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How can I upgrade my early 2008 24" iMac?

I am looking for any possible way to upgrade my current iMac. I've done some research with mixed results, and am looking for a more concrete answer. I would like to upgrade my RAM, HD, and if possible, my processor and graphics card (Even if this means I need a new motherboard, I'm still willing to do it!). Here's what I currently have:

- Model: 24" iMac 8 (early 2008 model)

- Processor: 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

- RAM: 4 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM (Two 2 GB Modules)

- Graphics Processor: ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro 256 MB

- Hard Drive: 320 GB Hitachi HDT721032SLA380 (SATA)

My goal is to maximize my system as much as possible, because I use Music, Graphic Design, and Architecture software that requires a lot of RAM. I would like to get at least 8 GB of RAM (preferably 16 GB), a 2 TB HD, and if there is anyway to upgrade to a Core i7 processor or anything remotely close to it, I would like to do that as well. Please help me figure this out! Thanks!

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*Apple officially supports 4 GB of RAM, but third-parties have been able to upgrade the system to 6 GB of RAM using one 2 GB and one 4 GB memory module.

Your processor is a ZIF socket and can be upgraded to a 3.06 GHz

You have a 3 Gb/s BUS so your hard drive can be upgraded. Consider a SSD drive.

In all I would say that you have the wrong machine. Take a look at the Mac Pro Models. These would serve your needs much better than an iMac. The Geekbench on your machine is 3833/4284* *These Geekbench 2 benchmarks are in 32-bit and 64-bit modes, respectively. For example, my Early 2009 Mac Pro dual Intel Xeon X5570 has four hard drives, RAID card, three video cards and 32 GIGS of RAM and a Geekbench of 15548. This machine is right at 4 times faster than your current machine and the 5th fastest Mac ever. The base machine can be had for about $3000 and you can dump all the money you want into it. The Mac Pros were made for professionals while the iMacs are basically entry level machines. A Mac Pro (Mid 2012)Intel Xeon X5675 3070 MHz (12 cores) benches at 22167. Take a look at the new machines here:

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Thanks for the reply. This helps a lot!


what type of processor will this model iMac support?? im looking at upgrading mine also. would this iMac support a i3 or i5??


No it would not support an i3, i5, i7, etc. This CPU has a different pin and socket type. Furthermore, this specific iMac motherboard can only support and upgrade to a 3.06 ghz CPU. This one to be exact: "3.06Ghz SLAQD E8435 Intel Core 2 Duo CPU Processor"

However if you wish to upgrade anything you would be better off getting 6gb of ram and adding a SSD. The performance from a CPU swap would be marginal:[]=953&cmp[]=956&cmp[]=823[]=953&cmp[]=956

Note i also added a more modern i5 processor that is present iMacs as a comparison. The performance increase wouldn't be that significant and you would then likely encounter running the CPU hot and having a loud fan.

This question has also been delt with before on ifixit:

Is it possible to replace the processor from 2.4GHz to 3.06GHz?


I have gotten 8GB of ram running without issue


Patrick, can you provide more details on the types of ram you have used and being only a bit handy with electronics but not an IT "geek" is there any reference on installation instructions? In addition will my current operating system recognize the 8 GB without any problem? thanks in advance!


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I successfully installed a 3.06Ghz SLGEA E8435 in my early 2008 24" iMac, which is listed as the processor for the March 2009 iMac. The specifications are identical, excepting that the TDP (Thermal Design Power) is listed as 11 watts lower than the 3.06Ghz SLAQD E8435 (44W rather than 55W). See for specifications. The presumed benefit of the SLGEA version is lower heat generation. Also, the cost was about half that of the SLAQD version, perhaps due to less demand. No problems with heat or operation. I also installed a 2TB Toshiba disc drive, a 960GB Crucial SSD (replaced the optical drive per directions on this site), upgraded to the GeForce 8800 GS video card, and am using a second monitor (24 inch Apple Cinema display connected using a Kanex adapter). I combined the disc drive and SSD into a fusion drive, which works fairly well. The graphics card, though it is fast when working, increases the heat, and has been subject to failure (2 cards have failed so far). The first was a refurbished card from an ebay seller, the second is advertised by MacPalace as Apple refurbished. I bought the warranty from MacPalace, and am waiting on my replacement card. I also installed Macs Fan Control after the first card failed, which may be used to regulate fan speed based on the temperature of a user specified sensor. Without the fan control the graphics card sensor has reached temperatures of nearly 80 degrees Celsius under graphics intensive operations. With the fan control the temperature stabilizes at 64 degrees Celsius under graphics intensive operations, and though the fan is operating at speeds of up to 3200 rpm, the added noise is bearable. Under normal operations the temperature stabilizes at 59 degrees Celsius with the fan control. Note that using the same setup with the original ATI Radeon graphics card results in maximum graphic card sensor temperatures of 59 degrees Celsius, with normal operation at about 40 degrees Celsius. Note that all stated operating temperatures are reduced if the second monitor is disconnected.

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great answer, with lots of research I'm sure.


I'm trying to do the same thing - I have 2G & 2G of RAM and need to purchase 4 & 4. Can you send a link where to purchase and exactly what plus installation directions? Thank you


Do you happen to have a guide for the installation of the new vid card? I have debated doing this, but as I'm upgrading the CPU, adding an SSD, I may just bite the bullet & go all the way while it's open. Have you thrown a third card it yet, & if so, how does it seem to be running? I won't be using a second monitor, but do plan on running graphics intensive programs. Thanks in advance for your time!


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My answers are quite late, but are here for posterity.

I purchased the RAM at Note that only 2x4 is recommended due to stability concerns.

I think this is the correct graphics card replacement guide. Remplacement de la carte graphique de l'iMac Intel 24" EMC 2267

The third replacement grahics card is still working.

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Hi Craig, if I understand well you were able to let 8Gb RAM work.

Can you please tell me the exact ram you used?


It was only 6Gb of RAM as recommended by Sorry about the confusion.


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