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Model A1312 / Mid 2011 / 2.7 & 3.1 GHz Core i5 or 3.4 GHz Core i7 Processor, ID iMac12,2

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Upgrade iMac Intel Core i5 CPU to Intel Core i7

I have an iMac 27-Inch Mid-2011 Core i5 (i5-2400) 3.1 GHz

is it possible to upgrade from Intel Core i5 CPU to Intel Core i7 if so which i7 do I need to look out for?

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Hi, Kian. I have the same iMac as yours. What is the system version you are using now? Someone told me if I upgraded i7 2600 CPU, I could stuck at low version system.

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Both have an LGA 1155 (Socket H2)*

3.1 GHz Processor Type:Core i5 (I5-2400)

Geekbench 2 (32):8357 Geekbench 2 (64):8878

3.4 GHz Core i7 (I7-2600)

Geekbench 2 (32):11648 Geekbench 2 (64):12651

This upgrade appears to be worth the time and trouble.

However the addition of an SSD or SSHD drive may give you a bigger bang for the buck.

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Thanks for the reply I installed an SSD myself so the iMac has an SSD and the original HD both inside the iMac plus 26 GB Ram and plan to upgrade soon so has the full 32 GB Ram

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@kian32 do you have any software that will even utilize the RAM you currently have?

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Yes @mayer sometimes when I am woking with the programs I use. Out of the 26 GB Ram I have there is only 2-3 GB Ram Free

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In terms of the value proposition, I am going to mirror the thoughts of @danj and @mayer. While you can do it, I would only do it if you are able to do source a complete system with the CPU or purchase one from a system that’s tested and known to work. While CPU’s rarely fail, they can fail and you will have to do so much work swapping it you're better off paying more for a tested CPU.

This isn’t your standard PC where you have access once the side panel is removed, so if the CPU is bad you will need to take the entire system apart again to replace the old CPU. You cannot find a new Sandy Bridge CPU unless someone bought one and never used it and are wiling to sell it to you as NOS.

While I have my reservations on recommending this upgrade, the guide to do it can be found here. This isn’t for your exact iMac but the disassembly should be similar or the same. When you get to the motherboard, take your time to avoid breaking anything.

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Thank you for this very much Appreciated @nick

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Decided to run Geekbench 4 to get my score and this is the results I got as well as a comparison and with what I can see I do not think I will go ahead and upgrade the cpu to the i7 (At least not at this moment in time anyway)

My iMac Geekbench 4 score Intel 64bit Scan Results

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011 - i5)

Single-Core

Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.1 GHz (4 cores) - 3338

Multi-Core

Intel Core i5-2400 @ 3.1 GHz (4 cores) - 9698

Comparison

iMac (27-inch Mid 2011- i7)

Single-Core

Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.4 GHz (4 cores) - 3503 (165 Difference to the i5)

Multi-Core

Intel Core i7-2600 @ 3.4 GHz (4 cores) - 11040 (1342 Difference to the i5)

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While its possible, I don’t recommend it. You have a few things here that make this hard. First finding the correct chip 3.4 GHz Core i7 (I7-2600) is the only i7 chip that will work. Finding one new (unused) will be difficult! All I’ve been able to find are recovered chips which may not work. Its also a lot of work for not much gain.

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Friend of mine has got for sale - 3.4 GHz Core i7 (i7-2600) (Used) it is fully working so would this be ok to use?

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Just consider the amount of work if it fails and if you mess up you have a paper weight.

I agree with Mayer I would focus on the easier things first! And they will give you more bang for the buck. Max out the RAM 16 GB, Putting in a SSD even as a second drive or replacing your current HD for a SSHD drive.

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CPU's rarely fail, but it's best to get them from a complete system to be sure it isn't dead, if possible. As long as it looks good, it's probably okay. It looks like the majority of gains are going to be within ~2-3k performance points - hardly worth the time or risk unless the price is really good.

That said, I agree with @danj on the benefit being minimal. The performance differential between many i5 and i7 chips is minimal enough it only makes sense if you get the CPU for next to nothing or free. I also agree with @mayer that installing the maximum amount of RAM and replacing the stock drive is a better way to gain performance.

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The CPU I can get is from a complete system and has been fully tested and is working fine. The price he wants for it is £60 @nick

I installed an SSD myself so the iMac has an SSD and the original HD both inside the iMac plus also installed is 26 GB Ram @danj @nick

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That's good you know the CPU works. While the gains are minimal at best, that's not a bad price at $77 USD (£60) when I did the conversion. If you can replace it without damaging the machine it may be worth considering.

The average price for the i7-2600 in the US is ~$85-90 when I check eBay.

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