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Modelli A1419 / Fine 2012 / Processori 2.9 & 3.2 GHz Core i5 o 3.4 GHz Core i7, ID iMac13,2

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What's the highest CPU I can install?


iMac 27 Late 2012 - A1419 - EMC 2546 - ID iMac13,2

I want to upgrade the mac to highest possible. Yeah, buying a new one is a solution, which will be done in 1-2 years, but for now, I want to repair this one.

1- RAM installation is easy, thanks to the backdoor. Now, I have 2 x 4GB installed (not sure, because iMac is not working now and not here) You recommend 4 x 8?

2- CPU, not sure which one I have. What’s the highest possible I can upgrade to? And is it really needed? This will help me to install a later version of OS?

3-SSD. I, sure, need to change the HDD, actually this is where the story began. Kept beachballing forever. Now, there’re 2 options, first is the one on the logic board, a stick SSD. And the second one is the current HDD to SSD. Making both together is ok? Or only a HDD-to-SSD is enough? And what’s the best and newest SSD I can install? EVO 870 or 960 ok?

Thanks & Regards,


Risposto! Visualizza la risposta Anch'io ho questo problema

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I would first fix your systems before you start buying and replacing things. Without a working baseline you risk spending extra time trying to get your system going needlessly, and you might find the logic board its self is gone.


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Soluzione Prescelta

1 - Your system can support upto 32GB of RAM

2 - The highest performing CPU your system can support is a 3.9 GHz Core i7 (3770) Ivy Bridge. The systems EFI (BIOS) firmware holds the needed microcode for the CPU each generation of Intel chips use different microcode. Your system can only support Ivy Bridge based CPU’s

3 - Drive upgrades:

  • 3.5” HDD port - Upgrading your current HDD to a SSD will require a thermal sensor as Apple had custom drives made setup to use the internal drives diagnostic thermal sensor to report the drives temp to the System Management Controller (SMC). So in replacing the drive you need to supply a new thermal input for the system to work properly iMac Intel 21.5" and 27" (Late 2012-Early 2019) SSD Temperature Sensor and here’s the guide Sostituzione Hard Drive iMac Intel 27" EMC 2546
  • Blade SSD port - Installing a blade SSD can offer a fair amount of zip! Its just a pain to put in and Apple did their own thing from what the standard group came out with. Here’s more on the Apple blade SSD’s The Ultimate Guide to Apple’s Proprietary SSDs. Sadly its only a mSATA interface which like the HDD’s SATA interface I/O speed is only 6.0 Gb/s. The newer NVMe drives won’t work in this system.

Update (12/12/2021)

@akaydin - Given your applications I would put my efforts setting up both drives so you can straddle the load across both drives to increase the collective performance given this systems limits.

Now a bit of a downer - Apples newer macOS releases use an improved file system but its intended for PCIe drives not SATA/mSATA !! Sierra is last version of HFS+ file system and High Sierra was the first release of APFS (it has its issues I really recommend going to Mojave if your system can support it).

So let's look at the cost factors here between all of the enhancements is the investment worth it?

I would seriously look at a used newer iMac like a Late 27" 2015 5K system which offers better performance and has a PCIe blade interface to support higher speed drives (NVMe/PCIe 4 lane)

To answer your followup questions:

Stick with the older macOS Sierra if you can, if your apps require something newer stick with Mojave. If you need (desire) Catalina its time to get a new system.

Real RAM vs Virtual RAM (VRAM) - Depending on your usage real RAM is best, but even that has its limits cost wise and the systems limitations. As and example I have a 2013 Mac Pro which I have 128 GB of RAM as the work I was doing required a very large memory space, I had tried using the NVMe/PCIe 4 lane interface with a large 2TB SSD but it was still bottlenecking with all of the I/O I was pressing on it so reducing the need for VRAM made a big difference! But that's my workflow not yours

Who’s SSD? - I prefer Samsung SSD's and they are still the performance/lifespan leader with SATA based SSD drives.

But let's dig a bit into this as people don't get that fact most SATA SSD's read performance is at the limit of the 6.0 Gb/s I/O SATA III interface. So like driving a car that maxes out at the roads speed limit it can't go faster can it! Remember I said Read Write speed is a different issue! Here a quick write operation is no big issue, its the long write operations and the high speed ping-pong that is a concern as well as the drives lifespan.

Adapters! Yes you need a frame to adjust 3.5" HDD bay to support the 2.5" SSD you are putting in Inateck SSD Mounting Bracket 2.5 to 3.5 Adapter

Can I use Samsung 960 Pro blade SSD - Nope! That requires a M.2 PCIe/NVMe interface The Blade interface this system offers is a custom Apple mSATA interface so it just won’t work

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You only have the Red side, the Samsung 960 Pro requires the Yellow and Mauve connection pathway. The second issue is Apple’s interface is custom its not M.2 compliant! So you can’t use M.2 drives really in any Mac system. Yes, there are some adapters some people have tried and they do appear to work, but it turns out there’s a bit more that these adapters fail to bring forward as Apples SSD’s have and the M.2 interface/drives doesn’t offer these lines. I’ve pullout a ton of these from systems as they fail when pressed hard. Please use the proper SSD either the Apple custom drives made by Samsung or OWC.

Upgrading CPU’s - As I expressed you are limited to Ivy Bridge CPU’s as your system was not designed to support higher wattage CPU’s as well as the micro-code held in the systems EFI (BIOS) is not able to support anything newer.

Lets think it like this I have an old 1962 VW Beetle with an air cooled engine can I put in a 200 VW Beetle engine? They are both offered as a VW Beetle and they look very similar! So the newer engine should fit, right??

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NOPE can’t! The older Beetle engine is in the back, and the newer has the engine in the front!

Basically, its the same issue here! Need to use the proper CPU for your system and no the super powerful Intel Comet Lake i9 won’t work!

Immagine iMac Intel 21.5" and 27" (Late 2012-Early 2019) SSD Temperature Sensor


iMac Intel 21.5" and 27" (Late 2012-Early 2019) SSD Temperature Sensor


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@danj thank you for the comment.

What’s your recommendation?

After updating to Catalina, iMac started to display that beach ball cursor. Actually, never ever had an issue in the past. I use Illustrator, Code, Photoshop and a coding environment, and never had an issue in the past.

Then made some research and figured out it was disc error, don’t remember the exact result, but it was something like lifetime of HDD was over.

I have 2 x 4GB installed. I will add another 2 x 4. (Sure I can make it 4 x 8, but do I really need?)

I have a 1TB HDD, I will replace it with a Samsung EVO 860. Can I use 960 Pro? Some recommended Crucial MX. Is it better? What’s the highest Some says thermal sensor needed, some says not. Some says an adaptor for 3,5” case needed, some says not. Can I use the outer cage of the current HDD? Or should I purchase an adapter as well?

About the CPU, I saw tons of videos on youtube, replacing the CPU and upgrading. I did not understand why I can’t upgrade mine. Can you be more explicit?

And, there’s a blade SSD, have you ever tried? Any feedback? P12 model is compatible with my system?




@akaydin - The Fledging mSATA blade SSD is what you'll need between all of their offerings sadly its not clear from their compatibility guide and spec sheet if the P12 - 2546 is a mSATA or not.

I don't have any history with their drives and a few people here did have problems with them about a year ago. I don't know if these are just modified M.2 drives or if they made the effort to design from the ground up a fully compatible drive like OWC and Transcend did.


After reading @danj comment:

1- I won’t upgrade the CPU. It could be a good idea may be 4-5 years ago, when Late 2012 was not a classic yet.

2- I won’t touch the blade SSD, it won’t have a “miracle” effect.

3- I will replace the 1TB HDD with a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB or 500GB, that’s all. (850 or 860, I will take a deep look.)

I have an iMac 21.5 Mid 2014, mac mini Late 2012, MacBook Pro 13 Late 2012. Good old days, when I was running my own tech company, now I need to renew all. Tried my change if upgrading is an option, but seems it’s little bit late for that.

Thanks @danj



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AK Aydin sarà eternamente grato.
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