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Model A1311 / Late 2009 / 3.06 or 3.33 GHz Core 2 Duo processor

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CPU Upgrade LGA 775 Late 2009 iMac

So, I bought a pristine Late 2009 iMac for 70$. I've never had any Apple products before (nothing). I'll get my hands on it later today.

But I am pretty sure this will be a very, very slow piece of hardware for today's standards. I don't even know what I will do with it, I like the screen, I will probably install some light Linux distro (CrunchBang++ or Arch).

But from my research, it looks like the "motherboard" has a REGULAR LGA 775 socket?

I have like 4 Q9650 CPUs which are much better than the Core 2 Duo E7600 it comes with. I also have some LGA 775 Xeons...

I will definitely add some RAM too, lets hope it doesn't fry with my 1866Mhz DDR3 Chips...

Probably install an SSD too, I have an ancient Samsung 860PRO 2TB who will have some use there...

I'm an advanced user, so my question is more toward to modders or people who know Apple stuff.

1) Will it boot with Q9650? I've heard some restrictions saying that the motherboard is hardlocked to certain TDP specs.

2) Are there Custom BIOS/Firmware Around for it?

3) If it works, will it probably fry due to TDP? How bad or good is Apple's original thermal solution?

4) Is it overclockable?

5) How is the Monitor connected to the motherboard? any sort of detailed specs for that Apple connector? (Maybe I can use the monitor and stick a NUC inside that thing)

6) The Default PSU? Is it any good? 80Plus, how many Watts?

Répondre à cette question J'ai le même problème

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You do have some limitations with this older system. So before you take the deep dive only to discover the rocks just under the water line, let’s know how deep you can go!

So let’s first check the specs for this system jumping to EveryMac EMC 2308 Apple at this time was using EMC designation to define the models. If we grab one 2009 21.5” iMac 3.33GHz Core 2 Duo we can look a bit deeper this build to order model offered a Intel E8600 which is about all you can install (Code Name: Products formerly Wolfdale). There are a few Xeon CPUs that can work (from within the same family) if you can find them.

This systems firmware is 64bit clean! So it will run macOS High Sierra (10.13). But the other hardware may limit you as you can’t run newer CPU’s as the micro code won’t support them and the power supply is also limited here.

You can boost the system to the max of 16GB using 1066 MHz PC3-8500 DDR3 SO-DIMMs (204-pin).

Sadly the USB ports are the slower 2.0 spec.

As far as internal storage this system offers a 3.5” HD bay which can support either a 3.5 or using an adapter frame a 2.5” drive. But the SATA interface is only SATA II (3.0 Gbps) as such you’ll need a fixed speed SATA II or a drive which auto senses the systems I/O speed which are getting hard to find Samsung is about it!. Review the spec sheet if it doesn’t state it explicitly it’s a fixed speed SATA III (6.0 Gbps) which won’t work properly).

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Yeah it seems it is quite picky about CPUs. And information on the subject is quite hard to get.

The memory will probably underclock by default, which is OK.

And the SATA being only SATA II is kinda annoying because it is indeed slow and will bottleneck the Samsung 860.

The seller for this one is taking time to respond today, but I found a newer one for 125$, which seems to have more information about updates, and hopefully will be SATA 3 at least.

The other one is a 2011 Mid, 21'5 inch too. No longer Socket 775 but 1156.


@malveillance - I would reference EveryMac listing to get a better idea on the systems specs and performance iMac listing


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Also looking into this. Mine is LGA775 and have a few CPUs including the mentioned quad core.

Going from a C2D to a C2Q is a fair upgrade even if it thermal limits slightly.

I've done this to a Toshita C650D laptop with a £27 chip and a more recent HP before, amazingly despite the not being on the official list both ran, not as fast as the spec but still better than the Athlon II P320 chip(s) they replaced.

Best guess, AMD were a bit more lenient back then and it got added quietly to an update despite not being

present from stock along with >4GB DDR3.

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@andredeguerin - Apple only offers with rare exception the micro code for the give chip family the system supported for a CPU which trumps the socket and is limited to Intel only.


@danj Indeed, AMD seemed to be a bit more lenient. In every case when I've tried an Intel chip even if within the TDP, it was 50/50 if it worked at all at least on laptops. BIOS update sometimes helps. EDIT: I've since tried the 4-8GB (4x2) upgrade and all seems well, Had a heck of a job getting certified Apple memory though.

I've got to take it apart anyway because the 1TB HDD is on its last gasp.


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Lanathel sera éternellement reconnaissant.
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