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Teardown of Lower-Cost 2014 iMac Reveals Soldered Memory

imac_21_2014_mainAs we reported earlier today, Apple has released a new $1,099 iMac model with new specs including a 1.4GHz Dual-Core i5 processor (vs. a 2.7GHz i5 Quad-Core processor in the $1,299 model), a HD 5000 Graphics card and a 500GB hard drive.

Now that we’ve had time to teardown the new iMac, unlike the $1,299 iMac, we found this iMac has the memory soldered to the motherboard removing any possibility of adding additional memory. Users will be permanently locked in to the 8GB of memory, as there is no Apple factory upgrade option.

Check out the gallery below for a closer look at the new iMac model:

View a large image of the 2014 21.5” iMac motherboard here.

• Add Thunderbolt drives and more with OWC’s Thunderbolt Central.

• Add Blu-ray/DVD/CD drives, USB 3.0 drives with OWC.

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  • Just seeing this blog post. Seems like a great machine for the education market. Low price point and 8 GB should be fine for elementary and middle school. FWIW

  • People this computer is meant for the average joe who wants a dependable computer. People that propably aren’t concerned about playing games and how powerful the computer is. If you want power get a nicer imac model. Just like if you wanted a powerful apple laptop you would get the pro and not the air.

  • Does smack of early of pre Jobs return to Apple. This is not a bad machine but it’s just a stripped down machine at a price point. Nothing interesting. The whole imac line lacks vision right now. The main holdup is storage vs elegance vs price. PCIe ssd is amazing but is limited in storage space and high in price while HDD is cheap and is big in storage space, but slow. And Apple using 5400 rpm laptop drives in the 21 is silly… When Apple figures out how to put both packages (hybrid drive) in there (elegant ) at a good price point, then Apple has a smash hit on their hands. Until then, the imac is going to lose ground to laptops/airs. Which will be a less elegant, external monitor, external hard drives but give you portability. CPU speed is virtually a thing of the past as most of these CPU’s handle 90% of all tasks including photoshop, FCPX , Avid and Premeire. You can even run high end video/image production on these machines, at least to learn on or do a small project or two. The moment you do this work for pay on any consistant basis, you are onto a MacPro, an Old MacPro, Hack, or i7 top of the line iMac.

  • You better buy a Mac Book Air 11″+external monitor = cheaper and you get SSD instead of HD.

    Apple is running fast into pre-Jobs era, diversification instead of focusing good products.

  • If you dont like it, dont buy it. Looks like a heap of junk anyway. WAnt more memory, take a heat gun to it and ping those off – grown a pair and dig out your soldering iron!

    Angry Realist

  • OWC, you should have some insight on this question if anybody does:

    What’s the benefit from a hardware perspective of soldering the RAM? More reliable because of fewer moving parts? Or something more complex than that. What happens if the RAM goes bad, dead Mac? vs replaceable RAM, not dead Mac.

    Or, as is my initial reaction, this is purely a marketing move by Apple; non-upgradeable RAM means you have to buy a new Mac once/if you outgrow this one, instead of improving it down the line. Certainly not without precedent from Apple for a move like this, but I wonder if I’m being too cynical, if there actually is any benefit for the customer, rather than business tactics benefitting Apple’s bottom line.

  • At 8GB most people will never upgrade. Also if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

  • Apple are getting on my nerves. This smacks of profiteering and flies against their drive to be green.