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Model A1311 / Mid 2010 / 3.06 & 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 3.6 GHz Core i5 Processor

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Can I upgrade my processor to i3-6320? Can I upgrade other things?

Title says it all. I have a 2010 21.5" EMC 2389 iMac intel i3 550 3.2ghz with 8gb of ram and a 2tb hdd. I'm trying to upgrade a little bit for better image processing and gaming. My mac has started to slow down over the years. I still have plenty of space left on my hdd (over a tb left).

Specifically, the upgrades i'm hoping to make are:

1.) upgrade processor from i3 550 to i3 6320

2.) upgrade processor from raedon hd 5670 to hd 5970

3.) upgrade from 8gb of ram to either 12 or 16.

4.) if the community has good things to say about hybrid ssd/hdd drives then i'd like to upgrade to the 2tb ssd hybrid sold on the ifixit site.

Please give thoughts and tell me if all of these upgrades CAN be done (I have someone with the experience to handle this) If all of these cannot be done, could you please work with me to help me find the best options for me and my computer?

Thanks in advance,


Risposto! View the answer Anch'io ho questo problema

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Soluzione Prescelta

Here's the specs of your current CPU: Intel 3.2 GHz Core i3 (I3-550

The best you can put in is this CPU: Intel 3.6 GHz Core i5 (I5-680)

Here is the IFIXIT guide to switch it: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Replacement.

This is not an easy job! Are you sure you're up to it?

While you will gain some performance you might want to look at upping the RAM to 8 or 12 GB. I would also look at putting in a SSD replacing your optical drive and set it up as your startup disk. Here is the IFIXIT guide to install it: Installing iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Hard Drive.

Both of these upgrades will give you a better bang for the buck than the CPU upgrade!

Update (03/13/2016)

Theres more than just TDP to worry about. The socket needs to support the chip and the FSB clock needs to match. Lastly the systems BIOS (EFI) needs to recognize it within the series. So you'll need to stick with the chips Apple has used which is the ones I've pointed you to.

Unless you are doing something that requires more RAM 12 GB should be enough.

I'm not recommending you swap out your HD for a SSD that would be expensive if you went with a 2TB SSD!

The trick here is a dual drive setup replacing the optical drive for a SSD (review the guide I pointed out) Here we are using a smaller SSD (256/512 MB) for the boot drive. It will hold the OS and your Apps (leaving 1/3 of the rest of the drive empty for virtual RAM and any application paging. This is what will get you the performance bang you're looking for for a lot less expense. Depending on your OS you can also create a Fusion Drive.

If your current HD is getting tired then I would get a SSHD (hybrid drive) to replace it as it offers a faster alternative than a standard HD.

Immagine iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU


iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 CPU Replacement



3 - 4 hours

Immagine iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 2389 Dual Drive


Installazione del Dual Drive nell'iMac Intel EMC 2389 da 21,5"



1 - 2 hours

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The i7 CPU chip won't work in your system as the TDP is to high. For reference heres the specs: Intel 2.93 GHz Core i7 (i7-870)


If you decide to do the hard drive upgrade talk to us first as there are temperature sensor issues with different drives and different solutions.


Hi there. As it turns out I realized that an i7 is excessive anyway.

1.) So I can put in a first gen i5, Can I put in a later generation i3? like the i3 6320? idk what all to check for but the TPD if only 51W as opposed to the 73 the my current one uses.

I have a freind who loves to build computers, and I would mostly rely on him for all of the stuff that i'm "not up for"

2.) I definitely plan on putting in more ram. I have 8 now, would it be worth it to upgrade to 16 or do you think 12 would be fine?

Lastly i definitely won't be upgrading to a SSD because I have a 2 tb hard drive and $$$ you know, but if you know anything about hybrids I would love to have some more information on those.


This is an old thread, but just for an update, there are two i7 options for the mid 2010 iMac with the LGA1156 socket. The i7-860S and i7-870S both work!


Thank you. i7 with S version is petty hard to find.


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Risposta Più Utile

Well stated question for a late Saturday night.

Let me address the hard drive issue first, you have several questions here and I may go to sleep before addressing them. The 2010 iMac used a Apple proprietary hard drive with special heat sensors. There are three different sensors for the three major brands of hard drives, Using the wrong drive or matching with the wrong sensor will cause the fans to run away and burn up the hard dive. OWC offers a fix for the drives without the custom sensor port, but it's about $40.

The Apple Hard drive sensors are:

Apple Part #'s

  • 922-9215 - Hitachi
  • 922-9216 - Seagate
  • 922-9622 - Western digital

I do like the Seagate SSHD drives, I've had one failure in the last 100 drives I've installed and it was bad from the git-go.

Here's the info on the OWC solution:

RAM Upgrade:

  • RAM Type: PC3-10600 DDR3 Min. RAM Speed: 1333 MHz
  • Details: Supports 1333 MHz PC3-10600 DDR3 SO-DIMMs (204-pin).
  • Standard RAM: 4 GB Maximum RAM: 16 GB

Details: By default, 4 GB of RAM is installed as two 2 GB SO-DIMM modules. Two slots free.

To max out use 4X4 to get to 16.

Better is to just add 2 - 4 MB sticks and take it to 12MB. Just my opinion.

CPU Info:

The iMac "Core i5" 3.6 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010) technically is a "configure-to-order" configuration of the iMac "Core i3" 3.2 21.5-Inch (Mid-2010), The iMac "Core i5" 3.6 21.5-Inch Aluminum (Mid-2010) is powered by a dual core 3.6 GHz Intel "Core i5" I5-680 (Clarkdale) processor with a dedicated 256k level 2 cache for each core and a 4 MB shared level 3 cache. In lieu of a system bus, it has a "Direct Media Interface" (DMI) that "connects between the processor and chipset" at 2.5 GT/s.

That's all I will give you for tonight as It's past my bed time and they don't pay me for overtime. In fact they don't pay me at all, I'm just a volunteer here.

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I replaced a failed WD HDD with an SSD. The temperature sensor can be replaced with a 2N3904 transistor; base and collector to the black wire, emitter to the grey wire. For the WD cable the base can be soldered to the collector pin and cropped, the resulting 2-pin device plugs straight into the connector.


martin, I would love to see pictures of how this is done.


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Questa risposta era destinata originariamente a un'altra domanda.

You can use L3426 Xeon in this iMac!

Shows as an i3 but operates fully 4c/8t and boosts 1 core to 3.2 GHz or 2 cores to 3.06 GHz when needed Lower clock speed

Shows as a i3 in system profiler but runs well and is only 45w

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Thanks for the answer.

Are you sure it'll work in 21.5 imac?


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Carter Hobbs sarà eternamente grato.
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