Image: iFixit

There's Already a DIY Kit to Double the 'Maximum' Amount of RAM in the New iMac

Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

|
Jun 9 2017, 4:00pm

Image: iFixit

One of the most important moments in a young person's life is the very first time you crack open your computer to upgrade the RAM. It's typically a simple process involving little more than opening the case or a designated flap and snapping the new, higher capacity module into place.

But for the past four years, owners of Apple's popular iMac line of computers haven't been able to do just that because Apple has used soldered-in RAM. This has created the unfortunate situation of having to deal with however much RAM you selected at time of purchase for the life of the computer, which should ideally be at least five years.

The RAM upgrade kit. Image: iFixit

Thankfully that changed this past week after Apple introduced a new version of the iMac, the elegantly named 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, that does allow for end user RAM upgrades, even if Apple itself doesn't recommend doing so. Even though the computer just came out Monday, there are already kits that will allow you to double the 'maximum' amount of RAM.

For reasons only known to Apple you can only order up to 16GB of RAM on the 3.0GHz model, even though it supports 32GB; to reach 32GB directly from Apple you need to opt for the $200 more expensive 3.4GHz model.

Going the DIY route is clearly the better move. iFixit is selling a 32GB RAM upgrade kit for $300. The kit contains all the parts you'll need to give your iMac enough memory to effectively run Google Chrome, including the RAM modules themselves and the relevant screwdriver bits. Keep in mind Apple charges $200 to bring the 3.0GHz model up to only 16GB.

So, pay the Apple tax or roll your sleeves up and do it yourself? Seems like a simple enough decision.