2017 21.5″ 4K iMac Has Replaceable RAM, Modular CPU Says iFixit

iFixit has gotten their hands on the new 2017 21.5-inch iMac with 4K display, giving it their full teardown treatment. What are some of the big takeaways from this teardown? RAM was discovered to be removable, plus the CPU is modular.

This discovery means there is potential for user replaceable RAM and CPU, but it’s not going to be easy, according to iFixit, because of the location of these parts:

Again, this isn’t the most accessible thing in the world—it’s flipped onto the backside of the logic board, trapped behind a lot of other components, and buried under a glued-down pane of glass—but for the first time in years it’s possible to replace or upgrade the CPU without a reflow station, and that’s a big win.


The last iMac to have expandable memory was back in 2013, and the last iMac to have a modular CPU was back in 2012. The RAM is buried below the logic board so it won’t be easy to replace yourself. But at least it’s not soldered down like previous years.

This 2017 model has the same model number (A1418) as the 2015 iMac, but with a new EMC (3069), says iFixit. Another “bit of interesting modularity on this board: a CMOS battery,” says iFixit. The display panel is still made by LG.

Other changes? This iMac has a single microphone moved to the bottom of the display, behind the glass; previous iMacs had a dual-mic setup, placed behind the front-facing camera. No word on whether this new single mic setup will be an improvement or not.

With the potential for user replaceable RAM and the fact the CPU is modular, expect possible DIY upgrades in the future for this 4K display 21.5-inch iMac, which starts at $1729 CAD.