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Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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Can I upgrade the graphics card on my iMac?

I have a 21.5” iMac, 3.06 GHz Core 2 Duo with a ATI Radeon HD 4670 256MB graphics card.

I was wondering if I can upgrade the graphics card to a more powerful one, maybe to the ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics with 512MB.

And if so, are there step by step instructions on how to do it?

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I have not located anything on upgrading the video card on this machine. I would upgrade to the maximum RAM 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 4x2GB. I couldn't see the specs on the hard drive on Apples site but a 7200 rpm hard drive would help and a solid state drive would do even better. I edited this to get in line with bac.

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hey mayer - the lower end 21.5" model has the Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics card which DOES use shared memory, however Pablo said his machine already has the ATI Radeon HD 4670 - this card has a dedicated 256MB of graphics memory, it is NOT shared with main memory

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Thanks bac I did not realize it would only share memory with the low end card. Do you know why it doesn't share?

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For whatever reason, the high end Radeon card is a separate component, and the low end Nvidia is integrated onto the logic board. Kind of strange to me....

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I currently have 16GB of RAM in my late 2009 iMac 21,5". Not limited to 8GB.

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@mhrob This answer was from 9 years ago before it was discovered that it would take 16 GB.

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Yes, it is possible to use Radeon HD 4850 graphics card but the problem that it is not possible to fit it inside because 4670 is physically smaller and there just isn’t enough room for it and the larger heat sink. But, you can upgrade to Radeon 5670 and even to 6750 graphics card from a 2011 21.5” iMac. With these the size of these cards & heatsink is the same.

The same situation with 27” iMac Core2Duo which have the Radeon 4670 graphics card, there you can use these Radeon cards: 4850, 5670, 6750 and 6770.

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Will the graphics cards 5670 and 6750 from a 21.5" iMac work in a 27" iMac

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yes, it works fine in a 27" iMac. I tested it and everything worked fine for me.

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Which cards did you try? Looking to replace the dead 4850 card from my 27" late 2009 i5 iMac A1312. Cards for 27" are hugely expensive and hard to come by where i'm from. Was looking at trying a 6750 or 6770 card from a 21.5" A1311. Did not know if the cards maybe had firmware or something else that would prevent this. Is there any difference between a 6770 from a 21.5" and a 6770 from a 27", 2011 iMac's ran that card in both size machines.

Not needing to upgrade, just want my iMac to run for a while longer.

Thanks

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I'm also interested in whether 21.5 and 27" users can swap their 4670 for the 4850, since they are removable. As far as I know, this hasn't been done yet, but may be theoretically possible as the OS will recognize the card. As we know, there is no way for the NVIDIA users to swap in a card.

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Anyone ever figure out if you can use the 27 inch late 2009 model iMac graphics card in a 21.5 inch late 2009 iMac? I wanna upgrade my graphics card bad.

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No its not possible. The GPU they are using in the Intel iMacs is actually the mobile variant. run a check on windows with the hardware identifier.

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Your answer is not correct. I tested almost all graphic cards on iMacs 21 and 27 from 2009 to 2011 and all graphic cards are interchangable. The only difference is the size of these cards and installation is also different because of the different size. For example, as i remember HD4850, HD6970 are bigger than HD4670 and HD 6750, but it possible to place all cards in all iMacs 2009-2011

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The low end versions of the A1311 have non-removable GPU chips (NVIDIA GeForce 9400M) on the main logic board and higher end models have the removable MXM cards (ATI Radeon HD 4670). This is true with either the 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor models.

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I did this a year or so ago, I swapped a 2010 27inch iMac 1gb with a 500mb from a 21.5... Booted first try and didn't even notice a speed difference, if there even was one. still have that 27inch iMac if anyone needs a screenshot … and use a really good thermal compound when you put it back together... If I was using these older machines everyday as my main computer I would redo the thermal paste anyways as preventive maintenance... The few I've taken apart have had old thermal paste that's of little or no value.

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I just upgraded my 21.5 inch late 2009 iMac from a ATI 4670 with 256MB to a ATI 6750 with 512MB from a 21.5 inch late 2011 iMac but it just has a black screen with sound i don't know if it's a comparability issue or I did something wrong if someone knows something please let me know.

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I have this same issue. Same model and took out the 4670 and replaced with 6750.. Turn it on and makes the chime but screen is black. Double checked and the lcd screen is defiantly plugged in correctly. Have you had any luck?? Thanks!

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I havent upgraded mine yet. However, from the videos Ive watched and my research, it seems that when you upgrade the gpu you will no longer have a boot screen, meaning the apple logo and loading bar will not show while the system is starting up anymore. I would try turning it on and giving it a few mins and the desktop should pop up after the system gets fully booted up. Also some people say that it may take a little longer to boot up with an upgraded graphics card, I believe. The only way you will still have a boot screen is if you take a gpu out of a newer mac and place it in a older one. Otherwise, any aftermarket ones will not show the boot process.

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I'm curious about this to, since the GPU is a swappable card it should theoretically work, getting a 4850 will be the only problem or iFixit will make it possible ;) Love to see someone trying this!

With the processor upgrade and this one, you can make a though iMac that almost is equal to the i5/i7 model!

For the CPU upgrade, see I am thinking of upgrading the current Core 2 Duo 3.33GHz to Quadcore, here we talk about upgrading from a dual-core to a quad-core.

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Thomas Meijer or Dave Wu, did either of you have luck with this? I have a late 2009 imac with the integrated NVIDIA Geforce 9400.

I'd love to put in a Radeon 4670 or even better go straight to the 5760..... let me know what either of you guys figured out! It'd save my life :)

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Sorry Dave, There is no means of connecting the GPU card in your system Apple offered two versions: Integrated Graphics (IG) and the Dedicated Graphics (DG) models only the dedicated versions are upgradable.

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I bought my 5670 on Gainsaver and it did not work for me at all. I can't verify whether it was a faulty GPU or that it just wasn't compatible.

There was no boot chime or anything, I even tried a new power supply. I ended up ordering another Radeon 4670 and it ended up working fine for a few days, then it kind of crapped out on me.

I can still boot and I think it actually loads up fine, because when I hit the volume, I could hear the clicks! I'm hoping I just messed up the display connector from disconnecting and reconnecting so many times. I ordered the part, but the only place I could find it was some guy in China, so I've been waiting on it for a week or two now.

If it doesn't work, I've about had it with this thing, and will probably end up just backing up the HD and parting it out.

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You need to use an Apple version of the board as Apple has custom firmware on it (Apple logo label on ROM chip) if its a Dell or other board you can't use it.

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Hello everyone,

I have a late 2013 iMac

How to upgrade my graphic card?

Pls help

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Your iMac has an intergraded GPU chip and not upgradable. Sorry

These older models had a MXM connector which allowed you to swap the GPU cards. All of the newer 'Thin Series' from 2013 onward have soldered GPU's.

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Can I replace the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 graphics card 256MB in my early 2009 iMac with another card?

My system has a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor

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Sorry no, The NVIDIA GeForce 9400 models have a soldered in GPU chip.

It's only the Radeon 4670 models which have the MXM card which you could upgrade.

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I have a late 2009 iMac 21,5" and it has a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB. I have another one, also a late 2009 21,5", but this one has integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB.

So the one with the dedicated card SHOULD be upgradeable, no?

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I am sure I can upgrade a Radeon 6750m to a Radeon 6770m on a 2011 iMac right?!

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Yes you can use any Apple mxm 3 a/b graphics card it’s just plug and play…the letters a/b are the sizes, a/ being the smaller size for 21.5. The b cards although bigger can still fit by removing a piece of plastic, you’ll see what I mean once your in there… It’s really easy get yourself a step by step guide if you haven’t taken one apart before.

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