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New iMac Gets Respectable Repairability Score

By - Source: iFixit | B 45 comments

Announced on Wednesday, the iFixit team certainly wasted no time in getting its hands on the new 2011 iMac. So what did they find when they took this baby apart?


We already know that the new 21-inch iMac comes with a 21.5-inch (1920 x 1080 pixel IPS panel, one of Intel’s quad-core Core-i CPUs, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics with 512MB, a 500GB HDD, 4GB of RAM, support for Facetime and Intel’s new Thunderbolt I/O technology. This tidy packet will set you back about $1,199 -- not a terrible deal. However, what you’ve got inside that case, you’re kind of stuck with, thanks to Apple’s apparent aversion to creating products that are easy to upgrade at home. Still, where there's a will, there's a way. So, how easy is this machine apart yourself?


iFixit gave it "a very respectable 7 out of 10 Repairability Score" saying that for the most part, the disassembly was pretty straight forward. However, you will need a couple of tools that the average DIYer might not have hanging around. Specifically, a T10 Torx screwdriver and suction cups. If you do happen to have those lying on the work bench, iFixit says you should be able to change the RAM no problem, and replacing the hard drive and optical drive is described as only ‘moderately difficult.’ Things really get tricky for those trying to upgrade CPU/GPU. If that's your plan, you'll have to remove the logic board.


Specific parts found inside the iMac include an LM215WF3 LG display (the same present in the older model), an Intel L102IA84 EFL Thunderbolt port IC, a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5-2800S CPU with 6 MB of Intel Smart Cache, an Intel BD82Z68 Platform Controller Hub, a Broadcom BCM57765B0KMLG Integrated Gigabit Ethernet and Memory Card Reader Controller, a Cirrus 4206BCNZ audio controller, a SMSC USX2061 (believed to be a USB 2.0 Hub Controller Family), and an Intersil ISL6364 CRZ Single-Phase Synchronous-Buck PWM voltage regulator for GPU core power applications.

Check out the full tear-down here.

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  • 3 Hide
    slothy89 , May 6, 2011 4:07 AM
    *sigh* Apple and their "logic" boards.. It's a MOTHERboard for Petes sake..
    The "logic" happens in the CPU..

    I thought the RAM was a straight forward removal of the panel on the underside of the screen type job. I guess needing a torx screwdriver puts even this in the too hard basket for some...
  • 1 Hide
    Tamz_msc , May 6, 2011 4:52 AM
    "Logic boards"- that made me laugh for sure.
  • 0 Hide
    johnsmithhatesVLC , May 6, 2011 4:59 AM
    How good is the ips panel? How does it compare to the dell u2311h?
  • Display all 45 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    tipoo , May 6, 2011 5:11 AM
    Yes, anything that requires a home user buy specialized suction cups to take apart is highly repairable...
  • 0 Hide
    PCGOD , May 6, 2011 5:26 AM
    i have to say im surprised. those specs at that price for a mac device... i would've guessed at least 1500. ive heard logic boards are the next big thing...
  • 1 Hide
    yahboyouthere , May 6, 2011 6:17 AM
    Ugh i don't want to see the inside of an Imac ever again. Repaired too many of these and they are not fun in any way.
  • 0 Hide
    akorzan , May 6, 2011 7:17 AM
    johnsmithhatesVLCHow good is the ips panel? How does it compare to the dell u2311h?

    Both panels are made by LG. When you buy a monitor, the LCD panel is not manufactured by Dell, Apple, Asus, Viewsonic but by a another firm since it is a costly process that requires large factories.

    On this site they review different technologies and have a large database listing every panel in each monitor.
    http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/panelsearch.htm
  • 2 Hide
    rantoc , May 6, 2011 8:32 AM
    tipooYes, anything that requires a home user buy specialized suction cups to take apart is highly repairable...


    Guess with that regard and high rating, any Win PC have a rating of 10 across the board!
  • -1 Hide
    fyasko , May 6, 2011 9:29 AM
    stop the hate!!!
  • -4 Hide
    alidan , May 6, 2011 10:29 AM
    depending on how good that monitor is, its almost like you are getting a decent computer along with an amassing monitor. if only it wasnt a mac, i would praise this, but because its mac, its shooting itself in the foot, as people only use a mac for dicking around, not doing real work.
  • 1 Hide
    mchuf , May 6, 2011 12:09 PM
    Having a torx driver isn't a big deal anymore. Now suction cups (and knowing how to correctly use them), well that's another story.

    The thing I don't like is that Apple equips this iMac with a wonderful 1080p screen, yet only has a gpu with 512 meg of video ram. Come on now Apple, 1 gig of vram has become the defacto baseline anymore. Oh that's right Jobs doesn't like gaming.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , May 6, 2011 1:25 PM
    I never liked "all in ones" You can't do hardware upgrades, many times they have mobile chipsets in them for less heat. When you want new you have to buy another "all in one" or a monitor if you go back to a conventional desktop setup. If your monitor breaks you lose your computer, if your computer breaks you lose your monitor.
    Its just not a good setup unless you really don't like a box sitting around. In that case you might as well get a laptop. Its cheaper!
  • 0 Hide
    alisalem , May 6, 2011 1:35 PM
    I always thought iMacs used mobile specs for everything. I guess now it's only the GPUs?
  • -1 Hide
    scuba dave , May 6, 2011 2:44 PM
    alidandepending on how good that monitor is, its almost like you are getting a decent computer along with an amassing monitor. if only it wasnt a mac, i would praise this, but because its mac, its shooting itself in the foot, as people only use a mac for dicking around, not doing real work.


    Your highly questionable opinion, is worthless.

    Also, the suction cups thing is odd.. Not many people would have those already, but as it is.. Since Apple doesn't intend for its users to repair their suff DIY-style, it's not too unusual. I'm guessing the higher score is more lined with how easy it is to repair with all the right tools, instead of how easy it is with, and only with, a standard set of tools. And in that case.. The score makes some sense.
  • 0 Hide
    rosen380 , May 6, 2011 2:59 PM
    Are these magical suction cups? I have a bunch around the house already -- and got them at a dollar store.

    From the pic it looks like they are using the suction cups to lift off the display-- is there any reason you couldn't flip it over on a padded surface and just lift away the case??
  • 2 Hide
    mobrocket , May 6, 2011 3:07 PM
    Why would u need to fix it, arent apple fanboys required to buy a new one every year or face the wrath of being "uncool"
  • 1 Hide
    teodoreh , May 6, 2011 4:20 PM
    $1.200 is not bad for Apple, is this surely the right price? :p 
  • 3 Hide
    Yoder54 , May 6, 2011 4:31 PM
    alidan...people only use a mac for dicking around, not doing real work.


    This is a pretty lame and baseless comment. Do you have any idea how many in the movie industry are using Mac's, not to mention the audio industry? Then there is the graphic arts industry (Photoshop was designed for the Mac initially) that seems to gravitate to Mac, and AutoCAD is now ported to the Mac and most likely many will be moving over to iMac's to do this type of work if not for the small footprint. With it's UNIX kernel you also see more of them creeping into science, medicine, etc. Apple provide a decent SDK for developers (free,) and so OS X has as much room for application growth as does the PC. Now that Apple is gaining more market share, then we will most likely see more applications being implemented. The greatest selling point of OS X, is it's robustness and ease of use. The typical consumer does not want to fight an OS like Window's, and corporations loose money when they must spend time implementing simple tasks on Windows versus OS X. History will be the judge.
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , May 6, 2011 5:10 PM
    Yoder, you may have needed a mac to do all those things back in the early 90's but now, we have all those tools for free on the wintel platform... mac's are dead, thats why apple builds phones and music gadgets now....
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 6, 2011 5:14 PM
    Yoder54: Yeah, Macs were all the rage in the Audio and Video industries back in the late 90s, but somewhere around the end of the G5 era, there was a mass exodus away from Mac. They no longer have the same renown that they used to, mostly because people figured out the platform as a whole sucks, the application is used the same way in either OS, and that OSX has worse performance per price and per hardware spec.
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