What Does It Take To Upgrade a 2012 iMac 21.5″?

We know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats, waiting to see what it takes to get inside those new 21.5” iMacs, so we did a fast “just to show you” video, where we install 16GB of OWC memory in the new iMac.

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Keep in mind, this is not an in-depth instructional video; this is just our initial teardown.

Make sure to bookmark or subscribe to the OWC Blog for more information on upgradability as it develops.

 

The Story Continues…OWC Announces Memory Upgrade DIY Kit For 2012 21.5″ Apple iMac


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  • congratulations For your video. I have a problem, maybe you can give me a hand. I have a 27 Slim IMac and the glass iscracked,isit possible to get the glass or do I have to buy the display Entirely ? Thanks




  • I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how to replace my stock hd(5400rpm) with an ssd in my 2012 21.5″ Imac..:(:( This really isn’t right for some of us…




    • Well, I performed the upgrade today. It’s really not all that hard. Do watch those 4 tiny connectors on the motherboard for the Bluetooth and wireless as they are quite easy to break (note they pop straight up, not slide out like the others). 16GB baby!




  • Maybe going in from the other direction by cutting through the aluminum shell and putting a “memory door” there is the easier way. Doesn’t look like I’m going to get this model though, the 27” iMac seems to be the machine to get.




  • You guys gonna make a turn key upgrade for the new iMacs??




  • I really like you guys already. I would love to work for OWC. I have not been so excited about technology and computers as I am now that there are options for my older MBP and awesome upgrades for even newer Macs. I no longer feel constrained!




  • I just learned about OWC while trying to find upgrades for my 2009 MacBookPro 5,1 2.4 gHz. I just upgraded ram to 8GB ram and am so thankful that I can’t wait to hear about your iMac 2012 reviews. Also, THANKS for the holiday catalog on the various hard drives and accessories. I am still trying to learn more about the best solutions to edit three to four streams of HD video on an eSATA drive. I have an ExpressCard/34 slot and thought I was limited to FireWire until now. I’m feeling good about my options but want to speak with someone who does all kinds of editing on MBP’s and iMacs to make sure I am aware of the best internal and external hard drive upgrades, and second-fiddle options. I edit with Premiere CS4 and will soon be editing with Avid Media Composer. I know that a newer iMac will handle Avid but my Core2Duo MBP will definitely need a newer hard drive or eSata option since it’s barely qualifying to operate Avid. I know I’ve said a mouthful and look forward to some real meaningful support and replies. Thanks in advance and Happy Holidays.




  • I wish you would have shown the stand mount. Can you talk a bit about the capabilities of removing the mount and making a VESA compliant version.




  • Any word on adding an SSD to the open slot on 21.5 models that have the open slot?




  • Now what would really stink is if you did this upgrade on your own, reassemble the computer with new adhesive, and discover you get the chimes of death due to a faulty memory module. It does happen. So it would be wise to reassemble the computer without new adhesive to test the SO-DIMMS to make sure they work. Then seal the glass. Of course you have to go through the hassle of ripping out the logic board after reassembly to remove the faulty memory module. Too much of a PITA. Better option would be to buy the 27″ model. At least you get a desktop-class 7,200 RPM 3.5″ drive and easy to install memory. Adding a fusion drive to the 21.5″ model cost more than the 27″ model, and it is still a slow 5,400 RPM drive.




  • This looks like a pain in the you know what if all u wanna do is upgrade the RAM! Apple has made the iMac thinner just so they can say it’s a new design because there was nothing wrong or could be improved w/ the older model as far as esthetic goes. Form over function. I mean, being able to switch RAM through a removal slot is no brainer! Form over function.
    And w/ each upgrade of the iMac, I’m beginning to loath Apple more and more!




  • Great video. Thanks for the Heads Up.




  • Looks like a ridiculous amount of work to do a job that used to take less than 5 minutes from start to finish. What in heaven’s name was Apple thinking?!




  • do the new imacs still have the proprietary hard drive issue (heat sensor I believe), or can you put any third-party drive in the new 2012 imac models?




    • Not sure yet – this was simply a first look inside. As I’ve said before, we’re still hard at work putting together the available upgrade paths for these machines. We’ll be posting back as soon as we can with which upgrades are going to be feasible.




  • Are your guys going to be able to do a turnkey upgrade like you are with 2010-11 iMacs (Add 3 ssd’s, etc)
    Because I am still not for this update yet by Apple. I feel like they made these new iMacs hard for users to upgrade.




  • Thanks for the informative video. Unfortunally sound was lost after 4.5 minutes. How do I glue the screen back on. Need a video about that.




    • Yes, there was no sound outside of ambient room noise and conversation in the next room, so sound was removed after the opening narration. As mentioned in the post itself, this was just a quick-and-dirty look inside the iMac, and should in no way be considered or used as an installation guide. If/when we post a full Installation Video, there will be complete instructions, from opening to closing.




  • Are you selling dual SSD RAID0 configuration for the new iMac 27 inches? I’m interested in two 128GB SSD capable of reaching up to 900MB/s.




  • Is it possible to increase the Fusion Drive size to 3TB (as in the 27-inch model)?




  • How do you glue the screen back on?




  • Holy cow that’s a lot of scary work!

    I took apart my mid-2007 iMac to add an SSD and I thought that was scary… but to add RAM to the 21.5″ new iMac, one must literally take apart the entire computer… all the circuit boards?? No way, Jose.

    Maybe that just means it’s worth paying Apple to ship the machine with extra RAM or spending the extra $500 to get the 27″ version which has user-accessible RAM slots.

    At least the HD is easily swappable for an SSD, though!




  • If OWC really wants to sell Ram upgrades for 21.5″ iMac users, sell a supply of the adhesive seal for buyers to reattach the screen (and any unusual tools needed to complete the task).




  • Thank you for that informative break down of the new iMac but even more important is how you put the LCD screen and protective front glass back on. Please put together a video of how you can DIY putting the LCD screen and protective front glass back on th e iMac after the memory upgrade. Thank you.




  • Cool, knew you guys would be able to get into it. What kind of glue are they using, a rubber cement type of glue? Will the panel fit back in ok? or do you have to clean off the glue and reapply some type of adhesive? What about getting the panel to fit flush, no seams etc ….Does the panel fit or key into the chin to lock the bottom of the panel in? Thanks Guys




  • So, the RAM for lower-end model is obviously user-upgradable… it will only take time to install and a little bit tricky to disassemble. Right? Is it possible for 32GB RAM (2 x 16GB)?

    Are those photos are the lower-end models? Do you have inside photos of the higher-end models? I’m expecting to have 1 flash storage and 2 ssd on any iMac models.

    1 flash storage + 1 ssd = fusion drive (os and processing) AND 1 ssd (data storage)

    Thank you and more power to OWC.




  • Nice video, but after 4:36 min there is no sound anymore




  • Any chance to increase the RAM to 32 GB as in the 27-inch model?




  • Did you test the SSD module while the case was open?

    Making a rough estimate from the photos, the SSD in the 2012 iMac is the same as the MacBook Pro with retina display (MBPr) form factor SSD, not the longer, chewing-gum stick Macbook air SSD form factor.

    The 16GB RAM and 128GB SSD Fusion upgrade is a very expensive option BTO from Apple, as usual. It would be great to roll your own with either an OWC module (perhaps with a smaller capacity SSD than the 512GB for the MBPr?) or a 128GB SSD substituted from a 13″ MBPr.




    • Edit to above:

      Apologies, I’ve just seen the earlier post in which you show the MBPr SSD form factor in place, but with the absent socket on the low-end model.




  • Thanks for doing this! Have you guys attempted to replace the HD and/or place one of your SSD blades in the SSD slot?