2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
Iris Pro graphics
PCIe flash SSD available
We had to do some digging and actually remove the logic board from the iMac. We don’t like work. Work is hard. But the reward was certainly worth the effort.
Our base-model 21.5″ iMac now features an empty PCIe SSD slot, ready and waiting for eager money-saving DIY upgraders everywhere.
Marked as BCM94360CD, this Broadcom AirPort card boasts support for the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
Not the first Mac to get updated with the new ac standard, we expected to see some similar hardware as in the refreshed MacBook Airs from earlier this year.
What’s under the hood?
Broadcom BCM4360KML1G 5G WiFi 3-stream 802.11ac gigabit transceiver—as expected, this is the same chip driving the ac Wi-Fi in the 11″ and 13″ MacBook Air
Three Skyworks SE5516: dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN front-end modules
Broadcom BCM20702 single-chip Bluetooth 4.0 HCI solution with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) support
Apple’s iterative streamlining is again in effect, with a slimmed down and beautified CPU heat sink.
We compared this new heat sink to last November’s bigger, beefier, and more securely-fastened spidery mess, and started to wonder what changed to allow such a slender ‘sink.
The truth was alarming—the CPU is soldered in place on the logic board, and cannot be removed, replaced, or upgraded.
As far as we can tell, this is the first aluminum iMac to have a soldered CPU; it’s a silent, but clear, shift to even poorer iMac upgradeability.
iMac 21.5″ EMC 2638 Repairability Score: 2 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)
You can still replace the RAM and hard drive inside this machine…with a lot of adhesive cutting.
Budget-minded folks now can add a second hard drive to the base iMac because the Fusion Drive connector is no longer missing from the logic board.
The CPU is soldered to the logic board, and cannot be replaced or upgraded.
The glass and LCD are fused together, and there are no more magnets holding the glass in place.
Most replaceable components (like the RAM) are buried behind the logic board, meaning you’ll have to take apart most of the iMac just to gain access to them.
You’ll have to masterfully peel off the old double-sided sticky tape and apply new tape in order to reseal this iMac into original condition.