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Model A1419 / EMC 3070 / Mid 2017 / 3.4, 3.5 or 3.8 GHz Core i5 or 4.2 GHz Core i7 Kaby Lake Processor (ID iMac18,3) / Retina 5K display. Refer to the older iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display (Late 2014 & 2015) guides as the system is very similar.

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About 2017 iMac 27" and 2019 iMac 27" firmwares

Well as far as I could check through online research both the 2017 and 2019 models have the same hardware: same CPU socket, same GPU (ok, 580 vs 580pro, minor change) and same PSU however the 2017 model would not work with the same i9 9900 CPUs available for the 2019 models and I want to know why.

Could it be just a firmware restriction in the known 'Apple way' of planned obsolescence considering the hardware is the same therefore shouldn't be any technical reason? Would the 2017 model run with the i9 9900 CPUs if its firmware were to be flashed with 2019 firmware? Could the firmware even be actually flashed just like that…?

I would really like to know more than just assumptions ?

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Apple’s approach is to use the same firmware within a given ID Series so in your case the iMac17,1 and the iMac19,1

Late 2015 - Skylake

  • I5-6500
  • I5-6600
  • I7-6700K

2019 - Coffee Lake

  • I5-8500
  • I5-8600
  • I5-9600K

These are very different Intel CPU series which use very different micro-code. Apple does not load up their EFI with multiple micro-code builds.

Bottom line: You are limited to what the given series offered in some rare cases (very rare) you might have an option. Sadly not here.

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Let's just say for the sake of argument I get the EFI chip from a 2019 model and solder it to the 2017 board?

If both 2017 and 2019 have the same hardware wouldn't this 'unlock' the 2017 potential to run i9 CPUs same as the 2019?

Or is there anywhere else this micro-code is written in the hardware so it matches the required CPUs?


I don't tempt fate!

Swapping over EFI chips between different hardware models is not something I would do.

Mod'ing requires a much deeper understanding of the design which is very difficult as Apple holds their cards quite tightly.

Time to crack open the Intel Architecture books to see what you can figure out. Warning that's about 3K of pages of stuff to dig through.


@Carlos Ferrari Oh Carlos, if it were that simple. Remember that just because an EFI chip is changed over for the support of specific hardware, it doesn't mean that components down the line are also lined up to support "newer" hardware not planned for that version of the board.

I know for a fact that some boards within the same lineup (an obscure board manufacturer I used in the past for an employer) changed components to manage the higher frequency/voltages for newer hardware/CPUs and when we used unsupported CPUs with those older boards, we ended up borking a whole bunch of them in the field. It was a costly mistake from management.


Well most of all it would be hard enough to get my hands on a 2019 EFI chip to begin with lol

It was mostly a thought exercise/wishful thinking I suppose. I do still believe it can be done but unless one can get a verifiable 2019 chip to replace the 2017 with and prove/unprove this will remain unknown…


@Carlos Ferrari - Sorry I really think that's a very large pipe dream ;-{

Don't forget to score the answer and accept it - Thanks!


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