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iFixit dissects new iMac, likes specs, pans repairability

updated 11:40 pm EST, Sun December 2, 2012

New iMac gets 3 out of 10 in repairability

Computer and gadget repair site iFixit has performed the requisite teardown of Apple's new 21.5-inch iMac, gauging the new desktop's internals as well as the ease in repairing it. The repair company positive things to say about Apple's new desktop, calling its internals "commendable." Its repairability, though, is quite another story, with the 21.5-inch all-in-one scoring just 3 out of a possible 10 on iFixit's scale.

Disassembling the iMac's case requires the use of a heat gun and guitar pick to undo the adhesive holding the display down. The iMac receives low marks for Apple's choice of fusing the front glass to the LCD, meaning that replacing either will require the replacement of both.

iFixit notes that "nothing about the inside of this iMac resembles last year's model," a testament to the reengineering Apple's desktop has undergone in order to make it as thin as it is. Apple has opted for a 2.5-inch laptop drive instead of the traditional 3.5-inch desktop drive, which saves space within the machine. Apparently in order to keep the hard drive's vibrations from carrying through to other components, Apple has wrapped the hard drive in a rubber cushion, which absorbs the hard drive's movements.

The site describes speaker removal as "nerve-wracking," and the supposedly "user-replaceable" RAM in the new iMac gets low marks since one must unglue the screen and remove the logic board in order to replace it.

In all, iFixit gives the desktop's internals positive points, but the difficulty of disassembly garners the slim desktop a 3 out of 10. iFixit notes that the RAM, hard drive, and CPU are in fact replaceable, but they require a difficult process in order to get to them. Since the replaceable components are held behind the logic board, one must take apart most of the machine in order to access them.

iFixit's examinations of Apple products have generated some controversy over the past several months. The site's teardown of the Retina MacBook Pro dubbed it the "least repairable laptop" it had ever taken apart, due to its glued-in components and soldered-in RAM.

That estimation led to iFixit crying foul when the EPEAT environmental certification program gave the Retina MacBook its highest certification. iFixit's founder claimed EPEAT's granting of Gold status for the Retina MacBook constituted "greenwashing" and a diminishment of the standard itself. EPEAT fired back claiming that its standards were still valid and that they would be continually reworked in order to take into account the changing face of consumer technology. Apple's press release announcing the new iMac claims that it achieved an EPEAT Gold rating.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. VoiceOfReason

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-11-12

    Huh? Apple has no problems repairing iMacs, but iFixIt does? I couldn't care less.

  1. Ben IncaHutz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-28-12

    voiceofreason is insane. Yes Apple can fix computers they built but Apple also charges 4 times the normal price for memory and other parts.

    Appe will fix it .... for a steep price.

    I guess the name "ifixit" is lost on you.

  1. cvbcvb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-03-03

    Originally Posted by Ben IncaHutzView Post

    Appe will fix it .... for a steep price.



    Nope, AppleCare...

  1. Ben IncaHutz

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 09-28-12

    Thats right, AppleCare is free! Right?

    Oh, its not? So paying extra money at the top of purchase is okay with you?

    Yes there is sucker born every minute!

  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    iFixit is a group of dinosaurs who want us to go back to the caveman era so that we can have huge devices that let repair techs have enough room in them to 'rewire' them and replace every single component while wearing boxing gloves. There is little need for the average user to ever take apart their Macs and fiddle with things. iFixit are a bunch of self serving tool salesbos and don't deserve our time.

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-03-99

    Originally Posted by ElectroTechView Post

    iFixit is a group of dinosaurs who want us to go back to the caveman era so that we can have huge devices that let repair techs have enough room in them to 'rewire' them and replace every single component while wearing boxing gloves. There is little need for the average user to ever take apart their Macs and fiddle with things. iFixit are a bunch of self serving tool salesbos and don't deserve our time.



    This sounds familiar.. oh yeah, there it is: http://forums.macnn.com/forums/posts/by_user/id/125859 . Three out of your 7 posts are ifixit-bashing.. What did they do to you?

    I fail to understand by what mean saving hundreds of dollars on RAM and HD upgrades bring us to the caveman era... No need to open our Mac? What about at least finding better prices online on memory? SSD prices are currently high.. I MAY want to put one in later. That or replace a broken fan or failed HD...

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    When 99+% of Apple users take the machines to authorized Apple repair facilities, why should Apple compromise on design to make their machines more "repairable?" The thin designs have gotten Apple a lot of sales in the recent years, and the competition is bending over backwards to copy them. Seems they're doing the right thing.

  1. bdmarsh

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-17-06

    "The site describes speaker removal as "nerve-wracking," and the supposedly "user-replaceable" RAM in the new iMac gets low marks since one must unglue the screen and remove the logic board in order to replace it."

    Apple does not claim the 21.5" iMac has user-replaceable ram. Only the 27" has that indication.

  1. FireWire

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-03-99

    Maybe they are taking their computer to Apple *because* of their design.. Before you could just pop a latch and you had access to everything. There was 6-12 RAM slots, 3-6 PCI slots, 2 SCSI cables for HD, etc.. When style is more important than function, there's a problem.. because of their obession with thinness, we lose the optical drive (yeah, a thing on your desktop connected with a cable is more elegant than a few more mm...), a slower HD, a laptop graphic card, crappy speakers.. great deal! I never heard anyone ask for a thinner computer, never heard someone say "damn, I'd buy a mac but I can't bring myself to buy a computer that it, gasp, 1" thick.."

  1. cvbcvb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-03-03

    Originally Posted by Ben IncaHutzView Post

    Thats right, AppleCare is free! Right?
    Oh, its not? So paying extra money at the top of purchase is okay with you?
    Yes there is sucker born every minute!



    Being wise with one's money is not being a "sucker". I've bought several Macbook Pro's over the years and purchased AppleCare for each. Using an AmEx card extended the warranty out to 4 years total. Considering the repairs required, Applecare was "extra money" well worth spent...

  1. Spheric Harlot

    Clinically Insane

    Joined: 11-07-99

    Originally Posted by FireWireView Post

    Maybe they are taking their computer to Apple *because* of their design.. Before you could just pop a latch and you had access to everything. There was 6-12 RAM slots, 3-6 PCI slots, 2 SCSI cables for HD, etc.. When style is more important than function, there's a problem.. because of their obession with thinness, we lose the optical drive (yeah, a thing on your desktop connected with a cable is more elegant than a few more mm...), a slower HD, a laptop graphic card, crappy speakers.. great deal! I never heard anyone ask for a thinner computer, never heard someone say "damn, I'd buy a mac but I can't bring myself to buy a computer that it, gasp, 1" thick.."



    Conversely, you've probably never heard anybody (outside these forums) actually tell you why they did buy a Mac, have you?

    For most "ordinary" customers, "beautiful hardware" is pretty high up on the list.

    "Not looking like shit on the living-room sideboard" IS a function.

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