⓱diy – Build a Super Fast 27 inch iMac for $520

Why $1800 on a new 27 inch iMac when you can build an capable one for yourself for just $520? Besides, the Apple Store’s iMacs aren’t so new — they were last updated in October 2015 – and they’re still selling at the original price.

You need only spend $350 on a used iMac from Craigslist then $170 in easy to find parts. It’ll take just 1-2 hours of your time and it’s lots of fun. You might even learn something useful.

Your “new” computer will boot in seconds, run macOS Sierra and open applications in a blink. I used a mid-2010 iMac 27 and I’m thrilled with the results [model A1312, EMC2390]. It’s six years old and faster than the day it left the Apple Store!

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I bought all my parts from Amazon (all items are free 2-day Prime shipping with a 30-day FREE trial and 4+ star reviews). The installation videos are available online [links below].

 YOU WILL NEED:

1. A late-2009 (or newer) iMac 27” – Craigslist = $350–450

2. Four 4GB Patriot memory sticks to max out the RAM at 16GB = $76

3. A 250 GB Samsung SSD drive = $70. I chose to remove the DVD drive and replace it with the SSD . I use the smaller SSD for the operating system and applications. I kept the slow but larger spinning HDD for data (documents, music and photos). The DVD drive was placed in an inexpensive enclosure for external and portable use (see below).

4. An internal SSD Mounting Bracket  = $19

5. Suction Cups to remove iMac screen = $11

6. [Optional] Use the original optical/DVD drive externally with a USB Super Drive Enclosure = $18

7. [Optional] Use the SSD externally to clone the entire system prior to drive installation with a 3.5” external SSD drive enclosure = $8

8. [Optional] Computer Tool Kit = $12  —  it’s awesome btw

HARDWARE STEPS:

1. Swap DVD drive for SSD (45 minutes)

2. Add RAM (10 minutes)

SOFTWARE STEPS:

1. Format the SSD using macOS Disk Utility . Format as Mac OS Extended Journaled with a GUID partition map

2. Clone the original hard drive contents to new SSD drive. Use the free version of Carbon Copy Cloner)

3. Optional: wipe the old 1TB hard drive clean once everything is on the new SSD (use Disk Utility again)

TIPS:

1. Don’t be tempted by cheaper off-brand RAM or SSD drives. I chose Apple-quality components for reliability and speed. Compromising your build with cheap components is not worth the cost savings in the long run.

2. Get the iMac from Craigslist (rather than eBay) so you can inspect a local machine firsthand before purchase

3. You don’t need to transfer your entire old hard drive to the new SSD (it may not fit). Just install the operating system to the SSD and then add the programs you use most often. Keep data, documents, music and photos on the slower original HDD. You can transfer large data files to the larger 1TB original drive (ex. iTunes Music Library and iPhoto picture library)

4. If you don’t want to delete your DVD drive you can instead get a bigger SSD and clone the entire original spinning drive. That’s a little easier but big SSD’s get expensive rapdily with higher capacities.

5. The Amazon and video links are specifically for the mid-2010 model but you can easily search for yours using the links below.

USEFUL LINKS:

EveryMac detailed specs on every Mac

iFixIt install videos

MacSales install videos

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⓱hardware – Ditch Your Old Spinning Disk Drive for SSD Lightning Speed


It’s time to swap your computers old hard disk drive (HDD) for a solid state drive (SSD). It’s an easy upgrade for your aging desktop or laptop. SSD’s are much quicker and more reliable than their spinning HDD predecessors.

Once you’ve experience the lightning fast startup and load times there’s no turning back. Machines that are 5+ years old can run quicker than when they were first unboxed. With RAM prices at an all time low and your machine opened up it’s a great time to max out your memory too.

I’ve been using these Samsung SSD in all my upgrades for the last few years. There is an abundance of bargain brand alternatives but there’s not enough savings to justify the risk.

Choose a SSD size that will fit your operating system and applications. Your data, music and photos can stay on the old hard drive or an external drive

Samsung Evo 750 Series SSD – 120 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 250 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 500 GB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 1 TB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSD – 2 TB

Samsung Evo 850 Series SSSD – 4 TB

Get free 2-day shipping with a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

 

⓱hardware – Increase Internet Speeds & Save Money 

When your internet access was setup up the installer gave you an low-end modem to lower their cost. By now that modem is a few generations out of date and you’re still paying for it every month. To make matters worse cable companies periodically raise their leasing fees without any fanfare. Monthly fees currently average $9 per month. A one time purchase of your own cable modem can save $470 over the course of 5 years (math below*).

This $70 Motorola Arris modem is top rated and compatible with most providers. Installation is as simple as swapping out your old modem and a phone call for activation. It will improve your connection speed and pay for its self in less than 8 months (more math below**).

Your internet experience will improve and your wallet will thank you – easy decision.

Get free 2-day shipping with a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

Maths:

($9/mo × 12mos/yr × 5yr) – $70 = $470*

$70 ÷ $9/mo = 7.8 mos**

⓱work stations – iMac 27″

27″ iMacmid-2010 (with upgrades* as below)

    She’s 6 years old — but with the OS on a solid state drive and the RAM maxed out she’s better than ever…

 

macOS – Sierra – public beta

3.2 GHz Processor – Intel Core i3

*16GB RAM – Patriot 1333MHz DDR3 (stock was 4GB)

*120GB SSD – Samsung EVO (solid state drive added)

1TB Hard Drive – 7200rpm (stock hard drive)

Apple Keyboard – wireless

Apple Trackpad – Magic 2

Apple Mouse – Magic (not pictured)

Apple Airport Express – wireless N

JBL Speakers – Duet System – silver

JBL Headphones – J88i – white

4 Port Hub – Anker USB 3.0

Monitor Stand – VonHaus curved glass riser