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Desktops (Apple) Displays Upgrades Apple Build Hardware

iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Shiny New Retina iMac 109

iFixit gives the new Retina iMac a score of 5 (out of 10) for repairability, and says that the new all-in-one is very little changed internally from the system (non-Retina) it succeeds. A few discoveries along the way: The new model "retains the familiar, easily accessible RAM upgrade slot from iMacs of yore"; the display panel (the one iin the machine disassmbled by iFixit at least) was manufactured by LG Display; except for that new display, "the hardware inside the iMac Intel 27" Retina 5K Display looks much the same as last year's 27" iMac." In typical iFixit style, the teardown is documented with high-resolution pictures and more technical details.
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iFixit Tears Apart Apple's Shiny New Retina iMac

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  • Broken link (Score:3, Informative)

    by thegreatbob ( 693104 ) on Saturday October 18, 2014 @07:09PM (#48178149) Journal
    it's just a simple 'a' tag...
  • only reason i ask is that it's almost given that your hard drive is going to die after AppleCare ends and it's going to cost a lot of money to have it fixed. if i buy one with an SSD, will it give me more life than a spinning rust drive?

    • by Thagg ( 9904 )

      It depends on how you use it. You could wear-out a SSD in six months if you're continuously writing and re-writing to it; but for 99.9% of people the SSD will probably last longer.

    • I think the jury's still out - SSDs haven't been in the field long enough to know how they fare in the real world. In theory, they should be better, but there are some concerns.

      I recently upgraded my older 2011 iMac 27" to an SSD - I had to drop to half the original capacity but it's far, far faster and a little quieter. So even if the lifespan ended up the same as the spinning disk, it would be worth it.

      By the way, "to have it fixed" does cost a lot of money, but DIY and it's obviously only as expensiv
      • by alen ( 225700 )

        did you have to take it apart? i'm fairly technical but looking at the instructions to take it apart along with the warnings really scared me out of buying an iMac. i have a 13" late 2011 MBP where the hard drive died and it took me 15 minutes to replace it with a SSD hybrid which made a huge difference

        • The only real problem taking it apart is cutting the stupid tape, which you then have to replace.
          • by mysidia ( 191772 )

            The only real problem taking it apart is cutting the stupid tape, which you then have to replace.

            Well this sounds like a new problem Apple have created then.... the mid 2010 27" iMAC had no tape to cut or replace; just some annoying magnets that made it very difficult to put the thing back together by ripping screws away from your screwdriver and occasionally causing them to get flung into the computer.....

            • by Anonymous Coward

              The one you open with a plunger? Or is that all Imacs these days?

              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                I had no idea the Daleks had gone into the computer business.

                That explains a lot actually...

              • Many of the older iMacs you open with a plunger and/or suction cups -- remove the glass with the suction cups, then unscrew the screen. This sounds worse than it is. This one (and I think the previous one) is held together with tape; you have to use a cutting wheel to cut the tape from the side, then pry it apart. To put it back together you need to remove the tape remnants and put new tape on.
                • by Anonymous Coward

                  Many of the older iMacs you open with a plunger and/or suction cups -- remove the glass with the suction cups, then unscrew the screen.

                  A process that takes a couple minutes to replace the HDD.

                  This one (and I think the previous one) is held together with tape; you have to use a cutting wheel to cut the tape from the side, then pry it apart. To put it back together you need to remove the tape remnants and put new tape on.

                  A process that can take anywhere from 10-30 minutes depending on how stubborn the tape is. Usually 30 minutes. Made me decide to never buy Apple again. If we have to fix 3 computers, we either waste our own time cleaning tape or babysitting a repair man cleaning tape. I realize neodymium is more expensive than tape, but using special magic tape is kind of passive aggressively hostile vs your customers.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      AFAIK, the jury is out on that fact. SSDs -tend- to be more predictive due to how they wear out. However, I've not seen any definite comparisons that state that a SSD will have a life longer than a HDD.

      There is one limiting factor with SSDs: Once the electrons escape the gates, that's it. No recovery is possible unlike HDDs which the magnetic domains can be present indefinitely. So, as an archiving medium where data is stashed, it isn't very good, unless the media is constantly checked and the data mov

      • by kosmosik ( 654958 ) <kos@kosCURIEmosik.net minus physicist> on Saturday October 18, 2014 @08:24PM (#48178385) Homepage

        > The a good thing to do with an iMac would be a decent SSD... as well
        > as an external drive appliance with RAID 1, or a volume with software
        > RAID that is similar.

        To have backups is the good thing to do whatever OS or hardware you run.

        • Anyone who actually needs a 5k display should already have a backup system in place.
          It's only real purpose is so graphics designers can work on 4k media without dual screens and for industrial/medical fields where high res images are normal.

          The truth is, if you want to watch 4k media, you're better off with a 4k display.
          Upsampling &/or stretching to fill a 5k display is less than ideal.

          • I would take 5K any day. It will beat 4k for everyday computer usage because text will be sharper (and any other scalable UI elements). It is 220 ppi which is (only) the same pixel density as the Macbook Pro I'm looking at right now.

            As for pixel resampling, unfortunately 4k doesn't have any particular definition [wikipedia.org], so you'll often have resampling even with 4k content on a 4k display. But at such resolutions, resampling isn't so bad anyways, especially with video/photo content (as opposed to computer-gene

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Truth is before going on about systems with 4K or 5K or any other K display, first and foremost is not how they look when consuming content but how well they work when creating content, now that's the slashdot viewpoint. What it looks like when playing content you buy, excluding all forms of interactive content requiring real processing power, is for the TV guide. Apple has long since hidden it's lack of real processing capability to pump up its profit margins behind a masquerade of pretty pictures and mar

            • I read it three times and I still don't understand your point. I know plenty of people in the media industry who are going to love the new 5K iMac. It looks plenty powerful to produce content.

              You know a good portion of Hollywood is still running on cheese grater Mac Pros, right?

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Modern HDDs are so high density that the data actually degrades over time if not refreshed, due to the earth's magnetic field and other near by electronics. When idle drives do a background scan of the disk, re-writing data where required. If you keep the disk offline for very long periods of time there is no opportunity to monitor and correct the degradation, so hard drives don't make good archival media.

        • by tibit ( 1762298 )

          Modern HDDs media have coercivity so high that the Earth's magnetic field, and the fields from nearby "electronics", are immaterial. The best thing you can do to a HD is leave it alone, not spinning, in a non-condesing atmosphere. As long as the spindle doesn't seize up due to lubricant migration, it might well last for centuries.

    • They work the same as hard drives. You back them up, use them till they break, and replace them, restore from backup.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        SSD primary with HDD for Time Machine seems to me to be a reaonably safe yet simple route, this I use. If offsite backup of everything is desired, swap the external onsite/offsite HDDs periodically (I simply backup current projects to thumb drives for offsite).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 18, 2014 @07:41PM (#48178261)

    Sure, these imacs MAY use screens from LG, but when those screens are combined with Magic Apple hardware, the result is so much better than the competition. You have to use macs for graphic design because their LG screens are much more accurate than everybody else's LG screens. There's whole colors you're not even seeing unless you go mac, like blurple, the exact spot between blue and purple.

    • by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Saturday October 18, 2014 @07:57PM (#48178303)
      I shouldn't feed the troll, but you have to know that not every screen made by LG is the same as every other one they make. In addition, the rest of the layers in he assembly have a lot to do with the visual results, and those might be different from other screens you will see in the future (there are no other 5K screens shipping at the moment). And then there's the control circuitry (an Apple proprietary chip is involved in that) and the software that drives it. So yes, the results may be much better than the competition even if LG makes those screens, too.
      • an Apple proprietary chip is involved in that

        I kinda figured that from the logo.

        • an Apple proprietary chip is involved in that

          I kinda figured that from the logo.

          You can't tell that from the logo. For example, Viewsonic doesn't make anything today. All they do is stick their logo on stuff, they don't even do cases any more.

          • You can't tell that from the logo.

            Sure you can. Tell me one product with an Apple logo that does not have an Apple proprietary chip.

        • But wait, I thought OP's stance was that Apple uses bog standard parts. Now you're claiming Apple use proprietary parts.

          Which is it?!?!

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        According to TFA they are using off the shelf parts, with one that has an Apple logo slapped on it but isn't made by them. There is nothing special about it.

        Also, Dell announced a 5k monitor before the iMac was announced, which probably uses the same panel. We should be able to compare the two soon. In the past Apple displays have proven to be exactly the same as other displays with the same panel and similar glass, so I wouldn't expect any surprises.

        • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @11:29AM (#48180957)

          Also, Dell announced a 5k monitor before the iMac was announced, which probably uses the same panel. We should be able to compare the two soon. In the past Apple displays have proven to be exactly the same as other displays with the same panel and similar glass, so I wouldn't expect any surprises.

          Dell announced earlier, Apple deliverd earlier.

          Both monitors cost the same (comparing Apple's real price and Dell's announced price), but Apple's monitor contains a nice computer :-)

      • And then there's the control circuitry (an Apple proprietary chip is involved in that) and the software that drives it.

        Are they up to feature parity with monitors with nVidia control chips in them yet?

      • (an Apple proprietary chip is involved in that)

        Which, according to iFixit, is labelled as a Parade Technologies DP665.

    • It's the software... do the alternative systems you talk about have end-to-end colour management built right into every use of colour on the system? Macs do. Maybe others do, I don't know - but if they don't then just having the same hardware isn't the issue.
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    With Yosemite on it it's a "deskpad", oh wait it doesn't have a touch screen yet, soon... very soon.

    • Yeah, I'm wondering if they're going straight for 3D gesture and voice control type stuff.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        Yeah, I'm wondering if they're going straight for 3D gesture and voice control type stuff.

        They've already got the mind control covered.

        • Yeah, I'm wondering if they're going straight for 3D gesture and voice control type stuff.

          They've already got the mind control covered.

          It just too bad they made it work the wrong way. I would prefer a machine I could control, and not the other way around.

  • Mac Mini sidenote (Score:5, Informative)

    by jones_supa ( 887896 ) on Sunday October 19, 2014 @01:51AM (#48179277)
    BTW the new Mac Mini comes with fixed onboard RAM [macrumors.com]. I wish I could see a more detailed teardown soon, would like to see how hard it is to replace the HDD.
  • With this new iMac and its display, the Mac Pro is starting to look a bit bleaker. I actually think it starts to look a little weird.

    Performance-wise, if you configure this iMac with the 4 GHz processor, you get the fastest CPU, at least 25% faster than the Mac Pro in single-threaded tasks according to this benchmark [primatelabs.com]. Mac Pro still has Ivy Bridge-architecture Xeons.

    And the current Mac Pro can't drive a 5K display, but it's true that it can drive up the three 4K displays.

    So the Mac Pro doesn't really make se

    • > Performance-wise, if you configure this iMac with the 4 GHz processor, you get the fastest CPU, at least 25% faster than the Mac Pro in single-threaded tasks

      One does not buy a workstation to run single threaded tasks. If you buy a Mac Pro, you want/need the 8 to 12 cores.
    • So the Mac Pro doesn't really make sense anymore unless you need its graphics cards to support OpenCL applications, or you want the parallelism of 8 or 12 cores, or you need its ECC RAM.

      The Mac Pro never did make financial sense unless you needed those things (or 6 Thunderbolt 2 ports).

      Apple's range lacks a basic quad-i7 headless desktop with good "consumer" graphics cards - and it will go on lacking it because,

      (a) as other PC manufacturers are finding, there's no bloody money in mid-range mini towers, and other PC manufacturers don't have to bankroll the development of their own operating system and loss-leading application suite.

      (b) it would cannibalize sales of iMacs, Pros and lapt

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