You’ve seen the new iMac announced today, with a screen so thin (5mm at the edges) it looks like a sci-fi movie prop. As we’ve come to expect from Apple, impossibly thin PCs tend to have certain drawbacks. In the case of the New iMac… you probably won’t be getting into the case of the new iMac, at least for the 21.5″ model.
On a spec sheet provided by Apple, the 27″ iMac specifically lists “four user-accessible SO-DIMM slots”, which the 21.5″ model does not. The spec sheet also lists that the 21.5″ model is “only” configurable to 16GB of RAM, while the 27″ model is configurable up to 32GB. (That’s right, you can load the 27″ iMac with more RAM than the mid-range iPad’s accessible flash storage. But it will cost you.)
The lack of user-accessible SO-DIMM slots will likely mean that users will be stuck with Apple’s ridiculously priced memory. Apple currently sells standalone 16GB kits for the Mac Mini at $400; and you’ll likely have to select the option at configuration. For comparison, a compatible Mac memory kit from G.SKILL costs $74. Even if you want to spring for the high-end 16GB kit for Corsair, that’s only $114.99 on Newegg.
For those of us inclined to buy the cheaper third party memory for the 21.5″ model, we might be out of luck. Apple’s thin and light laptops and mobile devices have been scoring poorly for repairability. The MacBook Pro with Retina display received the lowest repairability score that iFixit has ever dished out: 1 out of 10. In fact, on that model, the RAM was soldered into the logic board, meaning upgrades are out of the question.
We don’t necessarily know that Apple will follow suit with the iMac. There have been anomalies, such as the iPhone 5 (which scored a 7 out of 10), but if you’re interested in upgrades, we recommend you wait for reviews, or iFixit’s tear-down, before you make an order for the new iMac.
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