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Model A1312 / Mid 2010 / 3.2 GHz Core i3 or 2.8 & 3.6 GHz Core i5 or 2.93 GHz Core i7, ID iMac11,3

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Can I upgrade my CPU on iMac from i5-2500S to i7-2600?

  • Current CPU: i5-2500S (2.7 GHz Sandy Bridge i5)
  • Upgrade to CPU: i7-2600 (3.4 GHz Sandy Bridge i7)

TPD is 65W on the i5, and 95W on the i7. Both share the same socket (LGA 1155)

I am considering a CPU upgrade (and an SSD upgrade while the beast is on the operating table!). I have heard some success stories on the mid 2010 models.

I want to hear from this community and see what the results are in real life trial (there is information out there that says it might be possible, but without any confirmation).

Cost of i7-2600 : $300

Resale value of the i5-2500S : about $150-$200 (OEMs get it for around $200)

For $150, I don't mind the cost of upgrade at all! :-)

I'll also be adding a SSD off the 6.0 Gb/s SATA port while I have this sucker open, and will also fit a eSATA port (as per OWC guide).

If I do decide to do this, I'll post extensive photos and instructions of the whole process.

I am familiar with the fairly detailed answer on EveryMac: Is it possible to upgrade CPU in the aluminum iMacs?

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I have the same iMac model but I can not figure out how you have an I5-2500S in a A1312 According to apple this CPU first appeared in the 2011 iMac. Is this correct? Thanks for your help.

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Definitely the S version in my system. I believe some of those CPU models are made specifically for inclusion in systems like this. These CPUs are about 100mhz slower than comparable "non-S" versions. Its one of those ways that they prevent selling these processors back in to the channel, as most enthusiasts will prefer the boxed/retail intel CPUs that obviously have a higher mhz count.

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According to Apple the mid 2010 iMac had an LGA1156 connector which does not accomodate an I5-2500S CPU. So do you have a mid 2010 or a mid 2011. My iMac is a mid 2010 A1312 EMC 2390 with a Core I3-550 CPU.

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I have upgraded 2 iMacs 27" 2010 from both i3 and i5 to this CPU:

i7 870 2.93 GHz (Lynnfield) . I can confirm the higher TDP makes it incompatible with the 21,5" iMac. I got these for $50 each. One was taken from a Acer Predator. Seems this was common in some high-end PCs around 2010/11.

Specs:

https://ark.intel.com/products/41315/Int...

Too bad this iMac only runs SATA 3 Gb/s and I guess if you have a i3 or i5 you have the 512MB video card. But even upgrading the i5 to this i7 CPU is very noticeable. Upgrading a i3 will give you a "new" machine :-) Find a good deal on a SSD, that is just as important as the CPU upgrade. My friends upgraded 2010 27" is now a work horse.

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Hi,

I used regluar i7-2600, not unlocked "K" SKU. So, it should be "BX80623I72600". And now, as I'm using this setup for a week, I can just say that there is not difference in system behaviour. So, system fans are not spinning faster, machine is not noisier, it's 100% stable system... iStat dashboard widget says that CPU temp right now is 43C (CPU fan 938 RPM). Simply, system works as it's supposed to work.

Unfortunately, similar applies for system speed - it's hard to notice big difference if you're "casual user" of computer.

PS: Before I put new CPU instead of old-one I changed thermal paste - I used Artic Silver thermal compound (2-3 eur/package).

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Thank you for coming back and sharing your experience. Would it be fair to say a casual user will see a faster boot time?

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Everything is stable with the i7 2600k, but I'm stuck in OSX Lion. Mountain Lion don't work!!

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Mountain Lion works with iMac 27" upgraded to regular i7-2600. I'm using it since first day - no glitches at all. Simply I don't see a difference between my iMac at home upgraded to i7-2600 and the one at work that came with i7-2600 preinstaled.

It might be problematic with i7-2600K as that one has similar specs but it has different CPUID code etc... Simply its not the same CPU.

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Portuguese: Deves ter problemas! fiz isso no iMac 27" e não arranca o Mountain Lion, suponho que por razoes EFI(bios).

English: You will have problems! I did it in iMac 27" and it would not start with Mountain Lion, I suspect the problem is the EFI (BIOS).

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Do not do this update! I had my imac a1311 emc 2428 with the i7 2600 for two days. Because of the update the machine was in kernel panics every 5 minutes or so. The 30W difference is unberable for the power phase design of the logic board for this imac regardless if your power supply can hadle the power consumption on paper. Even with the fans with max rpm the CPU still reaches easily 71°C which results in a panic moments later. Also the max temp for an i7 2600 according to Intel is 72.6°C. I have many CPU swaps in my past. You could burn a CPU, a logic board, a PSU or a combination of these in the long run. Do not do this update!

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The I7 2600 S will work all the way up too High Sierra.

While you'er in their add a pair of Samsung SSD 's and run them in RAID 0 config (Either take the optical drive out and use the spare SATA port or pull the HD) and max out the RAM. You'll think you'er using a 2017 system! The speed is amazing. I built one a little while ago and I'm about to build another.

Oh, by the way use a high quality thermal paste on the CPU and GPU chips while your in there too.

Have fun... Gerard

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Do you max out the ram for the old cpu at 16gb or will all the other components support the 32gb the i7 will handle?

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Looking forward to doing the same myself. I just got a 21" '11 for $200 to replace my 08. Looking forward to getting the new model speeds.

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Hi @gerard1021 I wonder about the power draw when upgrading. The i7 2600 (not S) uses 95W TDP and the original 65W. Will that be an issue? It says on the everymac page that this is an issue. I remember trying to upgrade an imac 2010 and it just would not boot with an i7 CPU. Is it different for 2011 modell. I have one I would like to upgrade with an i7-2600 ($60 on ebay)

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Hi!

The "S" CPU draw less power, around 82watts instead of the 95watts for the regular, if I remember well.

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Hey @gerard1021 hows the iMac running. Can you upload pic/video of specs? maybe a step by step, how to? thanks

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Hi,

@ABCellars

I got much faster boot times but that's because I primarily did upgrade because of SSD installation. I installed Intel SSD 510 250 GB as well so boot time is now just couple of seconds.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/802...

@Aman Patel

Here are some benchmarks. I don't have XBench but you can see here Cinebench and Geekbench.

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/20/...

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/703...

PS: OK, I downloaded XBench as well and I realized that it doesn't work under Lion... It hangs on Thread Test... Here is screenshot of test completed but without Thread component...

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/856...

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please stop mentioning SSD upgrade and keep on the original subject with CPU upgrade possibility, because this makes the article too long to read and give no informations about CPU, the SSD upgrade is possible for all mac products and everyone know it.

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I upgraded a year ago. No problems ever. Just make sure you connect all the cables as they were after you are done with the upgrades.

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John:

Which of the two available Core i7-2600 1155 Socket CPUs did you use?

The one with "Intel HD Graphics 2000" in its name or "Intel HD Graphics 3000"?

BX80623I72600 or BX80623I72600K

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Can you go any higher than the i7-2600 in the mid 2011 imacs?

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The limit here is the socket and the systems power (TPD). Intel so far does not offer a replacement CPU that fits the socket and also meets the limitation of TPD this system has.

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Today I took the plunge & was able to upgrade my 2011 27" Core i5 2.7Ghz iMac to a Core i7-2600S. I followed the instructions here using the regular i7-2600S (BX80623I72600S), not the unlocked "2600K" version & using the instructions here on ifixit for the Dual Hard Drive Kit "安装iMac Intel 27" EMC 2429 双驱动器组件(机械硬盘或固态硬盘) as a guide for disassembly & reassembly.

Everything is working without a hitch. iMac is running like a champ now.

It was tedious, but not that difficult. The hardest part was getting the dust off the LCD between the glass at the end.

Well worth the effort. For the same price of Apple's SSD upgrade cost I was able to get a 256Gb SSD & a Core i7.

Thanks everyone for this thread & site. I probably wouldn't have attempted it without it.

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I can report successful replacement with i7 2600S in 3 iMacs 27" mid-2011 + installation of Samsung 830 series SSD's.

I experience an overall snappier performance due to the SSD; processor intensive tasks like video conversion and photo editing are also significantly faster.

No Mountain Lion issues at all.

Benchmarks: http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/53/sc...

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There seems to be no clear answer in this thread! I would like to update my iMac 27 - Mid 2011 - Core i5 (I5-2500S) @ 2.7GHz to a i7 processor and still be compatible with El Captain or Sierra.

So far from what I can understand these two i7 processors Apple used in the iMac 27"

  • Core i7 (I7-2600S) 2.8 GHz - S being the lower power version of the i7
  • Core i7 (I7-2600) 3.4 GHz - Locked i7

And then there is also this CPU:

  • Core i7 (I7-2600K) 3.4 GHz - K meaning its unlocked & overclockable

So question is what CPU to use??

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Hi,

I've done the upgrade using Core i7 (I7-2600) 3.4 GHz - Locked i7 : it's working fine with El Captain.

Fabio

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Your only choice is the i7-2600S chip the i7-2600-K version is useless as you can't over clock the system without having both power & thermal issues, besides it won't let you run the newer versions of OS as others have noted.

The standard version of the chip i7-2600 requires more power than the system is able to support.

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i have same problem too, the final answer is i7-2600S????

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As long as its not the "K" version, you will be fine. i7-2600-k does not work.

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Hi...

I'm from Portugal, and I was thinking to upgrade my iMac 21'5 2011, from a i5 2500s to a i7 2600k (I can't find the 2600 right now), so... can I upgrade with the i7 2600k??

Tks!

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Could I do this with a 2011 iMac 21.5 in? I currently have the 2.7ghz version and I curious about going to 3.4ghz.

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i had the exactly the same questions as you.

Have you done this upgrade?

If so have you had any issues?

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No, You need to stay with the i7-2600S chip. The i7-2600K won't work with newer OS's per what others have learned (see above).

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In a 21 inch Imac only the 2600s works because of the power draw... there is not a lot of performance gained from switching from an i5 to an i7...you will however see pretty good speed by adding 1 or 2 Samsung ssd's and 16 or 32 gb's of ram … I usually go two ssd's in raid 0 and max out the ram. 2011 imacs are the first year that apple upped the speed to accommodate 6gb's. However I have put an adata ssd in a 2010 and upped the ram with good results as well. just know that in 2010 the 21,5 iMacs were limited to a speed of 3gb's.

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Hi i can confirm my iMac Late 2011 21,5” get the i7 2600 upgrade, i ve done the upgrade 1 hour ago and testing the system now. I will post my expirience after a while.

What i have done, is i ve removed the dvd drive for more power safing because auf the 205W power supply.

I ve noticed a very loud odd fan after this removing. The fan is running about 4000rpm.

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This will be the ODD fan. Because the thermal sensor on the DVD drive is not connected, the ODD fan will be running at 100%. Easiest fix is to just reconnect the thermal sensor cable.

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Do not do this upgrade! I had my iMac a1311 emc 2428 with the i7 2600 from i5 2400s for two days. Because of this update the iMac was in kernel panics every 5 minutes or so. The 30W difference is unbearable for the power phase design of the logic board that this iMac have regardless if your power supply can handle the power consumption on paper. Even with the fans with max rpm the CPU still reaches easily 71°C which results in a panic moments later. Also the max temp for an i7 2600 according to Intel is 72.6°C. I have many CPU swaps in my past. Even if your machine is able to handle this update for some reason you risk burning a CPU, a logic board, a PSU or a combination of these in the long run. Do not do this upgrade!

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Your iMac is 21.5" it can't support the NON S processors, only the 27", the termal is different. That explain your Kernel Panincs, you should must search more and buy the i7 2600S.

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Has anyone tried running the 45w e3-1260l in the Mac?

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ive wondered about the core 2 quads that are same socket as many core 2 duo used. Ive swapped them in the pc world with out issue.

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Hi do you think the i7-4770S still work for my iMac 21,5??? 65W too. That’s the i7 of the late 2013 iMac, and soon I put the 765M GPU the GPU of 27” iMac 2013 too.

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You can run a 4770S but your current CPU is soldered in place, your ram can be upgraded to 16 gb of ddr3 1600. ( 2x8gb). Your graphics card can be easily upgraded to a 780gt but I would keep the amount of ram down to 3 to 4 gb because of heat… The cpu can be replaced but it’s not a job you can do yourself as it requires alot of skill and some equipment. The most difficult part of your upgrade will be removing the outer panel without breaking the glass as it’s glued to the lcd screen and the whole thing is glued into the case…Your current Graphics card is most likely a 750gt with 1gb of ram. Make sure the graphics card you use has a bootable bios or you’ll have to flash it.

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I have the 21,5 MID 2011 iMac (sorry for my bad English, French...)

I have already opened the glass for SSD Upgrade :) Thanks

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so it's possible?

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Yoan, having read similar threads on CPU upgrades for these model iMacs, I very much doubt it. It's not simply TDP you have to contend with - apart from the socket type (1156 HP2) the chip architecture needs to be in sync with the motherboard. additionally, later versions of the Mac OS look for official combinations of components so if you have something "non-standard" then the iMac probably won't complete booting up...

Btw, on the subject of power usage, I have read that 27" 2010 iMac had the most powerful power unit out of the 2009 - 2011 iMac models at 310 Watts. It won't solve all the problems but it could be useful to someone who's adventurous enough to try it!

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