Sunday, September 05, 2004

iMac G5 user upgradable parts

Apple has released a new document about the upgradability of the new iMac G5:

Think you need a new part? You can replace many of your iMac G5's parts yourself.

The iMac G5 is designed to make it easy for you to install replacement parts if you need to. The parts you can install yourself are:

AirPort Extreme Card
Memory - DDR 400 MHz (PC3200) SDRAM
Hard drive
Optical drive
Power supply
LCD display
Modem card
Mid-plane assembly (contains the main logic board, the G5 processor, fans, NVIDIA graphics processor, and so forth).

This is very interesting and good news. Essentially, the entire new iMac G5 is user replaceable. The new iMac's design is a far cry from that of the previous iMacs, which were essentially black box designs with very limited user upgradability.

This potentially addresses the issue of the iMac G5's less than stellar GPU. For some users, the GPU is the unit's Achilles heel and the various Mac enthusiast sites are full of comments lamenting Apple's decision not to offer higher speed GPU options. The possibility of a future GPU upgrade can help future-proof the machine (as would a CPU upgrade). However, it sounds like a GPU (or CPU) upgrade may require the replacement of the entire mid-plane assembly in the iMac G5. If true then one wonders if these components will be widely available, and even if available, how expensive they would be.


Anonymous said...

The modular design and the user serviceability, while no doubt implemented by Apple to save money on repairs, has some significant long term ownership effects and consequences, all of them good.

Building the 3G iMac in this way suggests a long term commitment on Apple's part for this design. The 3G iMac form factor should be with us for a long time.

Being able to repair or replace a failed component oneself, as well as the portent of future upgrades, makes this product significantly more desirable than earlier generation iMacs.

In 2 - 3 years there will be a bonanza of 3G iMac parts available on eBay and keeping one running into the future is assured by this design brilliance.

Teutoburg said...

Hi, this would be my second post at your site, which I came across not too long ago.

In any case, I among thousands, was hoping that Apple would include the CPU and GPU on the user-upgradable list. Unfortunately this is not to be. Apple clearly wants to 'future proof' the consumer iMac by limiting the upgrade options. That would keep people buying them after a certain point.

The other reason could be heat-related issues, which reportedly, Apple had some trouble with. Though I doubt that it would be a legitimate excuse since engineers from third-party companies would be looking into the matter if they had the chance.

Starting with a Macintosh II in 1986, I've had four other desktops and each has had the hell upgraded out of them. So I'm pre-disposed to Macs with huge upgrade potential.

Or I could do what one Mac-using friend does: sell and buy a new Mac every one and a half years.