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Upgrade mid 2010 27 inch Apple iMac from a Core i3 3.2GHz (Dual core) to Core i7 2.93GHz (Quad core) processor.

I used this guide for disassembly and reassembly.

Also added a 3TB SATA drive and 32Gb of RAM to max out this system under Lion 10.7

  • Update : Removed the 3Tb SATA drive and replaced with 512Gb SSD and upgraded to Mountain Lion 10.8
  • If you upgrade or change the HD, you will need to buy HDDFanControl software to control the HDD fan which will run at full speed otherwise.
  • April 2013 - 1 year later : This system has been absolutely ROCK SOLID with no crashes, no kernel panics and no freezes!
  • April 2014 - 2 years later : now running OS X 10.9 Mavericks successfully with zero issues. System continues to be fast - but is starting to show its age compared to Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell architectures! Newer apps are starting to creak at the seams & the beachball is now a fixture.
  • April 2015 - 3 years later. Yosemite 10.10.3. Continuity works but Handoff does not (lacks built-in Bluetooth LE v4.0). Not as fast as my Haswell Macbook Pro or 2010 Xeon 12 proc Mac Pro, but still rock solid. With these simple mods, I have gained years of additional service out of this "obsolete" machine!
  • May 2016 - 4 years later. Running El Capitan 10.11.5 . Only Handoff does not work (see above) but everything else is rock solid. New Notepad app rocks as does a stable version of Apple Mail (at last), and now that the abomination that was 'discoveryd' is dead and the tried and true 'mDNS-Responder' is back, networking is stellar once again. The system continues to amaze with its longevity.
  • August 2016 - 4+ years later. Now running Sierra 10.12 Beta 2 with zero issues other than the usual beta bugs.
  • November 2017 - It’s been 5 years since I did the upgrade and I still use this iMac in anger every day! Now running a OWC 1TB SSD and High Sierra 10.13 with APFS. Machine has been absolutely flawless!
  • September 2018 - It’s been 6 years, yes SIX years! since I did the upgrade and I still use this iMac in anger every day! Now running Mojave 10.14 with APFS, using Dosdude's Mojave Patcher. Please note - this 2010 iMac (11,3) built in video card is *NOT* Metal compatible so video acceleration is DISABLED with Mojave which makes your iMac screen refresh sluggish, Photos to go black and other graphics anomalies but everything else is stellar. Dark Mode makes the upgrade worth it.
  • Don’t install Mojave or Catalina on this machine. It will barely run and the experience is terrible. This quote is from DosDude1 himself: “Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series video cards are not, and most likely never will be, supported under Mojave or later.“
  • March 2019 - I have abandoned using Mojave 10.14 on this 2010 27” iMac. The slow GPU makes it completely unusable. I’m back to High Sierra 10.13 with APFS, 1TB internal SSD and 32Gb RAM. This appears to be my optimal configuration for this 2010 27” iMac
  1. Start by gathering your parts, tools, anti-static strap and gloves (gloves are for glass & LCD) Remove glass Then remove LCD. iFixit has step-by-step- write-ups on how to do this.
    • Start by gathering your parts, tools, anti-static strap and gloves (gloves are for glass & LCD)

    • Remove glass

    • Then remove LCD. iFixit has step-by-step- write-ups on how to do this.

  2. Core i7 2.93GHz Quad Core processor, Arctic Silver thermal compound and iFixit + OWC tools Processor is Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz 8MB LGA 1156 Quad Core Processor 95W. I bought this CPU used on eBay.
    • Core i7 2.93GHz Quad Core processor, Arctic Silver thermal compound and iFixit + OWC tools

    • Processor is Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz 8MB LGA 1156 Quad Core Processor 95W. I bought this CPU used on eBay.


    Precisa fazer algum processo na bios ou estar em alguma versão OS X pq o meu iMac i3 540 2010 não aceitou o i7 870 me ajude

    piratamenestrel - Yanıt

    Bonjour, j’aimerai savoir si l’iMac 2009 est compatible avec un processeur Intel Core i7 9700K. Merci d’avance pour votre réponse.

    El Georges William - Yanıt

    Warum baust du keine metal kompatible grafikkarte ein? eine GTX 765M zb?

    stephan_noeske - Yanıt


    Ich wollte heute das Upgrade so wie beschrieben durchführen, hab auch die I7-870 CPU mit dem LGA1156 Socket gekauft. Imac aufgemacht, zerlegt und stelle fest, das die Nasen an dem Socket nicht passen, laut meiner Researche ist das ein LGA1155 Socket. Was mach ich jetzt? die CPU sollte ich dann wohl nicht verbauen?

    Welche CPU kannst du empfelen, wenn ich max. Power will?


    Alex Friese - Yanıt

  3. Remove HD, Superdrive and motherboard. Follow the excellent iFixit guides to remove these items. To remove motherboard (a little tricky), I followed this excellent guide - Not mentioned in the guide is that you have to remove the IR sitting in  back of the front Apple logo before you can remove the motherboard.
    • Remove HD, Superdrive and motherboard. Follow the excellent iFixit guides to remove these items.

    • To remove motherboard (a little tricky), I followed this excellent guide -

    • Not mentioned in the guide is that you have to remove the IR sitting in back of the front Apple logo before you can remove the motherboard.

    Leider fehlt die Anleitung wie man diesen IR Sensor wieder einstecken kann

    Franz Escherich - Yanıt

    Wenn du herausgefunden hast, wie das geht, erweitere gern die Anleitung!

    Fabian Neidhardt -

    The guide he listed is for a 2011 iMac. It is close, but not exact. One thing not mentioned that I would recommend is taking out the ram. The motherboard will come out and go back in much easier. It took me a bit to realize that is what was preventing the motherboard from going into place.

    Michael Wilson - Yanıt

  4. Flip over motherboard, gently remove 4 x Torx 8 heatsink screws on the bottom (not the big Phillips screws on the top). This step will void the warranty. This step will void the warranty.
    • Flip over motherboard, gently remove 4 x Torx 8 heatsink screws on the bottom (not the big Phillips screws on the top).

    • This step will void the warranty.

    Not in USA, the sticker is not legally enforceable by the manufacturer.

    Shuotong Li - Yanıt

  5. Use Arctic Silver thermal compound remover and preparation solutions to get rid of factory compound. Use Arctic Silver thermal compound remover and preparation solutions to get rid of factory compound. Use Arctic Silver thermal compound remover and preparation solutions to get rid of factory compound.
    • Use Arctic Silver thermal compound remover and preparation solutions to get rid of factory compound.

  6. Goodbye Core i3 and hello Core i7. Note arrow on CPU (bottom left in picture). New CPU must be installed in the same orientation. Apply Arctic Silver thermal compound with finger covered in plastic. Spread evenly on CPU only. Guide is here - How to Apply Thermal Paste
    • Goodbye Core i3 and hello Core i7.

    • Note arrow on CPU (bottom left in picture). New CPU must be installed in the same orientation.

    • Apply Arctic Silver thermal compound with finger covered in plastic. Spread evenly on CPU only. Guide is here - How to Apply Thermal Paste

    • Reverse to reassemble. Enjoy the new speed demon!

    should I buy a new Intel Core i7 6700K 4.0 GHz LGA 1151 in this iMac I mean installation ? Telling me a which is prefect socket for this LGA 115x please I need your answer. Thanks

    Eron Garza - Yanıt

    how did you manage to get 32gb of ram when apple says it’s maximum capacity is 16 gb I would love to know as I have had the same exact type computer as what you did the modification on and it does have 4 ram slots but it says their maximum is 4gigabytes each. Thank you for this great project and plan on doing it soon.

    mackenxo connell - Yanıt

    I used 4 x 8GB RAM sticks.

    * From Mactracker “Maximum Memory 32 GB (Core i5 or Core i7 Actual) 16 GB (Apple)”

    EnglandGreen - Yanıt

    I used 4 x 8GB RAM sticks.

    * From Mactracker “Maximum Memory 32 GB (Core i5 or Core i7 Actual) 16 GB (Apple)”

    EnglandGreen - Yanıt

    I read that the old processor at 73W wouldn’t support the 95W processor. Can anyone confirm they went from a 73W to 95W processor

    Andrew - Yanıt

  7. More than 5 years later - now running High Sierra 10.13 - machine has been flawless!
    • More than 5 years later - now running High Sierra 10.13 - machine has been flawless!

    i have update to i7 but the cpu fan go max! why???


    Dario “fatboy” Vergona - Yanıt


    bevor ich ihn bestelle wollte ich nachfragen ob es dieser hier ist

    lienlienvo - Yanıt

    what about upgrading the video card?

    Andrew - Yanıt

  8. More than 6 years later - now running Mojave 10.14. Dark Mode makes the upgrade worth it.
    • More than 6 years later - now running Mojave 10.14. Dark Mode makes the upgrade worth it.


    • This 2010 iMac (11,3) built in video card is *NOT* Metal compatible so video acceleration is DISABLED with Mojave which makes your iMac screen refresh sluggish, Photos to go black and other graphics anomalies but everything else is stellar.

    • However... Don’t install Mojave or Catalina on this machine. It will barely run and the experience is terrible. This quote is from DosDude1 himself: “Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series video cards are not, and most likely never will be, supported under Mojave or later.“

    • After Mojave installation, your colours will be inverted. To fix - Go to System/Library/Extensions and put this file into the trash: AMDRadeonX3000.kext then reboot

    hi I have the i3 and only 4gb mem, same ati radeon 5670..  as im only on late imac 2010 says I cant install  Mojave ? how did you install it or is it now because you installed the i7 ?

    rs2klee - Yanıt

    Hab ich alles genau so gemacht. Mit einem i7 und einem i5. Beides ging nicht. Die Lüfter fingen an, nach 20 Sekunden ohne Grund voll aufzudrehen. Das einzige was mir auffällt ist, dass statt 3 Lampen nur 2 grüne Lampen leuchten. Die 2 LEds sind LED 1 und LED 2. Bitte um Hilfe. Mit dem i3 läuft wieder alles.

    Niklas Kohl - Yanıt

    What about upgrading the video processor?

    Andrew - Yanıt

    I imagine the same fix, for this problem, but what kind and model of GPU is worth? I don't know, but this machine continues very good in 2020, I have macbook pro retina 2015 with 1tb samsung SSD M2 PCIe 970 plus but the memory is not possible to upgrade I have 8GB ram, and this iMac I have 16GB ram, Safari open many pages the same time and still running good for the side on macbook stay very low, I really want upgrade my iMac 2010 “i7 2,97, 16GB Ram Crucial (4x4gb), SSD Sata 500gb Evo Plus 860, 1TB HDD on OC Drive with Caddy” , to Catalina but the new features have on Catalina make the diference, I sad because I'm using this amazing machine like Monitor with thunderbolt cable for MacBook 2015 “i5 2,7, 8gb Ram, 1TB SSD Samsung Evo 970 plus, GPU Intel 6100 1536MB".

    tsilvar007 -

    Everywhere else I have read says that it is impossible to install an i7 core into this model iMac (2010, A1311 MC508 with an Apple 820-274-A Logic Board) yet here it seems that you were able to do this successfully.

    I was going to attempt this before my CPU socket got damaged (my fault unfortunately) and now I am either faced with buying the exact same Logic Board which in every other blog or ifixit solution says is a no go for upgrading, or finding the correct Logic Board that is compatible with an i7 drive (currently am looking to return the i7-870 Quad Core 2.93GHZ/8M/098 that I bought before CPU socket damage to comp the cost of a new Logic Board unless there is still hope of using it on a replacement board).

    Please advise on my best route to do what you have done to your similar-aged machine.

    Sierra Stair - Yanıt

    You’ve got to replace the GPU! Don’t bother with all the ROM flashing. Use a k1100m and live with no boot screen or brightness control. The brightness will be fine because the card is low wattage.

    This will run Catalina very well.

    Flashing the ROM makes it better. See the macrumors forum on 2011 GPU upgrades.

    jcp737 - Yanıt


To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

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Ok a word of caution about doing this. I installed an i7 in my 2010 27" i3 iMac and the system works, it reports the correct stats for the i7 but the cpu fan runs at high speed from boot. Annoying! I've researched a number of forums and found no way to resolve this, I also know there are a number of people with the same problem. So either I screwed up my logic board or it just doesn't like the i7 processor. It's the correct processor that people have used the i7 870. I'm at a loss and don't want to pull it out because it just runs so much faster for video editing but using the machine as an audio workstation is now impossible because of the noise from the fan. Also be extremely careful with the LCD screen. just having your shirt brush against it leaves marks and you can't clean it. If you think gloves will solve this you are wrong. DO NOT touch the lcd and be extremely careful with the connectors. If anyone has any ideas about the fan speed fix please let me know!

Carl Geers - Yanıt

Also, I assume that you are using this processor?

Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz 8MB LGA 1156 Quad Core Processor 95W

EnglandGreen -

If you upgrade or change the Apple HD, you will need to buy HDDFanControl software to control the HDD fan which will run at full speed otherwise. I also use smcFanControl to monitor and control the other fans in the system.

As with any modification, your mileage may vary. This is a "Medium" difficulty mod and not recommended for novices to the hobby. I experienced none of the issues your have experienced.

I upgraded to Mountain Lion 10.8 when it was released to the Dev community with zero issues - currently at 10.8.2; I use this machine 'in anger' every day.

I did these mods 5 months ago, and this system has been absolutely ROCK SOLID with no crashes, no kernel panics and no freezes!

EnglandGreen -

If you do the CPU replacement and afterwards the optical drive fan and cpu fan are running at max speed (very loud) then you more than likely didn't plug in the CPU temp sensor. The guide here doesn't talk about it so you can easily forget it! The connector is on the other side of the board, which is different from all the other temperature connectors and not on the same side as the heatsink screws either.

I did this and the computer ran with noisy fans. I used a fan control app to quiet it down, but it was still loud on startup until login. More importantly, the performance without the CPU temp sensor connected was terrible. It was slower than the original i5 CPU. HD videos would stutter and benchmarks gave very low scores.

Make sure you plug in the CPU temperature sensor after you put the heatsink on.

mikk -

download ssd fan control, this program let you adjust the fan speeds.

Harjan van Dijk -

You can solve fan issue just by installing any of the fan controlling programs. I, personally, use iStat Menus. :D

Filip - Yanıt

What model was the 3TB HDD?

Art - Yanıt

Western Digital "Green" drive - model # WD30EZRX-00MMMB0

My advice : avoid like the plague!

It started corrupting data within 3 weeks. Format, reload OS X, restore from Time Machine x 3. Eventually sent it back under warranty, got a new one, put it in my Drobo.

Put a 512Gb SSD from OWC in the iMac and it's been rock solid ever since.

p.s. Also had a Western Digital 2TB "Green" drive die within 2 months in my Drobo - model # WD20EARS-00MVWB0. I do not buy WD anymore.

EnglandGreen -

The btobey link that you gave is for the 2011 model. Is the layout of the components exactly the same in the different models?

bthompson87 - Yanıt

Yes, the 2010 model is identical internally.

EnglandGreen -

Similar but not identical in my experience.

lorenzocangiano -

I have a 2010 iMac 27" and did a CPU upgrade from an i5 to an i7-860 as well as installed an SSD using iFixIt's Dual drive kit and guide. They rate the dual drive install as difficult and 45 minutes. The CPU mod requires more R&R yet is rated moderate and up to 1 hour. First time into an iMac (but with decades in hardware/software support) and the total project took 3.5 hours. I'd keep this at 1 hour and bump the SSD install to 1 hour with a caveat that it could take longer for first timers. I'd also bump this up to "difficult" to match the easier SSD install guide rating.

My temps are running fine on the system post-mod but the fans do run quickly (but not loudly since the loudest thing in the room is the NAS up on the shelf across the room).

onethumb - Yanıt

re: WD Green drives are meant as desktop drives and do into error correction mode at times when a NAS is expecting a result. When the Green (or Black) time out for these NAS requests (because they're busy) the Drobo will flag it as failed. I had it happen too. To resolve that, WD has released their RED line of drives that are meant for use in NAS systems and don't "go away for their own housekeeping" like the Green/Black/Blues do.

onethumb - Yanıt

Re: WD Green drives. Yes, as I discovered after buying a bunch of them. Replaced with Seagate drives in my Drobos and no issues since. This was my first time opening a iMac and it took me about 55 minutes to complete the upgrade. It would have been faster but I stopped to take photos for this guide. With respect, I do not think this modification rates as "Difficult" so I am leaving it as "Moderate". Use 'smcFanControl' (free) to manage your fans speed (exception is HDD fan).

EnglandGreen -

Hi there!!Very good!I'm thinking seriously to make that at my mac but i don't know what did you do with the power supply for i7????

The best i3 wants the most 65w continuous at heavy load

but the worst i7 needs at least 60w and not under heavy conditions..( have it open for hours rendering...

I'm interesting to know what did you do about this extra wattage..

and as you know if you are so good...consumption create heat...

what did you do with the extra heat? did you upgrade the cooling??

Not to offending you ok? :)

Just wanted to grab whole project from all sides.

Not just working for performance and no reliability :)

Hell7 - Yanıt

This Core i7 max thermal envelope is 95watts. My iMac has been running 24 hours a day for more than a YEAR with zero issues. I use a combination of HDDFanControl (to turn off the HDD fan) and the freeware smcFanControl to control the other fans. My i7 2.93GHz idles at 35 degrees C @ 999rpm. It never rises above 55 degrees C even under very heavy load (video encoding etc.). Compared to my 2011 Mac Mini with Core i5 2.3GHz which idles at 60 degrees and rises to 90 degrees C under load. See my Core i7 Fan settings and Temperature pics here - - -

EnglandGreen -

Nice my friend!! I'm thinking to do it too.i saw that you did it very well :)

and after these infos you reply to me i saw that is ok.

My respects :)

Hell7 - Yanıt

Just did it. Nice ..and big difference :) Watch out there for not GENUINE INTEL Processors.

Recommended only to experience persons and well known what they are doing in my opinion

Very good guide.

Hell7 - Yanıt

Finding mixed info regarding compatibility of Core i7 875K with iMac (Late 2009/2374 27").

Does anyone KNOW if the unlocked i7 875K will work in the Late 2009?

I've found info where Apple offered the same processor as an iMac 2010 option.

Thanks and great guide btw.

Mitchell - Yanıt

According to MacTracker, the 27" iMac (Late 2009) offered a Core i7 (860) ("Wolfdale, Lynnfield") on the 2374 using the LGA1156 socket. Intel details here -

The i7 (860) uses the same socket as the 875, so it should work. The TDP is the same (95W) but the multiplier is 22x instead of 21x. I do not think that will cause any issues.

I have 2309, which is a Core 2 Duo 27" iMac (Late 2009) as well as the 2010 model in this Guide, and that processor cannot be upgraded to anything useful.

Thanks for the kudos and please post if your upgrade is successful.

EnglandGreen -


I had a less than successful attempt at this :(

I have a mid 2010 21.5" iMac with i3 CPU. I bought an i7 870 off ebay - used, but from a reliable seller so assuming CPU isn't at fault.

Installed the i7 as per the guides and it failed to boot.

After changing my underwear :-P I refitted the old i3 and bingo, booted back up as normal.

Anyone know why this would work on a 27" iMac and not a 21.5" one?

(I'm going to take the CPU to a PC repair shop and see if they can test it, just to be sure)



David Rowe - Yanıt

Hi David,

Unfortunately I do not have a 21" iMac to try and replicate the problem; I do not know if the motherboards are even the same as the 27" iMac. Sorry. Good luck finding a fix and let us know what the outcome was.


EnglandGreen -

Hi, I know its an old thread but maybe will be useful in case someone still tries to upgrade cpu in imac 21.5 mid 2010. So:

the i7 870 has TDP of 95W but thats irrelevant the power consumption is of 121W and the 21.5 imac doesn't have the juice for that.

But ! the i7 870S (wich is the low-power variant) has the TDP of 82W and squeezes 66.63W from the power source. Bingo ! We have a winner.

I can confirm it works, i have the 21.5 mid-2010 imac with the i3 550 (dual core) now housing the quad i7 870S (2.66GHz turbo boost up to 3.6GHz, 8MB L3 cache). 4K video was a no go with i3 now plays smooth on i7, everything is blazing fast and I haven't even upgraded to SSD yet. the only thing I did notice is that in System Report I had 5.86GT/s Processor Interconnect Speed now its 4.8GT/s.

Did a lap on cpu before mounting in socket, reports 41 degrees Celsius on all cores never went past 60 in full load. The i3 had 44-46 on average use and difference of 1-1.5 degrees between cores.

Cheers !

artmihcrafts -


HI artmihcrafts, i'd like to do the same operation you did on your 21,5 i3 3.2 Ghz mid2010 IMac. Where can I buy the right CPU (i7 870S) can't find it in common e-commerces. Then I'd like to ask you if right now you're satisfied by the Imac performances and if you really can handle and edit 4k stuff in a satisfyng way. How much Ram increase have you did? Have you upgraded also the video board/video graphics/video card? There are more substitutions or implementations of hardware that you did or you raccomand to do for video editing?


mrdark -

A million thanks! I am in the market for my first desktop and am juggling the options of buying a prebuilt computer, or building my own. I never thought the iMac could be upgraded until I came across your article. I've learned the RAM, CPU, and hard drive can be replaced. I like the idea of using an SSD over a HDD.


The level of expand-ability is key to what I'm looking for. Even though these things can still be expanded, they still cost nearly twice as much as one built from the ground up... But I guess the monitor might be worth it.


I would call myself a novice, but I have taken apart an Xbox and other devices completely apart, switched out parts, and put them back together without breaking them.

Remrie - Yanıt

Glad my writeup was helpful! Apple gets a bad rap for upgradeability, primarily because people compare Apple to generic tower-style PCs. In fact, it would be better to compare Apple computers to other major branded PCs - like HP, Dell, Lenova (formally IBM) etc.

Upgrading a HP desktop processor, power supply, on board GPU etc. is nigh impossible. The same holds true for most major PC players (Dell/Lenova etc.). This is by design.

Apple is extremely upgradeable - for a major brand - but can never be compared to a home-brew PC which will always be far more flexible, expandable and upgradeable.

EnglandGreen -

Price wise, you get what you pay for. The beautiful 27 inch IPS 2560x1440 monitor of the iMac would be around $900-$1000 by itself, but it is never taken into consideration when pricing so-called "like for like" Macs versus PC prices. Everyone looks at the latest ASUS i7 Ivy Bridge or Haswell CPU-based motherboard, a $100 case and a $80 power supply and say "Apple is too expensive and is ripping the fanboys off".

But if you look at ALL of the components plus the packaging, you will find that Apple is very competitive on pricing against major brand (like Dell, HP, Lenova etc.)

The iMac is a marvel of engineering, packaging, fit and finish and is upgradeable via CPU, GPU, RAM, hard drive and optical storage. The trick is not to treat Apple any different from any other major PC vendor.

The 2010 27 inch Core i3 iMac is a great bargain at well under $1000 and can be upgraded to the performance of an Ivy Bridge-based iMac with a little patience and money. Good luck!

EnglandGreen -

OK. I have an update on my 21.5" i3 upgrade. After reading around, I came to the conclusion that the 21.5" motherboard just won't supply the juice to run an i7 CPU. I resold my 2nd hand i7 CPU and bought an i5 680 CPU instead. I fitted the i5 and it worked fine. I'm just not sure if the i3 to i5 upgrade is actually worth the hassle, but at least it has satisfied my curiosity. :)

David Rowe - Yanıt

Thanks for the update! This will help someone trying to make that modification to their 21" iMac!

EnglandGreen -

Thanks, I just did the same thing ... now I know why the i7 is not starting up ...

onzyone -

Not enough juice. This is exactly why. The motherboards in the 21.5" only are capable of 73w TDP. Found this answer in another iFixit thread: Upgrade to Ivy Bridge CPU?

Then I checked for myself:

Only came with 3 processors, each were only 73w TDP.


*should* (don't quote me on this) be a list of compatible processors for the 21.5" model

I care so much because I almost made the same mistake. Had a i5-760 laying around from and old upgrade elsewhere. I sure am glad I always researched first before I starting disassembling.

Sparky -

I just did the I7 cpu upgraded with my 27 inch imac as instructed. However, upon startup, the fan noise is so loud. I installed the Fancontrol software as some suggested without any resolutions. Is there something else I can do?


lancele - Yanıt

Did you change your hard drive as well? If you did, you have to buy HDDFanControl. If the fan noise is from the CPU fans, it should not do that. But you can control the rest of the fans with smcFanControl (free).

EnglandGreen -

no, i did not change the hard drive. yes, the fan is from the cpu . It said it is at 3825 rpm. maybe i did not put some wire back correctly.

lancele - Yanıt

That would be my guess.

EnglandGreen -

I want to do the i7 870 upgrade on my 201 27" iMac but I want to know what exact processor info I need when buying one from eBay. Also since I am not going to upgrade the Apple HDD I shouldn't run into any fan issues or power requirements correct?

John - Yanıt

The processor is described in detail in the build (above) - Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz 8MB LGA 1156 Quad Core Processor 95W.

Theoretically you should not have any fan issues - the majority of upgraders had no issues - but a few others (posted here and on forums) did have fan problems so be advised.

EnglandGreen -

I did the upgrade, and have two significant issues.

1. The ODD fan is running constantly at 3500 rpm and is really loud.

2. The system info still reads the processor as an i3 and my geek bench score actually decreased by almost 1000 points.

Anyone had any issues with these things?

Joel Olson - Yanıt

1. This might help -

2. That is very odd. First time I have heard of that problem

EnglandGreen -

Update: I reset the processor and now my score is back up where it should be around 7800. The processor still shows up as an i3 on my system but geek bench reads it as an i7.

As for the fan It now says its running at a reasonable 996 RPMs but the fans are all still really loud. any ideas? Can i start the computer up without the screen to see exactly which fan it is that is making all the noise?

Joel Olson -

In theory, you should be able to connect an external monitor to the Display Port and start the iMac with the screen removed, however I have not tried this so I cannot confirm if it will work or not.

EnglandGreen -

Hi, great guide! Having read through all the comments - I am worried that I might have fan issues. 27" mid 2010 2.8 GHz Core i5 (I5-760) iMac which I want to upgrade to 2.93 GHz Core i7 (I7-870).

Do you think I will have Fan issues? Also will it make a big difference in speed?


Pritpal - Yanıt

Thank you!

Regarding the fan issue - it appears to be in the minority based on my limited research; I certainly never experienced any fan issues beyond the self-inflicted ones I created by changing the Apple hard drive (easily fixed by purchasing HDDFanControl).

As to if there is a big difference in speed - a resounding "YES!" After I upgraded to the 2.93GHz i7, my aging iMac felt like a new machine. The SSD I installed later also played a major part in that impression, but even with the 3Tb hard drive I installed with the processor upgrade, the speed increase was palatable. iPhoto, Aperture, Final Cut Pro, Merlin - everything ran faster, responded faster, rendered faster.

The upgrade added another 3 years of useful service to my primary work machine. Now running Mavericks 10.9, my iMac feels and responds the same as my other, much newer Macs ('11 Mini, '11 & '13 MBAs, '11 MBP).

I'm saving my pennies for the new '13 Mac Pro (black trashcan) but until then, this is the fastest Mac I own (even faster than my '08 dual proc Mac Pro)

EnglandGreen -

I see that you added 32 GB of RAM to this system. According to all of the info I have found, the max is 16 GB (including the i7 processors). Can I add 32 GB to the mid-2010, 27" i3, or would I have to drop in the i7 to access 32 GB?

Richard Johnson - Yanıt

I'm not sure what your source of information is.

MacTracker has this to say -

* Maximum Memory 32 GB (Core i5 or Core i7 Actual) 16 GB (Apple)

* Memory Slots 4 - 204-pin PC3-10600 (1333 MHz) DDR3 SO-DIMM

I have had no issues running 32Gb of RAM on this iMac with the i7.

EnglandGreen -

I upgraded to the i7 as well. Turning it on, I also had an issue with both the CPU and the Optical drive fans running at ~3800 RPM constantly. Pulled the display again and found the LCD temp connector unplugged. Reattached and all is well now. Hope that helps.

William Sisk - Yanıt

I want to do this to my mid 2011 i5 27inch iMac. Will all the part be the same as the guide? or will it be different?

Bone - Yanıt

William, good to know. Thanks!

Bone, I do not know as I do not have a 2011 iMac to experiment on. Sorry.

EnglandGreen -

Hi Bone.

I have the same iMac as you (2011). Wondering if you upgraded yours without any issue with the same processor model mentioned in this guide?


Zaur Aliyev -

I just did this today. Took us about 2 hours. Very excited. I got it home and put into under a load test by rendering a video in Compressor. This things is blazing hot! Temperature Gauge Pro app has the CPU running at about 88-90. Fan just about at 2000 RPM. (I can't even leave my hand on the top border of the case.) Is this okay? Or do we need to go back in and take a look at the heat sink and thermal compound?

Ben - Yanıt

Yes, I would suggest that you may have missed some thermal compound or securing the heatsink or something of that nature. My temps are 31 degrees C and my fans run at 1300rpm (fan speed set with smcFanControl) and they have been consistent since I did the upgrade early last year.

EnglandGreen -

I talked to a friend and based on what I described, he thinks I put too much thermal compound. Going to go back in tomorrow and redo it. At idle, it runs about 22 C; and like I said, under a full render load, it ran 90 C.

Ben -

I redid the thermal compound. There was definitely too much. It was squeezed out all the sides. But... when we got it back under a full processing load, the temp was back at 90-92 C in about 20 min. So I downloaded the smcFanControl app and pushed the fan to 1800 rpm. That brought the CPU temp down to 80 C where it held for the rest of the render (~2 hours). Is that safe?

Ben -

Still too high, in my opinion. I'm not sure what the problem is.

EnglandGreen -

Well, I'm not so sure any more. For every person that says too high, there is someone who says it is fine. I have a macbook pro at work and ran a render in Compressor on it just to compare temps. It was in the mid-80s within a few minutes. So I think it's going to be okay.

Ben -


To upgrade iMac 27" mid-2010, can you use Intel Xeon X3460 2,80 GHz, because it uses same LGA1156?

jjussicom - Yanıt

The TDP is the same (95W) but I do not believe that the iMac motherboard/firmware will support a Xeon processor even though they use the same socket. It was never designed for the Xeon series and the Core series is different. However, if you try it and it works, let us know please!

EnglandGreen -

Not sure if anyone can help. I have just upgraded from an i5 to i7 and everything seems the same as ever temperature-wise and fan speed is fine. However I am getting random lock-ups / freezes. Everything just becomes unresponsive - mouse, keyboard etc. If in sleep mode, it won;t come out of it (but does lock up when not asleep). Bizarrely I have a 2nd monitor and a desktop clock app on that, and the time still keeps going on that whilst the iMac is apparently frozen! I have checked that all wires are where they should be, and just can't work this out. There is nothing in the logs to point to anything and there isn't a crash log created.

Steve Foxon - Yanıt

Sounds like possibly thermal paste not applied correctly or a bent pin/connector somewhere making intermittent contact. My system, now 2 years since the upgrade (April 2014) has been rock solid. No lockups, no kernel panics, no freezes. I suggest you double/triple check your system. Another possibility is you might have a bad processor. Hope this helps.

EnglandGreen -


is this possible in the late 2009 IMac? Is it the same layout?

Ira - Yanıt

No, the 2009 iMac is a Core 2 (Conroe) architecture. This particular upgrade will only work on the Core i3/i5/i7 (Nehalem) architecture.

EnglandGreen -


have installed a I7 870. The whole was exactly 20min. After that the system is shut down and has only beeped .... I3 used again and everything is ok again. Was the I7 defective or has someone something also soo ever had ...

Chrissi - Yanıt

Did you ever find a cause/fix for this? We tried the upgrade but have the same issue with the i7 CPU - beeps every 5 seconds regardless of the RAM we use :-( Old i3 went back in and all is good, but we'd still like to get the i7 working if it's possible. Thanks.

david reid -

error Massage

Anonymous UUID: 9D3D914F-7803-DB30-2691-7BA57DBD576B

Wed May 28 20:18:22 2014

Machine-check capabilities: 0x0000000000001c09

family: 6 model: 30 stepping: 5 microcode: 5

signature: 0x106e5

Intel(R) Core(TM) i7 CPU 870 @ 2.93GHz

9 error-reporting banks

Processor 0: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Processor 1: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Processor 2: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Chrissi - Yanıt

Processor 3: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Processor 4: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Processor 5: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Processor 6: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

Chrissi - Yanıt

Processor 7: IA32_MCG_STATUS: 0x0000000000000004

IA32_MC6_STATUS(0x419): 0xfe2000400030014a

IA32_MC6_ADDR(0x41a): 0x00000000035a1e00

IA32_MC6_MISC(0x41b): 0x0000000000041014

IA32_MC8_STATUS(0x421): 0xb20000000004008f

panic(cpu 1 caller 0xffffff8006cdc7e9): "Machine Check at 0xffffff7f884993f2, registers:\n" "CR0: 0x000000008001003b, CR2: 0x000000010cfcc050, CR3: 0x0000000009903000, CR4: 0x0000000000000660\n" "RAX: 0x0000000000000020, RBX: 0xffffff8019710000, RCX: 0x0000000000000001, RDX: 0x0000000000000000\n" "RSP: 0xffffff8109b63d50, RBP: 0xffffff8109b63d80, RSI: 0x0000000000000006, RDI: 0xffffff80195eec00\n" "R8: 0x0000000000000000, R9: 0x0000000000000006, R10: 0xffffff8109b63c50, R11: 0x0000000000000200\n" "R12: 0xffffff801955cdc0, R13: 0x0000000000000006, R14: 0xffffff7f884b5e20, R15: 0x00000000000007b0\n" "RFL: 0x0000000000000046, RIP: 0xffffff7f884993f2, CS: 0x0000000000000008, SS: 0x0000000000000010\n" "Error code:

Chrissi - Yanıt


Backtrace (CPU 1), Frame : Return Address

0xffffff8109b05e80 : 0xffffff8006c22fa9

0xffffff8109b05f00 : 0xffffff8006cdc7e9

0xffffff8109b06060 : 0xffffff8006cf3cff

0xffffff8109b63d80 : 0xffffff7f88491676

0xffffff8109b63e70 : 0xffffff7f884908d9

0xffffff8109b63f30 : 0xffffff8006cdd81c

0xffffff8109b63f50 : 0xffffff8006c375ba

0xffffff8109b63f90 : 0xffffff8006c37908

0xffffff8109b63fb0 : 0xffffff8006cd7127

Kernel Extensions in backtrace:[06FBA43C-D815-36DF-AE8C-6FF8C21C2907]@0xffffff7f8848e000->0xffffff7f884b8fff

BSD process name corresponding to current thread: kernel_task

Chrissi - Yanıt

what do you think? If the CPU is defective? Kern1?

Thank you

Chrissi - Yanıt

My guess is yes - bad i7. Kernel panics with the only change the CPU suggests as much.

EnglandGreen -

I have a friend that owns an electronic sales repair company, and he called me because he had no luck finding the same problem, he assured me that he had already checked and repasted the CPU w/thermal compound, long story short after a couple hours at looking at other things and giving up I sugguested we take the CPU/Cooler assembly back down for inspection and with the help of a magnifying glass found three of the round shaped gold plated contacts on the bottom surface of the chip, where it makes contact with the motherboard to be burned and there was no way these (Balls) were making any contact, this was an unopened gateway system, never worked on, and no they werent knocked off by abuse, would have to be a thermal issue , also the opposite corner of the processor actually had a darker color in a small spot from excessive heat, you would have to see the pictures we took to appreciate the find that was so hard to see, but just an idea for you to check...will see if i can post the photos..good luck

Jason -

Just upgraded my ''27 2010 iMac from i3 to i7-870. No issues with fans. All tests and programs see the i7 and use all its cores but - "About this Mac" still showing i3)) Any ideas how to reset/update system profiler? Thanx.

digimatix - Yanıt

Possibly a SMC reset? Or PRAM reset? I did not have this problem so I do not know.

EnglandGreen -

Hello, fantastic guide. Question, I noticed you upgraded to an SSD years back. I'm about to embark on the same journey, but am having trouble finding a guide for the mid 2010 (MC510LL/A) 27" model. I plan to upgrade CPU, HDD, and RAM in one shot. I'll use this guide for CPU, but What SSD and accessories did you need?

Jack Young - Yanıt

Mid-2010 27" iMac is identical to this guide. RAM is by Komputerbay, bought on Amazon.

SSD is a Mercury by OWC. I use OWC for most of my upgrade needs -

EnglandGreen -

Good morning my friends,

so now a new attempt. I7 bought with operational guarantee, installed and lo and behold .... everything works as it should. Temperature values ​​i.o.

Thank you for this great tutorial. Did this time only 30min brewed.

Then installed is 32GB of memory. Runs are now 10 days perfectly.

Chrissi - Yanıt

Excellent! Thank you for sharing!

EnglandGreen -

I tried to upgrade my iMac 27" 2010 mid with a SSD and 4TB HD.

However, when i reassembled the iMac, it won't turn on, instead it keeps beeping around the 5 seconds. After some googling I am afraid that I screwed up the CPU somehow. Or maybe even worse, the logic board itself, but because the CPU is so tucked in tightly I can't even imagine to screw that up.

So I'm facing a real problem with a real dilemma how to fix this. Either the logic board is broke or my CPU is faulty. I need to figure out what's wrong first. I don't have any other motherboards with a socket 1156.

So what is the best bet to figure out what is broken? My first thought is to get an i3-550 core. It's cheap 35 euro's. If it does work, i'll buy a new i7 core.

Or are there some other ways to find out what's is wrong? I'm a missing something? Thanks in advance.

Forrest Gump - Yanıt

I successfully replace my i3 processor with the i7 following this guide (along with this one Installing iMac Intel 27" EMC 2390 Dual HDD or SSD Drive).

I was with a friend of mine and we both have advanced skills on computer teardown.

It took approximately 3 hours and 15 minutes to:

1) remove the ODD;

2) add a SSD (to have the fusion drive);

3) replace the i3 with the i7;

Nothing went wrong and the reassembly was fine at the first shot.

I suggest to carefully remember (maybe taking some notes) where the connectors were because some of them can be easily confused.

I don't have any fan problem so far and I'm not using any software to speed them down.

Moreover, I re-connected the ODD thermal sensor nearby the SSD to prevent any possible error or clash on measured temperature by the OS.

This tweak leads to an incredible boost to the iMac. I strongly suggest to do it!

Claudio Fantacci - Yanıt

Awesome! Thanks for the write up!

EnglandGreen -

So can i do it in an iMac mid2010 i3 3.06 Ghz?

I want to replace the i3 with the i5 680...

will i have problems with heat for example?Or simply i can do it?

appleuserfan - Yanıt

I don't think it'll work. I believe the i3 has a different voltage/power requirement if I remember correctly and will not supply enough power to a i7 CPU.

paul -

Yes, you can go from the i3 to the i5 as long as it has the same socket type.

EnglandGreen -

Yes i know intact i just want to put an i5, not an i7. Can i do it?

appleuserfan - Yanıt

Yes you can.

EnglandGreen -

Did you do it?

echevarriam79 -

hi do you know if i would be able to up my early 2008 model, 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo it so slow.


philip pomerance - Yanıt

No, sorry, you are stuck with what you have as far as I know.

EnglandGreen -

I did this mod with 2.93 i7, 32GB RAM upgrade and a 4TB Hybrid drive. Its as fast as anything I need and cannot see spending money for a new iMac. No issues, rock solid on Yosemite 10.10.3

tessiergreg - Yanıt

Excellent! I'm running El Capitan 10.11 Beta 3. Only Handoff does not work (no LE Bluetooth) but everything else is rock solid. New Notepad app rocks as does a stable version of Apple Mail (at last), and now that the abomination that was 'discoveryd' is dead and the tried and true 'mDNS-Responder' is back, networking is stellar once again.

EnglandGreen -

Absolutely fantastic.

I picked up a Core i3 27" iMac at a rock bottom price of only $475 and started wondering about upgrading the internals and I run across this!

It appears that the iMac I own has a MXM slot, so I might get a little dirty and order the 6970M from the 2011 high end iMac and see if fitting it in here will work out. I am a little worried about the TDP, but I will do my research and see the increase power consumption. I would assume that it won't be too much more.

Either way, great guide and will be attempting this late next week. Should be a fairly simple upgrade as I've worked on older generations of iMacs in the past!


Julius Kodes - Yanıt

Please let us know if your upgrade works! Thanks.

EnglandGreen -

Another successful upgrade.

Upgraded i3 550, 8GB RAM, 1 TB to:

- i7 870 (used)

- 3TB Green WD

- 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD

- 20GB RAM

Works perfectly now, incredible increase in speed.

Notes from my upgrade that may be useful:

- No problems with fan issues, as long as you replace HDD with same brand for Mid2010 model (no longer true for 2011) See:

- There is a little gap between the SSD guides and this fixit guide I found: to remove the Logic board it may be helpful to also remove the Optical drive (but not the HDD if you're not changing that)

- I had an issue with the OWC install kit: after upgrade my Mac wouldn't start up, the only thing I could hear was the noise from the power supply unit (a ticking). Nothing on the screen. Turned out this was a faulty SATA power cable supplied by OWC.

Jakub - Yanıt

Hi Jakub,

I have done the CPU upgrade as per this forum and so far I am very happy with the results. On that job I installed a sata cable and left it hanging to when I decide to purchase a SSD. I am at that point now and was about to purchase the same 250GB samsung 850 EVO hard drive. Couple of questions, did you have to do this trim before use and how much do I need to pull out to place this hard drive? n.b. I plan to leave the original hdd with all its sensor cable attached as a backup drive but all my system data will move to the SSD. thanks for your help in advance.

Antoun -

Hi, sorry I think I missed your message.

In brief, yes I did enable TRIM at the time. There is some debate about Samsung 850s as far as I remember, and they are on the Linux TRIM blacklist. However I think this is not the case for the newer models anymore, and mine works absolutely fine 2 years in.

Regarding removing parts, placing the SSD is not much more involved than the processor. If you've successfully done one, the other is easy.

Jakub -

can you go with bigger cpu like the i7 3.5GHz ? i have the imac 27 mid 2010 with the i5 2.8GHz and i thinking to update to i7

gtannos - Yanıt

Perhaps. If you can get a 3.5GHz in a LGA 1156 format and the TDP is the same (95W) and the motherboard can supply adequate voltage and the firmware will recognize it...

Apple shipped a i7 2.93GHz BTO (Build to Order) iMac 27" so I knew that the firmware, motherboard, TDP etc. would work - and it worked flawlessly. But since Apple never shipped a 3.5GHz, it is unknown if it will work. Try and it and report back please.

EnglandGreen -

That being all said, I flashed my 2009 Mac Pro to the MP 2010 firmware and then upgraded from a dual 2.26GHz 8 core E5520 to a dual 3.46GHz 12 core E5690 along with 128Gb of RAM - which Apple NEVER SHIPPED - so anything is possible!! Please let us know if you are successful!

EnglandGreen -

Just upgraded my mid-2010 27" iMac (2390) from i3 to i7 (i7-870 2.93ghz). Everything is fine except that some of my memory disappeared. Memory in two of the slots show empty (BANK 1: DIMMO et DIMM1). I've tried reinstalling...same thing. Any idea? Anything I should check before reopening everything? Thanks for a great tutorial btw.

yannyboy - Yanıt

RAM slots are on the motherboard, so that is an odd problem. Yes, possibly something did not get reconnected somewhere.

EnglandGreen -

Well I've reinstalled the old i3 CPU and same problem: only memory in BANK0 (left slots) is recognised. Only difference is that with the i7 in place I could still start up the iMac with memory in all the 4 slots, with i3 it won't start up if memory in BANK1 (right). I just get the 3 beeps.

I might have damaged a contact somewhere on the motherboard as I don't see anything related to the memory that could have been disconnected.

I'm running with 2x4GB on the left, will try to upgrade to 2x8GB not the best solution but will do...

yannyboy -

Little update (sorry about the monologue):

Reinstalled the i7-870 CPU, getting good at it ...only took me 20 minutes this time. I've replaced the 2 x 4gb memory in my working slots by 2 x 8gb, they show but don't seem to increase the memory test in Geekbench??

So now my setting is:

- i7-870 -2.93ghz CPU (instead of i3-3,2ghz)

- 16GB of memory (in left bank)

- Replaced the optical drive with a 512GB SSD (Crucial BX100), op. drive in USB enclosure.

- Created homemade fusion drive (SSD + original 2TB 7200rpm Seagate)

- Running El Capitan (10.11.1)

Everything is must faster. On Geekbench 3 I'm running over 2x faster than before ;-)

Just lost two memory slots in the process.

Thanks again for the tutorial, should make my comp. last a few more years.

yannyboy -

Did you ever fix the issue with the 2 memory slots. I replace the CPU with i7 870 and have the same issue.

Derek Nicholsom -

Just upgraded my 27" Mid 2010 (2390, BTO w/ SSD& HDD) from

- i5-760 to i7-870,

- 256GB Toshiba SSD to Samsung Evo 850 1TB

- 4x2GB Ram (Samsung) to 4x8GB (Corsair).

I had already replaced the extremely noisy WD FALS 1TB HDD with a Samsung Spinpoint EcoGreen 2TB (cool and quiet) a couple of years ago.

I could remove the motherboard immediately after taking out the LCD, the bottom IR sensor, and disconnecting the MB wires. No unmounting of HDD, WiFi, or bluetooth modules.

To remove the OEM SSD (under GPU heatsink between HDD and ODD, unscrew (but not disconnect) the ODD. The SSD is screwed to a small plastic cradle, which is only fixed to the body with one screw. Cradle flexible enough to be pulled out.

For processor replacement, I did not disconnect heatsink temp sensor, just flipped it over carefully and cleaned.

All properly recognized and used under OS-X El Capitan. Geekbench stress test runs with no issues, CPU temp max 68°C, and chills quickly after. All very smooth and responsive.

Peter Hochrein - Yanıt

Consider changing your MB battery when replacing CPU. These machines would do for some time with the existing battery. But while the MB is out, it´s a breeze to exchange. Mine had a BR or CR2032 lithium battery, standard retail stock for watches and e-gizmos (had two fresh ones in the drawer ;-). Easily accessible and exchangable. Gives you five or more years of extended MB battery life.

Peter Hochrein - Yanıt

When you install or swap SSD, don´t forget to enable TRIM (aka garbage collection). Don´t use Trim Enabler app any more. In OS-X El Cap there is s simple terminal command:

"sudo trimforce enable"

- enter admin credential when prompted and ignore the Apple legalizmo disclaimer ;-((

- wait for auto-restart

- check in system status report if Trim enabled = yes for the SSD in question.

Peter Hochrein - Yanıt

So the iMac can accept a 95W cpu? The original iMac is a 73W cpu. I'm planning to upgrade my late 2012 iMac i5 cpu(65W) to a i7. Do I need to buy a 65W cpu or a higher W cpu is okay too?

Kei Wai Yin - Yanıt

Almost 4 years since I did this upgrade - I'm typing this reply on the same machine I upgraded. It has been rock solid all this time. Regarding the 2012 i5 iMac, I do not know what the upgrade process is nor do I know what the thermal envelope is on that machine.

EnglandGreen -

Fantastic guide:

Thanks for the detailed information and resources. Was very helpful. Upgraded now from an i3 to an i7 and also placed a sata cable on the motherboard to when I get around to placing a SSD drive in the future. Also upgraded the RAM from 8GB to 16GB. all working good so far.

Antoun - Yanıt

Excellent! And thank you!

EnglandGreen -

I have 2010 27" i3 3.2ghz with a bad logic board, is it possible to get a board that has the i7 already installed that will drop in?


tompolarek01 - Yanıt

Tom, the i7 logic board is identical to your i3 board. Check eBay for an i7 logic board or get a i3 replacement and upgrade.

EnglandGreen -

if i get the i7 logic board and chip will the original radon 5670 video card work or will i need to get the radon 5750?



tompolarek01 - Yanıt

The 5670 will work.

EnglandGreen -

I finally decided to do this to my i3 2010 iMac and completed it yesterday. I also replaced the original hard drive and added a SSD. I purchased the i7 off of Ebay new and still sealed and used Arctic Silver thermal paste, cleaner, & purifier.

So far everything works great, but I am concerned with my CPU temperatures compared to the i3. I monitored my i3 temps and recorded them for a week before the swap and was able to max the i3 out during a Handbrake encode at 155* F at the core and 135* F on the CPU heatsink. The same encode with the i7 yields 193*F at the core and 154*F on the CPU heatsink. I am NOT manually controlling the fans. At roughly 190*F the system kicked the CPU fan up to 1400 RPM which kept it stabilized at 189*F. Mind you this was with 100% usage on all 4 cores.

I'm somewhat concerned at the high temperatures but during idle and regular usage it seems to be in line with what the i3 registered. Would a bad thermal paste job cause this? Thanks

Wayne Ewing - Yanıt

Hi, I've been running this upgrade for almost 4 years with zero issues. Perhaps it is a thermal paste issue, I do not know but I have not had any overtemp conditions or any problems to date.

EnglandGreen -

Anybody tried an i5 with success?

echevarriam79 - Yanıt

Do you think there's a noticeable difference with Photoshop 2d editing between i3 vs i5 vs i7?

echevarriam79 - Yanıt

Difference in price between i5 and i7 is negligible. Just get the i7.

EnglandGreen -

I have an iMac 21.5 inch mid 2010, as of 2016, what is the newest model i7 can I put in? I've never taken apart an iMac before, only an iPhone. Should I even bother trying this upgrade or wait and buy a whole new Imac that come out in September with Haswell or whatever it will be.

Dave Baumann - Yanıt

Sorry, I do not know anything about the 21.5inch iMac hardware configuration. Wish I could help.

EnglandGreen -

Hello artmihcrafts

where did u buy the i7-870S ?? i cannot found on ebay


roccotocco - Yanıt

What's the cheapest fan control app you guys have found?

echevarriam79 - Yanıt

I found a "free" donation app:

echevarriam79 -

Is it possible to have the SATA working at 6gigabit or is it hardware limited?

echevarriam79 - Yanıt

Hardware limited:

Intel 5 Series Chipset:

Product: 5 Series Chipset

Link Speed: 3 Gigabit

Negotiated Link Speed: 3 Gigabit

Physical Interconnect: SATA

Description: AHCI Version 1.30 Supported

EnglandGreen -

Is it possible to change the graphic card as well?

echevarriam79 - Yanıt

Yes, but it is quite expensive. Expect to spend around $600 USD for a Radeon 6970 out of a 2011 27" iMac. Here is a step-by-step install - iMac Intel 27" (Late 2009 or Mid 2010) Graphics Card Replacement

EnglandGreen -

If you look at the following specs for the Intel i7 processors with the LGA 1156 socket, there are two i7 with low power use. 82 verses 95 watts.

One is 2.53 GHz, listed as i7 860S,

the other is 2.67 GHz, listed as i7 870S

There is also an i5 low power processor, i5 750S, 2.4 Ghz,

Matthew Smith - Yanıt

Did some major research, there are three iMac styles,

Late 2009, with LGA775 socket on the 21.5, and LGA1156 on the 27.5;

Mid 2010 with LGA1156 socket;

and Mid 2011 with LGA1155 socket.

27.5 MB953xx/a, MC511xx/a, and MC814xx/a support 95 watts.

Late 2009 and Mid 2011 are 65 watts otherwise,

and Mid 2010 73 watts...

Possible processor upgrades-

1156 socket, i7 860S or 870S, 82 watts;

1155 - i7 2600S or 3770S, 65 watts.

For LGA775, anyone want to try a QUAD core 9450S or 9550S, 65 watts?

Matthew Smith - Yanıt

Update, 3770S, no go, Ivy Bridge vs Sandy Bridge...

Quad core in a Core Duo may be possible, OS at the time when people tried did not recognize quad core processors...

Matthew Smith -

Really appreciate the post England. Exactly what I was searching for. Glad to hear that the i3 can be swiped for i7 in a mid 2010 iMac.

I am brand new to upgrading. The instructions look clear and logical. Just finished upgrading two MacBooks. Now they are running ElCapitan fast. yay.

Many thanks to Brian Tobey and everyone who shared their comments. All the bits -haha- are coming together.

Since the upgrade, operations requiring big file transfers are causing the MacBook Pro to heat up. It might be the fans. I don't know. Could this be similar to the temperature sensor in the HDD? When upgrading I removed the original HD and replaced it with a Solid State since I did not want to remove the optical drive as some posts suggest (unfortunately still need that one for work) Any thoughts on why this could happen and how it could be fixed? Is it something that needs fixing? Could this heating up cause hardware damage? Feedback is greatly appreciated.

In the meantime I am planning the iMac upgrade.

Claudia Ritiu

Claudia Ritiu - Yanıt

Thanks Claudia. Regarding Macbook Pro mods, the MBP has very little leeway in their thermal envelope because of their packaging. The iMac, (old) Mac Mini and (old) Mac Pro are much more forgiving of radical processor, graphics or other internal upgrades as there is much more space to dissipate heat. I have upgraded all of my older Macbook Pros with SSDs with no ill effects (while keeping the SuperDrive), so I'm not sure what you are experiencing.

EnglandGreen -

Thanks England. When you say you kept the supper drive, do you mean you (1) added the sad or (2) replaced the HDD with the SSD ?

I replaced. I am now running some diagnostics to see if a SMC reset is needed. We'll see if this takes care of it.

Claudia Ritiu -

I replaced the HDD with a SSD. I perform a SMC Reset and a "Option-Command-P-R" Reset after every hardware upgrade I do on any Mac. That usually solves many issues. Hope this helps.

EnglandGreen -

Dear All,

Does anyone has an idea how to turn on VT-X EPT feature of the newly installed i7 in a iMac (27-inch, Late 2009)? I was hoping to run Dockler for Mac, but I get a big fat ZERO for sysctl kern.hv_support. Any hope, anyone?

Zsolt Kovacs - Yanıt

Hi, I have an iMac 27 medi 2010, I made the upgrade from i3 to i7 870 yesterday, the computer raises me perfectly, but the CPU fan, are running at full speed, I removed several times and positive proof all sensors and remains the same .

to idle the fan continues.

I download macs fan controls and indicates the fan me that not running, but if it is, is an unbearable noise.

Any idea what I may be going ????


Winston Duran De La Rosa - Yanıt

It might be a failed fan controller, so it is not showing the correct fan speed? Just speculation on my part. You may have to open it back up to investigate.

EnglandGreen -

hi i have the same problem! the cpu fan go max!! do you have investigate ? do you find a solution? thanks

Dario “fatboy” Vergona -


I have a late 2009 iMac. I just received a used but working i7 2600 from a mid-2011 iMac.

Would it fit ?

Thanks !

pierrelepeer - Yanıt

That processor will not work in your 2009. The 2009 is a Core 2 Duo.

EnglandGreen -

I have already disarmed the iMac several times and tried everything, I changed the fan and cpu sensor...

Winston Duran De La Rosa - Yanıt

I do not know what it could be. I have dismantled several times and have relocated the processor that brought manufactures and does the same, the iMac turns very well and does not fail, only that the problem of fan that is all speed and no way to regulate it.

Winston Duran De La Rosa - Yanıt

Hi, Just tried this upgrade. Unfortunately it failed and I am trying to work out why.

I have the mid 2010 27 inch Apple iMac with a Core i3 3.2GHz as described which I purchased from apple years ago. I purchased a new Intel Core i7 870 2.93GHz processor as described the tools etc. and followed the directions (I have replaced the HD on this mac before). However when reassembled the screen remained blank, I could hear the fans and hard drive but no sound or any response from the screen. So after repeating every step (except replacing the new processor) a couple times to make sure I got all wiring correct, I gave up and replaced the new i7 with old i3, resembled and everything works again!

So what could be the problem? Is my new processor bad? it is the part listed and I think I installed it correctly. Is it possible I have not enough power for the new chip? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Peter McGarvey - Yanıt

Peter, this happened to me as well. Couldn't figure out the problem for hours when it occurred that I hadn't replaced the RAM. Huge sigh of relief. Was afraid that I had done too many upgrades at once or that I had possibly dinged the video connection.

westinflorida -

you may have problems with precesador you bought, I would recommend that you taste it before with a motherboard that supports that processor.

I have the same iMac you and also change the processor by the same as you put it you, the only problem I have is that the iMac CPU fan and will not for speed.

Winston Duran De La Rosa - Yanıt

Thanks for the response, unfourtunatly I don't have a motherboard to test it on.

When I replaced the hard drive on this same computer I had to install HDD fan control and it solved the problem. Is not a free app but has worked well for years.

Peter McGarvey - Yanıt

Dear Winston,

I did just an SSD upgrade a while ago on my 2010 iMac 27 and I had the same loud fan problem.

It turned out that the sensorwire on the right side under the mother board got crimped during the first screw down.

I patched the broken section and that worked fine.

Best Regards

steve2016 - Yanıt

Dear Steve2016

you mean the sensor of the DVD player?

how could detect if the sensor cable or performing any sensor is broken? apparently are well cables.

I have currently installed, Macs Fan control and check the fan speed disk and reader, correct, but the CPU fan speed mark at 0.

Winston Duran De La Rosa - Yanıt

how did you solve ???

Dario “fatboy” Vergona -

sorry how did you solve the problem of the fans? I installed the i7 and the fan of the cpu goes to the maximum, I reinstalled the i3 I put the thermal paste and the fan of the cpu still goes to the max, mac fan tells me 0rpm !! I removed the ssd samsung evo 860, but nothing changes! help me!!

Dario “fatboy” Vergona -

Amazing group of people and information. I just picked up at mid 2010 27" iMac I3. The guy I bought it from said he was original owner. 1TB HD was basically full of pretty disgusting movies and pictures. One thing I found odd was the amount of fan and temp software the guy had on it. I did notice that the back of the machine also got REALLY HOT and at one point the screen just went black. It came back on upon reboot. I bought 16GB of new RAM and a New 2TB hard Drive and a good friend that has done a great deal of upgrades to macs helped me install all of it. We cloned my HD and I was off. Then the screen went black again. And again, and again. The computer still functioned, external monitor works fine. Researched the problem and replaced the inverter board and LCD Thermal sensor. Same problem, screen still goes black, computer still works. Talked with a few people and they are saying its most likely the logic board... Thoughts? If so do i upgrade it to the I7? Thanks in advance.

Shawn Richardson - Yanıt

If external monitor works fine than the board should not be an issue...

I had similar problem on one of the iMacs I worked on not related to the heating and turning off when warm but the screen did not work at all...

Connector was ripped off when previously serviced on the motherboard however when it was replaced still the same issue...

I had a spare LED backlight board I tried... same problem persisted...

Thermal sensor might create a problem but I have never seen it so far...

So after closely inspecting the motherboard and testing it I realized that motherboard could not be an issue so I closely inspected the Lcd... and Lcd board...

The problem was on the display connector on the Lcd board itself so every single connection on the board has to be checked...

I found this out since I tried another Lcd from same iMac... I know it is hard for some of us to test it in this manner, not everybody has couple of iMacs laying around, however take a closer look at both connectors and Lcd cable itself...

digital4 - Yanıt

If one of the grounds is disconnected the screen will be black...

Of course I did not ask you are there 4 green led's all on when started and is the Lcd completely black or you see the picture with the flashlight... See previous comments...

If one of the pins on the Lcd board connector has bad solder it might get disconnected when it heats causing your problem....

Good luck

digital4 - Yanıt


I bought a second hand macbook air i7, 8GB etc checked the on screen serial code and it came with with the information the seller had told me. Then when I got home and connected to the internet it came up an i5 with 4GB etc I wish I could attach photos to show what I found on the screen. From advice from a computer friend he told me to open up the Terminal but it wouldn't. Eventually he showed me how to get something similar and when we checked through it showed an i5 and i7. Really confused, feeling very ripped off and I saved for so long to buy this computer.

Here's a bit of what I did ....

in terminal I typed...

sysctl -n machdep.cpu.brand_string


system_profiler | grep Processor

1st said I5, 2nd said I7

Any ideas?


miss lady - Yanıt

guys can I use Intel® Core™ i7-875K Processor in my mid 2010 iMac?

dominiku - Yanıt

I just upgraded my mid-2010 27" iMac, and also upgraded the LED display driver board, as I had screen blanking issues also. Just booted it up, and it is running fine! About this mac shows I7 2.93ghz processor, and I also have 16gb ram. the screen is bright, and the driver board is from 2011-2012 and is a HF-604 model instead of the 601 that is stock in the 2010 iMac's. I will test it out for a few days, and report back. Thanks again for the write-up and the confidence to do this, and it only took about 1 1/2 hours, as I had to go slow not to miss any connectors more than once lol.


Charlie Edward - Yanıt

Well, so far, all is good! No screen blanking issues yet, and the machine works well. I am using it to type this now! I ran a NovaBench test with about 15 browser windows and tabs open, along with an IP Cam V4 running with two IPcams, along with Mail program. Here are the results.

Novabench Score: 500

2016-12-29 14:31:28 +0000

Mac OS X 10.12.2

Intel Core i7 @ 2930 MHz

Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5670

16384 MB System RAM (Score: 186)

- RAM Speed: 1670 MB/s

CPU Tests (Score: 245)

- Floating Point Operations/Second: 104578896

- Integer Operations/Second: 197394704

- MD5 Hashes Calculated/Second: 343796

Graphics Tests (Score: 49)

- 3D Frames Per Second: 113

Hardware Tests (Score: 20)

- Primary Partition Capacity: 930 GB

- Drive Write Speed: 63 MB/s

Not bad, I have no before testing, and I think if I close all running programs, the scores would increase. I may try it later.

Charlie Edward -


I have an iMac i7 Late 2009 QuadCore 2,8Ghz and was considering some upgrades for it:

- I know I can put an AMD Radeon HD6970m 2Gb in it instead of my ATI Radeon HD4850 512Mo. But is it worth it? I do editing and VFX stuff with Premiere and After Effects, so my guess is that it is actually worth it^^

- can I upgrade my CPU? Is there another i7 CPU that would fit in my computer?

Thanks in advance!

Nicolas Grendena - Yanıt

Thank you very much for this excellent guide. Just upgraded a mid 2010 27" iMac with no issues (except one heart stopping moment when I powered on and it just constantly slow beeped at me- this was because I had put the 2 x DIMMS back in the wrong slots at towards the front of the case).

I replaced the DVD and created the fusion drive using a Samsung EVO 250GB drive located in an optical drive caddy off eBay (approx £4). This appeared as disk0 which is perfect for fusion.

Removing the CPU is a bit tricky- I found it easier to hold the rear screws on the heatsink with my finger and unscrew the big screws on the front. Also be careful removing the CPU, I didn't realise that the retaining clamp arm bends outwards to release the pressure- do NOT undo the single screw that holds the clamp down. Reseating the motherboard is a bit tricky too, take your time to get the rear sockets line up with case. It does not require much pressure just jiggling. It is easier if you stand the mac up at that point.



cyberruss - Yanıt

Hi. I have a iMac (27-inch Mid 2011) , 2.7ghz. Is it possible to change the processor to a higher clock speed. Can I upgrade it to a i7 or a i5. Skyline or something. Quad core.

Mohur - Yanıt

Without a part number, I cannot be sure. It *looks* like the correct one, but I cannot positively say it will work. The correct part number is at the top of this repair.

EnglandGreen -

hi everyone can anyone help me upgrade my imac.

core i5 2.66 (2009) 27" which higher processor i can upgrade to core i7 . many thanks in advance

Rahman - Yanıt

hello, i have a iMac 2010 27 inch A1312 Model

it came with a



2.8GHz/8M/09B processor

I Dissembled iMac for clean then i accidently shorted processor pin out.i fixed it again & when plug iMac then Diag#LED 1 is ON & when try to Power on LED goes Off.Then i decided to replace Faulty logic board.i bought a Logic Board (Without a Processor)iMAC 27" A1312 i3 3.2Ghz 820-2901-A.then reassembled my machine with my previous i5 processor and new logicboard.Now when i plugged my machine #LED1 is on & powered on my machine Fans running, HDD disk Runs but no display or start up chime heard. Only Diag #LED1 lights up.

RAM cards fine

(Power on Without RAM cards doesn't Gives me No Ram Beeping Error)

i checked everything.Still same answer

#whats wrong with my machine?

#is the Processor is fail Bacause i have shorted pinout with my Older Logicboard?

#if i want to replace my processor i like to install i7. which i7 processor Model is compatible with my iMac?

please help me.Sorry for my Bad english.

Chameera Supun - Yanıt

Hi Guys

I will definitely try to bump my iMac 27” i3 2010 to i7 as described here and I have only one question , did anyone try to run Snow Leopard 10.6.8 after upgrade ??? I want SL on one partition to be able to continue to use Logic Pro 9.1.8 and on second partition I would install some of the later OSX's for everything else.

Thank You

Don Bale - Yanıt

Good Luck. I don’t see any reason that Snow Leopard should not work - the i7 was on sale from the start when Snow Leopard was available. I didn’t run it tho.

Jakub -

Just done the upgrade from an i3 to i7. CPU running temp is reaching 87 Celsius under load I am pretty sure something isn’t right fan stays on full speed once I’ve been using it for a while. I used the Pea method for applying thermal paste. Going to go back in tomorrow and check the thermal paste. Other than that I can’t see what could be the issue? Anybody else fix this issue?

Josh Bailey - Yanıt

Ok I have been back into the imac today and cleaned the CPU and heatsink and re-applied thermal compound EXACTLY as directed. I was very careful to get the right amount on in an even spread. Temperatures held out pretty well to start with as they did before, but after perlonged use they were once again at 90C. I am using bootcamp and windows 10 which is not officially supported so I’m not sure the fans are keeping the temps right. I Dowloaded a fan utility for macs on windows and set the CPU fan to 100%. I can get the temps to stick around 80C, still a little high in my oppinion. Everything works as it should it’s just the high temps. I’m at a loss as to what is causing the high temps albeit I do tend to thrash my CPU a little with Fruity Loops. The only thing I can think of is the chip it’s self may be faulty? It was second hand out of an Imac with some other hardware error.

Josh Bailey - Yanıt

That’s odd. My CPU temps hardly ever go above 50-60 even at maximal loads. Have you tried reinserting the old chip? If that returns normal temperatures, then I’d get a new chip. Otherwise I’d wonder if your heatsink is screwed on correctly. Unlikely to be the paste itself - you need very little. I recently exchanged my logic board. When I looked at the i7 It only really had good amount of paste left on the sides but it was enough for it to work perfectly for 2 years.

Jakub -

I have to give a big thanks to the OP for this. I changed my i3 in my 2010 iMac to the i7 for less than $65, and its running great. It was not that difficult either.

phaseiii - Yanıt

Thanks! It’s been 5 years since I did the upgrade and I still use this iMac in anger every day!

EnglandGreen -

Hi Phaseiii, which i7 did you use the 860 or 870? I have an i5 680 and am tending to find out if this upgrade actually works.

Edgard Nishimura - Yanıt

I would go for 870, most people here have used this and works well. I’d google the performance increases from i5 to i7 though, it may not make that much difference…

Jakub -

Here’s my experience with this mod:

1. The motherboard disassembly link provided above is for the 2011 iMac. Components and screws layouts are similar between the 2011 and 2010 models but not identical. I thus recommend searching for YouTube videos specific for the mid-2010 iMac.

2. A very helpful reference is the official “Apple Technician Guide” for the 27-inch mid-2010 iMac (pdf, page 206 onwards on motherboard disassembly/reassembly). It can be found easily on the net. You’ll notice several small crucial details, such as the fact that not all screws are of equal length, recommendations to plug USB cables in the back connectors upon reassembly and to remove the memory modules.

3. I recommend labelling all cables, connectors and screws with small numbered stickers before you disconnect them, in addition to taking photos of the cables original routing: when it’s time to reassemble the motherboard you’ll thank yourself for having gone through this tedious process.

lorenzocangiano - Yanıt

Already installed an SSD and love it, i now ordered the i7 to upgrade it too, but how did you put 32Gigs of ram in the system when max. supported is 16Gig - where did you buy the Ram? Link would be great

Mike Menke - Yanıt

Komputerbay 16GB (2x 8GB) PC3-10600 10666 1333MHz SODIMM 204-Pin Laptop Memory 9-9-9-24 for PC only - not MAC

You 2 kits - 4 x 8Gb modules = 32Gb

It says “Not MAC” but 4 of these modules have been running like a champ for the past 6 years in my 2010 iMac with the i7 upgrade :)

EnglandGreen -

I’ve upgraded my 27” 2010 imac from the i3 to the i7 processor and added an SSD and upgraded to 12GB ram in the process. The imac runs already faster, but I’m getting benchmark scores which are about half of what they should be in Geekbench 3, 4 and in Cinebench. I’ve checked the CPU temperature in TG pro and it’s between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius (even after benchmarking). Is my CPU bad? What could be the issue?

Anton - Yanıt

Temp its like others reported 90-92C after 20min of full 100% usage all 4 cores on handbrake or similar task. Done some research and turns out this its actually normal most of these chips will go turbo until reached ~90C and them they will start dropping back frequency and voltage(u can check the voltage it drops gradually up and down keeping the temp small steps) so it doesn’t go pass that. The iMac cooling its insufficient to maintain 3.6Ghz X4 at full throttle for extended periods unless your house its very cold. It will not burn just slow down a bit to maintain the temperature as the cooling system can almost make it. In the other hand the point where most of the chips will shutdown before damage its ~130C . After reading for a while I also find out that the same model chip my have a different set point by intel of maximum temp where it starts to slow down to keep that temp. PC manufactures have a choice depending what kind of system they are going to use it on. So max Temp will vary depending of chip set point this days…

ecutunner - Yanıt

Intel specs for this chip Tcase(point where starts slowing down) 72.7C but it also says it may vary from chip to chip. Most i7 and Xeons are 90C or 95C and looks like some chips are set lower and won’t allow you to squeeze the last Mhz for a extended period on this cooling system.

Im planning to mod the cooling system adding small flat heat pipes and small dissipator in the space near the top next to the air outlet . The temp will probably still be about the same but my video processing time will be faster as the machine will be able the keep full turbo clock. same thing happen with my MacBook pro . I test it at room temp and them next to the A/C blasting cold air on it , same video 38min at room temp 29min with A/C. Was able to stay full turbo while room temp start gradually slowing down 4 min. Excuse my english

ecutunner - Yanıt

I own a 27” 2010 iMac with the i5 and large GPU. I had to replace the motherboard because mine was dead. I replaced it with a motherboard from an i3 and switched the GPU and CPU heatsinks and processors. Now, I have two issues. Firstly, the fans run wild. I could adjust this with the application Macs Fan Control which reports temperatures and fan speeds.

The second issue is the sound. If I plug in both speakers then the right speaker (seen from front) is making distorted sounds (already on startup chime) while the left speaker (the one with the subwoofer) stays silent. The wird thing is: when I plug OUT the left speaker then the right speaker sounds good! When I plug in just the left speaker, then there is no sound at all.

I checked the resistance (Ohm) on both speakers and it is the same (5 Ohm and 10 Ohm), so apparently, no short circuit on the left speaker (as suspected).

SMC and PRAM reset did not solve the problem. Any ideas?

Ben - Yanıt

Hello everyone!

I know it’s an old thead, but for me its a current topic. I own a 27” 2010 iMac with the i3 3,2 GHz. I want to do the upgrade to the i7. I understand that the i7 870 works as well as the i7 860. Is the i7 880 ( also an option? Which one can you recommend?

Thanks in advance!

tyrannski - Yanıt

I have no idea. I successfully used the i7 870 and it has been running like a champ for over 5 years, now on High Sierra 10.13.3 - it has been flawless.

EnglandGreen -

I have already upgraded to i7-880 3.06ghz on iMac 27” mid 2010. It can work.

HunterSZ -

Hi, how many RAM works on my iMac 27” mid 2010?


Dario “fatboy” Vergona - Yanıt

As noted in an earlier post, 32GB.

ClaytonCurtis -

Upgraded i5 > i7 . This post is great. Found the chip on amazon for < $90. Also upgraded Wifi/BT to add 4.0. Thanks!!

Ryan Afdahl - Yanıt

Attention, cette manipulation ne fonctionne pas sur l’iMac 21,5 11,2. Il faut changer le processeur i3 540 par un i5 680. Et là tout fonctionne. Le tpd doit être identique 73w de mémoire.

Ouranos - Yanıt

Done yesterday on my imac 27” and work perfectly! I’m still on Yosemite…I d'on’t really if Hight Sierra will be change something but it’s my next step. Great guide! thank EnglandGreen !

Marc - Yanıt

Done yesterday, upgrade I3 to I7 and work perfectly ! Be carefull with connectors etc! Thank for this great guide EnglandGreen ! I’m using Yosemite.. ahah and now my next step is update to Hight Sierra.

Another question it’s really necessary have 32Gb of RAM or 16Gb? I have only 8Gb, using video apps etc and I can see never use theses 8gb. 16Gb will change somethings? it’s necessary on Hight SIerra? Imac will work better?


Marc - Yanıt

hello I have an IMAC 27 "mid 2010,

I ran your guide to the letter, I also added an SSD with the ifixit kit

everything works, the processor is recognized, but the CPU fan goes to maximum, why ??

I tried to bring everything back as before, but nothing has changed, the fan always goes to the maximum

macfun tells me fan speed 0 RPM

I do not understand anything anymore, can you help me?

I saw that my logic board did not re-install, but one person told me that my MB never had it installed, possible?

thank you

Dario “fatboy” Vergona - Yanıt

Hi! What about Intel Xeon cpu`s? 3470 for upgrading iMacMid2010 core i3 ?

Kostjantyn Bondar - Yanıt

Dear Fellow Commentators,

I already have the original iMac (27-inch, Mid 2010) EMC: 2390 with a 2.93 GHz Intel Core i7. Years ago I added 16 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 of RAM. It also has the original graphics card, ATI Radeon HD 5750 1024 MB. I see that Intel has many LGA1156 socket chips that may be an upgrade to my Intel® Core™ i7-870 Processor 8M Cache, 2.93 GHz CPU. It’s 2018, my hard drive is failing, my monitor is still awesome, and latency is starting to show on my trusty old iMac. Is my system capable of upgrading to any of these CPUs? The LGA1156 socket Intel CPUs: [http://,4849...|,4849...]

I would also like to upgrade to USB 3 Type A and the new USB 3.2 Type C Thunderbolt ports. Is any of this possible? Also, what is the max memory I can upgrade for a HHD and SSD? How about the graphics card? Or should I spend the monies on a new system?


Keith A. Istré

Keith Istre - Yanıt

Xeon 3470 runs for an upgrade of an old Mid2010 i3. Only Sysinfo stays showing an i3 but everything is fine with this CPU.

Xeon 3470 should be the same as i7-870, but e**y offers the xeon at half price.

Michael Gerstel - Yanıt

Thanks. I am also wondering if I can pull the gutts out of my iMac and place them in a standard pc shell? That way if would be easier to upgrade and or repain in the future. Also it would lighten the monitor so I can put it on a swivel arm. At this time it’s too heavy.

Keith Istre -

Does anyone know of a repair place in Marietta GA thats not scared to do this process, before I try my hand at doing it myself.

Jeffrey Sparks - Yanıt

Deswegen ist die Videobeschleunigung für Mojave deaktiviert. Das macht die Bidschirmrate des iMacs zähflüssig, Fotos bleiben schwarz und andere Anomalitäten bei Grafikprozessen. Alles andere läuft aber wunderbar. Allein der Dark Mode lohnt die Mühe.

Hey, könntest Du das konkretisieren?

Bleiben Bilder in der Vorschau schwarz?

Bleiben sie nach dem öffnen schwarz?

Was kann ich mir unter zähflüssiger Bildschirmrate vorstellen?

Bedeutet das, dass meine 2010er und 11 iMacs mit dem Updatet für die Bild und Videobearbeitung via Photoshop/LR unbrauchbar werden?


alyn camara - Yanıt

I'm interested too. if you know the answer write me please.

German -

Hello and thanks for this extremely useful guide.

I am in the process of upgrading my 2010 iMac too, and have 1 question if possible please.

I want to add a 500Gb SSD and keep my existing 1Tb SATA for storage.

Of course I would like to transfer only the applications into the SSD and how can I do that, since the carbon copy won’t work, because it will be from 1Tb to a 500Gb ?

Many thanks


Antonio Biggio - Yanıt

As with many others, thank you for the guide.

I have repalced an i3 with a X3470 so don’t have the right processor showing up but the difference is considerable.

4k video wouldn’t play properly on the i3 but now it’s smooth in VLC. Plaing you tube and a 1080p video at the same time

starts to cause the 4k video problems but that was just me seeing what could be achieved. System reaches 70degC under such circumstances.

I had the light aircraft noise initally. Downloading one of the fan speed control pieces of software showed that the DVD drive cooler was running flat out. Suprise suprsie taking the screen off again I could see I had missed the ODD temp conector which is tucked behind the audio ribbon.

DevilScar - Yanıt

Hello, when i use a xeon x3470 to change the original i5, there are the same options as an i7-870 (Hyperthreading, intelligent Overclocking) available? Or these features disabled, because the xeon not correct recognized from the system? I will prefer a xeon, its the half price from a i7-870 ;)

Thorsten Hofmann -

Thanks a lot! Great instructions. just replaced i3 w i7 and it works like a charm!

Question: any of you upgraded the original GPU (5670 HD Radeon 512MB) to something like the HD 6970M w 2GB? Is it doable? I get confusing reviews/info on t he subject!

Also: IS IT WORTH IT? ;)

Wondering since this now soooooo old machine is now literally flying w the i7, SSD + 3T HDD,16GB RAM. W the beautiful screen it’s still among the best comps I’ve ever had…only the GPU is of course terrible in modern day comparison. but not sure its doable and worth doing anything about it.

Appreciate your input.

Thnxz /Dom

Dominique Grubestedt - Yanıt

Hello and thanks for this beautiful post.. You are amazing, and apparently I am never going back to Mac Official Support store.

I want to bring back to life my IMAC 21” i3 (mid 2010) core 3.06 GHz Intel "Core i3" . I have 2 questions please, I´ve been reading a lot and I want to ask if the upgrade for the CPU can be an Intel Xeon x3480 instead of the INTEL I7 2.9 ??? because they have the same compatible socket 1156 and it will be better because the maximum memory will be 32GB.

And also I want to know if I can upgrade to a better GPU compatible with 1156 socket from the mainboard, with all the upgrades of CPU and MEMORY RAM it will be a very good computer if I can change also the GPU, otherwise It will be no sense making all the changes without and upgrade for the GRAPHIC CARD.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you

paula arizaga - Yanıt

Hello, when i use a xeon x3470 to change the original i5, there are the same options as an i7-870 (Hyperthreading, intelligent Overclocking) available? Or these features disabled, because the xeon not correct recognized from the system? I will prefer a xeon, its the half price from a i7-870 ;)

Thorsten Hofmann -

I wanted to address a few questions in one comment, rather than replying to each individually.

1> I have abandoned using Mojave 10.14 on this 2010 27” iMac. The slow GPU makes it unusable. I’m back to High Sierra 10.13 with APFS, 1TB internal SSD and 32Gb RAM. This appears to be my optimal configuration for this 2010 27” iMac

2> GPU upgrades. I looked into this and while I believe that there are some upgrades that will work (2011 27” iMac, other PC MXM GPU cards), the cost and complexity was not worth it for me. Between flashing the card, reflowing and heat sink packaging, I’m not going to attempt an upgrade.

3> 21” iMac. Unfortunately I have zero experience with these machines and their internals. I have several 27” iMacs of different vintages (2009, 2010, 2012 Slim, 2016 Retina 5k) but no 21” iMacs.

4> This is still a GREAT machine! Yes, it’s 9 years old now (about 55 years old in dog years) and it is approaching “Vintage” status, yet it still hangs with modern machines in terms of functionality and usability.

EnglandGreen - Yanıt

Someone asked me how I got 32GB of RAM in my 27” 2010 iMac. I used 4 x 8GB RAM sticks.

* From Mactracker “Maximum Memory 32 GB (Core i5 or Core i7 Actual) 16 GB (Apple)”

EnglandGreen - Yanıt


I did the upgrade some time in the past. My MAC is running an i7 (do not remember which one I used, but it shows as 2,93GHz). It works flawlessly until I have to upgrade OS… it never works. I have to do the upgrade using another MAC (using target disk mode or using the disk in the other MAC) and then bringing the disk back to the iMac… would you know why?

Thank you!

Héctor - Yanıt

You should never have to do that. This processor upgrade does not make it a hackintosh - after the upgrade it is still a genuine Apple device and should update and install like any other Mac.

EnglandGreen -

Succesfully upgraded my iMac with I7 cpu CPU works but I am having memory problems I have 2x4 Gb which work OK The original 2x2Gb modules do not work. They show up as Empty. Any ideas to fix?

Derek Nicholsom - Yanıt

Succesfully upgraded from an i3 to an i7 processor. But now all the fans (odd, hdd, processor) are running at 100% (!). So I had to install Macs Fan Control. Any recommended values to set? I’ve tried several recommendations, but all i’have managed is to get the processor fan continuosly stopping and starting….

Salvador - Yanıt

Hello, I have upgraded my iMac mid-2010 exactly as described in your precious guide, but now I experience severe troubles with the latest High Sierra security update, released a few days ago. The computer upgrades and restarts fine, but when I switch it off and on again, it shows a startup error and prompts me to installation log! I have no chance but restoring the whole system! Is anyone able to help? I have saved the installation log…

Many thanks

merelyactors - Yanıt

This page totally needs Like buttons. My mid-2010 27” iMac is still going strong in mid-2018 but will be getting an SSD here soon. I tripped over your page and now it might get an i7 too. I hope I can still find one!

Jeff Mizener - Yanıt

Thank you EnglandGreen, that was also what I thought. However, the installation does not finish.

The rest of the time works like a charm

Héctor - Yanıt

Hi, message from 2019.

I am intending to upgrade this exact model you showed, what is the highest spec processor you think 2010 iMac can handle for now?

edwinisdenim - Yanıt


What about the Apple iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010) with the"Core i3" I3-540 (Clarkdale) processor?

I know an upgrade to Intel I5-680 - 3.60 GHz (Clarkdale) is guaranteed, but can I upgrade safely to an i7 CPU?

I have in mind the i7 870S (which is the low-power variant) , has the TDP of 82W and drains 66.63W from the mains power source.

Could I install the i7 870S?

Evaggelos Kourtis - Yanıt

The very next candidate could be the i7 860S.

Could I install the i7 860S in the iMac "Core i3" 3.06 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010) with the"Core i3" I3-540 (Clarkdale) processor?

Evaggelos Kourtis - Yanıt

I’m interested, too. Would like to know what the best CPU and GPU can be installed in the Mid-2010 i3 3.06 iMac.


Jim Smith -

As I mentioned, I have no specific knowledge of the 21.5inch iMacs so I do not know what can and can not be upgraded with them. Sorry.

EnglandGreen -

Someone install OS Catalina in this mac? i'm keep run hight sierra, but I hope can run Catalina…. ???? I do this update a 3 years ago, and this iMac keep running everything fast, i7 2,93, 500 ssd evo pro samsung, 1 tb hd in the ODD, 16 gb ram….. Love this iMac but can't update for de new systems , dawn :-(

tsilvar007 - Yanıt

Don’t install Mojave or Catalina on this machine. It will barely run and the experience is terrible.

This quote is from DosDude1

“Radeon HD 5xxx and 6xxx series video cards are not, and most likely never will be, supported under Mojave or later.“

EnglandGreen -

thanks for your time, I'm keep running High Sierra them…..

tsilvar007 -

Hola amigo excelente tutorial, estoy intentando mejorar el procesador de mi iMac A1311 mid 2010 que viene con un Intel i3 540 que ya es un poco viejo y decidí comprar un Intel Xeon X3470 que es la versión de servidor del i7 860, 870 y 880. Cuando lo instalo mi sistema no arranca, prende y queda la pantalla negra y tuve que volver a instalar el i3. He visto infinidad de foros y tutoriales pero no he encontrado nada que solucione el problema. He visto que las Mac Pro de estas fechas presentan el mismo problema pero hay un parche que engaña el firmware y corren estos equipos con O/S Catalina y Mojave y andan sin problema pero no es compatible con las iMac. Que puedo hacer amigo, de verdad te agradecería me ayudaras a solucionar el problema.

German Moreno - Yanıt

Yo, también poseo un iMac 21,5” con un procesador Intel Core i3 -540 a 3,06Ghz. y llevo tiempo intentando actualizar el microprocesador.

Por lo que he ido viendo hay varias cosas a tener en cuenta a la hora de actualizarlo. Una es el zócalo donde se inserta el microprocesador (en este caso todos los de esta época llevan LGA1156), y la otra es la famosa TDP. El Xeon X3470 cumple la primera premisa pero la segunda no. Éste tiene una TDP de 95 Watts , muy superior al i3 540 que la tiene de 73 Watts. No puede con el.

Posible candidatos I5-680 con el que obtendrías una mejora de un 70%. Luego los i7-760s y i7-770s con los que tendrías un mínimo de ganancia de un 80% a un 100%.

La tarjeta gráfica sería interesante cambiarla (pero costosa y con ciertas dificultades al implementarla). Si se encontrase una , el rendimiento de ese ordenador estaría muy cercano al de los de hoy.

Espero haberte servido de ayuda.

Jehús D.C

Jesús De Castro - Yanıt

I also own a 21.5 ”iMac with an Intel Core i3 -540 3.06Ghz processor. and I've been trying to update the microprocessor for a long time. From what I have been seeing there are several things to take into account when updating it. One is the socket where the microprocessor is inserted (in this case all those from this era have LGA1156), and the other is the famous TDP. The Xeon X3470 fulfills the first premise but the second does not. This has a TDP of 95 Watts, much higher than the i3 540 which has it of 73 Watts. You can't handle it. Possible candidates I5-680 with which you would get a 70% improvement. Then the i7-760s and i7-770s with which you would have a minimum gain of 80% to 100%. The graphics card would be interesting to change (but expensive and with certain difficulties when implementing it). If one were found, the performance of that computer would be very close to that of today. I hope I've been helpful. Jehús D.C

Jesús De Castro - Yanıt

I added an i5 instead of the i7 and it works great, hardest bits I found were lining up the rear connectors and ensuring all wires remained in the right place. As a side note I installed the ssd in place of the hard drive on the hard drive bracket and used a spare optical drive temp sensor in place of the hard drive sensor(same connection) fans are fine with no fan control software installed

scottcorbettjoinery - Yanıt

Hello :)

I did exactly that with my iMac. Unfortunately the device does not start anymore after that. The screen stays black and the computer does not make any sound. When I rebuild to the old i3 everything works as usual.

Christoph - Yanıt

Hello Friend!! Thanks for your post. I have a 2010 imac 27 and i will do this upgrade to i7 -870 plus an ssd disk and more ram, but the service guy (a veeery good one) says that it is perfectly possible to upgrade the graphic card from poor 512mb (Radeon Hd 5670) to an Nvidia 2gb!!! What do you say??


hola como estas, estoy armando en estos momentos el mismo equipo pero en las recomendaciones de al marca sale que solo soporta hasta 16 de ramos, mi pregunta es actualmente no has tenido problemas con esos 32 de ram ?

el_crew_25 - Yanıt

Para cambiar un procesador para un iMac 27” del 2013 con un i5 que procesador i7 le pondríais , gracias

Francisco - Yanıt

I have had the some with I7, but i sow temperature very high 55°? Do think that it is normal?

After 1 year my wifi module broke.

Vito Silvestro - Yanıt

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