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IMac Intel 27 ". EMC 2309 (fin 2009, Core 2 Duo 3.06 ou 3.33 GHz), EMC 2374 (fin 2009, Core i5 2.66 GHz ou Core i7 2.8 GHz)

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Can I replace/upgrade 4850 graphic card in 2009 iMac

I have a 27" iMac intel late 2009 EMC 2309 with AMD ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphic card. Does anyone know if the card can be upgraded?

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I read that Apple are replacing the AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphic card in the later 2011 iMac free of charge because of problems, is this a good choice to upgrade my dead 4850 graphic card in 2009 EMC 2309 iMac or is there an alternative? Any help much appreciated!

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MaryJ That program has now ended and Apple has removed the former link to it: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203787

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Yes it can! Though it's as easy as with a regular PC. But iFixIt has a guide here! BUT make sure you get a card that's compatible with the iMac. A generic graphics card for a PC won't work! The best way is to get a used one on eBay or elsewhere taken from a newer Mac, as the guide writer did.

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I read that Apple are replacing the 6970 graphic cards in the 2011 iMac free of charge - I thought I should avoid that particular graphic card?

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Yes, you can "replace" the 4850 card in a late 2009 iMac 27", but I preferred to fix mine, which you can see in my rather comprehensive video here:

https://youtu.be/v1DXBLkiqFM

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Doing this today. You really worked hard on that video! Helped me a lot. Thanks!

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Thank you, Boyd. Please let us know if you were successful!

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Yes you can replace your graphics card with the late 2009 iMac's Ati 4850 or newer Ati 5750 used on mid 2010 iMacs.

older Ati 4850 has 512MB of Ram and 256Bit Memory Bus GDDR3

newer Ati 5750 has 1GB of Ram and 128Bit Memory Bus GDDR5

It is your choice, but personally i don't prefer downgrade your memory bus speed to increase amount of ram. Bus speed is more important than ram size on older graphics cards.

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This is an old question, but I thought I would add. I was able to do exactly what you asked in my late-2009 27” iMac. I found a Radeon HD 6770M 512MB GPU that was pulled from a 2011 model on eBay. It dropped right in and since it came from an iMac it woked just fine.

The only big issue is that I am running El Capitan and I was not able to upgrade the OS (I forget if it was Sierra or High SIerra). It would error. There seems to be a conflict with the installer and the graphics drivers. I’m sure it has to do with the non-standard card that is in the machine now. I am happy to just run El Cap until the machine dies on me, but keep this in mind.

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I had never heard that before so thank you for mentioning it. It is quite odd that your replacement video card doesn’t work with newer versions of macOS in light of the fact that video card surely would work fine with those operating systems if still inside the original iMac. I’m curious if the needed drivers are simply missing, or if they are present but incompatible with that combination of older iMac and the newer video card.

I can only say that my stock 4850 video card works fine with macOS versions up to High Sierra, which is the last version that Apple officially supports for the late 2009 iMac.

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MaryJ sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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