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Unboxing and Teardown of the 2015 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display

Mere hours after Apple announced the new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display options along with the new, lower entry level pricing on that model – OWC has obtained the newest model and finished our unboxing and teardown.

While the 3.5GHz and 4.0GHz models are identical, the 3.3GHz model does utilize a AMD Radeon R9 M290 graphics processor (as opposed to the AMD Radeon R9 M290X or optional AMD Radeon R9 M295X of the faster machines). While all three support the full native resolution of 5120‑by‑2880 as well as up to 3840-by-2160 on an external display the R9 M290 has a GPU Clock speed of 947MHz while the M290X boasts a full 1GHz. In our initial testing, we really aren’t noting any real-world differences between the two so far.

OWC Memory Upgrades Up to 32GB
We’ve also confirmed
that the new models can take up to 32GB of memory which we have available immediately.

The SSD Upgrade Slot Is Still There
OWC HDD Upgrades – OWC SSD Upgrades Coming Soon : )

Additionally, all the models do have a 2-lane PCIe slot (whether ordered with an SSD or not) and we’ve tested it works with other Apple SSDs. There’s definitely a noticeable difference in startup times when booting from the 3.5″ Seagate drive versus the PCIe SSD.  If you’re looking for more capacity, we do offer the OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor for this model and our own flash upgrade will be coming soon for these as well.

So, without further ado… here’s the unboxing and teardown galleries for your viewing pleasure:

OWC Unboxing iMac 5K 2015:

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OWC Memory Upgrade for iMac 5K 2015:

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OWC Teardown of the iMac 5K 2015:

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  • I have a late 2015 imac27 with standard 1tb drive. I want to add 2nd ssd stick to existing unused pci slot. What ssd type is needed??? Thanks

  • OWC, Looking for SSD upgrade PCIe based slot.. please save my life :) SATA drive is slow… :) I would like to keep as 2nd volume and install SSD in the PCIe slot.

  • OWC, thank you for doing this and you are going to save my life from a slow booting iMac.

    I am looking to buy when you guys have the SSD upgrade available for the PCIe based slot. When do you think this will be?

    • Hi, Tim. We’re not ready to make any announcements yet but when we are, you will hear it first here on the Rocket Yard.

      • Thank you Jarrod.

        Another quick question. If I chose to change the hard drive with OWC In-line Digital Thermal Sensor, speeds would be the same, but I wouldn’t be able to utilize the current stock HD that I have right now right?

        • Hello Tim,

          If you choose to change the stock HDD in this computer, you can only utilize it externally.

          Here at OWC we do offer compatible external cases for the stock HDDs. Please take a look at all of our 3.5″ external cases.

          If you have any questions, please contact OWC!

  • Hi, I currently have a late 2009 iMac with ssd – amazing speed difference. I would like to have the new 2015 iMac but don’t want to pay apple for their ridiculously priced ssd! If I understand this post correctly, I can buy the cheapest model and fit my own ssd? Thanks

    • If you are brave and have the tools and skill to open a new iMac 5k. Also if you have a fusion drive there is already a blade ssd and harddrive in the unit. Replacing either will break the fusion bond. You will have to recreate it or use each drive as a separate harddrive.

      • Thanks Eric. No I’m not brave! What are my options please? I would like 1tb ssd but don’t want to pay Apple rip off price for it! Thanks, David

  • Too bad the drive upgrades are not available now. I had an iMac with a hardware failure so will need to buy a new one in around a week. Given that, my current idea is to use an apple SSD (maybe a 512 so there is plenty of room for the SSD equivalent of “dead pixels”) for the internal and hook up an OWC external tbolt HDD. Or do people have a better suggestion?

    My own iMac boots off an external OWC SSD and the internal is an apple HDD. However since the problem with the other one is a busted fan I would rather not have something that will fail if the fan does deep in the guts of an iMac.

  • I wanted to give props to OWC. I recently upgraded my iMac 5K memory using Crucial chips (from amazon). Those chips caused the sleep/wake feature to malfunction. Basically the iMac never woke up. I returned those chips and bought the 16GB kit from OWC and they work perfectly with no sleep/wake issues.

  • I have the 512GB Flash drive unit ordered from Apple. Did they install a 2.5″SSD or a PCIe based flash drive?

    • My guess would be that they placed a 512GB blade in the slot on the motherboard and left out the seagate hard drive. Not sure if they left the cable connection should you want add more storage later.

    • It’s a PCIE drive, the space for the HDD is empty and there are no cables for you to install a 2.5″SSD

  • I just purchased this iMac Retina (same specs) and swapped out the spinning HDD for an SSD using the 3.5″ adaptadrive and the digital thermal cable upgrade kit. Also added 16 more GB of RAM to the 8GB it comes with. Saved hundreds thanks to OWC!!

  • I wanted to hear your excitement and comments as you were opening everything up. Not a lot of pictures.

  • WHAT???? I did notice the M290 vs. M290X on apple’s site and thought it was a typo.

    How can this BE??? The M290X is already wayyyyyy too underpowered with horrible lag and stuttering, even when only doing things like activate Mission Control. Even when I had the one with the M295X, the 5K iMac used 80-90% of the available GDDR5, which is a full 4GB in the M295X.

  • Great write up. Question, did they change the design of the screen hinge mechanism. It was prone to breaking.

  • If I buy a 2015 iMac with a 256 SSD can I later add a second SSD?

    I assume the SSD’s are actually blades?

  • Very Interesting – Thanks for posting. There is an Apple 27″ iMac with Retina 5K Display available listing the following specs: 5120×2880, Intel Core i7 Quad-Core 4.0GHz, 16GB RAM, 3TB Fusion Drive + 128GB Flash, AMD Radeon M295X, Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite (Late 2014)

    My question: Is the 128GB flash drive internal or just a USB plug in? I’m interested because it sounds like the best of both worlds.

  • Thanks for this! I have been thinking I’d have to get a Mac Pro soon… as I am upgrading my pro camera to the new Canon 5DRS, with 51 mp per image. My 2012 iMac is already a bit too slow for processing the 32 mp images. But now I wonder whether or not this new iMac would do. Questions: If I get this one, and wanted to MAX out it’s speed (for drives and memory), what would I need to get configured from Apple… and what upgrades could I get from OWC?

  • Nice set of photos! I bought a Mac Pro last year togo with my 30″ and 20″ Cinema Displays (matte screens) but now you’ve got me craving one of these new 27″ iMacs with the 5K screens. I’ll have to check them out at my local Best Buy/Apple Store or take the trek into Tampa to the Apple Store to see what the fuss is about the new screens. I love my Cinema Displays, so how much better could these Retina Displays be? Guess I’m going to find out. The only thing that could have been better is if you’d video’d the unboxing and teardown with commentary along the way.

  • So can I swap out the Seagate spinning drive and replace it with an SSD inside your 2.5″ to 3.5″ converter bay? And is the harddrive install video for the iMac 27″ late 2013 (non-retina) close enough to get me there? Or is there something critical that missing that I would need to wait for an install video for the Retina iMacs?

  • Is it possible to have both a PCIe SSD AND a 3.5 HDD running in there at once?

      • Loving your work guys. I have the Imac 5k 4.0ghz 295x 512gb ssd 32gb ram can I a second internal ssd later.

        • Hello Roxi,

          At this time OWC does not have compatible PCIe SSDs for the Imac 5k 4.0ghz. The SSD upgrade slot is still physically in the computer and OWC upgrades will be coming soon.

          To keep up to date with any new product releases, please feel free to keep following the blog and sign up for the OWC newsletter!

      • if you were to buy the unit with a Flash drive, is it installed in the PCIe slot or the SATA slot?