My new iMac 27″ i7 MC814LL

My work was kind enough to replace my aging 24” iMac (MA456LL) with a new 27” iMac (MC814LL). It’s a huge difference, not just screen size but performance as well. I’m coming from a Core 2 Duo processor to Intel’s i7 Quad Core Sandy Bridge. This has Hyper Threading so I get up to 8 threads. It’s very nice and fast. I’ve been able to run multiple Virtualbox VMs without slowing down.

front view

This is the latest version of the Apple iMac line (Spring 2011) and comes with 2 Thunderbolt ports – which I don’t have any compatible devices to play with. The have removed support for Firewire 400 which I thought was not a good move. I still have devices using that port. I can still use it with a Firewire 400 to 800 cable. They should have at least added USB3.0 support but of course Apple doesn’t like using mainstream ports (also no support for eSATA or Bluray). Oh well, that’s Apple for you. I also have to replace my mini DV cable if I want to use a secondary monitor. An SDHC card reader available on the right side. This is a great addition, consider my Macbook Pro 13” has it, it’s another way to transfer files between devices. It’s also convenient pulling images off my camera if needed.

back view

Here’s a screenshot of the About this Mac.

about this mac

As you can see, it comes with an 8GB ram running at 1333. My desktop at home (PC clone) with the same CPU is running 16GB at 1600MHz. I’m not sure if it will recognize the 1600MHz, but the great thing about my desktop at home is I can overclock the ram and CPU if i choose to – which is one of the limitations of Apple hardware.

Here is a screenshot of the details on the ram. As you can see, there are 4 total slots and can go as high as 16GB.

ram

This iMac comes with an AMD Radeon 6970M 1GB video card. Based on the System Profiler, it’s running on the x16 slot and has a maximum resolution of 2560×1440. As with all iMac design, it isn’t something that can be replaced and upgraded. Notice the “M” on the model number. That stands for Mobile which is the same type of card you’ll find on laptops and is embedded on the motherboard.

ram

The iMac is configured to have a 1TB hard drive. It’s a Western Digital 7200RPM. Based on the model number it’s a Caviar Black with 32MB cache. Not bad at all. The System Profiler also reveals that the max speed supported is 6Gbps – so it can use SATAIII drives. The drive it currently has is SATAII – 3Gbps.

hdd

I don’t know much about the the Thunderbolt ports nor do I have any devices I can plug in it. So I’ll just post the screenshot of its section in the System Profiler.

hdd

Using Geekbench I got a score of 11809. The free version only runs in 32bit. I’m not sure if there’s a big difference if it’s running in 64bit. You can check the details here…http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/426677. I also ran Geekbench on my old iMac and got a score of 3210. It’s almost 4x faster but keep in mind, it’s a Core 2 Duo with no Hyper Threading and 4GB ram plus it’s slower ram. You can check out the details here… http://browse.geekbench.ca/geekbench2/view/426690.

Upgrading my iMac MB324LL/A

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

Update: their videos on Youtube are no longer there. I’ll keep their usernames in the post just to show credit.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

So now I got the new 1TB hard drive installed. How do I get my old system on the new drive? There are 2 ways to do this. The first way is to use Time Machine (if you actually did use it). You can install a fresh copy of Leopard on the new hard drive. After installation, you get an option to use a Time Machine back up to restore. I’ve tried this but since I have over 200GB of data, my iMac ends up sleeping while trying to load the data to restore.

The second option is the image the old hard drive and restore it on the new one. This option took me about a day to complete. What you will need is an external hard drive, your old hard, and the new hard drive. If you image your old drive before installing the new one, you don’t need a second external enclosure. The first thing you’ll do is to boot your computer using the Leopard DVD. Open Disc Utility on the Leopard DVD. Do not do this while booted on the hard drive. It’s possible that it will not work because the drive you are imaging is in use. The external hard drive is where you will save the image file. Once finished, restore the image onto the new hard drive. That’s pretty much a brief summary of what I did.

I did run into some errors while formatting the new hard drive. This post helped me outhttp://macosx.com/forums/hardware-peripherals/290989-disk-utility-problem-erasing-large-external-hard-drive.html.

The image/restore process took most of the day. It may be quicker or longer for you, depending on the size of the data. Make sure you take any necessary precautions before working on your expensive Apple hardware 😉