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iMac Intel 27 "EMC 2309 (Finales de 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 o 3.33 GHz) ID iMac10,1, EMC 2374 (Finales de 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz o Core i7 2.8 GHz) ID iMac11,1

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Changing Logic Board to allow i5 to i7 upgrade

So I've read a lot about this matter and it appears that upgrading a (Late 2009) 27in iMac Duo Core to a quad core i5/i7 is pretty much a no go. My question then is, could you replace the logic board inside and still run everything smoothly, seeing as it is an available option for this model.

Best,

Marcin

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A bit late to the party, but maybe it is still helpful:

I did exactly what you were looking to do - upgrading form the lower Core2Duo board to the i5 board (the board should be the same as the i7 board, as other people have successfully upgraded just the CPU on the i5 board to an i7). It works without problems so far.

I took the board from a working i5 model with several other defects (not related to the board of course). Disassembling was not complicated, but took a lot of time because I was too cautious. If you follow the teardown guide and use a bit of force for some of the plastic parts which stick to the back of the case (around the PSU, CPU heatsink and LED board), then you should be fine.

It is easy if you do it in the correct order:

1) glass panel, display, display cables (look at the guides)

2) graphics card, hard disk, optical drive, optical fan and all their cables (not needed, but makes room for the PSU and makes everything easier)

3) mark all cables from the board with (colored) labels to not forget them later (optional) and remove them (required)

4) disconnect and remove LED driver board; remove PSU board (PSU can also be just flipped around into the empty hard disk space if you don't like to mess with the cables)

5) remove CPU fan and the infrared sensor (look at the guides)

6) now you can carefully remove the logicboard including heatsink and change it for your replacement i5 board. I also reapplied thermal paste in this step, but it is a bit harder to hold board and heatsink and to get the screws right. I would recommend getting another person to hold the parts together, it is much easier this way.

7) reassemble in reverse order, paying attention to all the small cables

Some things I noted:

- The i5 board has an additional port named "SKIN TEMP" (Apple part 922-9287) which goes around the hard disk fan (along with the ground wire), then under the PSU and up to the case near the camera, where the sensor is fixed with a little black pad. I did install it from the second machine, but I do not see it in any temperature monitoring tool and I honestly don't know if it is required at all.

- With the C2D board, the maximum fan speed for the CPU fan was about 4500, now with the new board and the same fan it is only about 2000. The other fans did not change.

- CPU temperatures are around 45 to 50 degree Celsius when idle and up to 75 to 80 under load with CPU fan at full speed. It does feel very hot to the touch, but I did not check before taking it apart, so that may be subjective.

- As others already noted, 32 GB of memory are possible in contrast to the 16 GB maximum of the C2D.

- The board contains the serial number of the machine, but I guess up to this point all AppleCare contracts have already run out, so this does not matter anymore.

So if you can get hold of a board or spare parts iMac with the board for cheap and if you like taking apart things, I would definitely recommend doing it. The upgrade takes a bit of time, but is not that difficult if you are careful to not rip out any cables. And with a i5 or i7 quad core, 32 GB RAM, one or two SSDs and maybe even a newer graphics card from the 2011 models it is possible to prolong the life of this very nice machine for a few more years, depending on your needs.

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Thanks for sharing, I've decided to give your solution a try, so now I've with me the old MB952LL/A CoreDuo CPU and the new MB953LL/A i7 CPU, and the SKIN TEMP 922-9287. Ah, I forgot the stuartjporteous solution (in the following posts) heatsink part number 730-0584 that fit this version instead of the 730-0567 A. Do you guys think that that's all with the spare parts? Thanks!

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I am currently performing this upgrade from a Core2Duo to an i7-870, swapping out the logicboard.

So. It boots. It's alive!

Snags: -

1. The i7 needs a different heatsink from the Core2Duo. If you just buy a bare logicboard, as I did, you need to also get hold of the correct heatsink. Part number 730-0584. Cost bumped.

2. Fans running very high RPM and loud.

3. CPU running very slow. Despite now being shown as an i7 2.93GHz under About This Mac. Geekbench gives 32bit single core ~900 and multicore ~3000. Hardly an improvement so far.

I too eventually noticed the new connector on the new logicboard for a "Skin Temp" sensor. Not present on previous logicboard. Running Apple Hardware Test gives the following error 4SNS/1/C0000008:TS2P--124. In the Apple Technician Guide (imac_27_late09.pdf) this means "Skin temp sensor (Quad-core models only) is damaged or disconnected from top of logic board."

I tried shorting the skin temp connector with some bare wire. Nasty, and did not work.

Going to try to get hold of a sensor. I'm hoping the heat misinformation is throttling the CPU. About 30quid. Cost bumped again.

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Skin temp sensor (part #922-9287) obtained from the very nice people at www.thebookyard.com in Liverpool. Installed and hooked around a cable near the camera. CPU is no longer throttled, giving a Geekbench multicore score of about 7950, a big improvement. Fans are now running nice and slow, very pleased with this upgrade. Recommended.

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From what I can see on the Google, the Late-2009 i7 speed was 2.8GHz, whereas the Mid-2010 i7 speed was 2.93GHZ. Also, the Mid-2010 was not available with a C2D. Am I then correct in deducing that you have actually managed to install a Mid-2010 i7 logic board in a Late-2009 iMac??

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High speed, noisy fan happens with SSD upgrades, too, for the same reason. 3rd party fan control software fixes the problem.

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stuartjporteous what other parts did you replace besides the logic board and the skin temp sensor?

I'm going to try this on my late 2009 21.5"

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If you stay within the same model number you usually have no problems.

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Updated an iMac 27” Core Duo 2009 with new Motherboard and CPU. Now running a i7 CPU with no fault.

All you have to do is replace the old MB952LL/A CoreDuo CPU with the new MB953LL/A i7 CPU, also need < SKIN TEMP 922-9287 cable and new heatsink part number 730-0584 that fit this version instead of the 730-0567 A.

Thanks to all of you.

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Awesome. I am thinking of doing this as well. Where were you able to source the new logic board? I don't see any on iFixIt and most places I've looked say it is sold out.

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Thanks so much for your post, hd22. Very helpful indeed!

I am still considering doing this upgrade myself one day, it was just great to finally get confirmation that it can be done!

Cheers,

-Jamie

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I assume that OP has the same type of machine as I do, namely a 27" with one of the Core 2 Duo processors - the EMC 2309 model.

However the late 2009 iMacs with i5 and i7 processors are the EMC 2374 model.

So we are talking about taking the logic board from one model and putting it in a different, though presumably very closely related model. I'm not so confident to assume that such a cross-model upgrade will be problem-free...

I'm willing to shell out the cash to buy a new logic board and graphics card - it's almost embarrassing that my 27" beast is barely more powerful than my late 2009 MacBook Pro! ;)

But has anybody actually done this successfully?

-Jamie

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I would be very interest to know this is possible also. I have a 2309 that needs a new logic board so it would be awesome to throw in an i7.

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Swapping logic boards looks cheaper and less wasteful than buying new computers.

This is relevant in 2018 because macOS Mojave relies on particular graphics processors for its “Metal” graphics language (as they dropped support for OpenGL). Us oldies must search for post-2012 graphics boards.

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I really want to do this as well! What model/year logic board did you go with? I want to put in a 24" early 2009

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Sadly, there is no i Series options for the 24" iMac's. Here's a listing of this series A1225 24" systems

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What if I put in the one for the 21"? Or is it not worth the upgrade?

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Each series has a different layout so it won't fit mechanically or electrically. So no, you can't fit a 21.5" logic board into the 24" system.

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I have a 2011 iMac running as a monitor from my Mac mini, using the Thunderbolt cable. If the old iMacs have a Thunderbolt socket, you can defer the physical upgrade.

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Hi Richard - The 2011 iMac's where the first to offer Thunderbolt. But you could even do it with the older mini DisplayPort as well in the older 2009 models! Here's a bit more on Target Display Mode The Ins And Outs Of Your IMac's Target Display Mode

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Marcin Wojtkow estará eternamente agradecido.
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