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Oct 19, 2014

Inside the iMac with Retina 5K Display

The techies at iFixit have gotten their mitts on the all-new iMac with Retina 5K display. In usual fashion, they didn’t assign it its own desk and workspace. Rather, they sent it sprawling across a table to reveal its inner workings.

iFixit is famous for performing rigorous teardown analysis of high-end electronics. The new Retina 5K iMac was an obvious candidate. Today, we’re being offered a sneak peek inside its chassis.

5K brilliance

iFixit begins the analysis with their typical introduction. “Think of the most colorful and radiant display you’ve ever seen. Now, discard that memory and stare at Apple’s newest iMac Intel 27” with Retina 5K Display. We're not talking 1080p or 4K, we're talking about 5K—millions and millions of pixels on a 27-inch display. Will the addition of a high-resolution display affect the repairability of the newest iMac Intel 27”? Let’s find out!” Despite making it sound like a review of the crisp display, the repair show doesn’t dwell on the picture quality. Instead, they delve right inside using their specialized tools. Removing the 5K panel is an easy task, according to the firm, but not something you’d want to do if you haven’t pried open computers before.

 Easily accessible and replaceable RAM, CPU and storage. One thing that has conveyed over from the older generation of iMacs is the removable RAM. According to the repair shop, “The iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display retains the familiar, easily accessible RAM upgrade slot from iMacs of yore.” The photos reveal that once you pop open the pod bay doors, an instruction schematic appears showing users how to properly handle the two 4 GB DDR3 RAM modules. Further down inside, this time on the other side of the device, the system holds a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds of up to 3.9 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics with 2 GB of GDDR5 video memory, a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 wireless card, and the hybrid drive comprising PCIe-based SSD and SATA storage. Most of this stuff is easy to access and replace with some steady hands and the appropriate tools to work with.

“Just like last year, the CPU is not soldered to the logic board, and can be easily replaced,” says iFixit.

I/O and other small stuff

As far as the ports are concerned, the iMac is equipped with: headphone jack / Optical digital audio output, the same SDXC card slot as seen on previous iMacs, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2.0 ports, and one Gigabit ethernet port. To support the extra pixels, the Retina 5K's display data cable is slightly wider than the one found in older iMacs. Full teardown and more closeups of the insides over at iFixit. The tech-savvy group gave the computer a repairability score of 5 out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to repair. While the grade may seem small, it's actually pretty decent for an Apple product.

Removing the 5K panel of the new Retina iMac

A look inside the new Retina iMac

Easily accessible RAM

SanDisk PCIe SSD module

A familiar logic board
Images credits to iFixit


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