Instructions with video: How to upgrade the RAM on the iMac 5K Retina yourself

2x 8 GB RAM from Crucial

Do you want to expand the RAM for your iMac cheaply? That's a good decision that you probably made at checkout. Because more RAM and more powerful components are a big deal in the Apple Store if you want them integrated "ex works". The 27” Retina iMac has been around since October 2014, but it's still available in the 8GB version. This new model comes with an i5 or i7 quad-core Haswell processor - and the good news is, it's relatively easy (and cheap!) to upgrade to up to 32GB of memory.

How much memory can iMac Retina hold?

The memory processed in the iMac 5K Retina (2014) is a LPDDR3 SDRAM memory, which should require very little power in standby. For a desktop computer, however, this is a rather unimportant factor. The size of the SDRAM memory chips, which fit particularly well in mobile devices, is also not really relevant for us if the connections of the slots fit. A normal SDRAM can also be installed if the bars have 204 pins and 1600 MHz. Up to 32 GB of RAM can be achieved with a conversion.

2x 8 GB RAM from Crucial
These 2x 8 GB RAM from Crucial are fully compatible with the iMac Retina 2014. With two of these sets from Crucial you get the longed-for 32 GB RAM - to be found here on Amazon.

How much RAM do I actually need?

If you mainly do simple applications such as word processing, surfing the net, listening to music, you will certainly get along well with 8 GB. However, those who edit pictures, cut videos, do 3D renderings or often use several programs in parallel will make their life easier with 32 GB of RAM, as the iMac can keep more in memory and has to transfer less to the hard drive. If you don't have enough RAM in the iMac, the constant swapping of data to the hard drive only slows down the performance and results in annoyingly poor performance - you don't really like to watch the beach ball ...

Which memory sticks and manufacturers are compatible with the 5K iMac?

Here is a small selection of suitable memories with which users have had good experiences. One should not use non-name products here, as errors in the main memory often cause problems on the computer that cannot be directly attributed to a defective memory bar. This can result in crashes, hangs or defective files. For this reason, I would always fall back on well-known manufacturers such as Hynix, Crucial, Samsung, Transcend, Corsair or Kingston. For this reason you will not find anything else here than shopping recommendations.

Depending on how far you want to upgrade your 5K iMac retina, you can now use different assignments. The iMac has a total of 4 slots, each of which can hold a maximum of 8 GB of memory. For this reason, the maximum capacity is 32 GB (4 x 8 GB). Since, from my point of view, it doesn't make sense to only upgrade to 16 GB, I have explicitly listed 8 GB bars here, whereby these always come in a set of two. So you always have to buy two (2!) Of these sets to get 32 ​​GB:

HYNIX - 16GB Kit (2 x 8GB)
DDR3L 1.35V SO-DIMM PC3-12800 1600Mhz

No products found.

Transcend - 16GB (2 x 8GB)
DDR3 1600MHz 16GB as 2 x 8GB Kit DIMM modules (JM1600KSH-16GK)
17,10 EUR
Corsair - 16 GB (2 x 8 GB)
MacMemory memory certified by Apple / DDR3 1600 MHz (PC3 12800) laptop memory (CMSA16GX3M2A1600C11)

No products found.

And how do you install the RAM in the iMac?

As promised, it's really easy, this video can be used as a guide. It shows exactly how it works - even if it's in English. This colleague also recommends the Crucial memory. So you certainly don't go wrong with that. ;-)

What are your experiences? Leave a comment if you have any suggestions or questions.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.