Currently Being ModeratedMay 16, 2012 2:43 AM (in response to alanpro)
Thank you wmaclaurin & Grandbuffet for your pioneered GPU upgrades.
I have a late 2009 iMac Core 2 Duo 27" (3.06, Radeon HD 4670) and I've noticed you all had quad core models.
Is this just a coincidence or does the CPU affect the performance of the GPU?
Also, is it safe to assume any Radeon HD card can be used as an upgrade, as long as it has Apple firmware?
Currently Being ModeratedMay 23, 2012 11:39 AM (in response to jwestbrooke)
As long as it's an official Apple OEM part designed to fit in the same form factor iMac (IE, you'd need a card made for a 21.5") and fits in an MXM slot. I think you'll also find we all have the 27" - as I stated in my other discussion, I'm not sure if the 4670 in the 21.5" 2009 C2D is removable or soldered on board.
As to CPU affecting GPU - in rare instances, the slower of the two units will cause a bottleneck and hinder the other's absolute top potential. But this is primarily in GPU accelerated applications, which are still pretty few and far between. (generally programs that do this type of processing are video editors and heavy photo editors.)
I'll do some more digging around, but I've only seen people upgrade the 27" model GPU. Could just be coincidence, or there may well be a technical reason. There's some pretty fantastic space and heat management happening inside the 27", much less the 21.5". Wouldn't surprise me if they had to go integrated/soldered on board to save space and temperature.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 23, 2012 11:58 AM (in response to jwestbrooke)
And per your GPU query:
Should be enough to get you started.
However, let me add: this is a labor of love I'd only undertake if selling your old model and pitching in a few hundred for the newer one is totally out of the question or way beyond what you need.
Once you're done buying the new GPU (500$) and CPU (150$) and Memory (100$) and a decent SSD (250$) you've racked up enough expenses that a newer model would definitely be a smarter choice. (Thunderbolt, quad cores from the start, better GPU included, better iSight)
Currently Being ModeratedMay 23, 2012 1:09 PM (in response to BrandonFromTX)
Thanks again Brandon for respodnig to my post(s)!
I do have a 27" 2009 iMac, but it is the Core2Duo model (3.06Ghz). I was looking into performing the same 2GB GPU upgrade that you and the other members performed and wanted to know if there would be any hiccups since by model was slightly inferior to the i5's you all performed your upgrade on, but it seems there won't be. I asked about the Processor upgrade just for addinional insight/POC while we were on the topic.
If I werent using this as a media center, then it would be more cost-effective to sell as apposed to scrutenizing over upgrades that would result in minute performance boosts as I already have 16GB RAM & a 2TB 7200RPM HDD. I've recently tooken up more gaming now that I have the iMac so I came here to investigate upgrading the GPU, and lo and behold, it seems you can. A couple titles on my machine that would SIGNIFICANTLY benefit from this upgrade are Dues Ex, Diablo III, Alan wake, etc...
...However, let me add: this is a labor of love I'd only undertake if selling your old model and pitching in a few hundred for the newer one is totally out of the question or way beyond what you need.
I'm very experienced in hardware mods so the labor isn't a problem. My assumption is that upgrading the GPU will be enough to get the playback I desire in my gaming (My processor isn't THAT outdated... is it?).In addition, selling my iMac + the money I would spend on the GPU upgrade (at most $1500) wouldn't get me a newer model WITH the 2GB VRAM I'm looking for. So all signs point to a new GPU as this is primarily a media center.
Currently Being ModeratedMay 24, 2012 8:42 AM (in response to jwestbrooke)
Good to see we have other experienced techies who like gutting Apple's beautiful hardware! Haha.
No your processor isn't that outdated at all. My black MacBook with a C2D 2.0ghz is still running beautifully after 6 years and surviving a fire and being smashed by a pedestrian. Core 2 might not be the freshest apple in the patch, but they still process and do day to day lightweight media and browsing like a champ. The 7600 was a good processor, had one in my gaming rig until I got an 8400 (just before I built my new i7-2600k monster)
I found a picture of the logic board in question on dvwarehouse and it looks like the same MXM-B slot. As your Core 2 Duo 7600 has a lower TDP than our i5s, as long as the power supply is good to go you're set on the upgrade once you have the part in hand. Not sure what the draw is on the 6970, but I think Apple used the same 130 watt PSU in all their 2009-2011, and my iMac handled it like a champ. So at least from this hobbyist, no objections at all.
I will add this before you get wrist deep in iMac guts: when dismantling the lower portion and removing your logic board from the case, the IR receiver is obnoxiously well integrated. I actually believe I damaged mine, because you have to wiggle it completely up before you move the memory slots out of place. I never use the remote, so no big loss for me, but as yours is a media center I'd be very careful.
The guide from HardMac shows this step with very little emphasis, but it was the biggest frustration for me.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 20, 2012 12:08 PM (in response to alanpro)
I got one question: I have a late 2009 iMac, i7 which I am in the process to upgrade with a SSD. I also ordered the new graphics card described above to try the upgrade. Now I saw that the graphics board is screwed to the main board, but from which side? Is it really necessary to remove the whole main board or can you remove it from the bottom of it? I saw 3 screws to the metal pieces which looked all I need to remove it.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 20, 2012 11:37 PM (in response to Teut)
I made a pic of the backside of the Radeon:
As you can see there are 3 screws, are those all to unlock the card? I am just hesitant to remove all of the interiors just for this
Currently Being ModeratedJun 21, 2012 4:10 AM (in response to Teut)
Those three screws hold the video card to the mainboard. Remove those, the one at the top near the heat sink and unplug the temperature sensor (underside of the mainboard at the top edge to the right of the picture you took) and the card just slides out.
Once you remove the heatsink and attach the new card, you just slide it back in using those three screws as guides. The hardest part was getting the tempature sensor cable back in !!
Currently Being ModeratedJun 22, 2012 1:27 PM (in response to wmaclaurin)
So I did it. I replaced my DvD drive with a 256GB SSD and my old late 2009 iMac Radeon 4 series with the latest Radeon 6 series of the new imac.
Everything works and I had some trouble with a couple of things:
- installing bootcamp (which I need) with no DvD drive is a pain. If you ever replace your DvD drive install it first!
- My fans are spinning high (OOD and CPU, HDD seems ok), why I dont know, seems I broke the connector of the LCD temp sensor? Is that possible?
- I no longer remember how to connect the HD temp sensor correctly, its a connector with 6 pins and 4 possible solutions as the HD has 8 pins and the connector can be moved left or right. iFixit says close to the SATA conectors and the black cable to the LCD ... problem is I dont know if thats right as my fans spin max.
Any help? I will post photos soon.
Currently Being ModeratedJun 22, 2012 2:33 PM (in response to Teut)
Ok fixed my fan noise, the LCD temp sensor wasn't stuck correctly in place.
The hardest part of the graphics upgrade was the temperature cable of the card. It belongs underneath the motherboard and is hard ot plug back in. Note: you do NOT need to remove the motherboard to install the graphics card, you can do so directly after removing the display.
As said in the beginning the initial poster claimed he had to cut a plastic piece. That is correct for late iMac 2009's only. iMacs 2010 above have the right plastic piece. Its not really difficult and easy to do:
Why you need to cut it? Because the three heatpipes of the 6 series card are slightly higher than the 2 of the 4 series:
Mistakes I did:
I had to reopen the iMac often for the fan noise and once I forget the temp sensor cable and it snapped away slightly bending the connector on the motherboard. Luckily I could bend them back and connect it.
Second the vsynch cable (flat ribbon) has very fragile contacts which come of the plastic and get lose. I suggest utter carefulness with that cable. Luckily you can buy replacements for $20.
The HD temperatur sensor cable has 4 possible positions to get reconected. Luckily ifixit noticed and has a tip how to reconect: it has to be as close as possible to the SATA connector and the black cable has to be up pointing to the LCD (if its in place).
I got 2 small things with my card which I can't place, anyone knows what they are:
Heres my iMAc open with graphics card slightly removed:
Here is my iMac with the card removed:
Heres a closeup of that HD temp sensor cable and the back of the HD:
And finally the backside of the graphics card you have to remove and reapply to the new one:
The plastic piece nearly removed which I had to cut, notices: its simply glued to the surface with sticky stuff, easy to reapply:
The most difficult reconnect you have to do:
See the temp sensor cable? I hope you have fine fingers
And finally, the reward for all the work:
<Image Containing S/N Edited By Host>
If anyone needs tips how to install Win7 with no DvD drive let me know, it took me 2 days to find out
Currently Being ModeratedJun 22, 2012 3:31 PM (in response to matthew46)
Yes, the 4850 and I upgraded to the 6970 with 2GB.
I solved the fan problem but now left with an additonal one: the right fan is noisy, thats where the graphics card is. Seems the new one is hotter? Temp reading programs can'T read the sensor properly, they show 137.000° But the sensor of the card is plugged in. Further investigation needed :/
Currently Being ModeratedAug 8, 2012 11:07 AM (in response to Teut)
I want to do the same thing as you : upgrading my imac 27 late 2009 with a 6970 (from a 4850). But where did you bought the graphic card? And how much is it?
Is everything working well? Is there a great difference between the two cards in video games?