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iMac Intel 27" EMC 2309 (Late 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 or 3.33 GHz) ID iMac10,1, EMC 2374 (Late 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz or Core i7 2.8 GHz) ID iMac11,1

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Can I replace/upgrade 4850 graphic card in 2009 iMac

I have a 27" iMac intel late 2009 EMC 2309 with AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphic card. Does anyone know if the card can be upgraded?

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I read that Apple are replacing the AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphic card in the later 2011 iMac free of charge because of problems, is this a good choice to upgrade my dead 4850 graphic card in 2009 EMC 2309 iMac or is there an alternative? Any help much appreciated!

da

MaryJ That program has now ended and Apple has removed the former link to it: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203787

da

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Yes it can! Though it's as easy as with a regular PC. But iFixIt has a guide here! BUT make sure you get a card that's compatible with the iMac. A generic graphics card for a PC won't work! The best way is to get a used one on eBay or elsewhere taken from a newer Mac, as the guide writer did.

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I read that Apple are replacing the 6970 graphic cards in the 2011 iMac free of charge - I thought I should avoid that particular graphic card?

da

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Yes, you can "replace" the 4850 card in a late 2009 iMac 27", but I preferred to fix mine, which you can see in my rather comprehensive video here:

https://youtu.be/v1DXBLkiqFM

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Doing this today. You really worked hard on that video! Helped me a lot. Thanks!

da

Thank you, Boyd. Please let us know if you were successful!

da

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Yes you can replace your graphics card with the late 2009 iMac's Ati 4850 or newer Ati 5750 used on mid 2010 iMacs.

older Ati 4850 has 512MB of Ram and 256Bit Memory Bus GDDR3

newer Ati 5750 has 1GB of Ram and 128Bit Memory Bus GDDR5

It is your choice, but personally i don't prefer downgrade your memory bus speed to increase amount of ram. Bus speed is more important than ram size on older graphics cards.

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This is an old question, but I thought I would add. I was able to do exactly what you asked in my late-2009 27” iMac. I found a Radeon HD 6770M 512MB GPU that was pulled from a 2011 model on eBay. It dropped right in and since it came from an iMac it woked just fine.

The only big issue is that I am running El Capitan and I was not able to upgrade the OS (I forget if it was Sierra or High SIerra). It would error. There seems to be a conflict with the installer and the graphics drivers. I’m sure it has to do with the non-standard card that is in the machine now. I am happy to just run El Cap until the machine dies on me, but keep this in mind.

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I had never heard that before so thank you for mentioning it. It is quite odd that your replacement video card doesn’t work with newer versions of macOS in light of the fact that video card surely would work fine with those operating systems if still inside the original iMac. I’m curious if the needed drivers are simply missing, or if they are present but incompatible with that combination of older iMac and the newer video card.

I can only say that my stock 4850 video card works fine with macOS versions up to High Sierra, which is the last version that Apple officially supports for the late 2009 iMac.

da

I am SO GLAD to see this post. I just upgraded my 2009 imac to a radeon 6750 and it was confirmed working, confirmed compatible in lots of posts, I saw so many posts saying it would indeed be compatible?? but it hangs on the launcher when booting High sierra. I get video, i get to install and setup high sierra without hangup, UNTIL it's time to boot, then it hangs on a white spinning animation that never progresses.

Can you confirm if Sierra will boot or not boot on your machine? I'd rather downgrade the OS as least as possible to maintain compatibility. I'd rather install regular Sierra before El capitain.

da

I think I was upgrading to Sierra. The problem may only be during the installation where the whole thing just crashes. POSSIBLY, if you installed the whole OS on an external hard drive on another machine and then transferred in over, it might work. But I don't know. I gave up and just resigned myself to running El Cap indefinitely.

da

@jdw1 It was during the install itself when it would crash and error. It may be that if I had Sierra or High Sierra already installed before putting in the new graphics card it might be OK. But I am only guessing. I'm sure it has something to do with it being a card that was not originally available on my machine, even though it is a genuine iMac graphics card.

da

@Matt G, I believe your answer should be upgraded to the Most Helpful Answer in light of the fact you not only said it is possible to use a non-stock video card, but you also mentioned the important-to-consider caveat as well -- possibly OS incompatibilities that users will be forced to work-around. And again, this is why I decided to bake my stock video card back to life rather than go with a potentially better video card, not to mention the heat implications.

Would you mind commenting on how hot your iMac gets with the replacement video card versus the stock video card when running the internal iMac fans at the stock automatic speed? The 2009 iMac runs hot in its stock condition, and I've heard that newer cards can run just as hot or hotter. Thanks.

da

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MaryJ sarà eternamente grato.
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