That $200-Cheaper iMac's RAM is Not Upgradeable

Recently, we informed you that Apple had released a new, cheaper iMac that cost $200 less than its predecessors. That is all still true, although it turns out that Apple has made a couple of changes to the standard design, as OWC (Other World Computing) presented in its Rocket Yard blog.

As it turns out, the RAM on this $1099 iMac is not user-upgradeable. Despite the difficulty you'll have accessing it, even if you get to it, you'll find that the RAM is soldered to the PCB. The standard configuration is 8 GB of DDR3-1600 memory. In the online configurator, you also cannot upgrade this – 8 GB is the only option you have.

Granted, most users who need more memory will also want more CPU power, therefore choosing another model, but for the tiny crowd that might be interested in more memory, this might be a small nuisance.

We suspect that this was done to lower the production costs, as the only customizable part in the machines is the storage. Due to this, the motherboard (or what Apple likes to call a Logic Board) in all of the $1099 iMacs will be identical, making them cheaper to mass produce.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • skit75
    "It just works"
  • Oh that just blows! Boo!
  • pills161
    Measily 8GB of ram which you can't upgrade period? Wow again Apple is soooooo innovative.
  • Lightbulbie
    It's 8GB of RAM. When is the average Apple user going to use more than four? All they really do is visit the same sites and do the same thing a PC user does, but get ripped off harder.
  • punahou1
    Very sneaky profitable move for Apple. My company had an imac where the $125 graphics card went bad. It too was soldered to the mobo. In order to fix this part you had to spend $650 to but a new mobo. Now if your $40 RAM chip goes bad you will have to spend many more $$ o replace the mobo. Of course this was all per-planned by Apple, most likely with the guidance of their finance department...
  • skit75
    95% of Apple users would not care about this. Yes, I pulled that 95% number from a very dark place but I bet it is quite accurate. I bet more PC users reply to this article... including, me.
  • fudoka711
  • applegetsmelaid
    Makes sense. I couldn't upgrade the memory on my speak and spell either.
  • apone
    What's the problem? Apple fans should be used to not being able to upgrade their overpriced devices. Nothing to see here Apple folks, move along now...
  • InvalidError
    13598312 said:
    This is seriously anti-customer. Shame on you Apple!
    Soldered memory and CPUs in ultra-thin non-user-serviceable devices is quite common - the socket and memory sub-PCB add unnecessary weight, thickness, labor, components, potential failure points and cost.

    Microsoft's Surface 3 Pro also uses 8GB of DDR3 soldered directly to the main board.