.

jussnf -

jussnf is correct, we cleaned off the thermal compound to read the markings.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

See Step 7 ... Logic board removal is another guide. There is a heat sink.

satishguild - Reply

Could be very interesting the CPU replacement when the next core i7 appear!

But will be fully compatible?

Also could be interesting to buy this iMac, and later go up to the next Mac Pro generations and use this "old iMac" like a Retina Display.

Faiolo -

@Faiolo

These new iMacs can't be used as external displays. The current version of DisplayPort can't handle the bandwidth necessary for 5k displays over a single connector, so Apple decided to cut the feature rather than only support 4k resolution, or require two connectors. So, the screen is stuck with this computer, and you can't use it with any other.

Cryo -

The CPU LOOKS upgradable!

James Katt - Reply

can this be upgraded to the new 8 core i7 ???

Paul Rabinowitz - Reply

Probably not. I believe the processor options available for this have 84 and 88 watt max TDPs, while the 8 core I7 is rated at using up to 140 watts. It would most likely not be able to dissipate the heat under load.

Cryo -

Is the headphone socket part of the right speaker assembly? It does not seem to be on the logic board.

Dominic Dunlop - Reply

Image 1/1: Broadcom BCM5776 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • Front side of logic board:

    • Broadcom BCM5776 Gigabit Ethernet Controller

    • Cirrus Logic 4206BCNZ Audio Controller

    • Intel DSL5520 Thunderbolt 2 Controller

    • LMF4S1EH 5BBCIG 47A6HPW

    • Microchip Technology 1428-7 420BE5A BMY System Management Bus (SMBus) Temperature Sensor

    • Intersil ISL6327 Enhanced 6-Phase PWM Controller

The LMF4S1EH 5BBCIG 47A6HPW is the SMC chip ;-)

perfaram - Reply

Here is the correct URL for the Intersil Buck voltage regulator: ISL6327 URL and here is the PDF Spec sheet: ISL6327 PDF

Dan - Reply

Image 1/2: Unsurprisingly, we find the exact same ICs: Image 2/2: SanDisk 05131 016G 16 GB NAND Flash (four on each side, total of 8 x 16 GB = 128 GB)
  • This looks to be the exact same SanDisk PCIe SSD as the one found in the MacBook Pro 13" Retina Display Late 2013.

  • Unsurprisingly, we find the exact same ICs:

    • SanDisk 05131 016G 16 GB NAND Flash (four on each side, total of 8 x 16 GB = 128 GB)

    • SK Hynix H5TQ2G63DFR 2 GB DDR3 SDRAM

    • Marvell 88SS91383 PCIe SSD Controller

What is this for? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

radford5000 - Reply

Apple's Fusion Drive - They combine the SSD and spinning drive into one logical volume. They use various heuristics to then keep the "most frequently used" files stored onto the SSD. Most of the system files wind up on it along with most of my docs it seems.

modgigcist -

what connection port is this? the card looks longer than normal full length mini pcie, have a m2 kind of screwing notch, but connector look more like pcie

dennis97519 - Reply

A used ssd from a Macbook Pro 13 late 2013 or newer will work with the late 2015 5k imac? And those adapters they sell on eBay to use a regular m2 ssd?

Alber Einsten - Reply

Image 1/3: Broadcom [http://www.broadcom.com/products/Wireless-LAN/802.11-Wireless-LAN-Solutions/BCM4360|BCM4360KML1G] 5G WiFi 3-Stream 802.11ac Gigabit Transceiver Image 2/3: Skyworks [link|http://www.skyworksinc.com/uploads/documents/SE5516A_202396H.pdf|SE5516|new_window=true] Dual-Band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN Front-End Module Image 3/3: Broadcom [http://www.broadcom.com/products/Bluetooth/Bluetooth-RF-Silicon-and-Software-Solutions/BCM20702|BCM20702|new_window=true] Single-Chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI Solution with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Support
  • The AirPort/Bluetooth card, identified by its model number BCM94360CD, is exactly the same as the one we encountered in last years iMac Intel 27 inch:

    • Broadcom BCM4360KML1G 5G WiFi 3-Stream 802.11ac Gigabit Transceiver

    • Skyworks SE5516 Dual-Band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN Front-End Module

    • Broadcom BCM20702 Single-Chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI Solution with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Support

and what is the connection port for this?

dennis97519 - Reply

is there any this port to pcie mini adapter?

dennis97519 - Reply

Image 1/2: RAM is user-replaceable without opening the case, thanks to the rear access door. Image 2/2: You can still replace the hard drive and CPU inside this machine, albeit with some adhesive cutting.
  • iMac 27" Retina 5K Display Repairability Score: 5 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

  • RAM is user-replaceable without opening the case, thanks to the rear access door.

  • You can still replace the hard drive and CPU inside this machine, albeit with some adhesive cutting.

  • Components are modular and fairly easy to remove.

  • The glass and LCD are fused together, and there are no more magnets holding the glass in place.

  • You'll have to masterfully peel off the old double-sided sticky tape and apply new tape in order to reseal this iMac into original condition.

A lot of people like me want to buy a standard config model from the store and then upgrade the RAM and Storage ourselves. This teardown story claims this can be done. But I wonder if more information about the storage can be provided.

The fusion drive looks like a regular hard drive with something plugged into the motherboard. What happens if we replace the regular drive with SSD. Does the Fusion SSD still operate independently, meaning more overall SSD storage? Is anything software related impacted?

BMan - Reply

I sort of answered my own question. I want to get the standard iMac so I can take delivery today which means getting a 1TB fusion drive. I was curious about upgrading the regular hard drive part of the fusion drive.

I'm not so bright so I didn't understand what PCIe was but now I see it is just a card. The Retina SSD is PCIe based....meaning, if you want to upgrade the SSD part of the fusion drive, you simply buy a larger PCIeSSD card. Google Mercury Accelsior E2

You can also upgrade the old HD part of the equation.

But here's the thing. There's something even better. You can throw these PCIe based SSD cards into an external enclosure and access then through the Thunderbolt port. That will give you the best possible performance..better than upgrading to Apple's SSD.

So the short answer is if you are in a hurry and want a new iMac retina 5K, go ahead an buy one knowing you can not only upgrade the internal SSD and HD but also access an EVEN FASTER storage solution via the Thunderbolt port.

BMan - Reply

Be wary of saying that thunderbolt will be faster than apple's internal disk speed. Because most thunderbolt cases have a PCIe 2.0 for each drive slot. You only start to get faster than the internal speed once you start striping drives. A PCIe 2.0 lane is about 500 MB/s with 20% taken for thunderbolt parity. My new 2TB EVO only gets about 370MB/s RW while my old RAID0 set of 2 junky drives gets about 660MB/s to 700MB/s

ragle -

I plan to replace my ssd to samsung 950.

nuieskater -

Would very much like to know: Can the stand be unscrewed and removed after disassembly? I see there are 3 screws on each side of the internal spring attachment but even if these are removed it is unclear to me if the stand can then be detached from the large metal backing if the screws / springs are removed. Does it appear as though it can be removed?

sean2078 - Reply

Yes it can be detached easily. but be careful its a long sensitive work to reach there and back.

Babak -

38 Comments

This site is way cool! Is it easy to upgrade the CPU once inside?

Matt - Reply

Absolutely! Same procedure as last year's model: iMac Intel 27" EMC 2639 CPU Replacement.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

Looks like you can upgrade to a new cpu (Haswell refresh probably) since it doesn't appear to be soldiered on

Daniel - Reply

Thats unlikely, it depends on the mobo, i have not heard any confirmations of this so far.

adriandatriguiran -

Any idea what the part number is for the 8GB modules? This shows 4x2GB which is the standard. I ordered that memory configuration, expecting I can source new 8GB modules for less than Apple's price.

timothyweaver - Reply

looks like 9to5mac found your answer http://9to5mac.com/2014/10/17/retina-ima...

Daniel -

Any plans to sell that groovy wedge from Step 4?

wisacks - Reply

Why didn't you click the link?

iMac Opening Wheel

PhilBoogie -

That's not wedge-shaped at all! Did find the wedge in question here.

wisacks -

I am wondering about the storage configs because there is a slot for a SSD and a hard drive so if I only get the SSD option from apple does that leave the HDD slot free for me to put something along the lines of a 6TB hard drive in there?

Friedrich Winkler - Reply

I'd also love to know the answer to this question!

timothyarnold -

Just got mine with an SSD, while I didn't tear it down, it's listed as SATA APPLE SSD SM0256F.

ZMonty -

This is also my thought. The Fusion drive is a HDD and a 128GB SSD, so would getting a 512GB SSD iMac and then adding your own HDD have the same effect. This question needs answering!

RaviJ -

the HDD area will be empty but will also be missing the cable, so you'll need to get the cable if you want to add a hard drive.

lucasgodfrey -

if directly buying a ssd without fusion drive (and larger than the basic 128gb given with fusion drive) can I add a hdd after and make a larger and better (and cheaper) fusion drive myself or will the hdd slot inoperating

jo sevb - Reply

Do you know if there's a SATA and SATA-Power cable included in the non-fusiondrive therefore SSD only configuration of the iMac?

(based on the question above)

mahatmafatal - Reply

There is NO power/SATA cable supporting the 3.5" bay included in the SSD only version of the iMac Retina - you will only get the cable if you order the Fusion drive. iFixIt does not mention this and neither does OWC. I found out the hard way.

If you want to add an internal SSD you will have to source the Apple cable - I have yet to find it. If anyone can point me in the right direction it would be much appreciated!

The open power/SATA ports are facing the back of the machine and require 90% disassembly to access - as per iFixIt's guide.

The other issue could be that Apple reads the HD temperature from the drives they support - no support means that the iMac fans will run at 100% all the time. As far as I can tell, you can either run an app that overrides fan control or you can buy an OWC cable that fools the system - I believe that it merely short pins 2 and 7 to turn off this feature.

I moved from an older Mac Pro to the new iMac Retina and I am not a happy camper.

digitaljustin -

Can we imagine replace the display of iMac late 2013 (i7 GTX 780M Fusion Drive) with the retina 5k display ?

yannick - Reply

No, the displays are not compatible. The Retina 5K display has a different data cable.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

im guessin about 2200 dollars profit on each unit

bellsouth1972 - Reply

Awesome job like always.

I do have a question, where does the hot air goes, after is moved by that fan?

I ask, because I don't see any vents.

GrTitan n - Reply

You can see the exhaust vent in the 2nd picture of step 3: iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display Teardown

It's located directly above the RAM access door.

Andrew Optimus Goldberg -

Maybe I'm missing something - I've not had an iMac since the first Intel version was released in 2006 - but can I replace the Fusion drive with my own 1TB SSD?

cbd2dbc - Reply

Is there any change in the hinge mechanism ?

Specially the two circle plastic washers that place center of it ... like any material change or design improvement ?

Amir - Reply

I understand from other forums it's possible to disable the fusion drive setup via terminal commands. If you were to replace the stand 1TB hard drive with 1TB SSD, is it possible to then install OSX & Apps on the 1TB SSD and avoid having to use the SanDisk PCIe SSD ?

Also if you opt to purchase the iMac with flash storage only, flash storage would imply ssd rather PCIe SSD ?

ekynox - Reply

Any explanation why the fan in the 5K iMac is oh so much louder than in the predecessor? I don't think I have ever heard the fan in the December 2012 27", but the one in my 5K blows as soon as even a hint of a workload is required.

phototrek - Reply

Hi, is the RAM identical to the one found in late-2013 iMac? The Apple's website seems to indicate it is the same 1600 MHz RAM, but I need to know it is, thanks!

petarkg - Reply

There are many issue being reported with the hinge failing on the older iMac (2013), the culprit being two small plastic washers breaking which results in the screen flopping forward.

I would really like to know if this design has changed for the newer iMac model.

Jaybe - Reply

I want to install a modified, (shortened), stand. It appears that the stand can not be removed as was possible with the original iMac using a credit card to unlock the mechanism. Is this correct? If so then the only way to remove the stand is to open the iMac up? If so, shame on Apple!

Paul Yarnall - Reply

I'm start to getting worried about repairing because it's hard to do so and I am aware that I could break or damage internal modules unnoticed. There're hardly to find mac professional in my country except in apple store which they're not support to upgrade anything.

axialispsychopathy - Reply

He 27" iMac had a lot of issues related to cooling leading to frequent burn outs of the graphics card (2011-2012). Do you have any comments on that wrt the new 5K iMac. I can see they changed the exhaust slots, etc.

shantanughosh - Reply

I'm about to order a late 2015 27" with 512gb "Flash".

• Since there will be no HDD installed by Apple will there still be everything I need to install my own?

• If this is the case is there any reason why this drive couldn't be an SSD?

• 2.5" or 3.5"?

Tony Visconti - Reply

I have this same question on a late 2015 iMac 5K with an 256 internal flash disk. Right now, I have an additional external Samsung 1Tb SSD which I placed in a standard USB3 housing but it would be cool if it could go internally. If you find anything, I'd be glad to share.

Jacky

Jacky Bendayan -

hi guys tonight I did take out the flash drive and 3TB HDD out of the iMac and installed 1TB SSD instead now I am installing the OS by the Command +R. Everything looks fine. I searched everywhere but no one did this. Thought you guys may wanna know that.

Babak - Reply

I can't believe I even started reading this nonsense. What on earth does more pixels have to do with repairability? I think you people try too hard, seriously. The whole "review" business has turned into a huge joke. Oh look! A backplate! And this over here.. A PCIe SATA, not surprisingly something that they've used in a different model because WHY THE F*@K NOT?! Terrible. Absolutely terrible. Do you have to pretend to be a inane moron to write reviews or does it only help?

Oi - Reply

I have a late 2014 iMac 5K Retina with 32gb Memory. Is it possible and feasible to replace the CPU with a 2015 as as to increase the Memory?

Jason B - Reply

How hard would it be to change the iMac to a VESA compatible one instead of using the stand attached to most of them? You can't do this easily I am sure.

Taylor Harris - Reply

there is a lot of reference to older version of the same model. every teardown should be independent. i still have no idea what the two huge plastic parts on left and right are. I guess its sound but really that large?

eckndu - Reply

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