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A1418 / EMC 3068 / iMac 18,1 / 2.3 GHz dual-core i5 processor. Released June 2017.

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Upgrade of base model iMac 21.5

Hi everyone !

I got a new base IMac 2017, below characteristics:

  • 2-core Intel Core i5 7-generation 2,3 GHz, Turbo Boost up to 3,6 GHz,
  • 8 GB memory
  • HDD 1 ТB
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Thunderbolt 3
  • Screen resolution1920x1080.

Nice system, but there are few things I don't like and would like to improve:

  • HDD - So slow, that sometimes drives me crazy
  • RAM - 8 GB, take into consideration that it is shares with video - sometimes not enough
  • Processor can it be changed? - Just optional

So my questions are?

  • What maximum SSD storage can be installed in SATA connection?
  • Is there any PCle connection to connect blade SSD (M.2)?
  • What maximum RAM that can be installed 16, 32 GB?
  • What is the most powerful process that can be supported by this motherboard in stead of 2-core Intel Core i5 7-generation 2,3 GHz (may be I 7 4 cores ..etc)? but this is optional.

Thanks for answers.

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Here's a full run down of your systems specs: iMac 21.5" 2.3 GHz Core i5 (Mid-2017)


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Your system uses a 2.5” SATA drive as far as what is the largest I think you could go upto 12 TB but I think thats a bit much ;-} and very expensive! A more realistic size would be 1 or 2 TB like Samsung 860 EVO SSD

As far as adding a blade SSD, not possible as the socket is not installed if you got an HDD only system. Only the SSD or Fusion Drive config systems have it. FYI its a custom blade drive its not an M.2 which is similar.

As for upgrading the CPU its soldered and not upgradable either! Sorry

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The max RAM is 16 GB as your system only has 2 SO-DIMM slots. Here’s the IFIXIT guide to get to them Changement RAM iMac Intel 21,5" EMC 3068. Make sure you get the proper tools to remove the display as its very easy to damage which would be an expensive oops!

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Thanks, Dan for clear answer! Now its clear for me - 16 GB RAM maximum, HDD or SSD 1-2 TB SATA drive. Processor not changeable.

I think replacing HDD to SSD and change RAM from 8 to 16 GB should be enough to make this piece of metal work normally for me.

I still wondering, how it possible to make a nice beautiful comfortable computer with really scrap inside?


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Just a note, this model is actually capable of 32GB of RAM, as that is what I just put in mine and it sees all 32GB no problem.

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@tylerhman - Can you confirm exactly which chips you used to upgrade the 3068 to 32 GB?

I’m seeing conflicting input as to whether this is possible.


@jamespetercarroll - Sadly, in this series its not possible! Review the spec link I posted in the question for this series. Different series have the ability!

As an example: iMac 2.8 GHz Core i7 (Mid-2011)

Or the newer: 21.5" iMac 3.6 GHz Core i3, 4K display (2019)

Both can support 32 GB of RAM!


@danj That's not true, I upgraded my base 2017 21.5" to 32GB of RAM. If you need proof here:


@jamespetercarroll Hey I used this ifixit kit here: iMac Intel 21.5" EMC 3068 (Mid 2017) Memory Maxxer RAM Upgrade Kit Here is the about my Mac screen just to show you that it is possible contrary to what Dan and others have said . If you have any other questions let me know.


@tylerhman - Apple loves to confuse! This system: 21.5" iMac 2.3GHz Core i5 (Mid-2017) was limited to 16 GB (as noted in EveryMac listing) within the systems firmware to 16 GB when it was introduced. I believe one of the Catalina updates is when the systems firmware was upgraded which now allows 32 GB to be installed. Apple never offered 32 GB of RAM in this series and the 3rd parties did not retest things when the firmware changed so I would say its a bit iffy on stability until one of the RAM houses supports it. As this is a low end system, and one thats hard for most people to open I don't see anything happening.

Just like driving on the left lane can be safe to do sometimes, other times you might meet someone coming the other way!

So there is a risk which you need to decide if its worth it or not. People who have the higher end 4K systems are more likely to add the RAM as video production is where you would need it.


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2 X 16Gb PC4 (2133GHz)

Kingston would be a good choice

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Yerlan sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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